High fuel prices not slowing down German motorists, road use data suggests
dpa / Der Spiegel
While high petrol and diesel prices are causing consternation among German consumers, they are not slowing down motorists, according to a dpa report carried by Der Spiegel. Citing an analysis of current traffic data, dpa reports that the enormous jump in fuel prices has had no discernible effect on traffic speed, particularly on highways, where consumption per kilometre depends heavily on velocity. "Our speed analysis over several highway sections in Germany showed that there currently is no link between changed driving behaviour and fuel prices," said Bob Pishue of data provider Inrix. However, there currently would be fewer cars on the road than usual, which might increase average travel speeds. According to the German Environment Agency (UBA), for example, a typical vehicle travelling at 90 kilometres per hour burns 23 percent less fuel than at a speed of 110 kilometres per hour. Green MP and transport policy expert Stefan Gelbhaar has described speed reduction on roads as a logical answer to rising fuel prices. "If you drive more slowly, you also use less fuel," Gelbhaar told dpa.
A report published in September by the German Economic Institute (IW Köln) found that around 77 percent of motorists drive slower than 130 km/h on German motorways – even on stretches without a speed limit. It concluded that a speed limit was not necessary to slow down traffic and would not lead to significant greenhouse gas reductions.