Fuel efficiency is affected by speed – your car does not use gas nearly as efficiently at speeds less than 20MPH or more than 70MPH, as the graph below shows. While a large percentage of motorists exceed speed limits, not many exceed the speed limit by more than 10-20 miles per hour. This is arguably due to the much larger fine you’ll pay if you’re caught traveling that much faster than the speed limit. Reducing speed limits will effectively slow motorists down, keeping a larger percentage of motorists in the 20-70MPH ‘sweet spot’ which will improve overall fuel efficiency and produce fewer greenhouse gases.
Reducing the speed limit will reduce the carbon footprint because of the direct link between a vehicle’s speed and its fuel conusmption. While these rates are variable on the make and model of the vehicle, the Department of Energy believes that a universal speed limit of 55 MPH should be implemented. They claim that this speed limit – and strict enforcement thereof – would save 175,000 to 275,000 barrels of oil a day Furthermore, a recent study by CE Delft suggests that lowering the speed limit to 80 Km/h would lower CO2 emissions by 30%.
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