BERLIN - The EU's environment commissioner has called for a maximum speed limit on German highways to slow down the notoriously swift traffic on the car-loving nation's autobahns, a newspaper reported today.
"There are so many areas in which we senselessly waste energy and harm the climate," European Union Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas was quoted as saying in an interview with Bild am Sonntag newspaper.
"One simple measure in Germany could be a uniform speed limit on the autobahns. Speed limits are very sensible for many reasons and completely normal in most EU countries and the United States. Only in Germany is it, oddly enough, a source of controversy," he said.
Recently German environmentalists said they hoped the country's joint presidencies of the Group of Eight (G8) and EU in 2007 would help lead Germany to impose speed limits on its unrestricted autobahns.
However, German Transport Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee has so far rejected the idea.
At least one-third of Germany's highways already have a speed limit while the rest carry a recommended speed of 130km/h. In reality, drivers and motorcyclists can, and often do, travel as fast as they like.
Home to high performance car makers such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, as well as mass market producers Volkswagen and General Motors' Opel division, Germany has resisted speed limits.