July 21, 2004

Wir Fahren, Fahren, Fahren auf der Autobahn

Out of Germany, that bastion of personal road freedom, now comes the disturbing news there may be more speed restrictions imposed on the Autobahn. Proponents say it would cut pollution and petrol consumption.
Never mind that the Autobahn system was constructed and designed with high speeds in mind - unlike the really dangerous goat paths that pose as roads in New Zealand.
It may amaze you that Prime Minister Helen Clark covering 200km in 2 hours by car is actually headline news in New Zealand, but given the second world conditions here, one should be surprised about how she did it rather than the tut-tutting by local peasants and other politicians. I loved the take by the BBC saying she was stranded on the South Island. And really, there is nothing worse that can happen to you when you got a rugby match to attend.
Anyway, back to the Autobahn speed limit proposal. This would be a grave mistake for the German economy, which is built on the manufacture and export of automobiles that can go faster than 100kph. If there is nowhere in the world that you can go fast in your expensive car, why would you buy it in the first place? You might as well buy business class plane tickets instead, which, incidentally use far more kerosene and pollute much more than your car.
(Disclaimer: I don't have a driver's licence and I have never driven a car)

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