MPs call for 64mph speed limit and ban on urban Sunday driving

UK motorway gantry speed limits

MPs also raised concerns that increased uptake of larger, heavier vehicles has worsened pollution

New report from select committee suggests taking drastic measures to reduce fuel usage and oil imports

Speed limits on UK motorways should be reduced to 64mph or lower to save fuel and reduce emissions, MPs have suggested.

It marks a drastic shift away from recent political discourse concerning speed limits, former prime minister Liz Truss having pledged in her Conservative Party leadership campaign to review and potentially scrap speed limits.

The reduction is one of a raft of measures proposed in a new report by Parliament’s Environment Audit Committee on the transition away from fossil fuels and securing the UK’s energy supply.

Other recommendations made in the report to reduce dependence on imported oil include a ban on Sunday driving in major cities, increasing car-sharing and making public transport more affordable.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), whose recommendations were adopted for the report, such measures could save 2.7 million gallons of oil per day globally.

MPs also noted that the rise in demand for larger, heavier vehicles – such as crossovers – was cause for concern, because they emit more CO2 than older, smaller vehicles.

For example, the Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost MHEV 125 officially emits 114g/km of CO2, while the larger Ford Puma releases 122g/km with the same engine. 

Similarly, the electric Peugeot e-208 can drive up to 225 miles per full charge, whereas the larger Peugeot e-2008 – using the same motor and 50kWh battery – manages just 214 miles.

The paper also said that “the rapid growth in electric-car sales is encouraging, but it will take many years to replace petrol and diesel vehicles”.

Electric cars outsold diesel cars in the UK for the first time in 2022 but still accounted for only 16.6% of the overall new-car market.

“For the UK to meet its successive carbon budgets under the Climate Change Act 2008 and the Paris Agreement, transport emissions must start coming down more rapidly,” the committee added.

The paper’s publication comes as the Met Office today confirmed that 2022 was the UK’s hottest year on record, with an average temperature above 10deg C for the first time.

“It’s clear from the observational record that human-induced global warming is already impacting the UK’s climate,” said Mark McCarthy, head of the Met Office National Climate Information Centre.

Source: Autocar

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