From the TUC

CO2 up, road deaths up: Philip Hammond’s plan to raise the speed limit

29 Sep 2011, by in Environment

The Transport Secretary’s proposal to raise the speed limit to 80mph could result in carbon dioxide emissions up to 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 higher than keeping to the current limit. A better enforced 70mph limit on motorways would prevent over 300 deaths and serious injuries per annum on motorways alone. And if the existing 70mph speed limit were strictly enforced, this could reduce emissions by 1.3 MtCO2 in 2020. All this is known to the Government from the reports it receives from the Committee on Climate Change.

Hammond said today he will launch a consultation later this year with a view to introducing the new 80mph limit in 2013. Hopefully by then he may have studied the Committee on Climate Change’s independent advice. In June this year, the CCC found an increase in speeding on motorways and dual carriageways in 2009, following several years of decreasing speeding. A sustained increase in speeds would significantly increase emissions.

“An 80mph speed limit could result in carbon dioxide emissions up to 3.5 MtCO2  higher … in contrast, there is an opportunity to significantly reduce emissions through enforcement of the existing speed limit. For example, if the existing 70 mph speed limit were strictly enforced, this could reduce emissions by 1.3 MtCO2 in 2020.”

Around a fifth of the emissions produced in the UK, and 92% of domestic transport emissions, are from surface transport – road and rail emissions (119 million tonnes CO2). 60% of this is from cars. To meet carbon budgets, deep cuts in emissions from surface transport are required by the 2020s.

So here are the Top 5 motoring tips for saving fuel and CO2 emissions:

1.Aerodynamics: For the technically minded – Air drag increases at the square of the speed so as the speed gets higher the force required to push the car through the air goes through the roof. As a practical demonstration, a fuel consumption check on a Golf found:

  • At 60mph the fuel consumption was 52 mpg
  • At 70mph the fuel consumption was 45 mpg
  • At 80mph the fuel consumption was 38 mpg

So travelling at 60mph you are using 27 % less fuel that you’re using at 80mph!

2.Weight: the obvious – the heavier the car the more fuel it uses. Anything you don’t need for your journey leave it at home!

3.Rolling Resistance: incorrect tyre pressures not only increase tyre wear but wastes fuel.

4.Engine efficiency: Warm the car up on the move, not on the drive.

5.Driving: braking smoothly, accelerating gently

And tip 6: change your Transport Minister.

TUC