What’s the real cost of an 80mph speed limit?
The increased 80mph motorway speed limit debate has raged here on Which? Conversation. But now the proposition for the 10mph increase has been hit with a new stumbling block…
The Road Safety Foundation (RSF) has stated this week that England’s motorway network just isn’t up to coping safely with an 80mph traffic flow.
According to its report, the RSF said existing motorways in the country do not offer enough protection to drivers and car occupants if the limit is increased. There would, it says, be an increase in the number of shunt crashes and there currently isn’t enough prevention to stop drivers running off the road.
Concerned by reduced fuel efficiency
But my long standing issue isn’t just with the effects on road safety, as motorways can always be rectified and improved. Instead, it’s the financial burden of an 80mph limit on motorists’ wallets that has concerned me.
According to the AA, two thirds of its members support the speed limit increase. But have these drivers looked into the efficiency pitfalls of this, which are clearly presented on the AA’s site? It says that ‘cruising at 80mph can use up to 25% more fuel than at 70mph’.
And we already know that fuel prices are one of the key issues crippling consumers’ bank accounts at the moment. According to a recent survey from car valuation firm Glass’, as many as 38% of motorists said they would give up driving entirely within a year if prices at the pumps continue to rise.
Mileage matters on motorways
But with fuel efficiency being severely impacted by a motorway speed increase, drivers are ultimately going to get less mileage out of the fuel they’ve taken onboard.
And if people become more concerned about the extra 10mph eating away at their miles per gallon (mpg) figures, there could be serious safety repercussions with motorists lowering their speeds to achieve a better return when the majority of traffic is moving at 80mph.
You can use our fuel economy calculator for an accurate interpretation of what an individual car’s mpg is. But for now, we want to know if the reduced fuel efficiency of an increased motorway speed limit would be an issue for you?
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