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Why reducing car speed can save more that you would expect.

20120710 (2012 July 10 Tuesday)

I have known for some time that driving more slowly, can reduce fuel consumption.

Recently I have discovered that people have a travel time budget, not a distance budget or fuel budget (unless fuel prices increase a lot, but this will just squeeze the poorest of the road). This time budget while varying between individuals, is the roughly constant for all cultures and history.

The current speed limit in Britain on motorways is 70mph, and a good proportion travel over 70mph, and 30mph around town.

If speed limits were reduced, across all roads, so that on motorways it is 50mph. This will have two effects, first a direct fuel saving, and then, after a delay a reduction in distance travelled, because of the time budget. We will have to reduce speed limits slowly so as to give people time to adapt, to choose jobs close to home etc. Also the change will have to be done first on the smaller roads to avoid the displacement problem (cars migrating from motorways to local roads)

A third effect will be that roads are safer. This is good in its self, but also will encourage more cycling and walking.

Therefore limiting car speed to 50mph, can have a bigger effect than direct emissions and fuel consumption.

So while the above is an idea for governments, below is a request to you: Do it your self, drive slower and accelerate smother. It will change the way you think as well as save you fuel. Then tell everyone about this idea.

Thank you.

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