Oil Instability Leads Spain to Cut Speed Limits, Boost Biofuels

MADRID, Spain — With popular uprisings taking place across the Middle East, the instability is causing big upswings in the price of oil, and headaches for governments, businesses and drivers as a result.

In order to make it easier to conserve fuel, the Spanish government last week is taking some high-level steps to reduce the country's dependence on fossil fuels.

According to this Reuters article, Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba on Friday announced that the country would increase the amount of biofuels blended into its fuel supplies by about 20 percent, and will lower speed limits and train fares at the same time. From the article:

The fuel-saving measures, which include cutting the speed limit on motorways to 110 kilometres per hour from 120 Km/h [to about 68 mph from about 74 mph] and lowering short and medium distance rail fares by up to 5 percent, will come into effect on March 7.

 

"A 10 euros increase in oil prices as has been seen in recent days increases our country's energy costs by 6 billion euros per year, or 500 million per month," Rubalcaba said at a weekly news conference after a cabinet meeting.

Spain has little or no oil reserves, making it heavily dependent on imported oil.

In addition to saving the country hundreds of millions of euros, the moves will combine to cut oil consumption in the country by about 15 percent, and diesel fuel use by 11 percent.

"We're going to go slower and, in exchange for that, we're going to use less petrol and we're going to pay less money," Perez Rubalcaba said.