Norway’s national automobile federation NAF has joined environmentalists, farmers and the Greens Party in recommending that speed limits on Norwegian highways be rolled back to 90 kilometers an hour (55mph). While some want it to apply to new roads, the Greens want it as a maximum nationwide.
Lower speed limits can reduce emissions and road dust, save fuel and ease the shock of currently high prices for petrol and diesel. “It’s a good energy-saving tactic for both fossil cars and electric cars, in addition to truck transport,” the Greens’ deputy leader Arild Hermstad told newspaper Dagsavisen this week.
Farm lobbyists want to save agricultural land from the wide highways that have been built in Norway in recent years. Two-lane roads were the norm until the 2000s, and they often had speed limits of just 80kph. Speed limits were raised to as high as 110kph just during the past 10 years.
NAF, meanwhile, notes that if speed limits were lowered, roadbuilding would be much less expensive. That would also liberate funding for better maintenance of existing roads.
Those advocating lower speed limits have sent a letter to Transport Minister Jon-Ivar Nygård of the Labour Party, asking for more use of two- and three-lane roads divided by a center barrier as is common in Sweden, and a new standard for four-lane divided highways that would have 90kph speed limits.