Speed Limit

The issue of speed limit has totally disappeared from our political discussion. That is remarkable. After all, it would be the best we could do in order to promote the necessary change in the automobile industry.

A reasonably designed car should be light (500 kg), have a motor that does not need much gas (~ 1 litres/100 kilometres) and be capable of speeds up to 100 km/h. Also, it should provide space like, for instance, a Touran – and some reasonable comfort.

Our technological standards would have no problem with this. But how is an automobile manager of today supposed to back the development of such a reasonable and economical car if the reality on our streets contradicts him? He cannot go out into the traffic with such a car and have a good conscience.

Perhaps a speed limit in small steps over the next few years and with technologically pure controls would help? The second mortal sin as far as control is concerned is probably the special treatment of “business cars”.

Since the monetary advantage of a business car relative to its total cost only underlies rather mild taxation and, on top of that, the added value tax can be completely deducted when it is bought and used, the rule is, of course, counter-productive to all socially and ecologically reasonable goals. It is no coincidence that new cars of the higher class are almost exclusively registered as business cars.

Let us, for example, assume that a business car does 24,000 kilometres per year (our colleagues cover a distance of 2,000 kilometres every month). A reasonable car of the medium quality range will then run up a bill of 240 Euro for gas alone (if we assume that it needs 8 litres at 1.50 Euros for 100 kilometres). The entire added value tax can be deducted, the same is true for the added value tax when the car is bought for, let us say, 36,000.- Euros.

Well, we all know that the gas is and has always been only a small part of what a vehicle costs. There is an amortisation which, in my example over a span of 10 years, will amount to 300 Euros every month. If I only consider the first three years, I get an even higher number.

That means 540 Euros for fuel and amortisation alone. And there is a lot more we have not even yet considered, such as repair and maintenance, insurance, tax, toll fees, …. All these costs underlie the ridiculous taxation of 1 % of the original price, i.e. 360 Euros each month. In fact, I believe we are talking less than the actual monetary advantage.

What is even worse from the ecological point of view is the businessman’s concept that he is going “for free”. And I can well understand that the cuts made in the current austerity program with respect to social services are seen as extremely unfair.

It is an irony that both issues (no speed limit and tax advantages) remain untouched, because the government wants to grant special protection to the car industry. And that will be detrimental both for us and the car industry in the end – unfortunately it happens voluntarily and in full awareness.


(Written on the motorway Munich – Kufstein, but sitting on the passenger seat 🙂 )

(Translated by EG)

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