Spain to lower speed limit as oil prices rise

Associated Press Modified: February 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm •  Published: February 25, 2011
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MADRID (AP) — Spain will lower highway speed limits, cut train ticket prices and use more biofuel under an emergency energy-saving initiative because of soaring oil prices brought on by unrest in Libya, an official said Friday.

The Libyan rebellion has sharply reduced exports from the oil-rich nation, and about 13 percent of the oil Spain consumes comes from Libya.

Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said Spain's energy supply is not in danger, despite shutdowns by oil companies operating in Libya, but the national energy bill will rise significantly because of the sharply higher petroleum prices.

He said a €10/per barrel ($1.37 per barrel) increase in oil prices will cost Spain an extra €500 million ($690 million) per month.

"This is what happens when we depend so much on oil. It is normal that the price goes up when there are problems," said 28 year-old student Pablo Regadera.

Spain's energy saving measures will be approved formally next week and take effect on a temporary basis March 7.

The maximum speed limit on Spanish highways is 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph) and this will come down to 110 kph (68 mph). The government will rush to print new signs to alert people of the change.