Unrest in the middle east has caused gas prices to rise across the world. As a precautionary energy-saving initiative, Spain has announced that it will lower its highway speed limits, cut train ticket prices and use more biofuels to reduce oil consumption. Thirteen percent of the oil Spain consumes comes from Libya, so a $1.37 per barrel increase in oil prices will cost Spain an extra $690 million per month.

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Photo by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

While Spain’s energy supply is not specifically in danger — despite the closure of several oil companies operating in Libya — their Deputy Prime Minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said energy-saving measures are being taken because the national energy bill is likely to rise significantly because of oil prices. The initiative will be approved formally next week and should go into effect on a temporary basis March 7.

Currently, the maximum speed limit in the country is 75 mph, and that will be brought down to 68 mph. New signs across the country will be posted to alert people of the change. Rubalcaba said that a car will use 15 percent less gasoline at the new speed limit.

Simultaneously, the government has also announced that it will decrease train fares by 5 percent on commuter and mid-distance trains that travel on the state railway system RENFE. Additionally, oil companies will also have to increase the amount of bio-fuel in gasoline and diesel from the current 5.8 percent, up to 7 percent.

In 1974 a 55 MPH national speed limit was enacted in the US as an emergency measure to reduce our dependence on imported crude oil — at the time we imported 36 percent of our oil from foreign shores. By 1985, we used less than 28 percent imported oil. However, by 1996, President Clinton repealed the national 55 MPH speed limit. While our consumption has gone up across the board, we’re currently importing almost 60 percent of our oil.

Via First Coast News