|A worker in Spain changed a highway speed sign from 120 kilometers per hour, to the new regulation of 110. (Alvaro Barrientos/ Associated Press)|
Lowered speed limit angers Spain’s drivers
MADRID — Spain hit millions of lead-footed motorists where it hurts the most yesterday, imposing a lower speed limit and heavy fines to cut oil imports and help lift the nation out of its economic morass.
Luis Manuel Majado, a banker, fumed as he filled up his late-model BMW in Madrid, saying driving will become downright boring now that he has to go no more than 68 miles per hour instead of 75 miles per hour.
“I’ll try to obey,’’ said Majado, 42. “But driving at  is monotonous, and could cause accidents’’ now that he won’t be able to floor it on the highway to zip by slow-moving vehicles.
Spaniards were divided over whether the move will save consumers energy costs in a nation hit hard by Europe’s financial crisis and rising oil prices caused by Libya’s oil production chaos.
The imposition of the reduced speed limit was reminiscent of a similar, widely hated 1974 move by the United States to reduce energy consumption.
But Spanish officials say the new speeding limit plus a host of other energy-saving measures are essential, because Spain depends on imports for 75 percent of its energy.