Fast Is Past: German Auto Club No Longer Opposes Speed-limited Autobahn

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
fast is past german auto club no longer opposes speed limited autobahn

The German equivalent of AAA, Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC), has long been a proponent of a limitless Autobahn. However, the group recently walked back its zeal for the cause amid demands from environmental groups to enact speed limits in a bid to curb emissions.

While most of the Autobahn has the same posted limits you’d find on most North American highways, there are plenty of sections where people can drop the hammer and go as fast as conditions permit. Safety advocates have often raised an eyebrow, encouraging regulators to limit additional sections of the roadway, but universal limits have always been a bridge too far. Now that environmental groups have joined the fray, the issue has garnered a lot more attention.

About a year ago, the German government commissioned a new climate-related report on mobility and the future of motoring. Among the recommendations were a call to eliminate the last sections of unlimited Autobahn in favor of a universal 130 kph and a ban on all diesel vehicles entering cities. Germany’s transportation minister, Andreas Scheuer, provided plenty of pushback, suggesting the proposal was part of an agenda with a woefully inadequate scope.

Despite this, calls for environmental action never slowed, and the Autobahn found itself in a odd position ⁠— encouraging ADAC to rethink its position. But the auto club isn’t supporting changing the highway so much as it is attempting to place itself in a more neutral position.

“The discussion about the introduction of a general speed limit on motorways is being conducted emotionally and is polarizing among members,” ADAC Vice President for Traffic, Gerhard Hillebrand, told DPA International. “That’s why the ADAC is currently not committing itself to a stance.”

ADAC has around 21 million members, so there’s bound to be internal conflict, but it seems kind of sad for the auto group to find itself in a position where it no longer feels comfortable having any opinion at all. Hillebrand said there needed to be a comprehensive study on the effects of a speed limit on the Autobahn ⁠— something that definitely already exists. “This would provide a solid basis for a decision [on a stance],” he said.

[Image: Michael von Aichberger/Shutterstock]

Join the conversation
2 of 28 comments
  • Islander800 Islander800 on Jan 24, 2020

    Being a Corvair fan (my first car in 1971 was a 1965 Corvair Monza 140 hp 4-speed coupe)I drooled over the 1965 Monza convertible that went for a very affordable $16K early in the week. Yes, there are affordable classics to enjoy.

  • Rpn453 Rpn453 on Jan 25, 2020

    Makes sense from an environmental perspective. It could be implemented right after they get around to banning private planes and boats, unnecessary air travel, mansions, automotive racing . . .

  • Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old vehicles evetually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
  • Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
  • Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)
  • AMcA Phoenix. Awful. The roads are huge and wide, with dedicated lanes for turning, always. Requires no attention to what you're doing. The roads are idiot proofed, so all the idiots drive - they have no choice, because everything is so spread out.
  • Leonard Ostrander Pet peeve: Drivers who swerve to the left to make a right turn and vice versa. They take up as much space as possible for as long as possible as though they're driving trailer trucks or school busses. It's a Kia people, not a Kenworth! Oh, and use your turn signals if you ever figure out where you're going.