Roland Dürre
Friday June 11th, 2010

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)

2 Kommentare zu “Speed Limit”

  1. Chris Wood (Friday June 11th, 2010)

    My wife is unusual, in that she works as a sales engineer, but drives our own car. Our impression is that the (untaxed) kilometre expense payment (30 cents) leaves us as well placed, as if she had a company car. This may depend on driving a little slower and safer than most. It also depends on buying a used car (one year old) and keeping it several years.
    It seems to us that it is business use of cars that is the problem, rather than who owns the car.
    New cars depreciate unrealistically quickly, because firms want to show that they can afford new cars for their salesmen.
    Please correct me if I am wrong about the 30 cents.

  2. JUS (Monday June 14th, 2010)

    Das mit dem Tempolimit verstehe ich auch nicht, allerdings wird ein solches nichts am Design der Automobile ändern. Ich war gerade in den USA, wo es auf den Straßen, gerade im Silicone Valley, nur so von “schnellen” Autos wimmelt, obwohl in den USA seit ewigen Zeiten ein sehr strenges Tempolimit gilt.
    Ich genieße allerdings die amerikanische Art Auto zu fahren, die ich auch hier in Deutschland praktiziere. Möglichst gleichmäßig mit ca 120 km/h rollen wobei es mich sehr nervt, wenn wieder ein hirnloser Raser auf sein markengebundenes Überholrecht pocht.

    Zu der Dienstwagenregelung: Wenn schon Mitarbeitern Dienstwagen zur Verfügung gestellt werden, warum werden dann nicht gasbetriebene Autos, die ein Bruchteil des CO2 Ausstosses pro Liter Kraftstoff als z.B. Dieselfahrzeuge erzeugen, ins Kalkül gezogen?
    An alternativen Antrieben ist momentan nichts in Sicht und ein 1 Liter Auto schon gar nicht. Auch reine Elektroautos sind nicht praktikabel und die derzeitigen Hybridautos sind halbherzig konstruiert. Der einzige Lichtblick ist der Chevrolet Volt bzw. Opel Ampera, den es allerdings noch nicht zu kaufen gibt.
    Die anderen deutschen “Premium”Hersteller sind mal wieder Jahre zurück und betteln bei Frau Merkel um Subventionen, welch ein Armutszeugnis. JUS

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