HC Deb 04 February 1974 vol 868 cc857-8
2. Mr. Sydney Chapman

asked the Minister for Energy what savings have been made in petrol consumption by private motorists since the 50 mph speed limit was introduced; and what estimate in percentage terms have been calculated in a full year.

Mr. Emery

It is not possible to quantify the overall savings already made which can be attributed directly to the introduction of the 50 mph speed limit, nor to estimate such savings in a full year. However, as an indication of the sort of fuel savings that can be achieved, a typical 1,500/1,600 cc private car travelling at a steady speed of 50 mph on a motorway will consume around 20 per cent. less petrol than one travelling at 70 mph.

Mr. Chapman

Does my hon. Friend agree that, notwithstanding the recent price increases in petrol, most motorists can still drive just as many miles for less cost if they observe the 50 mph speed limit? For that reason, will he confer with his right hon. Friend the Minister for Transport Industries about mounting a publicity campaign to inform motorists of the savings that they can make?

Mr. Emery

It is certainly true that the continuation of a 50 mph speed limit provides not only financial savings but major savings in the use of petroleum. The 10 per cent. current reduction in deliveries of petrol will mean a saving of about 1½ million tons over a full year. I shall certainly consider whether more publicity should be given to the financial aspect.

Mr. Marten

Without wishing to be made a PPS, may I congratulate the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry on not having been bounced into premature rationing of petrol last year?