Commissioned by Neue Zürcher Zeitung (2020)
Driving expensive cars with no limits: Sportwagen Club Leipzig e.V. is an exclusive men’s club that consists of 50 middle-aged members, who love fast cars, driving at speeds reaching over 300 km/h on the Autobahn. Known as an automotive stronghold, Germany remains the only country in the EU without a speed limit. Some of the members are part of ‘Fridays for Hubraum’ (‘Fridays for cubic capacity’), a counter initiative to Fridays for Future, that has over half a million followers on Facebook.
Germany's Federal Environment Agency has urged the government to finally implement speed restrictions to 130km/h on the country's legendary limit-free Autobahns. Yet, 46% of the German population refuse to accept a speed limit, as they regard driving fast as part of their national identity. 70% of all German highways still have no speed limit.
The cost for the environment is high: 805 million tons of CO2 have been recorded in 2019. However, Greenhouse gas levels in Germany have declined by almost 36% since 1990, where 1251 million tons were released. Germany could still face EU penalties if it fails to further reduce emissions within the next decade.