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Talk about highway speed limit on Autobahn has Germans all fired up

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Image: Autobahn
Speed Limit at the Autobahn A 5 near Frankfurt on Dec. 12, 2006. -
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Michael Probst
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BERLIN — A leaked proposal to impose universal speed limits on the Autobahn is causing outrage among car-loving Germans.

The country's transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, has said the idea "goes against all common sense." But prominent Green Party lawmaker Cem Ozdemir defended the proposal Tuesday, calling it an "act of reason."

Germany is one of the few countries in the world that doesn't impose speed limits on its beloved Autobahn highways.

The idea — still very much just a notion — would limit speeds on the country's highways to 80 mph. Proponents say this would reduce air pollution, help fight climate change and reduce the number of car accidents.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman, Steffen Seibert sought to smooth the waves created by the leaked report, saying Monday that a government-appointed committee examining various proposal isn't finished yet.