When I am nipping about during my driving lessons in Newbury I am usually paying attention to my speedometer, thinking about the next dreaded roundabout, and I am focused on not crashing. The last thing on my mind is the CO2 emissions of the Toyota Yaris I have almost swerved into a hedge.
But is that right? As a socially conscious young man in the modern world should I also dedicate more time to thinking about the carbon footprint I am leaving on the environment, especially when I am behind the wheel?
According to government statistics, air pollution in the UK reduces the life expectancy of each person by an average of 7-8 months, with an associated cost of up to £20 billion each year. This is the justification for the new speed limit of 50mph which has been assigned to sections of the M4. It is specifically parts of the motorway in Port Talbot and Newport which are affected by the slower speed limit, as well as the A470 Pontypridd, A483 Wrexham and A494 Deeside. A spokesperson for the Welsh Government believes that this reduction will improve air quality and reduce emissions, as well as the benefit of a consistent speed, which will supposedly make journeys smoother and safer.
As Britain becomes more eco-conscious and we become more mindful of the impact we are causing to the planet are these types of changes going to become more widespread in the future, even at the cost of vehicle speed? I will have to leave that speculation in the hands of people like Jeremy Clarkson.