Spain has taken an unusual method to counter high and rising oil prices – slash the national speed limit! The Spanish government has lowered the 120 km/h national speed limit by 10 km/h to 110 km/h, which they say will save 15% on fuel bills. The move is temporary, and will stay in place until the end of June at the earliest.

Deputy prime minister Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba said: “We are going to go a bit slower and in exchange we will consume less petrol and pay less money.” The José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero government also introduced other measures, which include cheaper train travel and subsidies for energy-efficient light bulbs and low-rolling resistance car tyres.

Needless to say, the move is not universally popular with Spaniards. Naturally, the fastest man from Spain isn’t too happy. “I don’t support this measure. There are other much more effective measures to reduce fuel consumption than this one. At 110 km an hour, it is even difficult to stay awake,” said two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso, who hails from Oviedo.

The BBC claims that Spain gets 13% of its imported fuel from Libya, where leader Muammar Gaddafi is currently at war with his own people. Oil production has been affected, and the unrest shaking the Arab world has pushed the price of crude upwards.

Will we see another round of fuel price hikes in Malaysia? The Prime Minister said yesterday that fuel subsidies are estimated to go up by RM4bil this year. Add that up with last year’s estimation of RM10bil (based on US$85 to US$90 per barrel of crude), and total fuel subsidies will touch a whopping RM14bil in 2011.