The Spanish government's decision to restrict the speed limit on major roads to 110 kilometres per hour from 120 seems to be having less of an impact than planned (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). The idea behind the restriction is to save petrol in the face of rising oil prices and is part of a wider plan by the government to try and cut energy costs in Spain. However, according to an investigation carried out by La Vanguardia, an average-sized car will save an amount of petrol equivalent to a can of soft drink (between 30 and 35 centilitres) for every 100 kilometres travelled if going at 110 kilometres per hour rather than 120. However, the estimates of the government put the saving at nearer 70 centilitres. The test was carried out by the team from the 'Motor' section of the newspaper on the AP-7 motorway, specifically between the Penedès motorway services and that of Tarragona, to the south of Barcelona; they travelled in one direction at 110 kilometres and in the other at 120, a round trip of about 100 kilometres. The experiment was carried out with different cars: a Kia Venga, Volkswagen Jetta and BMW X6, which has a hybrid engine. The BMW showed the greatest saving of petrol when driving at the slower rate, a litre and a half, but it also used up the most fuel overall. The Kia saved 30 centilitres and the Volkswagen, 20.
After the heavy rainfall that affected much of Catalunya on Saturday, more precipitation is forecast for today across much of the region (read article in Catalan here, Avui). Over the weekend, between 50 and 150 litres of water per square metre were registered, and from midday today, more significant rain is expected while tomorrow it will be particularly heavy in the north-east part of the country. The Catalan Meteorological Service (SMC) has issued a warning about the risks of accumulated water of more than 100 litres in a 24-hour period in the comarques of Girona province and the interior of Barcelona province (Alt Empordà, Garrotxa, Ripollès, Pla de l'Estany, Gironès, Selva, Vallès Oriental and Osona). In addition, the SMC has forecast snow for ground 1,900 metres above sea level, while on higher ground, around 2,200 metres, it is possible that up to 50 centimetres of snow could fall. On some parts of the Catalan coast, waves reached four and five metres over the weekend; Blanes, on the Costa Brava, saw the highest waves, measuring more than five metres.
The president of the Generalitat, Artur Mas, is seeking the support of the Partido Popular to pass a bill to change the law on inheritance tax in Catalunya (read article in Castilian here, La Vanguardia). Mas intends to get rid of inheritance tax here, a move that the right-wing party is "clearly in favour of". Speaking to the press yesterday, Mas also asked that the members of the former tripartite coalition government (Catalan Socialist Party, Esquerra Republicana and Iniciativa per Catalunya) support the move, as they had already significantly reduced the tax rate when they were governing Catalunya; he said that they should support this pledge that had been part of his electoral programme, because it had the backing of the majority of the Catalan population. Mas said that the move was one of the most concrete ones of his electoral campaign and that getting it passed through parliament was a question of credibility and compromise for his party. Talking about its timetable, he said that the law would be presented in a "matter of weeks".