The speed limit on motorways could be raised to 80mph according to a report in the Telegraph.
Phillip Hammond, transport secretary, has signalled that he is ready to lift the 70 mph limit to 80 mph, if it is in the interest of the British economy.
The Telegraph says that speed limits on rural roads could also be cut in proposals likely to be unveiled later in the year.
Mr Hammond called for a “rigorous cost benefit analysis of speed limits” which would look at a wider range of issues than safety alone. He told the Telegraph: "If you took just that view, you would have 10 mph limits everywhere.
"We need to look at the value of safety benefits and the cost in terms of additional journey time. It is a bit of a no-brainer that is how it should be done."
A DfT spokesman said: "We need to make sure that we are looking at the right criteria when considering what level speed limits should be set at. This means looking at the economic benefits of shorter journey times as well as considering the implications for road.”
Research carried out by the DfT in 2009 revealed that 52% of traffic on motorways travelled at more than 70 mph, with 37% of cars travelling at speeds between 70 and 79 mph.
The move to raise motorway limits has partly been triggered by the growing belief that cars can now be driven safely at higher speeds, says the Telegraph.
Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “We should not be prescriptive about speed limits. The existing limits are not right just because they’ve been around for years.
“Traffic conditions change over time as do policy priorities. If there is good evidence to support a case for putting limits up – or down – then we should do so.”
Click here to read the full Telegraph report.