Note: You were using capturing parens ((...)) when you only needed non-capturing parens ((?:...)). Removing the need to capture greatly improves the speed of regexs.
Well, it can. It has virtually no impact for many cases. For the cases where it causes the string being matched to be copied, then the "greatly" only applies if you are matching against a large string.
Re^6: Can we make $& better? (need) shows that it used to be only a regex w/o /g in a scalar context that incurred this penalty. demerphq patched Perl such that newer Perls also have the penalty for a regex w/o /g in a list context. (So for modern Perls, /g is necessary and sufficient to prevent the copying, it seems.)
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