Perl is more flexible and powerful than grep but definitive not faster. Also AFIK grep (or was it egrep?) uses a finite state machine, not a infinite one like perl, so it is much faster, but much less flexible, i.e. doesn't support back-tracking, etc..
Try to optimise your regex to speed things up. In perl you can use use re 'debug'; to show how many permutations you regex causes.
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