Lord Crimson

Wisdom from the Realm

I Can’t Drive 55!

with 6 comments


I just had this horrible flashback from those sullen years that defined the Jimmy Carter presidency. After his monumental and continuous display of presidential failure why oh why take a page from the Carter playbook. Yet, Senator John Warner (R-VA) is considering the return to a national speed limit of 55.

Sen. John Warner asked Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman to look into what speed limit would provide optimum gasoline efficiency given current technology. He said he wants to know if the administration might support efforts in Congress to require a lower speed limit.

Warner cited studies that showed the 55 mph speed limit saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2 percent of the country’s highway fuel consumption, while avoiding up to 4,000 traffic deaths a year.

“Given the significant increase in the number of vehicles on America’s highway system from 1974 to 2008, one could assume that the amount of fuel that could be conserved today is far greater,” Warner wrote Bodman.

Warner asked the department to determine at what speeds vehicles would be most fuel efficient, how much fuel savings would be achieved, and whether it would be reasonable to assume there would be a reduction in prices at the pump if the speed limit were lowered.

Energy Department spokeswoman Angela Hill said the department will review Warner’s letter but added, “If Congress is serious about addressing gasoline prices, they must take action on expanding domestic oil and natural gas production.”

The department’s Web site says that fuel efficiency decreases rapidly when traveling faster than 60 mph. Every additional 5 mph over that threshold is estimated to cost motorists “essentially an additional 30 cents per gallon in fuel costs,” Warner said in his letter, citing the DOE data.

Conservation is a good thing, so anyone with an ounce of common sense is not against conserving gas. But as a means of national growth it’s a fool’s ploy. Driving 55 will not produce a greater supply of oil, it will not reduce oil imports and it will not affect the climate one way or the other.

The pennies you might save will not only be lost in the frustration of having to drive 55, but the cost of the eventual speeding tickets and the resulting higher insurance rates will more than take away any gas savings you might enjoy.

In case you haven’t noticed, speeding tickets have become quite a cash cow for the state coffers. Highway robbery has been going on for centuries; it’s just now the government is doing it with immunity.


Written by Lord Crimson

July 4, 2008 at 11:47 pm

6 Responses

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  1. Oh great — and airline ticket prices are soaring. So, either pay the exorbitant prices, or take forever to get there driving 55.

    Sunflower Desert

    July 5, 2008 at 5:50 am

  2. Hi LC,

    I suspect the extra money from speeding tickets is exactly the reason for any move in this direction. Well, it’s also possible all the Greens driving those tiny cars are trying to reduce their risk when being run over by an SUV. On the up side, at least that excellent Sammy Hagar song will get more air time.

    Hi Tammi,

    There’s always the train. Surprisingly, Amtrak goes almost everywhere, eventually, and for a very reasonable, Government subsidized, price. My wife and I, for example, took the City Of New Orleans, as in the song, down to NOLA last time we visited our son. While the trip took 8 hours instead of the 5 hour drive time, it was quite relaxing, and we arrived refreshed and happy, instead of me being in a near homicidal and quite grumpy state as is usual after I have to put up with other drivers for that long. Besides, it was a lot of fun eating in the dinning car, and the food was even good, unlike what you get on a plane trip. Plus, we could take all the baggage we wanted at no extra charge, there was no security check, and the staff, not being under any real pressure, was friendly and helpful. On top of that, you can get up and walk around when you want to just for the heck of it, and you get to watch the scenery roll by. My only complaints were that the ride was rather rough because the tracks aren’t maintained as well as they should be, and that the smoking cars were closed because some Smoking Nazi was recently promoted to a commanding position.

    All in all, I highly recommend that anyone check into train travel for trips of modest distance. One does, however, have to wonder why the people running this service don’t have the common sense to advertise its existence?

    the Grit

    the Grit

    July 5, 2008 at 5:04 pm

  3. […] Lord Crimson for his outing of Republicrat John […]

  4. Todays cars are so much better engineered than ’70’s cars and the mileage is also so much better that it’s a joke on several levels. My ’04 V-8, when traffic allows, gets its top fuel efficiency at 80 mph, of 30 mpg! Any higher and the mileage dives but this is also the speed which most drivers in the area drive when conditions allow so, I think the designers who have a presence in the So Cal area are wise to the drives and made it so.

    The POS you drive may vary.


    July 16, 2008 at 4:29 am

  5. Hi Grit —

    I’m just getting back around to your comment. I know … I’m slow. 🙂 I would love to try the train, but it doesn’t come anywhere in Wyoming. We would have to drive down to Utah or Colorado to catch it. Bummer.

    Sunflower Desert

    July 28, 2008 at 3:31 am

  6. Hi Tammi,

    That sucks, but what can one expect from a Government run system? On the other hand, I would happily swap train access for your crime rates. Come on, isn’t being #2 in the nation for violent crime and #1 for property crime worth a choo-choo ride 🙂 On the gripping hand, I’m not sure why you’d want to leave Wyoming anyway.

    Seriously though, I’ve heard that the train trip along the Rockies is quite spectacular. It might be worth the trip to and from the end points.

    the Grit

    the Grit

    July 29, 2008 at 5:15 pm

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