"National speed limit pushed as gas saver"

Discussion in 'Legislation' started by Steve_O, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Steve_O

    Steve_O Active Member

    WASHINGTON (AP) -- An influential Republican senator suggested Thursday that Congress might want to consider reimposing a national speed limit to save gasoline and possibly ease fuel prices.
    Sen. John Warner has asked the Energy Department at what speeds vehicles would be most fuel efficient.

    Sen. John Warner has asked the Energy Department at what speeds vehicles would be most fuel efficient.

    Sen. John Warner, R-Virginia, 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.

    Congress in 1974 set a national 55 mph speed limit because of energy shortages caused by the Arab oil embargo. The speed limit was repealed in 1995 when crude oil dipped to $17 a barrel and gasoline cost $1.10 a gallon.

    As motorists headed on trips for this Fourth of July weekend, gasoline averaged $4.10 a gallon nationwide, with oil hovering around $145 a barrel.

    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.
  2. GardenWeasel

    GardenWeasel Well-Known Member

    I vote for 60 mph on interstate roads, and 50 mph max. for 6 wheel and larger trucks.
  3. c0da

    c0da Well-Known Member

    How about 50 min and 60 max so you can decide how much gas you want to save.
  4. roadrunner

    roadrunner Well-Known Member

    I am for that too. 60 max is great, but will we ever see it?
  5. worthywads

    worthywads Don't Feel Like Satan, I am to AAA

    I was a driver the first time around for 55 and I was given warnings for driving 11 and 15 over. Just because it's the law doesn't mean it will be obeyed or enforced.

    The way things are going it will take a new administration and a change in the supreme court for a ruling that the 55 mph speed limit is required by the EPA due to global warming.;)
  6. jimepting

    jimepting Well-Known Member

    I think the Warner proposal makes lots of sense. Let them do some testing before they act. The truckers mounted a huge dinial game when we had the 55 limit of old. Let the legislators determine whether the truckers have a case for a higher optimum speed. I have a diesel motorhome which will not stay in top gear below 57-58 MPH. Dont't know about the big rigs, but we all know that 55 is plenty high enough for autos.
  7. akita96th

    akita96th New Member

    Driving 55 sounds good on paper and makes a good political speech if your trying to get votes from senior citizens but the reality is no one drives 55 it is un-enforceable always was and always will be. What will happen is law abiding citizens will all the sudden be charged with new speeding violations which puts more money into the local governments pocket and also creates more cash flow for the car insurance industry…Senator Warner rides in a chauffeur driven limo and I’m sure he is not concerned to much with the price of gas because he can afford gas no matter what the price...as most politicians can….the drive 55 measure will not counter the price of gas because it is based on the price of a barrel of oil not the speed limit...also there is not a shortage of gas because not one gas station in the USA right now that is out ..There are no lines at the pump...so driving 55 should be a personal choice not one prompted by the rich and famous...and pompous…don’t be fooled by political promises this close to election time..anything the government would do to try and help gas prices would fail ...Even the new political slogan to drill for more oil in Alaska and many off shore places in the USA right now would not change the price of gas one penny >>>"WHY" well for one thing once we let the oil companies invest their money into drilling lots of new wells on our pristine park lands means they are not interested in helping farmer John fill up his suv truck with $2 a gallon gas..That is not profitable what is profitable is selling the said oil which is now a global commodity to Asian markets for $143 a barrel..That’s right the newly drilled oil would just become another source of income for mega oil companies and their shareholders (Only a small percentage maybe like 3 0r 4% of Alaskan oil is used in the US it is sold to Asian markets)…Now even if we built 5 or 6 more new refineries (which were not at the moment) it wouldn’t change a thing because they would only be refining gas from oil at the current price of $143 barrel..Many toes would have to be stepped on to change the current system to make the oil more affordable to the American public…"not going to happen“ oil companies own many politicians and they are not going to mess with the feeding trough...we can’t live in a capitalistic society and then all the sudden take over all the oil in the USA and sell it only to USA companies to be used in the USA...nope just a pipe dream....so you see all the speeches in the world from all the new candidates are just empty promises of great things to come when you elect them… nothing will change and if it did it will be very slow in the mean time keep your wallet open cause gas prices are not coming down only going up ...so vote for your favorite candidate but ask them the right questions don’t believe lies and bull **** that I am seeing and hearing on the tv news...every time I hear them talk about drilling new oil wells makes me want to puke what a pretentious lie they are telling us...Also I think hybrid cars are a good start to help on the issue of gas efficiency but not gas prices and why make cars that will do 80 mph to 125 mph then say hey you can only drive 55 come on let’s get real here…
    But thank you for letting me rant on your forum free speech is still alive and well in the USA.

    Check this out and pass it around:http://www.flashwrkz.com/ImmediateOil.htm
  8. coolshock1

    coolshock1 Active Member

    You must be one of the people who flies down the expressway doing 80+mph. There are many people who do 55mph. I most of the time drive 60 in a 65mph.

    People have this notion about the speed limit that since so many people drive over the speed limit it is right and those of us that drive the limit or less are wrong. I've had family members tell me that that notion is reality and then I tell them that their reality is wrong.
  9. ascribe2thelord

    ascribe2thelord Recreational Hypermiler

    I say we get rid of speeding violation laws (save tickets for reckless drivers), put speed cameras everywhere and give a huge tax break to anyone who doesn't trip them. That way there would be a reward for safe and efficient driving, instead of a slap on the wrist for all those scofflaws who could care less.

    People are always going to drive over the limit. Some more than others. Even in my state where the limit is 70 mph, people drive 80 mph.
  10. azraelswrd

    azraelswrd Well-Known Member

    Enforcing a mandatory national speed limit won't work because the current limits obviously don't work if the number of speeding violations are an indication of it. Why would lowering the limits now (after we spent so long and hard getting it up) be feasible???

    This should be done because it would save on gas... but really, the "people" by and large don't want this. They want to use gas and lots and lots of it. Its still just gas... its not like we'll EVER run out or cost $4 a gallon. NEVER!!!! Who wants to drive cars that get 30 mpg when you can keep driving your shiny new status symbol for 12mpg??? Image is everything and perception is the reality.

    (also doesn't help this guy comes out now during an election year to soapbox. Makes people question his motives to critics and cynics alike. You'd think people would still remember that "little thing" that happened in the 70s... you know... that thing with oil... that thing)

    *note: if I was ever more sarcastic I think my Sarc-O-Meter would explode :D What's more depressing is that some of it may still be true... I still see a lot of speeders and bad driving habits on the road.
  11. ALS

    ALS Super Moderator Staff Member

    I'm against the Federal Government mandating the 55 mph speed limit.
    If individual states wish to set their own limits then I'm OK with it.
    If any of you have ever lived through the national 55 limit you would agree.
    Your driving under two hundred miles then there is no real reason to buck
    the 55 mph speed limit. When you start making 500 plus mile trips especially west of the Mississippi river then you will understand the 70 mph speed limits are needed on those open stretches of highway.

    Long haul truckers make their money on the basis of the miles traveled.
    You take a trucker that is making .40 a mile and all of a sudden he is taking a major hit in the wallet over the year. They are allowed to run 10 hours a day. If a driver is averaging 63 mph vs 53 mph during those 10 hours it is going to see a difference of 100 miles per day. $40 a day times 4.5 days is $180 a week. Times 4.3 weeks a month or $775 a month. Times that by 12 months and now your looking at $9,300 less in his yearly pay. That is close to a 20% hit in the average drivers yearly income.
    He is not going to take the hit, he is just going to demand .50 per mile to cover the difference. Higher fuel costs, plus now higher payroll costs will impact the cost of everything we buy even more than what we are seeing now.
    The down side of the 55 mph is more people are going to push the amount of time they are behind the wheel on a trip truckers included.
    Lets take me if I decided to take the family to Disney World. The trip is 1000 miles door to door. If I drove the speed limits right now as posted I would probably average 64-65 mph. That would work out to about fifteen and half hours.
    I drive at the old 55 mph national speed limit or averaging about 51-52 mph and now that same trip is nineteen and a quarter hours. I now have three hours and forty five extra minutes or more added to my trip.
  12. Shiba3420

    Shiba3420 Well-Known Member

    Local fox news (myfoxchicago.com), reported that due to the success of red light cameras and photo radar in constuction zones, they are purchasing more red light cameras and are looking at purchasing photo radar for areas outside of construction zones. However they will have to fight state regulations to be able to use that photo-radar outside of constuction. Frankly I think its the way to go, expect I'm disappointed to hear they will only be trying to use it in high risk areas. While having it always in high risk areas is a good idea, I really want to see it in use randomly everywhere.

    While many people object to photo radar, I think its the only chance we have to bring speeds back to reason.
  13. hobbit

    hobbit He who posts articles

    Maybe the trucking companies will finally clue in that they need
    to STOP paying their drivers by the mile, because it only
    encourages aggressive behavior. It took them MONTHS to clue
    in about passing fuel surcharges on to the customers, so as
    long as they're in there fiddling with their financials this
    is something they really need to think about. The smart ones
    have already realized that the fuel saved by slowing down far
    overshadows the minor time delta.
  14. gershon

    gershon Well-Known Member

    Those of us who lived through the 55 mph speed limit managed to live through it. No big deal.

    Truckers make money for mileage, but they also spend money on gas. I've read they get about 5 mpg. Or they burn about 12 gallons per hour. If they can burn 11 gallons per hour going 53, then that's about $47 a day, or $235 a week difference which overshadows the loss on miles.
  15. hazeldazel

    hazeldazel Well-Known Member

    I gotta agree that 55 is no big deal, I grew up on the 55 limit (born in 1969). It only seems like a couple years with the new crazy speed limits. Here in Californiyay, the limit is 65 in most places and in many areas trucks and trailers have a lower limit anyway.

    The bigger issue is paying truck drivers by the mile and then expect them to follow the regulations about the max number of hours a day they can drive. Several friends/family members have been truck drivers and the pressure, either from the pocketbook or directly from the company, to exceed the maximum is intense. And it leads to a lot of unsafe situations.
  16. A024523

    A024523 Currently in Training

    55 speed limit: bring it on! The only problem is that the politicians won't have the guts to pass it. Polichickens?
  17. wpiper

    wpiper New Member

    Lower speed limits and improved traffic engineering too!

    Speed limits do work up to a point. There are always crazies that drive 90, but reducing the speed limit from, say, 70 to 55, would induce many drivers to slow down from 80 to 65, because many drivers are aware that cops generally do not ticket for drivers within 10 mph of the speed limit -- so they work to remain within that limit. I think occasional enforcement is necessary, but speed limits do work. Frankly, I think that Warner is right; a national speed limit -- and also sensible reductions in local speed limits -- would save a great deal of oil.

    Better "traffic engineering" could save oil too. For example, I live off of a loop that provides access to residential communities both within and outside of the loop. The speed limit on this residential road is an outrageous 45 mph -- dangerously high considering the many runners and bikers that use it. To slow people down and permit entry onto the road, the city has placed stop signs at roughly 1/2 mile intervals along the loop. Consequently, typical drivers drive 55 where they can, screech to a halt at stop signs and then accelerate rapidly back to 55 again. If the speed limit were 30, people would drive 35-40, fewer stop signs would be necessary to slow traffic and permit entry onto the loop and FE would improve! (I am aware that 55 mph may be a better cruising speed than 35-40 for most vehicles, but I think that there is too little time between stop signs for the better cruising speed to offset the losses in FE incurred though accelerating up to 55 mph.)

    Please pardon this post if others have said it before. I am a newbie. Oh, and this is what I look like. :Banane03:
  18. ChenZhen

    ChenZhen Dreaded Car Salesman

    Man now I've got that Sammy Hagar song playing in my head.
  19. BoneFlyer

    BoneFlyer Busch League

    Unfortunately there is no one-solution fix to oil prices.

    Slowing demand is a key - hypermiling sites like this help, along with getting the word out about how to conserve.

    Drilling in Alaska and off our coasts will lower our dependence on foreign oil. It's a bit of a slap in the face that the Chinese can drill a few miles off our coasts but we can't.

    The 55mph speed limit will undoubtedly help. It did in the 70s and 80s and is not a bad idea for today. Like a previous poster said, if we can slow down the speeders (like myself, in times past) from 80mph to 70mph, some good will come from it.

    And, of course, alternative fuels and energy sources will have to be explored and researched at an increasing rate.

    I believe only a combination of all energy-saving measures will help us out of this dependence on foreign oil, and save this transfer of wealth to OPEC.
  20. anon

    anon Well-Known Member

    Those people are right, you are wrong. :flag:

    People vote with their right-foot. They know they use more $ AND risk tickets (= more expense), yet they still drive over 65mph.

    Why? Because they feel it is safe and reasonable.

    Worse wastes of fuel happen on highways at low speeds, than happen at high speeds. Instead of a 55 mph max, how about a 70mph minimum? While we're at it, increase capacity on our over-burdened roads.

    There are people stuck in commutes on the highway right now. Four-lanes-wide, stop-and-go at 0-20 mph on 65mph roads in 100+ mph cars. THIS is the great waster of gas, and more importantly, time. Time= money. Time = productivity.

    If you want to drive 55mph, go for it. Just don't tell all of America that they should do such a foolish thing (again).

    Speed limits should be set the 85th-percentile way. http://www.motorists.org/blog/speed-limits/how-should-speed-limits-be-set/

    --The majority of motorists drive at a speed they consider reasonable, and safe for road, traffic, and environmental conditions. Posted limits which are set higher or lower than dictated by roadway and traffic conditions are ignored by the majority of motorists.
    --The normally careful and competent actions of a reasonable person should be considered legal.
    --A speed limit should be set so that the majority of motorists observe it voluntarily and enforcement can be directed to the minority of offenders.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008

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