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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Gas attack

Oh, good lord, please, not again:

Congress adopted a nationwide 55 mph speed limit law during the oil embargo of the 1970s and threatened to withhold highway funding for any state that didn't comply. It repealed the law 13 years ago, when oil was cheap and gas plentiful. But with prices going through the roof and everyone worried about global warming, there are increasing calls for Congress to  bring back the double-nickel speed limit.

Advocacy groups like drive55.org say rolling the speed limit back to 55 will save fuel, reduce pollution and save lives. It seems logical, but not everyone is convinced slower speeds bring any real benefit, and the debate is heating up.

If we're going to bring back bad ideas, let's try that Prohibition thing again. And why in the world are we letting women vote and blacks live wherever they want to?


Larry Morris
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 8:38am

OK, enlighten me, ... exactly why is this a bad idea ? I was under the impression that the studies showed it DID save gas - and it will probably save lives, ..

Bob G.
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 8:56am

Oh God...please tell me that I just CAN'T be
right once AGAIN.
(This just never gets old to me)

I thought upping the limit over 55 was a bad idea BACK THEN...and I told my wife a few months ago when the "newest" gas price rises were taking place that SOMEONE will want to change BACK the limit to 55...and that it will once again become the "standard" on highways.

It DOES save gas (actually speeds around 45 are optimal), but it comes down to having a vehicle that performs as close to "peak" as possible.
And that lead foot has got to go.

Wherever you're driving to, it will most likely STILL be there, whether you drive 55, 65, or faster (and there's always those nasty citations to deal with).

Maybe Sammy Hagar doesn't opt for that "double nickel" technique, but I like it just fine...!


(PS - Thanks for the pics, Larry)

Leo Morris
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 10:35am

OK. Driving 25 would save even more lives and gas. Want a federal law dictating that as the national speed limit?

Bob G.
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 12:55pm

Driving 25 MPH (and not in residential areas)?
Nah...I'm not 85 years old YET....LOL!
But 55 if fair, c'mon. You know it, I know it, so who are we kidding?
You REALLY want to lock in the cruise control at 55....sure 'ya do. Admit it.


larry morris
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 2:05pm

So your argument for not lowering the speed limit to save gas is the slippery slope gun argument ? My God, if we let them lower it to 55, they just might drop it down to 25 and take ALL our speed away, ... please, take another shot at it.

Leo Morris
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 2:44pm

No, the argument is against ANY arbitrary limit imposed nationwide instead of letting local authorities set the limit based on local conditions. That wasn't a slippery slope argument (the ole "give 'em an inch and. . ." one), but one asking you to consider tradeoffs. We could END many traffic fatalities by simply (in one famous example) banning left turns, but who would accept that?

larry morris
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 2:59pm

I tend to agree in most cases that "letting local authorities set the limit based on local conditions" makes sense - when I'm driving on I-10 between San Antonio and Houston, I don't really care what the speed limit is on Oakdale, I would presume that Ft. Wayne sets that speed limit using whatever reasoning makes sense there. But, the 10,000 or so cars on that trip with me on I-10, and the other major interstate systems across the country, seems to me, could save a considerable amount of gas by cutting the speed down to 55.

Tue, 05/27/2008 - 3:24pm

The national speed limit during WWII was 35. Saved a lot on gas and tires. Gasoline was rationed. Perhaps. . .

Realisitically, I would have to think that the 55 MPH speed limit during that entire era was one of the most sneered-at, ignored laws, are there any on here who can actually claim they honored the speed limit all the time? I doubt it. Sammy Hagar, though extreme, was on the right track.

Harl Delos
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 4:51pm

But, the 10,000 or so cars on that trip with me on I-10, and the other major interstate systems across the country, seems to me, could save a considerable amount of gas by cutting the speed down to 55.

Or you could allow drivers to go 55 mph to save some gas, and allow drivers to take local roads at 25 mph to save even more.

We already have a mechanism in place that encourages people to save gas. It's called "high prices." If you think it is ineffective, lobby to tax gasoline purchases more heavily. What's more, you don't need gas-gobbling police cruisers and high speed chases that cause accidents in order to enforce high prices....

tim zank
Tue, 05/27/2008 - 8:05pm