55 mph...it's time has come


#1

55 mph national speed limit…it?s time has come.



There are many arguments against, among which is that people won?t slow down.

Many were raised in the age of the 70 mph speed limit with bigger turnpike cruisers and cheaper gas the norm and we adjusted.

I would argue that today’s cars are better prepared for lower speed limits. A 4 cyl Camry gets 10 mpg better at 55 than at 75. That would imply a significant improvement in the 55 to 65 mph comparison.



-There would be less need for the 70 mph cruiser, further encouraging the use of smaller engine cars.

-Fewer traffic fatalities were consistently reported in the 70?s.

-Commuting times in congested areas would be marginally affected and.in many cases, a positive way.

-The cost of conversion, signs etc. is dumped back into the economy with domestic labor.

-Results are instantly achieved, no wait.

-Cars last longer

-Fewer repairs…

-Less road damage

-Eventually, more commuter lanes with higher speeds could encourage mass transit by bus and alternate travel.

-The Yaris, Focus and Fit are right at home.





Would compliance be 100% ? Absolutely not…but neither is it now. Speed limits of 80 mph find people traveling 90 mph. The average speed would be reduced significantly, enough to have a big effect on oil prices… eventually, I believe, stabilizing the dollar.

Everyone touts the autobahn. The truth is, there MAY be fewer accidents per mile, but they are hugely more spectacular with greater chance of death and serious injury. Plus, the autobahn is a specialized highway with greater thought given to speed and more limited access.



Let?s make an impact NOW. It?s a struggle to come up with many down sides that don?t include the investments many of us have made in our egos.


#2

Maybe in urban areas it makes sense. Most of the miles are driven there. In rural areas it would be a burden due to the large distances covered and have little impact due to the sparse traffic.

Heck, make it 40 mph on urban interstates and 55 on interurban corridors.


#3

There is one big flaw with the 55 mph speed limit, nobody wants to drive that slow. The national 55 mph speed limit of the past mostly turned the entire population into a nation of speeders. Even cops not in pursuit would pass you if you actually obeyed the 55 speed limit on the open highway.
With today’s 70 mph speed limit, I can actually obey the speed limit without getting passed by everyone and having to worry about inciting road rage.
Also, the vast majority of all vehicle miles are driven on roads that already are posted at 55 or lower.

Our freedom is more important than your “good idea”.


#4

Dumbest idea in a long time ! No need for it and frankly government is too intrusive
anyway ! If you really want a wake up - look at Europe with gas prices at $ 5.00/gal and more AND higher speed limits than we have here !


#5

It’'s been tried, and it failed. There is no reason to believe it will work any better this time. Most urban areas already have low speed limits, and they are not practical in open areas. It would simply waste too much time. If I drive 1000 miles at an average of 70 mph, it will take 14 hours; if I drive the same 1000 miles at 55 mph, it will take 18 hours.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be driving from CO to GA to NC back to CO, that’s about 5000 miles; the total difference would be almost 20 hours, that will pay for plenty of speeding tickets.


#6

YOU drive 55 mph in the right lane, problem solved. Why legislate something anyone can do? Legally you can travel the posted minimum.

The “autobhan” is nothing special. We have many more straight AND wider highways


#7

My 1991 Civic Si daily driver gets more that 36 MPG at at a steady 80 mph. It has the original engine with over 180K. My mileage is more affected by how I accelerate than the actual speed . I have tested this and asked my car loving buddies to do the same and they have come to the same conclusions. My previous boss’s diesel Mercedes got 37+! What’s the point of 55 again? Technology has allowed us to drive at higher speeds with the economy of of previously lower speeds of poorly designed cars. The real issue is training the DRIVERS! Which is in the stone age compared to the cars. The politics of driver training prevents us from keeping thousands of people from getting killed. And the politics of business keeps the oil burners coming off the assembly line when we should be geting help owning hybrids and full electrics. And yes , NOBODY want’s to drive that slow.


#8

I usually accelerate at about 70 percent full throttle and that gets me about 45~46 mpg with my Yaris on my daily commute. I tried to accelerate more slowly but that resulted in a disappointing 44 mpg.
A car that’s going 60 mph has the same kinetic energy whether it was accelerated to that speed in a few seconds or an entire minute. Why not do it in the engine’s thermodynamic efficiency sweet spot?


#9

It seems to me rather that we have thought “small” for too long and should be thinking “big” about the transportation issue. There may be some positives in reducing the speed limit, although out of the large metropolitan area 60 miles away from where I live, the speed on an interstate drops way below 55 due to congestion. I had a former colleague, who retired long ago and passed away, could commute from this city to my town in under an hour, reading a paper or doing other activities. This was before World War II. We had a light rail line that ran from the large city to smaller communities. This line was closed and the tracks removed about 1941. After World War II, his commuting time doubled when he had to drive. Today, with an interstate, it isn’t possible to make this kind of time–it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes under optimum conditions.

In the early 1960’s, I attended graduate school about 350 miles from my home. I purchased a 1947 Pontiac for $75 to make the trip. The Pontiac got me and all my worldly possessions to graduate school and provided around town transportation. However, when I wanted to go home during breaks, I could make connections by passenger train and could make the trip within 15 minutes of the time it would take to drive. The cost of the train ticket was very little more than the cost of gasoline and oil (1 quart per 150 miles) for the Pontiac. Furthermore, I could also study as the train moved along, or slip back to the club car for a beer. On some sections of the track, the train traveled over 80 miles per hour. (I think the 1947 Pontiac once hit 81 miles per hour when all 6 cylinders were firing). This rail service doesn’t exist today. I used to be able to go from my home to Chicago via rail and land down near the “Loop”. Now, I have to make a 4 hour drive and if I stay overnight, it costs almost as much to park the car as my lodging costs.

I do need a car to get to work and run errands (grocery shopping, etc). I like having a car to take on vacations. I like to go primitive camping, so the car is convenient to carry the tent and other supplies. However, it doesn’t seem to be a great use of my time to spend 6 hours driving to a convention, where if good public transportation existed as it once did, I could not only make it in less time, but do something productive as I traveled.

IMHO, it is time to think “big” as far as transportation is concerned. I do like to take pleasure trips in my car. However, I don’t like spending my time commuting in congested traffic when I know that there is a better way.


#10

" It’'s been tried, and it failed.
" There is one big flaw with the 55 mph speed limit, nobody wants to drive that slow
" Maybe in urban areas it makes sense.
` Dumbest idea in a long time !
YOU drive 55 mph in the right lane, problem solved

-It?s be tried, it?s failed is absolutly wrong. It along with other measures made a significant difference in overall gas consumption.
Gas prices responded quickly and the reason it stayed on the books as long as it did…the dramatic decrease in deaths.
-No one wants to do it…right, I hated it. We did get accusmed to it though and it was a much more relaxed a trip. The important factor of speed diferences was much less…a big problem.
-Urban areas…55…there and beyond
-dumbest of course…if you?re looking for a magic tech bullet to solve your problems…immediate solutions that are obvious are ?dumb? and they just work.

-lastly, I WOULD drive 55 in the right lane, but hell; you?d be trying to pass my on the right on the on ramp at 75. I drive around 70 much, just to keep from getting run over; it is safer to travel close to the speed of traffic…I would like to see it less for all the above reasons.


#11

While I agree that 55 vs 65 or more makes a serious difference in the mpg for any car, but it is not going to become law. I usually drive 55 when it will not cause problems for other drivers, but would have a difficult time supporting the idea. Very few people will support the idea.

Rather than a speed limit law first, I suggest that if people had to pay the real cost of their fuel (including the pollution impact) that would, in time change the political and social realities and make such a thing possible.


#12

From a practical sense, I agree. From an article written with reference to the National Highway and Safety Admin. point of view…the following would bear it out.

"The fierce resistance from drivers everywhere is hard to explain. The results for the slower speed limit in the 1970s and 1980s were mixed–and modest, at best, both for safety and fuel consumption. But the minutes saved in driving 70 mph instead of 55 mph on a typical 25-mile commute are also modest (long-haul truckers have a better argument for the efficacy of faster speeds). The refusal to slow down is psychological, not practical. It underscores how automobiles are truly extensions of ourselves. As walking bipeds, we may first express self determination with our vocal chords. But soon after, we express it with our feet. Automobiles are just speedy extensions.

“There’s little question that lowering the national speed limit to 55 mph would save lives, cut fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions with little cost to the economy. It might even soothe our national nerves. But will it become a political reality? Don’t bet on it.”

That’s why I say…our egos get in the way of solutions.


#13

Can we vote now? Or must we politely listen to the same ideas repeated over and over again?

All of my own notions have been expressed already. I’ve nothing new to add. Wake me up when it’s time to vote so I can bellow a resounding “NO!”


#14

Well, at least I agree with the conclusion, it’s simply not going to happen.

Most of us wouldn’t bother “resisting” it, we would just ignore it … again. From my point of view, they can put up whatever signs they like. Most western states didn’t even attempt to enforce it last time, they gave out some-kind of silly $10 tickets so they could pretend to be in compliance and keep federal highway funding. Current speed-limits are (more or less) obeyed only because they have been set at the average speed folks would drive anyway. I don’t speed (much) on interstates with a 75 mph limit because that is about the speed I would choose to drive anyway. Most folks will drive about 75 (+/-10) mph on that road whether the posted limit is 55 or 85, it just doesn’t matter.


#15

As entertaining as that vote might be, it would never get that far. Most terrible ideas only get one chance, even american politicians have figured that out.


#16

"It?s be tried, it?s failed is absolutly wrong. It along with other measures made a significant difference in overall gas consumption.
Gas prices responded quickly and the reason it stayed on the books as long as it did…the dramatic decrease in deaths.
-No one wants to do it…right, I hated it. We did get accusmed to it though and it was a much more relaxed a trip. The important factor of speed diferences was much less…a big problem.
-Urban areas…55…there and beyond
-dumbest of course…if you?re looking for a magic tech bullet to solve your problems…immediate solutions that are obvious are ?dumb? and they just work. "

Yes, I remember when Nixon “temporarely” reduced the speed limit in response to the OPEC oil embargo. Restauraunts that used to stay open till 1:00 AM now closed at 8:00 PM. It was hard to buy gas at night or on weekends. Towns that were alive with activity till midnight suddenly rolled up the sidewalks at 8:00. The amount of driving took a nosedive and yes, there was a drop in fatalities and oil consumption, yet, the 55 mph speed limit got all the credit.


#17

Make sure you don’t vote for Hillary; that’s an idea she supports, at least til someone finds out.


#18

“Make sure you don’t vote for Hillary; that’s an idea she supports, at least til someone finds out.”

I gave up voting for any american politicians decades ago. I just consider it a spectator support now, sorta like professional wrestling (without as much dignity).

Hillary seems to support plenty of things that don’t have a chance of happening (at least until the general election campaign starts).


#19

We need a whole shopping cart load of approaches that the Wash DC people don’t have the courage to enact. Instead, as the Iraq war escalated and then dragged on, OPEC raised oil prices. And our domestic mega-oil companies did the same. Just as we consumers were paying record dollars at the pump, our major oil companies also reached major milestones, and that is record profits. In fact, Exxon-Moble recorded the largest profit of any company, anywhere, ever last year.

I’m no oilman, but I believe we need to posthaste open up the reserves in Alaska and build a new pipeline from there to Washington state, start at least
a dozen nuclear power plants, and become foreign oil free by 2025. This I think will have two immediate effects: 1) Will reduce the growing risk of nuclear wars world wide, 2) Will serve to reduce barrel prices in the OPEC effort to keep usage and net profits up to support their new lifestyle. Once we are indpendent of OPEC, oil prices and have reduced demand though the use of conservation and nuclear power, we will all settle into a more stable
domestic and world situation.

Are there sacrifices, yes, surely, but there is no better reason for those sacrifices than to stop our reliance on middle east interests. Can anyone here imagine what the outcome of a nuclear middle eastern war beyond the immediate human toll? I’d say world wide chaos is a pretty sure bet. We are too dependent on a shakey political region.

We would all be reduced to bicycles, and would travel far below 55 MPH.


#20

Sheesh, is there no end to people wanting to legislate behavior. It’s a dumb idea so get over it. It was a failed Nixon Kissenger idea but designed more as a way to hide the profits made by Kissenger’s banking friends with the higher price of oil. A lot of law enforcement liked it because it brought in extreme amounts of revenue.

Try commuting 120 miles at 55 on the freeway. I did, and the patrol would be waiting over each hill for those going 58. Had nothing to do with gas savings or safety.