Thursday, July 3, 2008

Freadom says NO to Federal speed limit

This may or may not amount to anything, but as I do my daily check of the headlines I see this one: "Senator asks if nation's drivers should slow down."

It was Republican Senator John Warmer who was asking the question of Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman.

It is a proven fact that when we drive slower we save gas. According to fueleconomy.gov, lowering your driving speed, "can lower your gas mileage by 33 percent at highway speeds and by 5 percent around town."

The site states that most cars reach their "optimal fuel economy" at about 60 mph, therefore for each 5mph you go over 60, you are probably paying an additional $0.30 per gallon of gas.

I think we all understand that. And, a particular individual chooses to want to drive at a slower speed that should be his own decision to make. And, by far, the government should definitely educate people how to save money on gas.

That said, I think this nation has come so far since 1995 when the national 55 mph speed limit that was imposed in 1974 was lifted, allowing each state to set their own limits. It took many years for most areas to set optimal speed limits on expressways.

Ideally, I think the perfect speed limit is 75mph for the expressway. That's not too fast to be scary, and not to slow either. Most speed limits, at least when I drive from Michigan to Florida each winter, are set at 65 to 70 mph.

Most people, I think, set the cruise control at about 5 mph over the speed limit as we are all rushed for time. And, as we all know, most people in the bigger cities seem to drive 80 mph, regardless of the speed limit. It's easier to go with the flow than to slow down.

True, I have preached on this blog that all options for lowering the price of energy should be placed on the table. Thus, I think this is a noble idea. But one that I personally think, hope and pray will be scrapped for a better alternative.

Certainly this isn't going to be popular with the voters, so I don't expect any of the candidates up for re-election to be providing much support for this. However, one never knows.

Still, considering this is probably going to be discussed in the years to come, it's another reason to take care and pride in who one votes for.

Therefore, I think it would be foolish for the U.S. government to set a national speed limit again of 55 mph, or anything for that matter. I think it should leave this matter to the states and to the people to decide.

I'm not going to cancel my annual trip to Florida for anything, but I certainly don't want to drive 55 mph all the way there. I'd rather pay the extra price for gas.

4 comments:

Righty64 said...

Since you make such a journey, you know that NO ONE drives the speed limit, no matter what is posted. The 55 mph limit was an overreaction to the gas "crisis" in the 1970s. It was the nanny state in full bloom. Here is what I like. 65 mph in urban areas, 80 on the open highway. At the end of the day, I really do not favor a speed limit. But I do favor a speed MINIMUM. People should at least go a certain speed to keep up with traffic. You know that if Sen. Messiah Barack gets in, the 55 mph will make a tragic comeback.

Freadom said...

You know, I agree with you 100%. In fact, I was just talking with my co-workers how I'd rather see a speed minimum than a max. And 80 mph would be about right on the open roadway.

DB said...

I am pulling the 10th Amendment card out. Speed limit or not, it is not the federal governments job to regulate this. Then again, federal funding for highway programs to states that comply with the "advised limit" do get around such nonsense as the Constitution. I suppose the States can either sell out for the cash, or maintain their rights to, well, their rights. Too bad nearly all states sell out. My home state Nevada was smart about it...

"On June 1, 1986, Nevada ignored the 55 mph speed limit by posting a 70 mph (110 km/h) limit on a 3 mile (5 km) stretch of Interstate 80. The Nevada statute authorizing this speed limit included language that invalidated itself if the federal government suspended transportation funding. Indeed, the Federal Highway Administration immediately withheld highway funding, so the statute quickly invalidated itself."

Ben said...

The federal government already has way too much authority, which by all rights they should not. I think the states and municipalities should decide what works best for them...after all, the only effect from a 55 mph speed limit will be an increase in traffic citations because people won't slow down.