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During the oil crisis in the early 1970's which was caused by the Yom Kippur War and disruption of the oil markets by Arab producers, our government imposed a national maximum speed limit of 55 mph to quickly ease the demand for gasoline and diesel. It worked and significantly reduced our demand for crude oil and motor fuels.  We should do the same thing now.

The United States should lead the way and work to get other countries around the world to do the same.  The oil companies and all their think tanks, like Cato, Heritage, and AEI will deride the action but who cares about them?  
I can think of nothing that would have such a beneficial and simultaneous effect on so many problems:

  1.  Demand for motor fuels would drop immediately and significantly and therefore crude oil demand would fall and crude prices would ease too.  Crude oil demand didn't recover for many years after 1974 which was also due to permanent efficiencies, like smaller cars, being introduced too.  
  1.  The balance of payments would be improved meaningfully,
  1.  It would support the value of the dollar,
  1.  It would reduce pollution,
  1.  There would be fewer traffic fatalities.

Typically, the Cato Institute and The Heritage Foundation were against the 55 mph speed limit back then and claimed to have done some studies showing the 55 mph speed limit didn't do much good due to limit gasoline consumption (off only 1% primarily due to non-compliance - so they say) or reduce traffic fatalities appreciably.  I do believe non-compliance became a challenge over time as oil prices again fell and the bite out of the wallet got smaller but in the beginning people did comply and consumption did fall off and prices did come down.  The speed limit was still left in place for safety reasons and was raised years later to 65 mph.

IMO, Cato and Heritage are not credible and I wouldn't believe any study they released without corroboration by some credible group.  I lived through the period and can tell you that my gasoline consumption dropped a lot and there was much less stress driving at the slower speed.

Today we have more permanent incentives to comply than we had back in the early 70's, namely global warming fears, fears about peak oil, high prices, and I believe more people than ever want to do something to help if only the government would get off its ass and formulate even one damn policy for the good of the American people and the environment.

I suggest progressives and environmentalists start a discussion about instituting a national maximum speed limit again.  We can start a discussion on blogs we visit, call our representatives, and contact Sierra Club and NRDC to get their reaction to name a few actions.  I will do this and especially hope some of you who are more active on blogs than I am will too.

Originally posted to ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:23 AM PDT.

Poll

How many of you would be willing to comply with a 55 mph speed limit?

44%86 votes
55%109 votes

| 195 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  I like the 55 mph speed limit (7+ / 0-)

    It isn't politically popular -- particularly when you want to win MT, AK, ND, etc.

    •  Big sky country support might be a problem but (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      we are talking about a national crisis and effort.  Also, I think the people our West are getting very concerned about drilling for natural gas and oil and the threat of coal mining on their lands.  Maybe they would see a national speed limit as a way to reduce the pressure somewhat.

      Besides, we talk about patriotism, maybe those good folks would comply for the good of the entire country.  I've driven across the state of Montana several times back in the glorious 60's - it's a long drive but I was only going about 55 mph - old junker wouldn't go any faster.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:34:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Big sky country? (6+ / 0-)

        Look comrade, I've lived most of my life in New England and the truth is I ride my bike quite a bit, but when I need to go to Boston and the sign says "Speed Limit 55," I say fuck that shit.

        I don't drive a muscle car or anything, but I drive like a bat out of hell whatever the sign says. As an American, that's my birthright.

        The challenge high oil prices present to the market and to policymakers is not one of how to make people slow down and conserve gas. It's this: How can we continue to drive like fuckin' madmen at a reasonable price?



        And if you see her... Tell her it's over now!

        by Vincenzo Giambatista on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:51:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Modern auto technology puts the sweet spot higher (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unterhausen, workingmom OH

      My Fit gets better (anecdotal) gas mileage loafing along in fifth gear at 70 than it does at 55.  If I go above that, aerodynamics kill it.

      "Without bitterness, all chocolate is a Hershey bar." -- Harry Shearer

      by tbetz on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:53:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  my Prius got the best gas milage ever (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        tbetz, workingmom OH

        when I was on a trip driving 70-80 most of the time, I averaged 56 mpg.  As an engineer, my own implications offend me a little, the Prius is known to get better gas mileage at lower speeds.  I'm getting about 46 now.  

        I think people are slowing down by themselves.  not sure we really need a speed limit change.

  •  I have been saying (5+ / 0-)

    that this is the quickest,most painless way to make an immediate impact on consumption of oil in America. Lets face it, the future needed changes are going to be much more painful,imo. This should be done immediately with bi-partisan support.

    The minor inconvenience related to more time on the road should not preclude this from happening now.
    The Dems should get on this...and lay out the facts..the improved mpg and cost savings to the consumer. It beats the hell out of the savings from the gas tax.

  •  Nanny State alert! (7+ / 0-)

    The speed limit in most built up areas is still 55MPH.

    Just as an FYI, my 2008 Altima gets the same gas mileage at 55MPH and 70MPH.

    •  And my Prius (5+ / 0-)

      actually does a bit better at 68-70 MPH than at lower speeds.

      Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

      by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:30:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lower Speeds Like What? (4+ / 0-)

        My Prius does better at 68-70 than it does in the city, but that's because of stop and go traffic in the city, not the speed limit.  At 68-70 mph in my prius I probably get right around 50-51 mpg depending on the lay of the land, but at 55 mph I can usually get 54+ mpg.

        I'm not saying you're lying either they could be different years or what have you... but I myself ALWAYS get better mpg in the 55 range than the 70 range.

        ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

        by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:37:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lower speeds like 55-60... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          polecat, TexasDemocrat

          Here in OH it relatively flat and we don't see the type of rush hour traffic so traffic flow is always pretty good.  I don't seem to have the same momentum for the small hills at 55 that I do around 65 so the gas motor kicks in more frequently and for longer due to the loss of speed on the inclines.

          When I first got my Prius I played with driving styles and speeds a lot to see how to maximize my MPG.

          I got much better MPG with my first Prius (strangely enough) but erred and went for the leather interior in the second (believe leather is easier to clean post any trip with children in the car).  The added weight is what the dealership told me is responsible for the decrease.

          I averaged around 52.9 with the first one and now get around 47.8 with the second.  I think both would/could be higher but I drive due East with the wind at my back on the way to work and directly into the wind on the way home.  

          Amazing how you notice the effect of every single condition.  Rain and windy days and driving with windows down impact MPG greatly.

          Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

          by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:52:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  it does better at 55, no doubt (0+ / 0-)

          my mileage is crummy in town because the Pennsylvania DOT insists on making traffic stop at almost every light.  But I did get my best mileage on a trip where I was almost always traveling above 70.  I'll never find out how much I could improve that by traveling 55, unless the fines become too punitive.

    •  Is this physically possible? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unterhausen, TooFolkGR

      Higher speed at the same energy input - I doubt it.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:36:40 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I Suppose It's Possible If (0+ / 0-)

        He's going 55 in third gear and then kicks into fourth when he's going 70.  Higher gear = the car is doing less work.

        That said I don't believe for two seconds an Altima is doing 55 in third gear.

        ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

        by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:43:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Bullshit (0+ / 0-)

      That is physically impossible, assuming you are making a competent comparison.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:55:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't argue with that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        young montana voter

        personally, I know that my car gets better mpg at 2 MPH than at 0 MPH, and there is a further increase when I bump it up to 5 MPH.  Never gone faster than that 'cuz of the stress and all, of course. . .  but I imagine that at some point (maybe 70 MPH) the efficiency will plateau and then start to drop.

      •  no it isn't (0+ / 0-)

        The peak in mpg will be different for each car and depends on things like the drag coefficient and engine/transmission design.  Some cars will get better mileage at speeds above 55 and some below.

    •  City vs. Highway (0+ / 0-)

      I drive a compact car. I've found the real difference is between city and highway driving. I get about 28MPG in the city doing an average of 30MPH when I'm moving, while on the highway I get roughly 30-31MPG and I typically drive about 5-10MPH above the posted limit however there have been times when for whatever reason traffic is moving slower than the posted limit (between 50-60MPH) and I find my gas mileage doesn't improve all that much, probably a fraction of 1 MPG.

      What eats your gas is when you are accelerating. It takes a lot more to fight inertia and drag while accelerating than it does to maintain a steady speed. Also idling in a traffic jam burns gas at a rate of 0MPG.

      If you really want to conserve fuel and help the environment, ditch the car for city driving. Take public transportation, bike, or walk where you need to go and only use the car when you need to get somewhere you couldn't otherwise get to using public transit. You'll have to plan your time better because using public transit often takes longer than if you drive, so for some people it's not practical.

      So many impeachable offenses, so little time... -6.0 -5.33

      by Cali Techie on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:16:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Impossible n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:30:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Boo! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    omgitsparishilton

    We have a national maximum speed limit.

    I sincerely doubt that a reduction by 10 MPH will have quite the impact you appear to hope for or have any impact at all on gas prices.

    Other than taking a bit longer to get where you are going what's the point again?

    Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

    by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:29:35 AM PDT

    •  Where I live peole drive 75 mph when they aren't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cotterperson, workingmom OH

      in too big of a hurry.  The speed limit is 65 but no one cares.

      Any action would require the government to lead the way and explain to everyone why a reduced speed limit is necessary.

      If no authority bothers, and no authority makes it a priority to enforce even a 65 mph speed limit, maybe by changing the priorities of the government who will then change the priorities of the people, it could work.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:39:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hey, in Colorado (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TexasDemocrat, workingmom OH

        we can go 75 legally on the interstates. So people go 85. I take the backroads. I drove through the days of 55mph and don't remember it as so onerous, but it is true that here in the west it would be extremely unpopular--two reasons: the distances, which lawmakers in the east don't understand;the independent spirit that abounds--don't fence me in!

        •  Yeah... (0+ / 0-)

          Same in Texas...I've lived in the East and the South...East is so packed together they barely need cars.  South is so spread out that driving 55 is water torture, especially places like West Texas.

          Non-starter.

          TexasDemocrat
          Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

          by TexasDemocrat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:01:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Easterners have some long drives too (0+ / 0-)

          It's not just a western thing.  Public transportation is just not adequate for most mid to long trips Easterners have to take too.  Its a problem nationwide so everyone suffers.  Only the Eastern seaboard corridor has a decent AmTrak alternative except for local commuting trips where only the biggest cities, New York and Boston say, have that.

          "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

          by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:09:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  You Don't Believe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ProgressForGoodGov

      That decreased demand has the effect of lowering prices?

      Man I wish I had saved my textbooks from Junior High when we learned what "Supply and Demand" meant I would send them to you.

      ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

      by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:44:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I haven't seen a single (0+ / 0-)

        study that shows any type of significant fuel savings with a 10MPH reduction in speed limit.  Most urban roads are already 55 here in Columbus and even lower once you get to the rural areas and I'm sure that's where the majority of driving takes place.

        We'd save a TON more by taxing the heck out of gas guzzlers instead of providing incentives for their purchase.  Where's the tax incentives for buying hybrids or for using public transportation when applicable?

        Now you're talking conservation.

        Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

        by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:57:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Tax Incentive For Buying Hybrids (0+ / 0-)

          Hm... well you said you had a Prius.  Did you not claim the federal Hybrid Car Tax Credit when you bought it?

          And you say you haven't seen a "single study" showing significant fuel savings with a ten mph reduction...

          May I ask what studies you HAVE seen, and what they DID show?

          ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

          by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:04:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  tax break is gone now (0+ / 0-)

            it cut out when sales went over a certain number.  They really need to reinstate that break, maybe make it smaller, it was quite generous.  

            The Prius fanatics have studied this issue.  Pretty sure you can get amazing gas mileage if you keep it under 55.  The drag polar is pretty flat until you hit 130mph, but it's still fairly linear with speed.

            •  Yeah I Got In At The End (0+ / 0-)

              I bought my Prius in May of 2007 and I think my credit was $1350?  I know it was just cycling out at the time.

              But I've saved $1290 in gas in the last thirteen months; so that's good as far as I'm concerned.

              ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

              by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:32:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Of course (0+ / 0-)

            but, thanks to Bush, it's gone now and they've tried to bail out the auto industry by providing incentives on vehicles with poor MPG instead.

            I'll look for some links for you as far as studies.  The best ones take a lot of aspects into consideration...

            Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

            by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:30:43 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Union of Concerned Scientists did a study (0+ / 0-)

          that showed there are very good savings by lowering the speed limit.  From memory they said that lowering the speed limit from 75 to 65 increases fuel efficiency by 15% and going down another 10 mph to 55 mph yields over 30% savings.

          You can find this study at Sierra Club (where I first ran across it) or maybe at the U of Concerned Scientists website.

          "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

          by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:12:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  "Haven't seen" ... (0+ / 0-)

          means that you haven't looked ...

          * Drive 55: an advocacy group.  

          * Fuel Economy.GOV:  Driving More Efficiently

          While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph.

          You can assume that each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is like paying an additional $0.30 per gallon for gas.

          Observing the speed limit is also safer

          *

          MPG for Speed (also advocacy):

          According to DOE, the average care will be at its advertised MPG at 55 mph.  As the speed increases:

          3% less efficient at 60 mph
          8% less at 65
          17% less at 70
          23% less at 75
          28% less at 80 mph

          See, for example, EPA memo on emissions impact of elimination of 55 mph by Clinton (pdf)

          Etc ...

          Now, the fuel and other impacts of this are factual. The question is whether there is political will to tackle this. There is a reason that Devilstower included this in Good Ideas that Make Bad Politics (which this diary really should cite and try to refute).

    •  Go to Union of Concerned Scientists website (0+ / 0-)

      and search for mileage research.  Going form memory, a 10 mph reduction yields about a 15% increase in efficiency and dropping from 75 to 55 yields over 30% increase in efficiency.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:05:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Methinks that this is another health care (2+ / 0-)

    crisis diary - if you have lots of stress driving at 70 mph - surely, there is something that modern medical science could do to help you out? If you only had the proper insurance . . . .

    Your point #5 has been thoroughly debunked, in any case . . .

    •  Why focus on the least important thing I said? (0+ / 0-)

      Stress reduction is only a sign that reduced speed means reduced stress and danger.

      I didn't include stress reduction as one of the points I did list as desirable outcomes.

      Be negative if you want but don't pick out the least important item to base a case on.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:43:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know, I can't really detect snark (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        buddabelly

        anymore - but were you serious about the stress?

        (if you were, I apologize for making light of it - it's just that I can't wrap by brain around the idea of being stressed by 70 mph - most interstates were designed for 85).

        •  Phoenix freeway system, 70 will get you run over (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          by a semi no less. That can cause some stress.

          " Every Thanksgiving, Bill Clinton stuffs a kitten inside a puppy inside a chimp inside a dolphin. It's like a turducken, only more evil. " balancedscales

          by buddabelly on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:19:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I should have used a different way to (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Roadbed Guy

          express there are other benefits to driving slower.  stress is obviously one assuming you aren't 30 minutes late to the most important meeting in your life.  But the point I really wanted to make there but by typing along so fast I completely screwed it up and that is slower driving is essentially safer and less deadly than fast driving.  Less stress would be a side benefit of that.

          Hope that makes sense. And thanks for your friendly follow-up comment.

          "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

          by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:34:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I do this anyway (3+ / 0-)

    Most of the highways close to me (DC Beltway, etc. etc.) are already posted at 55 MPH, even though it seems no one else notices. But, I get insane mileage just by slowing down (it really makes a difference in a hybrid, really). FWIW, I aslo drive at odd hours, so I'm not being run down by 25 rampaging semi's or SUV's.

    Radarlady

  •  If they do ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcfly, A Siegel, ProgressForGoodGov

    I'll have to pedal faster to meet it.

    "It does not require many words to speak the truth." -- Chief Joseph, native American leader (1840-1904)

    by highfive on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:31:40 AM PDT

  •  Nah, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mosesfreeman

    we should just have mandatory tailgating - that saves gas too!

  •  This is not a winning election strategy (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deaniac20, dennisl

    It just reminds everyone of the Carter Admin and people do not want to go back to that.

  •  Alternative strategies . . . (0+ / 0-)

    to save fuel that I've found useful:

    1. Don't use your headlights - they actually suck down about 1/5 to 1/3 mpg.
    1. Don't drive uphill - that's a big no-no.
    1. Drive only at night when it's cooler so you that don't have to use air-conditioning . . .
  •  I can see that you haven't (4+ / 0-)

    spent much time in Montana!

    I really hate this federal approach to speed limits. What's good for New Jersey or Massachusetts isn't necessarily what's good for everyone else.

    Let the states decide.

  •  My bicycle gets 34 mpb (7+ / 0-)

    miles per burrito.

    I haven't bought gas since it cost $1.80. I hear it went over $2 a gallon! How do people afford it?

    I kept that money in my pocket and saved enough for a down-payment on a cute little house in the city near transit and a bike ride to work.

    "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

    by greendem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:36:48 AM PDT

    •  Watch out for those METHANE emissions!!! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greendem, gdwtch52

      Methane is a greenhouse gas!

      /snark

      Happy little moron, Lucky little man.
      I wish I was a moron, MY GOD, Perhaps I am!
      -Spike Milligan

      by polecat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:00:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There may be some emissions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        KenBee

        But it helps me go faster! ; )

        My body is not a ZEV!

        Luckily methane disappears much faster than CO2 which lasts hundreds of years in the upper atmosphere. I mostly went car free for the money I could save.

        Here is a great book about how to kick the car habit, and how much money you will make. It's really like getting a huge raise in salary.

        http://www.tenspeed.com/...

        "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

        by greendem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:10:05 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This just doesn't make sense (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    workingmom OH

    People say this isn't a winning strategy, but the problem is more fundamental.

    The fix you propose does not address the problem.  All reducing the speed limit does is create revenue for localities, cities and streets.  In general, people speed unless and until the see the police.  And if caught, they pay their fine and go right back to speeding and trying to evade being caught.  Unless you are proposing that cars actually be built to forbid a car from exceeding 55 MPHs, there is no way to make drivers go that speed.  Certainly lowering the speed limit, increasing opportunity for police to catch you speeding has no proven deterent effect.

    •  But What If You Decrease Speed Limits (0+ / 0-)

      And make it so that the money made over the top of existing income goes into alternative energy spending.

      ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

      by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:50:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not a bad idea (0+ / 0-)

        But I don't think you can legally do that.  The federal government cannot force a local authority to hand over funds generated by the local authority.  While speeding does affect the global community, it has always been an area of local concern.  The federal government will not get away with unreasonable interference with the state's right to police its own territory (well, not unless there is a drastic shift in the Supreme Court and the new Court has no respect for precident.)

    •  I propose only part of a fix and besides (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA

      the government will have to do a selling job and reverse its completely inactive stance they now have.  ONce the government gets behind the idea many more people will fall in line.  Even in WWII Roosevelt had to prepare and educate people why our getting into the war was important to them.

      Listen, if the story is compelling enough so that a potentially meaningful act that costs virtually nothing can't be tried even among progressives then it won't happen - at least until things get even worse.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:56:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  From Science, the magazine (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, tbetz, workingmom OH, Pris from LA

    has a brief article showing how improving the efficiency of the worst vehicle a little bit would have a huge impact overall:

    The MPG Illusion
    Richard P. Larrick* and Jack B. Soll1

    Many people consider fuel efficiency when purchasing a car, hoping to reduce gas consumption and carbon emissions. However, an accurate understanding of fuel efficiency is critical to making an informed decision. We will show that there is a systematic misperception in judging fuel efficiency when it is expressed as miles per gallon (MPG), which is the measure used in the U.S.A. People falsely believe that the amount of gas consumed by an automobile decreases as a linear function of a car's MPG. The actual relationship is curvilinear. Consequently, people underestimate the value of removing the most fuel-inefficient vehicles. We argue that removing the most inefficient vehicles is where policy and popular opinion should be focused and that representing fuel efficiency in terms of amount of gas consumed for a given distance--which is the common representation outside of the United States (e.g., liters per 100 kilometers)--would make the benefits of greater fuel efficiency more transparent (1-3).

    To illustrate these issues, consider the criticism that has been directed at adding hybrid engines to sport utility vehicles (SUVs). In a New York Times Op-Ed column, an automotive expert (4) has said that hybrid cars are like "fat-free desserts"--they "can make people feel as if they're doing something good, even when they're doing nothing special at all." The writer questions the logic of granting tax incentives to buyers of "a hypothetical hybrid Dodge Durango that gets 14 miles per gallon instead of 12 thanks to its second, electric power source" but not to a "buyer of a conventional, gasoline-powered Honda Civic that gets 40 miles per gallon."

    The basic argument is correct: The environment would benefit most if all consumers purchased highly efficient cars that get 40 MPG, not 14, and incentives should be tied to achieving such efficiency. An implicit premise in the example, however, is that an improvement from 12 to 14 MPG is negligible. However, the 2 MPG improvement is actually a significant one in terms of reduction in gas consumption. The amount of gas used by a vehicle to drive 10,000 miles at different levels of MPG is shown in the graph above. A car that gets 12 MPG consumes 833 gallons to cover that distance (10,000/12); a car that gets 14 MPG consumes 714 gallons (10,000/14). The roughly 120-gallon reduction in fuel used is larger than the reduction achieved by replacing a car that gets 28 MPG with a car that gets 40 MPG over that distance.

    To summarize - replacing a 12 mpg vehicle with a 14 mpg vehicle is better than replacing a 28 mpg vehicle with a 40 mpg vehicle . . . .

    link (subscription may be required . . )

    I say we do that before enacting the 55 mph limit . . .

    •  Why not do both? Gov't can't demand people (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      workingmom OH, Pris from LA

      get rid of high mpg cars only very high gas prices will do that assuming they can afford the upgrade.

      Our government can start a 55 mpg campaign and institute a national speed limit but it can't make people change cars.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:00:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What you aren't getting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Pris from LA

        is that speed limits vary.

        You are proposing limiting the speed downward on only a fraction of many people's driving time.

        The 65 MPH only affects interstate travel.  

        It's 55 already when you get on highways close to the city proper and 45 on rural routes and even lower in town itself.  CA limits might be (no idea, some CA person would have to confirm/deny) 65 but you can rarely drive that fast due to traffic conditions.

        Your idea might have more credibility if you had any type of reference to the amount of time a driver actually spends driving on roads that permit a higher limit than 55.  Many people here in Columbus spend a minimal amount of time on the interstate system unless they've got a long weekend trip planned or doing something special and I just don't see you getting the bang for the buck you are after.

        Why not hybridize semis?  Now that is something that would have some impact.

        Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

        by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:09:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Do you mean *low* mpg cars? (0+ / 0-)

        In any event, the government can do whatever it damn well feels like doing - who's going to stop it? Mr. Conyers with yet another strongly worded letter?

  •  They Could Do THIS Without a Limit: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProgressForGoodGov, Pris from LA

    Put a black box in my car that has a GPS in it.  The GPS tracks the miles traveled and the average MPG over that distance.  At the end of the year, I take it to the DMV or whoever and they scan it.

    Depending on my average speed for the year, I get a certain tax credit on a sliding scale.  If I'm driving slower, I'm helping the whole country by helping to keep demand low.  I'm spending less for fuel but I'm further incentivizeed (is that a word?) by a tax credit on top of that.

    In order to satisfy privacy advocates you'd have to make it so the black box didn't record where you actually WENT, and so that you couldn't fine people whose average speed was "speeding."

    I'm joking of course.  That wouldn't keep privacy advocates happy because they're never happy.

    That said I'd like to see it voluntary instead of mandatory anyhow, so those of us who are ALREADY doing our part to help keep demand low would get rewarded for it while encouraging others to come on board.

    ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

    by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:42:25 AM PDT

  •  It's the right thing to do. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gdwtch52

    But it is political poison. And winning the White House is the most important thing.

    Fuck the issues. /snark

    The way to see by Faith is to shut the Eye of Reason. -Benjamin Franklin

    by HairyTrueMan on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:43:11 AM PDT

  •  Here in the Mountain West, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cedwyn, gdwtch52

    cities are too far apart to travel that slowly.  I live in Great Falls, MT, and driving at 75mph, Billings is four hours away, Missoula is three hours away, and Spokane WA is five hours away.  A leisurely if efficient 55 is just not practical, sorry to say.  More fuel efficient vehicles are a better option for us here...

    No politician ever lost an election by underestimating the intelligence of the American public. PT Barnum, paraphrased...

    by jarhead5536 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:44:11 AM PDT

    •  Pretty Selective Reasoning There (0+ / 0-)

      I would say it's impractical to live four hours away from somewhere you have to travel to on a regular basis.

      ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

      by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:51:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Have you been to Montana?? (0+ / 0-)

        If we want peace, why do we give weapons and call it "aid"?

        by gdwtch52 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:02:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No I Have Not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gdwtch52

          But I don't think that matters.   If your job is in Billings, your house should be near billings.  Does Billings lack a hospital?  Or a courthouse?  Or gas stations?  Or supermarkets?   Does Great Falls?

          I don't care where you live, why MUST you drive to a city four hours away on a regular basis?

          ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

          by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:06:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cedwyn, tjlord

            First, there are alot of people who live in the toolies.  Second, there may be an equipment auction or a livestock sale in another city that you need to go to. Third, Children MOVE farther away than you might like and it is good to see them.  Fourth, a sporting event or concert may be in a further city.  Fifth, good hospitals or specialty doctors are congregated in a specific area because it is better profits for an insurance co and you need to go.  Montana is HUGE and not everyone wants to live in someone else's pocket.  

            If we want peace, why do we give weapons and call it "aid"?

            by gdwtch52 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:23:00 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  What gdwtch52 is saying (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            workingmom OH

            is that agriculture requires space - lots of it. But that also means low density of consumers - business doesn't like that. So they build honking big stores in a central location, lower prices and expect you to spend the energy to get to them. It don't matter that you just loaded up on feed Thursday, if a tractor part breaks Friday, you're driving. And if 75 means I can get back in the field on late Friday versus 55 meaning I am home dead late on Saturday morning and I get even less work, then damn it I'm driving fast.

            And to say "you should live in Billings" is to presume that what you call a job is what we do out West. That attitude is what gave Reagan the West to start with, what people out here have fought 20 years to overcome and what they are doing their damndest to keep from coming back.

            I'll walk 100 miles knocking on doors for my Dem candidate - Anna Lord for Colo HD21 - will you?

            by tjlord on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:20:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  True, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      I don't believe that we can wait until 2050 for things to change...and so many people in Montana really NEED those huge pickups that they drive.  For those who just need "penis extensions" the point is moot anyway.....they want to drive BIG and FAST and that will never change.  How will fuel efficient cars help them?

      If we want peace, why do we give weapons and call it "aid"?

      by gdwtch52 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:57:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're probably right out there so an alternative (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marina

      approach could be made in Montana, ND, etc.  Since it's also about the environment and the national economy I think most folks in Big Sky country would be want to make some contribution.  But, if the issue doesn't get discussed and debated and raised to one of importance, nothing will happen.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:04:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Okay, if Billings is 4 hours away at 75 mph, (0+ / 0-)

      how long does it take jarhead to drive to Billings at 55 mph?

      (show your work)

      This space to let. Reasonable rates. -8.25, -6.21

      by Jacques on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:17:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ed Schultz has (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProgressForGoodGov, Pris from LA

    been on this for weeks. He has conducted his own personal test on this...having his own car driven a couple hundred miles on interstate in North Dakota at 70 then same route at 55. His mileage went up by 15-20%. I refuse to believe that americans will continue to ignore this crisis and be pissed about small steps taken to improve the situation.

    I am not saying that obama should get on a soap box on this but concerned congresscritters on both sides of the aisle should press it for the sake of the country. They have to lay out the facts that support the common sense of this.

    •  Did you mean his mileage improved or (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA

      worsened by driving slower?  It's not clear in your comment.

      However, I do agree with you.  My sense is peoplel are very worried and will make an effort for what may seem a small improvement.

      But, a 15% to 20% improvement by dropping the speed limit from 70 to 55 is what Ed Schultz realized, that is not a small improvement - it's a big savings.

      I assume you meant his mileage improved by going slower because I don't think the laws of physics would allow any car, no matter how engineered, to go faster on less fuel.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:08:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That is because our cars... (0+ / 0-)

      are not optimized at 70 MPH...that is where we need to focus not force people to drive artificially slow...

      Obama/Whoever He Chooses '08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

      by dvogel001 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:05:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  huh? (0+ / 0-)

    american gas consumption has been dropping DRAMATICALLY these last several months,  what good has it done?  Changing from 65 to 55 isnt gonna change a fucking thing except it will allow for cops to write more tickets.

    •  Total oil product demand is off 2.3% year on year (0+ / 0-)

      in the United States but the market is a global market and global demand is still up.

      The United States should work in conjunction with other countries to make this happen on a global basis.  It probably won't be easy but price alone, and whether or not other countries cooperate is no reason for the United States not to do it.  The economic effects, remember balance of payments which is a big deal as far as killing the dollar and air pollution and global warming are other just as significant benefits imo.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:13:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well Not Much We Can Do (0+ / 0-)

        China artifically keeps gas prices low... so does Mexico and other developing countries.  Our demand is lower because we are actually paying more.

        I wonder if any of the trade agreements we have would allow us to ask partner countries to stop subsidizing gas?

        ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

        by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:16:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  China raised crude prices $145/ton (0+ / 0-)

          There's some very good news on this front.  Did you hear about China raising crude prices to the refiners there by $145/ton?  Depending on the density of the crude oil it will mean and extra 45 to 49 cents per gallon for gasoline.  That is a very big jump in one fell swoop and ought to help reduce demand.  I don't know what their prices are now after the increase, they are probably still relatively low but it's a good start.

          "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

          by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:17:04 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        I agree raising CAFE standards is LONG OVERDUE,  but dropping the speed limit is a bad idea. It accomplishes nothing.

  •  Times have changed. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deaniac20, workingmom OH, dark daze

    The safety angle doesn't exist as it did then. Cars are remarkably safer than they were and differences in speed are more problematic than high speed. You are safer on a freeway with everyone going 65 than some people going 55, some 65, some 75. Eliminating cell phone usage would do FAR more for safety than lowering the speed limit.

    As for mileage, cars today are geared for higher speeds. I took my family on a road trip two summers ago - 7,000 miles in my little SUV. Recorded the mileage the entire way. 75 across Arizona was within 1 MPG of 55 across Indiana and 65 humping over the divide in Colorado. (Averaged 27 MPG for the trip) My best mileage was doing a steady 70 from San Jose to LA (31 MPG).

    Legislating the speed limit change would take a great deal of political effort that could just as well be spent on CAFE and other legislation that would have a greater and more appropriate long-term effect.

    -6.00, -7.03
    Obama '08

    by johnsonwax on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:45:56 AM PDT

    •  And Eliminating Car Radios (0+ / 0-)

      Would do more than eliminating cell-phones.

      ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

      by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:46:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe you are right but CAFE hasn't (0+ / 0-)

      happened except to benefit the auto and oil companies.

      You must have some wonderful gear ratios in your little SUV and maybe a good tail wind.  I would have thought the laws of physics would dictate moving a heavy object at higher speeds requires more energy - not less.

      So there will be a rider that says for people who own your type of vehicle they MUST drive 75 mph minimum whenever possible to reduce consumption.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:17:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You'd be wrong. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        workingmom OH

        I would have thought the laws of physics would dictate moving a heavy object at higher speeds requires more energy - not less.

        Maintaining a heavy object at high speed requires less energy than constantly changing speed. It's the acceleration that kills you, not the cruising. That's why uniform speed should be the goal. And that assumes perfect efficiency. Sitting at a red light burning fuel and going NOWHERE is the worst possible mileage you can get, which completely refutes your point.

        The goal of driving is not to be efficient but to get where you are going. Since over 2/3s of the energy produced by the engine is lost as heat and other things that don't help where you are going - time, not speed, is one of the biggest variables that needs to be controlled. Because getting where you are going is the goal, you're going to keep at that goal, even if you are doing 10 MPH and getting shitty mileage. Here in SoCal, the goal is getting people OFF the roads, because too many people on the roads sends the speed limit from 65 to 10 due to congestion. Slowing people down to 55 will therefore slow even more people down to 10 - and milage will get worse, not better. That's not an issue in Iowa and Montana, but it sure as hell is here and a lot of places around the country. Slow Iowa down to 55 if you want, but the freeway near my house is 26 lanes wide as it is, and it still gets jammed up. Slow people down and they'll burn even more fuel making it 32 lanes wide just to improve mileage again.

        -6.00, -7.03
        Obama '08

        by johnsonwax on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:38:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Im not sure your right (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ProgressForGoodGov

          I don't think changing the speed limit on a highway would change the amount of traffic on that road.  The speed of people driving on roads depends on the density of cars on the road.  If there are too many cars on the road people will slow down, no matter what the speed limit is.  Lowering the speed limit would not increase the amount of traffic.  

          But your point about how speed limits should be controlled regionally is a good one, since roads aren't the same everywhere.

          However, your other point in the first paragraph misses the point that ProgressForGoodGov was trying to make.  Going faster on highways will decrease your mileage, no matter what car your in.  This is because wind resistance approximately increases with the square of your velocity.  ie. doubling your speed creates four times that amount of wind resistance.  So going 65 MPH instead of 55 MPH will increase wind resistance 1.4 times, but only increase your speed 1.2 times.  Of course there alot more to consider than simply wind resistance for cars, but this is the basic reason for why mileage decreases with increased velocity.  Heavier cars are usually bigger, and create more wind resistance, and of course accelerating a heavier car takes a lot more force.  Complaining about road conditions doesn't change physics.  

  •  With the way most modern vehicles are geared (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    polecat, tbetz, Pris from LA

    I think 60 makes more sense, besides the fact that it keeps us in line with our 100kph (62mph) neighbors to the north and south.  55 is getting near the low end of a lot of overdrive gears especially on the long, moderate hills common in places like the Midwest, and so won't yield us the savings you might think.

    Once we get to the point where most cars are trucks are CVT or six-speed or better, then we're getting to the point that a lower speed limit than 60 really will yield significant savings.

  •  Your plan doesn't account for the decrease in GDP (3+ / 0-)

    and economy from everything going slower. Trucks nationwide going 55mph. That means transportation for a shit load of goods getting to their destination 26.6% slower than they are now.

    •  I Can Only Speak For Michigan (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      workingmom OH, Pris from LA

      But the speed limits for trucks on most of our freeways is already 55mph.

      ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

      by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:52:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah this was always argued back in the 70's (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cedwyn, workingmom OH

      but I don't think the reduction in GDP, if any, will be as severe as doing nothing to both reduce consumption and clean up the environment - unless you consider building dykes and stuff around NY City and moving Washington DC to higher ground as stimulative to the economy.

      Heck, I obviously don't know for sure but at $150 per barrel for oil and projected to $200, a 10% reduction in demand and saving the dollars from going overseas might strongly outweigh any small hit to GDP.  In fact, maybe it wold actually save the economy from goiong over the cliff which is where it's heading now doing nothing meaningful about energy and the environment.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:24:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  For work I drive 55,000 miles a year (7+ / 0-)

    at 55 mph that is 1000 hours
    at 75 mph that is 733 hours

    You want to steal 267 hours of my life arbitrarily?
    How are you going to make up for those 6.7 work weeks of my life?

    Republicans 2 things to offer What to FEAR and Who to BLAME

    by aurabass on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:50:47 AM PDT

    •  Wow, what a bummer (0+ / 0-)

      How do you stay sane stuck in a metal box for so many days each year?

      Ever think about getting a new job?

      "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." - Oscar Wilde

      by greendem on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:57:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  No it is very enjoyable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        workingmom OH

        lots of scenery
        and books on CD

        I love my gig
        I drive from Knoxville to Nashville, Memphis, Jackson MS, Hattiesburg. Biloxi/Gulfport - stay the weekend on the Gulf Coast and return from Pensacola/Mobile thru Dothan, Montgomery, Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga to Knoxville - spend 4 days and
        drive to Asheville, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh Durham, Fayettville, to Wilmington/Myrtle Beach and Charleston spend the weekend on the beach
        and return through Columbia, Spartanburg, Greenville and Asheville to Knoxville.

        and repeat. Can't think of a better office.

        Republicans 2 things to offer What to FEAR and Who to BLAME

        by aurabass on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:11:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I make a living selling (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      workingmom OH

      sales calls are everything
      your plan cuts my calls by 25%
      and my income by that amount.

      I can calculate my cost
      at 35 miles per gallon at 55 1571 gallons
      vs 30 miles per gallon at 75 1833 gallons
      and that's 262 gallons at $4 or $1048

      or I can give up 25% of a $50,000 income
      or $12,500

      and the cost of the gas is tax deductible.

      So I get to make those decisions based on my situation and I have no desire to see the government tell me the best way to spend my money to feed my family.

      A bunch of SUV's driving along at 55 still get worse fuel efficiency than my Passat so you can take your 55 mph idea and stick it.

      Next year I will upgrade to a Hybrid to save fuel costs. That's the answer not a time consuming cut in driving speeds.

      And it's been shown that people driving along at 55 lose interest in paying attention to what is happening on the highway and it does not improve highway safety.  

      Republicans 2 things to offer What to FEAR and Who to BLAME

      by aurabass on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:06:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Source? (0+ / 0-)

        And it's been shown that people driving along at 55 lose interest in paying attention to what is happening on the highway and it does not improve highway safety.  

        ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

        by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:12:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  35 years of observation (0+ / 0-)

          including the time frame of the 55 mph limit.

          People who drive slower are put to sleep by the monotony and tend to pay less attention. They drive in packs and clog up the passing lanes.

          Driving in Germany or Italy is a great education
          Drive slow in the passing lane and you will rapidly see the bright beams of a driver in excess of 140 KPH running up your rear end. There is no data that shows that driving in Germany is more dangerous than driving in the USA

          The data I can find online only covers 1994 thru the present and it shows a steady decline.
          Too bad our traffic people haven't taken the time to compile the data and put it online.
          I suspect that Europe's accident rate is lower despite the speed limit due to the fact that you fail to pay attention at greater risk.

          Most studies I have read indicate that a loss of concentration is responsible for most accidents not speed. Cell phones and taking your eyes off the road or falling asleep are the common causes of accidents due to inattention.  

          Republicans 2 things to offer What to FEAR and Who to BLAME

          by aurabass on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:27:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's not only about you n/t (0+ / 0-)

        "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

        by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:27:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Well, it's your call and time (0+ / 0-)

      but we will all have to make some sacrifices and change our work and lifestyles to save the planet.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:26:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Changes have been made (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        workingmom OH

        to get better gas mileage I've switched to more fuel efficient vehicles.

        When I can get 30 mpg at 75 mph  and your SUV gets 16 at 55 mph saying I have to spend 267 more hours a year on the road to do my job is your selfish solution.
        Give up your gas guzzler
          I will switch to my Hybrid and then a hydrogen or battery powered vehicle as soon as they are available at a price that makes sense. The sooner the better as far as I am concerned but you want me to give up 25% of my income so you can drive at 55 and fall asleep behind the wheel? Sorry but no sale.  

        Republicans 2 things to offer What to FEAR and Who to BLAME

        by aurabass on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:34:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  they go much faster in Europe, (6+ / 0-)

    but get a helluva lot better mileage. We don't need such a ridiculously slow limit, we need to buy more efficient cars. Companies need to sell them and actually market them. Slowness is not a selling point for most people. America could start by buying compact diesels for one with stickshifts, just as they do in Europe. Having a 55mph limit would not only slow down America and its economy, but would be unenforceable by police.

    •  Good point n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      deaniac20, Pris from LA

      Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

      by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:01:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Why not both? Reduce the speed for a few years (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Pris from LA

      then and do something positive as the car buyers gradually shift to more fuel efficient cars.  The speed limit can always be changed again can't it?

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:29:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  telling people they cannot (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        workingmom OH

        drive as fast as they want is a sure fire way to look "big government" as lose a lot of votes. We'll get less done if we lose elections.

        •  This is not an election issue (0+ / 0-)

          it's for whoever is the next government to lead the people on issues like this.  By the way, what issues do you think are important that don't pose some risk in any election.  Do you prefer a defensive posture or ignore all contentious issues to that the democrats can win and maintain power?  Then what's the sue of electing democrats if they aren't going to face the issues?  We've got that now.

          IMO, if the Democrats win the election and take control of Congress they should start this debate.

          "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

          by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:02:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well, we're not in Europe (0+ / 0-)

      and their cars and infrastructure evolved differently.  We need to solve our problems not theirs.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:57:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Yeah... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    deaniac20, workingmom OH

    This is merely a way to fund rural communities in Texas with speed trap bonuses.  Spend the effort getting good commuter rail systems instead.  It was tried in the 70s, didn't work.

    TexasDemocrat
    Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

    by TexasDemocrat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 08:56:39 AM PDT

    •  Lots of solutions popping up - that's good (0+ / 0-)

      but I say let's do what we can now and work on all the others.  The speed limit can be changed later it is thought to be a good idea.

      Listen, building better rain system and public transport is essential but also takes a long time and is expensive.  A 55 mph speed limit can be done quickly and cost virtually nothing.

      What I am hearing from some here is that they don't want to be inconvenienced so let's do nothing unless it involves even greater government involvement and huge expense.  That's illogical.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:33:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Inconvenienced (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        workingmom OH

        Yeah, well, there are a lot of things that are "inconvenient" that could be done by law.  Force everyone to ride bicycles, force everyone in the northeast to set their thermostats to 55 degrees in the winter...thing is, people won't, by and large.  And other solutions are more effective.  This is one of those that state by state, it makes a difference.  Making a national standard for thermostat really affects some states differently; same true of setting a national speed limit.  Let the states decide was is best.

        TexasDemocrat
        Giggity giggity giggity...Iraq's a Quagmire

        by TexasDemocrat on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:46:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Wouldn't work because it is impractical (0+ / 0-)

    First, cars today are designed to go much faster, and second, people are driving far more than they did in the days before urban sprawl. For all those insanely moral urbanites who think you should move close to your job and ride a bike, I say why?  In the modern economy no one has a job for 10, 20 or 30 years in the same location, so to follow their sage advice you would have move every time you changed jobs resulting in no equity ever. With both adults working and changing jobs every 5 or so years, whose job should determine housing location?

    Bottom line: if you want to hypermile and drive 55 be Zen and do it. However, I have no interest in taking an extra 15 minutes to get to work so stay in the right lane and let me pass @ 70 mph.

    What part of Christianity is bombing, denying medical care and sending your brother/sister's job away for a quick buck? Who would Jesus sell out for cash?

    by phree on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:02:29 AM PDT

    •  Man you sound selfish n/t (0+ / 0-)

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:34:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would use public transportation if it existed... (0+ / 0-)
        but it does not. I am not selfish, but I am willing to buy back my time in the form of higher gas prices by driving over 55 mph. Here are two sacrifices I made starting in 2001.

          First, I've cut my work week to 4 days over the last 7 years and given up significant earnings/benefits as did my spouse.  We did this for two reasons: 1) to be greener, and 2) to have a more sane life with our son. We make way less than 100k and live a materially simple life: no loans, CC debt, small house, paid for older cars, etc.
           Second, I teach for a living so my life is about service. The pay is minimal and I have a Ph.D with a technical background that could bring much more. How many of you moralist urbanites or high-powered suburbanite hypermilers would be willing to do either of the above?

         

        What part of Christianity is bombing, denying medical care and sending your brother/sister's job away for a quick buck? Who would Jesus sell out for cash?

        by phree on Fri Jul 04, 2008 at 06:50:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It goes both ways (0+ / 0-)

      High prices will change consumer behavior.

      Montana and all the other states with significant distances will modify their purchases and driving habits. More goods will be shipped by rail, probably on trailers with trucks used for short distance delivery.

      Congress can force states to lower their speed limits by it a condition to receive highway funds. Congress did this once before with the drinking age and it passed Supreme Court muster.

      By the way, I am writing this from Spain, where I imagine most of the things they do here to save gas will be replicated in the States before too long.

  •  Don't drive at all (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProgressForGoodGov

    Why the hell are we choosing to live in cities where you can't get around at all without a car?  The absurdity of that is astonishing.  We need federal laws that require (or at least greatly incentivize) dense mixed-use developments, especially those located near public transportation.  The way we build our cities right now is an abomination that clearly contributes to environmental, economic, and foreign policy problems.

  •  This Is a Very Revealing Thread (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProgressForGoodGov, Pris from LA

    Even here at DailyKos where we're supposedly the forward looking progressives, nobody gives two shits about the economy or the planet when you compare that to their own personal convenience.

    Methinks us and the freepers are not as different as we think we are.

    ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

    by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:07:40 AM PDT

    •  I'd say it's that we want real solutions (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BehrHunter, Pris from LA

      not half-baked retro ideas.

      We want public transportation.

      We want cars that get better gas mileage at ANY speed.

      It's too broad an idea and doesn't take into account many practicalities.  And we know there are solutions that would have a bigger and better impact.

      Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

      by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:13:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There Isn't Any One Solution Though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ProgressForGoodGov, Pris from LA

        Why pretend like it's a zero sum game?  Driving slower improves fuel economy.  Period.  Improved fuel economy decreases demand.  Period.  Nobody's saying you can't do this AND research alternative energy, increase vehicle efficiency, etc.

        ---- now they sit and rattle their bones and think of their bloodstone days...

        by TooFolkGR on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:14:54 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Where's the proof? (0+ / 0-)

          I've seen a lot of comparisons done using data compiled ages ago.

          I haven't seen anything that says today's vehicles operate significantly more efficiently going a mere 10 MPH slower for the period of time they may actually be on the interstate.

          The least fuel efficient vehicles (semis) already have lower speed limits (55 here on OH interstates).

          REAL solutions, please.  I'm not focusing my attention on something that will provide minimal gain in exchange for pissing off a significant number of people (see poll results) and costs me time and money.

          Sorry, I know your heart is in the right place but it won't happen and I believe the math behind it is seriously out of date.  If we pay for gasoline what we should pay to be in line with the rest of the world then you'll see a faster conversion to fuel efficient vehicles or a move to public or alternate transportation -- or carpooling which would have a much greater impact than what you are discussing and, for that matter, which I already do because I have a hybrid and a lot of co-workers who live nearby.

          Dayton to Columbus has a van share company.  I've seen more and more people on their vans when I'm on my way to and from work.  It's already happening without more big brother BS.

          Your proposal would put me on the road an extra 9714 minutes a year.  That's 161 hours.  Hours I am not at work or extra time I'm paying a sitter for since I have to leave early or get home later.

          There's a cost to your proposal outside of fuel prices.  One that not everyone can or would be willing to pay for a few cents off at the gas pump.  

          Go convince a Republican. I'm voting for the Democrat on the ticket.

          by workingmom OH on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 11:47:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  What you want takes a long time and costs (0+ / 0-)

        a lot of money.  Why can't something that costs nothing be tried as an interim step as your wish list gets fulfilled, if ever.  Your wish list will also run into huge political problems that will have to be overcome.  For example, having to move people out of their homes to get right of way for the new trains.

        It will take years before society can replace all the inefficient cars.

        Your ideas are even broader than a 55 mph speed limit.

        Everyone wants better public transportation and more fuel efficient cars - so why can't an idea that at least has some promise be considered?

        "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

        by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:39:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's a big country... (0+ / 0-)

      ...and 55 is pretty slow.  Progressive, non-progressive, it doesn't matter.

      -5.38/-3.74 I've suffered for my country. Now it's your turn! --John McCain with apologies to Monty Python's "Protest Song"

      by Rich in PA on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:16:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Where do you live? Clearly not in one of the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Pris from LA

    Plains states!  Let's try to get something that would let us arrive at places on a timely basis.  I'm willing to conserve but I'd like some balance from the Easterners who can't even be bothered to take the AmTrak since it leaves at an inconvenient time, but 55 will get them there when they want to be.

    •  What a Karl Rove assertion! (0+ / 0-)

      Argue based on the particular needs of those in the plains and western states where a 55 mph speed limit seems particularly troublesome, then maybe some workable alternative for everyone there could be reached.

      But making ignorant and hostile claims about "Easterners" is foolish.  Ridership on all public transportation facilities is up a lot.  AmTrak has had relatively high occupancies for years in the Northeast even though it used to break down every 20 miles, was slow, and was very expensive.  Ridership has gotten even higher since gasoline prices started to rise a couple of years ago.  The commuting trains on the New Haven Line to NY City have been full to bursting for a long time.  The other lines are probably standing room only too.

      There's been a big increase in bicycles on the road and scooters too in my town.  People here embraced hybrid and other more fuel efficient cars from the start.  The past six months or so I've even seen a half dozen or so two-seater cars on the highways.  
      People here are getting more fuel efficient by the week.

      The point of this entire discussion is that everyone will have to examine their driving habits because that is what we can do and do now that has some reasonable hope to improve the situation in the short term.  We should all share the burden but just because you live in a state like Montana shouldn't give you a free pass on doing your share to conserve and reduce fuel consumption.

      Every region has its unique challenges.  There are an enormous number of Texans who commute an hour or more each way to places like Houston for their office jobs in big pick-up trucks with one occupant.  Given the option, they may prefer to drive more slowly and conserve fuel than be forced to get a more fuel efficient car right now.  Public transportation is non-existent for far too many anyway.

      I used to live in both Kansas and Montana and I have spent a lot of time in Texas working there.  I presently live in Connecticut.  I have some idea that there is a lot of fat out where you live as far as fuel efficiency goes.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:31:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I suppose using the word "Easterners" is (0+ / 0-)

        name calling from your perspective; but, it seems to me that calling me "ignorant," "hostile," and "foolish," in addition to comparing me to Karl Rove is, perhaps, overly defensive.

        You also ignored my comments about being "willing to conserve" and suggesting that "we need to get something...." which seems to me to be similar to looking for "some reasonable alternative."  No offense, of course, I wouldn't want to interrupt the flow of your argument.

        "...and the horse you rode in on."

  •  Cool... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    workingmom OH

    Lets revive the single least popular and most violated Federal law since the Volsted Act!!

    Anybody suggesting that Democrats do something this stupid is a Republican.

    --Shannon

    •  How do you know it's the "single least popular" (0+ / 0-)

      and most violated Federal law since the Volsted Act?  A dramatic statement that means nothing.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:46:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I can't think of another (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        workingmom OH

        Federal law that was broken daily by almost every adult in the country for over 15 years, can you?

        And as to popularity, I recall opinion against the law  being consistently in the 80-90% range.

        So, while it was intentionally hyperbolic, it ain't by much.

        This is a dumb idea. It was a dumb idea 30 years ago, and it's dumb now.

        --Shannon

  •  ehh (0+ / 0-)

    i dont agree about forcing a 55MPH speed limit again.

  •  55 = Excellent Idea (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JimWilson, ProgressForGoodGov, matx

    It would save gas now.  Maybe not a huge amount, but some.

    As to you selfish scofflaws who claim you can't or won't drive 55:  that only suggests the fine for speeding should be raised to, oh, say, $1000.

  •  I'll agree as long as . . . . (0+ / 0-)

    the fine for a bicyclist blowing a red light is raised to a grand as well.

  •  Carbon feebate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ProgressForGoodGov

    My own personal obsession on this site is my repeated call for a carbon feebate.  That means a big tax on all carbon (at the source, not at the pump), with ALL the proceeds being equally distributed to adult taxpayers.  

    Let the big users subsidize those who conserve.  Let economics drive down consumption, instead of trying to nibble at the edges with these kind of decisions.  

    Nevertheless, lacking any real core changes like a general carbon feebate, I would still be fine with a 55 MPH speed limit.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 09:46:44 AM PDT

  •  Lots of comments about wide-open spaces (0+ / 0-)

    But none that I can see about numbers.  In short, the number of people living and driving in places like Wyoming and Montana is very small; less in total than in a single mid-sized city in the east or midwest.  Consequently, the opportunity for fuel savings by reducing the speed limit in such wide-open spaces is relatively small.

    It is in the densely populated urban areas, where literally millions of drivers routinely drive 75 or 85 mph, where the potential for significant savings exists.

    That's where it would make sense to reduce speed limits and remove gas guzzlers, all the whining and little foot stamping about "I can't drive 55" aside.

    •  It would have the greatest impact but it still (0+ / 0-)

      makes sense to do something nationally.  In fact, the area I live in the East a lot is getting done regarding fuel efficient transportation.  For some time now, people have been replacing old cars with more efficient ones.  Public transportation ridership has been pretty high for years anyway and probably exceeds capacity.

      The folks out west are correct when the worry about fairness - the burdens should be shared by everyone.  Millions of tons of carbon and other pollutants get discharged into the atmosphere every year by drivers in Montana, Texas, ND, Wyoming, Colorado, etc so there's room for them to make a contribution too.  The issue isn't solely about fuel conservation either.  Everybody stands to benefit, no matter where they live, if they value clean air, don't like global warming, and want a healthy economy.

      "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

      by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:43:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, I disagree. (0+ / 0-)

        In part.  The large cities in Texas should bear the burden, but not the thinly populated areas of west Texas.  And other large cities in the west should also bear the burden - heck - Portland, Oregon is already a national leader in modern mass transit and continues to build a variety of projects -- bus, heavy rail, light rail, and streetcar -- at a feverish pace.

        But I do not agree that the "burden" of slower driving should be shared by everyone.  Time is a constant - we only have so much of it.  It's not something that can be saved or replenished as can money or renewable fuel.  

        And I find the comments about clean air and pollutants unconvincing: when it comes to pollution, it's the numbers that matter, and the numbers in lightly populated areas of the west are very small.

        Do you realize how few people we're talking about?

        The entire state of Wyoming, for example, has 515,004 people.  I went to the Census Bureau's website and downloaded the population of Standard Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area Estimates for 2007 and learned that the total population of the entire state of Wyoming, which is larger in area than any state in the east and many times larger than some, has fewer people than any one of the following metro areas (just a few shown - there are many many more):

        Boise City-Nampa, ID
        Lakeland, FL
        Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA
        Madison, WI
        Scranton--Wilkes-Barre, PA
        Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA
        Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL
        Jackson, MS
        Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA
        Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC
        Ogden-Clearfield, UT

        Those are not large metro areas.  They're small to mid-sized cities.

  •  Actually most cars get... (0+ / 0-)

    the best gas mileage at 40 MPH so lets make the national speed limit 40...it did not work then and it won't work now...it was not enforced evenly and it encroaches on states rights...we need to invent cars that are efficient at 70 MPH not force people to drive 55...

    Obama/Whoever He Chooses '08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

    by dvogel001 on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:01:32 AM PDT

  •  I would hate it!! (0+ / 0-)

    I spend the majority of my time driving from hospital to hospital spread all over mid-TN to do whatever repair needs to be done that day.  The cruise gets set on 79 mph and if I can get in with a group going faster I will tag along and let them find the speed traps for me.  55 would not be appreciated.  Fuel savings don't matter when gas is free and you have customers to please.

    You go pray for change, I'm going to do something useful!

    by acseeley on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 10:19:22 AM PDT

  •  I don't think it matters what the legal speed (0+ / 0-)

    limit is.  As long as drivers choose to drive aggressively--using their accelerator more, using their brakes more because they tailgate, etc.--their fuel efficiency will suffer.  I think it's education about smart driving practices that will make a bigger difference, and that might include a 55-60 mph speed limit.  

    I also think that obeying the speed limit is necessary, even though I may not agree with it.  Monetarily, it's not worth it to me to get a speeding ticket, and morally I don't want to start down a slippery slope of breaking any law just because it's an inconvenience or "everyone else does it...".

  •  Link to a study that references other studies (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.sfgate.com/...

    Slower speeds mean saving gas.

    "Values are faithfully applied to the facts before us, while ideology overrides whatever facts call theory into question." Barack Obama

    by ProgressForGoodGov on Mon Jun 30, 2008 at 02:29:04 PM PDT

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