FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
Gasoline prices rose to a record today – for the 8th day in a row. The AAA says the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded is now $3.78. That's a 12% increase in just the last month. $4 a gallon is clearly in sight now, and if some experts are right, it could go a lot higher.
Surveys show that drivers have been changing their habits in order to cut fuel costs. They're doing things like shopping for cheaper gas or putting less in the tank instead of filling up. But how about slowing down?
Cars are most fuel efficient when driven between 30 mph and 60 mph. Above 65 mph, mileage drops sharply. This isn't rocket science. If drivers are forced to slow down, we would all use less gasoline. And if demand went down, prices might just follow.
One expert says reducing highway speeds from 70 mph to 60 mph would reduce gasoline consumption between 2% and 3%. That could translate into a price reduction of as much as 10%. At today's price, almost 38 cents a gallon.
This is exactly what happened in 1974 during the Middle East oil embargo. President Nixon and Congress imposed a national speed limit of 55 mph. Congress repealed the national speed limit law in 1995, and today there are 32 states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher. In Texas, you can even drive 80 mph on some roads.
But there doesn't appear to be much interest in Congress for a new national speed limit. John McCain and Hillary Clinton would rather pander to voters with the idea of a three-month vacation from the 18 cents a gallon federal gas tax which will never happen. And if it did, would save drivers a whopping 70 bucks.
Here’s my question to you: Should the highway speed limit be lowered to 55 mph to conserve gasoline?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
Tina from Fort Worth, Texas writes:
It would not make much difference here in the state of Texas. If you do 55, you are bound to be run over and if you do 75, there is always someone out to knock you over into the slow lanes. Until they make all cars the same size that are only powered by 2 squirrels running on a belt then it will be fruitless.
Tom from Fort Lauderdale, Florida writes:
Jack, Anyone who would propose a decrease in the speed limit to save energy has overlooked the obvious cost of slowing down the entire country. The faster freight and people move across America has a finite bottom line number. Slowing down America as a solution to OPEC oil has all the logic of shooting ourselves in both feet with a bazooka.
Steve from Idaho writes:
It is about time we Americans quit whining and start facing the reality that our lifestyles are going to, have to, change! We pride ourselves on having 3.2 cars in our garage and feel it's our right to drive our big 8-cylinder SUVs. Lowering the speed limit to 55 miles an hour, times millions of cars, will save gas, reduce waste and may even bring the price of gas down a little.
People never paid attention to the speed limit when it was 55 mph, I don't see how changing it will help.
John from Washington writes:
No. The current market-based increases in gas prices will lead to rational drivers making their own decision to drive slower in order to conserve fuel. The increased prices will also help folks make the rational decision to trade in their wasteful behemoths for fuel efficient vehicles, as seen in the rest of the nations on this planet!
Jack, I have watched many people speed by me only to meet them at the next light or toll both, so it sounds good to me.
Ken from Virginia writes:
No, Jack, they should have no limits. That way I will be able to overtake you one of these days on the turnpike.