May 15th, 2008
05:21 PM ET

Should speed limit be lowered to 55 mph?

Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say.(PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

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 Congress repealed the national speed limit law in 1995, and today there are 32 states with speed limits of 70 mph or higher.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?


Posted by
Filed under: Oil Prices • Speed Limit