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55 Miles Per Hour! Should the Nation Slow Down?

US Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) wants the nation to slooooow down. The representative, channeling Richard Nixon, has proposed a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

In 1974, Nixon ushered in a fuel-conservation policy unseen since World War II. The new law covered the nation with a federal speed limit (up to that point, states had set their own limits) and cut off federal funding to states that wouldn't comply. Nixon's act was repealed by Congress in 1995. Now back in similar oil-straits like the country saw in the 70s, slowing down to conserve may be back in fashion.

Here are some of the highs and lows of slowing down:

  • The Pros: Leads to safer driving, saving lives. Saves money, since each five miles over 60 mph costs 30 cents more per gallon. Decreases dependence on oil producing countries.
  • The Cons: Could result in more traffic, slower commutes. There is a possibility for more speeding tickets. Insurance rates could go up, as a result of tickets.

Even though Sammy Hagar can't drive 55, is this a good idea?


Join The Conversation
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I agree with you though bigestive, boo to hummers! For me, I don't like them because of any other reason than I think they are ugly lol. I am not real political or environmental when it comes to that lol.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Helloooo cravin! You know, there are totally exceptions and where your parents live is definitely reason for them to have a car that will get them out of a sticky situation when they need to since they live in an area with that risk. I'm not saying in my above post that people who earn more should be taxed, I think that higher taxes on vehicles like Hummers discourage people (rich or poor) from buying those types of vehicles unless they need them for reasons like your parents have, because they are damaging to the environment and unsafe. The people who I'm criticizing are not driving in Hummers or SUVs in small waterfront communities, they're driving them around small suburbs to the mall and back. Hummers are no Louboutins and they carry a load more consequences than a pair of sexy heels! Anyways, go you (not you Cravin!) if you own a Hummer - I still hate 'em.
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
Hi bigestive! So, I am going to play devil's advocate here. Let's say for scenario purposes that most people who own the hummers are well off ($$$). If they want to buy a hummer, ok, they buy a hummer. Is it fair to tax them more just because they bought the car? In essence, that is taxing them more because they can afford the hummer and choose to buy the hummer, whatever their motivations might be...I just don't think it's fair it tax people more because you don't agree with their decisions or because they have higher income. AFter all, I may be one of those well off people one day...and while I won't buy a hummer, I don't want to be taxed more because of my Christian Loubitan pumps ;) I say this because, my parents live in a small waterfront community, and whenever their is a storm, high tide floods the road and they cannot cross to leave the neighborhood unless they were in my dad's truck...a big, Dodge truck with a Hemi in it. It gets 18 miles to a gallon on the mom had been in a car, but would be stuck at the house because she couldn't drive through dad travels constantly and my mom and sister are home alone often...what if there is an emergency? Mom traded in her car for a big gas guzling american made SUV...and I think she did it rightly so, because now she can get out in high tide. Raising the road isn't in option, esp since it is a county road and therefore would take funding.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I so wish that such vehicles were taxed extra.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Who cares! Its their money, they can blow it however they want! Thats captialism baby! Of course, the gov't could always tax them extra for choosing such an assinine vehicle... cuz that's gov't baby! :)
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
Lauren - or how about spend your money on something better??? I'm sure they can afford them - I mean, would I be incorrect in assuming that the Hummer is as much a status symbol as it is a vehicle equipped to erm, haul a large number of people around?
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 9 years
On my husband's R and R we went to my ritzy suburb of chicago and he said, "there are more hummers here then in Iraq!!" so I definitely second that sentiment that WE DON'T NEED THESE HUGE ASS CARS!!! Buy something you can afford!
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I don't think lowering the speed limit is going to change a thing - you'll always get the a-holes flipping you off and driving dangerously when you're obeying the speed limit or going 5-10 over and you refuse to be pushed by them to go as fast as they want you to. BTW, can I join the anti-Hummer brigade? I've probably mentioned this is in another post, but for some reason every Hummer driver I've ever encountered seems to have a very strange perception of driving rules and the law. I especially like the time a Hummer reversed out of a ONE-WAY parking lot without looking behind her and didn't stop until I really leaned on my horn as I was about to be crushed under her titan piece of machinery, as were the other cars behind me. Nothing more I love than witnessing a 100-pound soccer mom needing a running start to jump into her huge-ass "car" AKA tank with her Venti Starbucks latte in hand. Ooh, I feel better now. :)
janneth janneth 9 years
Great picture of the 55 mph sign, by the way.
rosey rosey 9 years
Lowering the speed limit would just be a waste of time, so goodness knows at least one Congressman would rally around it. I mean, no body does the speed limit anyhow unless a copper's nearby. I never really understood the whole 5 miles over sixty is 30 cent more thing, wouldn't it vary depending on the car? I drive a sports car, I think they'd factor speed into the fuel usage? Whatevs.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Haha janneth. Man I hated those questions. I would be like why can't they just be happy getting there.
chicagojlo chicagojlo 9 years
The emissions thing relates to 55mph being the optimal speed at which your car functions. Once you push it past that you are using more gas than necessary, which also increases emissions. And no I don't think it's fair to base insurance premiums on your level of education! I think they should add no. of kids and/or dogs in the car though, I'm pretty sure some of the college-educated drivers that speed about with their Great Danes hanging out the window in my area are more likely to crash than me.
janneth janneth 9 years
If two trains left the station at the same time, and one went 25 miles per hour and the other went 35 miles per hour, and one was an express which arrived at the destination in 4 hours, and the other made 2 stops before arriving at the same destination which was 56 miles away, how many oranges could you buy with $8?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
Driving more has nothing to do with the speed limit going down to 55. You would be driving same distance. I am guessing here (as I don't know) but if it costs .30 more for ever 5 mph over 60, I am guessing emissions goes up too since it would appear that the car begins to perform more which case slowing it down would be better for the environment...but honestly..I dont' care about emissions!
Jillness Jillness 9 years
It has been so long since I have been able to go 55 mph! The highest speed I usually get to reach is around 40 mph. Sigh. Gotta love LA traffic.
MSucre MSucre 9 years
Ok regardless of accidents, what about emissions. How does driving more, but more slowly reduce emissions?
cravinsugar cravinsugar 9 years
I'm neither for or against this. I try to go 55 when it is the speed limit...but on the Beltway that can seem daunting... however, i thought I would mention this...My car insurance went up this year. I called to find out why, and they said based on fuel prices, the average age of drivers in the state of virginia, the number of claims and accidents in virginia, they decided a rate increase ($50 or more per policy) was justified. They did however say that level of education is now considered, and when adding in my education level it dropped below what I had been paying. Is it fair to base your car insurance premium off of gas prices and # of claims in an area? and alternatively, is it fair to give me better rates because I graduated college?
phatE phatE 9 years
Are they trying to make day to day life as ridiculous as possible.. Seriously, let's just add to the hell.. How about they finish all the flipping road construction first, and then talk about making asinine changes like this.
True-Song True-Song 9 years
So, I have absolutely no source for this, but I think my dad told me that when the speed limit went from 55 to 65, people actually slowed down! Because 55 seemed so ridiculous, people went as fast as they wanted, but 65 seemed more reasonable so people stuck to it.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
It doesn't matter what the posted speed limit is - people are going to speed anyway... and I also wonder what a waste of money it would be to replace all the signs in the whole freaking country.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 9 years
Exactly cab - your last 2 posts are my thoughts on this.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
"Leads to safer driving, saving lives" I take issue with this because wasn't there a study that came out like a month ago that said that upping the speed limit from 65 to 70 caused no more accidents? Speed doesn't cause accidents, people not paying attention to the road causes accidents.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I'm sure this would work because so many people obey speed limits as it is. :oy:
imLissy imLissy 9 years
This would work if there was no such thing as traffic. Speed limit of 55 = speed limit of 20 during rush hour = not helping anything. If people want to save money individually, they should drive slower. I go 65 now and the people in the left lane don't bother me one bit.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Americans should do a lot of things for our own good but good luck putting truth to action. We used to be a nation that did what we needed to do because it needed to be done for our collective well being. The majority of everyday Americans sense of collective responsibility has languished over the decades to become a mind set of I'll do it if I absolutely have no other choice. These so called sacrifices are really for the most part simple changes in perspective and life style which have no other contribution to offer our lives other than benefit. We have become so head strong in freedom that we have forgotten even freedom at times needs a little (self imposed) restraint.
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