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"Whoever said there's nothing new under the sun..." was probably right (but he's dead anyway)

1/30/2008

Remember the oil shortage in the 1970s, and the nationwide 55 mile per hour speed limit that resulted from it? Well, some environmentalists are agitating for a return to the old drive-55-arrive-alive days, and are pushing for a nationwide slowdown on the grounds that it will "reduce emissions by 15%."

According to Northwest Public Radio:
An old idea for saving gas is resurfacing as a response to global warming. Environmentalists in Washington State and California are lobbying to bring back the 55 mile-per-hour highway speed limit. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

History buffs will recall we once had a nationwide 55 mile per hour speed limit. President Richard Nixon pushed for it in response to a 1973 oil crisis. It lasted until 1995.
According to Leavenworth, Washington environmentalist Pat Rasmussen, "reducing the speed limit from 70 to 55 would cut tailpipe emissions by about 15 percent."

Rasmussen says that she "now drives 55 voluntarily."

"I stay in the far right lane and I save a lot of gas and it doesn’t take that much more time," she told NWPR. Well, Ms. Rasmussen, it actually takes almost 30% more time to travel the same distance at 55 mph as at 70 mph. So, if you're only jetting across town -- driving, say, five miles or so -- then you're probably right; 5 minutes and 27 seconds isn't "that much more time" than 4 minutes and 17 seconds.

However, if you're actually going some distance, well...then I guess it depends on what your definition of "that much more time" is.

The state of Washington appears to have been more realistic about the issue here. According to NWPR:
The Washington governor’s climate change advisors recently considered lowering the speed limit. But the state traffic engineer worried about creating a new safety problem because some drivers won’t slow down. And the idea was dropped.


Regardless, I appreciate Ms. Rasumussen identifying herself as the driver that I and the rest of America hate driving behind or near more than just about anything in the world. I blame you, Pat, for just about every freeway wreck out there. Hope you're happy with your self-greening of the planet.


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2 Comments:

At 3:55 AM, Blogger benning said...

So she's the one, eh? Why, I oughta .....!

Prior to the national 55 limits - in Pennsylvania, among other states - trucks were limited to 55 miles per hour. We had two sets of speed limit signs: one for cars, and one for trucks. Imagine my surprise, when the limits were first proposed, to hear trucking organizations, and the Unions, bitching about the new speed limits. Why would they complain? Ahhhh, that's right. If the cars all slowed down then everyone would notice the trucks thundering past at 80 miles per hour.

Idiots. I have a lead foot; I try not to speed too fast, but sometimes, well ...

No more 55 silliness. How about we build a few more oil refineries to allow more gasoline to be manufactured? Or do some oil drilling in Michigan? How about some real action rather than more kumbayah-humming platitudes and silly ideas?

Sorry to rant. It's early, I have no coffee, and your "place" is open. ;)

 
At 3:10 PM, Anonymous exechobo said...

Washington? They drive aggressively sloooowww here, in their Subarus and Birkenstocks! Gawd how I hate to be in a hurry here, cause they all drive like the truckers in the 80's who blocked the roads driving shoulder to shoulder at 55.

But after calming, Lets think about anything that would reduce the amount of oil we buy from the sandbox- nucular, ANWAR, the Gulf, coal, bio diesel, even limiting speed. Anything to make the sheiks squeal and let the Chinese deal with em.

 

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