Advocates push for return to 55-mph speed limit
Platform shoes and high-waisted pants came back into fashion — could the 55-mile-per-hour speed limit be the next ’70s trend to reemerge? Advocates point to potential money and fuel savings, noting that fuel efficiency drops significantly above 60 mph. The Drive 55 campaign calculates that taking a daily 30-mile trip at 55 mph instead of 80 mph saves $1,100 per year; Sen. John Warner (R-Va.), who has called for a study on the effects of a 60-mph limit, points out that the 55-mph limit reduced oil use by 167,000 barrels per day. But that may not be enough to make drivers jive to the 55, which was yanked in 1995 after 21 years of low compliance and high complaining. A return to that speed limit, says Jim Baxter of the National Motorists Association, would merely “generate a lot of tickets, a lot of insurance surcharges, and give a little boost to the radar-detector industry.” According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 34 percent of Americans support a return to the “double nickel,” while 59 percent oppose it.