55 MPH: No Blood for Oil

Timothy Birdnow
The Seventies have returned in all of their glory, with inflation looming, high gas prices, alternative fuels, CAFE standards, and now, you guessed it, an attempt to bring back the 55 mile per hour speed limit.  RINO John Warner wants to return the era of Disco, ostensibly to save gas at the expense of human freedom and of lives.

James Baxter, President of the National Motorist Association, is perplexed by this retro attempt at mindless stupidity:

"The same forces that resisted the use of fire many thousands of years ago are still with us, only now they are advocating the return of the national maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

"Anyone who endured the last 22 year long ``experiment`` with the ``folly of 55`` knows that this proposal goes beyond being absurd.

"The only likely beneficiaries are insurance companies (ticket surcharges), local governments that live off speed traps, P.R. firms (the genius creators of public service ads like ``Save Gas Save Lives, Drive 55``) and perhaps the radar detector industry. In return, the driving public is treated to aggravation, maddening traffic flow, tickets, bloated insurance premiums, and billions of hours of lost time.

"As in 1973, the justification for a snail's pace speed limit on major highways is that it will save gasoline (and now reduce global warming)."
But, but it saved gas, right?  According to Mr. Baxter:

"Did it save fuel? In 1984, in what started out to be a promotional ‘study' of the ‘Benefits of the 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit' the Transportation Research Board (Part of the National Academy of Science) determined that keeping the 55 MPH speed limit, versus allowing the states to raise the limit to 65 MPH, would result in a 0.18 percent (less than two tenths of one percent) fuel savings" (Source: TRB Report, 55: A Decade of Experience; page 176)

"This is not an amount that will devastate the oil economy of the Middle East. The same study did determine that the 55 MPH national speed limit was wasting approximately one billion man hours a year (page 123). This did not include state trooper man hours being burned up enforcing an arbitrary speed limit on the safest highways in the nation.

"For that matter, it has been shown to take MORE lives than the faster speeds:

"Safety? Today the national and the interstate highway fatality rate is far lower than at any time during the ‘55 era.' In fact, the last time the fatality rate increased from year to year was in the mid 1970's when compliance and enforcement were at their highest levels."
So, our guardians in Congress want to spill blood for oil, and I doubt that we`ll have much protest from the valiant Democrats who were so enraged at our invasion of Iraq.  If, by their reasoning, we should have No Blood for Oil abroad, doesn't it stand to reason we should not impose it at home?
The Seventies have returned in all of their glory, with inflation looming, high gas prices, alternative fuels, CAFE standards, and now, you guessed it, an attempt to bring back the 55 mile per hour speed limit.  RINO John Warner wants to return the era of Disco, ostensibly to save gas at the expense of human freedom and of lives.

James Baxter, President of the National Motorist Association, is perplexed by this retro attempt at mindless stupidity:

"The same forces that resisted the use of fire many thousands of years ago are still with us, only now they are advocating the return of the national maximum speed limit of 55 miles per hour.

"Anyone who endured the last 22 year long ``experiment`` with the ``folly of 55`` knows that this proposal goes beyond being absurd.

"The only likely beneficiaries are insurance companies (ticket surcharges), local governments that live off speed traps, P.R. firms (the genius creators of public service ads like ``Save Gas Save Lives, Drive 55``) and perhaps the radar detector industry. In return, the driving public is treated to aggravation, maddening traffic flow, tickets, bloated insurance premiums, and billions of hours of lost time.

"As in 1973, the justification for a snail's pace speed limit on major highways is that it will save gasoline (and now reduce global warming)."
But, but it saved gas, right?  According to Mr. Baxter:

"Did it save fuel? In 1984, in what started out to be a promotional ‘study' of the ‘Benefits of the 55 MPH National Maximum Speed Limit' the Transportation Research Board (Part of the National Academy of Science) determined that keeping the 55 MPH speed limit, versus allowing the states to raise the limit to 65 MPH, would result in a 0.18 percent (less than two tenths of one percent) fuel savings" (Source: TRB Report, 55: A Decade of Experience; page 176)

"This is not an amount that will devastate the oil economy of the Middle East. The same study did determine that the 55 MPH national speed limit was wasting approximately one billion man hours a year (page 123). This did not include state trooper man hours being burned up enforcing an arbitrary speed limit on the safest highways in the nation.

"For that matter, it has been shown to take MORE lives than the faster speeds:

"Safety? Today the national and the interstate highway fatality rate is far lower than at any time during the ‘55 era.' In fact, the last time the fatality rate increased from year to year was in the mid 1970's when compliance and enforcement were at their highest levels."
So, our guardians in Congress want to spill blood for oil, and I doubt that we`ll have much protest from the valiant Democrats who were so enraged at our invasion of Iraq.  If, by their reasoning, we should have No Blood for Oil abroad, doesn't it stand to reason we should not impose it at home?