Eco-Living Magazine

Cutting the Speed Limit

Posted on the 15 June 2011 by 2ndgreenrevolution @2ndgreenrev

Revisiting an Old Idea: Cutting the Speed Limit

Many people (myself included) cringe at the thought of having a 55 or 60 mph speed limit on the highway. But, if we’re going to seriously address foreign oil dependence and climate change, it should at least be on the table for discussion.

When the national speed limit in the U.S. was restricted to 55 mph in 1974 (and repealed in 1995), total fuel consumption dropped by .2 to 3 percent. A more recent report by the Department of Energy, which reached similar figures, estimates that in 2008 it would have mitigated between 175,000 and 275,000 barrels of oil each day. Using these numbers, a 55 mph speed limit at 2010 gas prices would have yielded savings between $5.6 and $8.8 billion. The amount is even greater for countries with expensive fuel. A recently enacted temporary speed limit reduction in Spain (from 75 mph to 68 mph), expected to last three months, would save $3.2 billion annually.

While many factors affect fuel economy – such as vehicle-specific attributes, driving conditions, and traffic – it is generally true that a vehicle will operate most efficiently between 30 and 60 mph (source). Above this point, fuel economy decreases rapidly. To get a feel for how much time and money you’d spend at different highway speeds, take a look at MpgForSpeed’s online calculator. Compared to a baseline of 55 mph, efficiency is reduced by 8 percent at 65 mph; 17 percent at 70 mph; 23 percent at 75 mph; and 28 percent at 80 mph. The additional time spent in a car traveling at 60 mph as opposed to 75 mph would be just 6 minutes after 30 miles.

Despite having a 55 mph national speed limit for 21 years, a large poll by GasBuddy – with over 70 percent opposed – suggests it would be difficult to implement today. For the time being, driving at eco-friendly speeds will be up to you.


You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • North Pole 2011: Ben Saunders Preps For Speed Record Attempt

    North Pole 2011: Saunders Preps Speed Record Attempt

    It seems not all of the North Pole expeditions are over for 2011, despite the rather dire news yesterday. British adventurer Ben Saunders is still planning on... Read more

    By  Kungfujedi
  • "ESPN's 30 for 30" Tim Richmond: To the Limit

    "ESPN's Richmond: Limit

    NASCAR driver Tim Richmond was a charismatic, hard living man who liked to live it up. When he came on the scene in the late 1980s, he was one considered the... Read more

    By  Kaiser31083
  • Alpinst Speed Series: Q&A; With The Fastest Climbers Around

    Alpinst Speed Series: Q&A; With Fastest Climbers Around

    Alpinist has been running a series of articles called the "Speed Series" in which they ask some of the top rock climbers about their approach to speed climbing... Read more

    By  Kungfujedi
  • Perfect Hitting Speed

    Perfect Hitting Speed

    At any level of baseball, there is going to be a pitching speed that most of the hitters at that level are comfortable hitting. It's that speed that is not too... Read more

    By  Meachrm
  • My Internet Speed

    Internet Speed

    I saw an infographic about broadband Internet speeds around the world. It seems there's a huge difference in the speed with which various countries can connect... Read more

    By  Gerard
  • Alpinist Continues Speed Series Interviews

    Alpinist Continues Speed Series Interviews

    A couple of weeks back I posted about a fascinating set of articles that had been published at Dubbed the "Speed Series" the stories were a set... Read more

    By  Kungfujedi
  • The OCD Chef Cutting Board

    Chef Cutting Board

    The OCD Chef Cutting Board. For obsessive chopping and dicing! If you are one of those folks for whom things must be 'just so,' then this cutting board is for... Read more

    By  Gerard