How Much Does It Cost To Dispose Of Old Gas Did The 55mph Speed Limit Save Gas?

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Did The 55mph Speed Limit Save Gas?

Did the 55 mph speed limit save gas? The 55 mph speed limit, not too affectionately known as the “double nickel” was instituted in the 1970s in response to oil supply problems caused by the OPEC embargo. Formally called the National Speed ​​Limit Act, the law was looked down upon by drivers accustomed to traveling more than 70 mph on our nation’s interstates.

People voted with their right foot, which pushed hard on the gas pedal and eventually the 55 mph speed limit faded into history. Joy was heard across the land when the 55 mph limit was raised to 65. In 1995 the last vestiges of the old speed law were removed and the power to set your own limits was restored of speed in the individual states.

Did the 55 mph speed limit serve its purpose and save valuable gas? Well, first let’s take a look at some of the other effects of the 55 mph limit. Despite the hue and cry that arose when the limit was repealed and the dire predictions of more than 6,000 deaths on motorways, the year after the limit was repealed saw a record level of fatalities. This seemed to indicate that traffic safety, the main reason for keeping the speed limit at screw-like levels after the oil crisis, was not greatly improved by the slower speed limit.

On the other hand, the 55 mph limit costs, according to some estimates, 200 million man-hours per year. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the low speed limit cost the country far more, nearly a billion hours annually, in lost time.

Finally, did the 55 mph speed limit really save gas like we were told it would when it was enacted? Indeed, it did, but nowhere near the 400,000 barrels of oil a day some experts predicted it could save. Dr. John Eberhardt of the Department of Transportation did a study in 1978 that indicated that gas savings were no more than 1% of our total gasoline use. So while it saved a little gas, it was nowhere near what it cost in lost productivity and driver time. It can be noted that this time may never be recovered.

So the 55 mph speed limit cost 1 billion hours a year, saved few if any lives, and didn’t come close to providing the amount of gas savings that we were assured when the law was enacted. This sounds like a law that should forever remain in our nation’s history books, never to be seen on its roads again.

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