Originally created 06/29/01

Rebuts federal speed, price caps call



Regarding Cathi V. Chambley's June 22 letter, "Federal speed, price caps urged": I offer a point-by-point market-based alternative to government intervention.

As for a government mandate of a 55-mph limit on highways currently designed for 65-75 mph, it would save scant fuel. Since the 1970s, automobiles and highways have changed substantially. Now, there is little difference in fuel economy between 55 and 70 mph. Decreasing the speed limit to 55 mph, 20 percent, would obviously increase both travel time and vehicles on the highway by an equivalent 20 percent - resulting in more stress, accidents and road rage. Finally, why should a government mandate be necessary when anyone who thinks they can save fuel by driving at 55 or slower can do it anyway?

As for a $1,000 government rebate to Ms. Chambley or anyone to trade in their gas-hogs for more fuel efficient automobiles, why should they be given taxpayer money to do what may be in their best interest?

As for price caps on gasoline, keeping the price artificially low does not encourage conservation or domestic production. The reality of the situation is that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries own most of the world's petroleum resources and are going to keep on pricing it to maximize their own profit.

In the short run, we have to pay their price. In the long run, electricity is the only alternative to powering a vehicle and nuclear power is the only viable way to produce it cleanly, economically and efficiently. But that is another story.

Donald L. Davis, Evans, Ga.