Lowering speed limit won't save gas

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Bringing back the 55 mph speed limit will cost much more than it could possibly save.

Today's modern automobiles are much more efficient than they were back in the 1970s. They are more aerodynamic; the engines are more efficient; the power and torque curves have been engineered for modern highway speeds of 65-plus mph speeds.

I own a 2004 Ford Expedition that gets 17.4 to 17.6 miles per gallon on cruise control at 55, and 18.1 to 18.4 on cruise at 68. My 1996 Ford F150 got similar mileage. My Nissan Maxima got better mileage at 70 than at 55. My two sons and daughter own an Acura, GMC Envoy, Suzuki, Dodge Dakota, Ford Taurus and Ford F150. They all get better mileage at 65-plus than at 55.

I'd bet if most of the readers were to fill their tanks, drive to Columbia, S.C., at 55 on cruise, then fill up, document mileage and drive back to Augusta at 65-plus, fill up again and check the mileage, they would be pleasantly surprised. Most would get slightly better mileage coming back, and the rest would get at least equal mileage.

All reducing the speed limit will do is increase delivery times and costs, take people longer to get there and increase road rage, while not saving any gasoline. Want to save gas? Cool it with stomping on the gas. At stop signs and traffic lights, take a little longer to get up to speed, and back off a little sooner when coming up to them.

Jack W. Dalton

Jackson, S.C.

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fd1962
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fd1962 07/30/08 - 07:33 am
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I never thought of Ford
Unpublished

I never thought of Ford Expeditions being particularly aerodynamically designed. Guess I'll take another look at my refrigerator too, see if I've been missing anything.

DuhJudge
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DuhJudge 07/30/08 - 07:48 am
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I totally disagree. A car

I totally disagree. A car that weighs 3000+ pounds going 55 is mathematically going to burn less gas than one going your 68 MPH. And besides that, the speed limit now is 70 and you will be hard pressed to find anyone travelling that slow. There is no question that the faster you go, the more gas gets consumed in your catalytic converter instead of your engine. If you are using the on-board computer to establish your consumption then there is another flaw in your evidence. Remove anything from the car that you do not need, to reduce the weight. Drive slower. And buy better gasoline. Then multiply the extra mileage by the number of cars on the road. If you don't think that lower demand will lower the cost of fuel, then nothing but an increase in supply will.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 07/30/08 - 07:48 am
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Anectdotal evidence isn't

Anectdotal evidence isn't very convincing. Most studies run contrary to this poor evidence. Besides there is a good article of the misconceptions of savings by MPG: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/24/science/24obscars.html. If you want to compare then compare gas used in 100 miles. It is how much gas you use not mpg that should be the greatest concern because that is your cost. If you have a brain you can read their published study: Larrick RP, Soll JB. Economics-The MPG illusion.Science. 2008 Jun 20;320(5883):1593-4.

patriciathomas
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patriciathomas 07/30/08 - 07:59 am
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Take it from someone that

Take it from someone that drives to Columbia on a regular basis. Going to Columbia is up hill and uses more gas then returning to Augusta, down hill. A good story though.

dani
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dani 07/30/08 - 07:59 am
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I know that my car gets

I know that my car gets better mileage when I'm driving 55 mph than 70 mph. I make a trip to Greensboro on a regular basis and I can see a big difference. (I drive a Taurus)

Lost In Translation
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Lost In Translation 07/30/08 - 08:29 am
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Patricia, I was thinking the

Patricia, I was thinking the exact same thing. I always got better gas mileage coming home from Columbia than going to Columbia. The logic behind that one wasn't quite thought out; however, I do agree that with higher speeds some vehicles do make better gas mileage. I have experienced the same thing with my explorer averaging probably about 17 to 18mpg below 65, and about 20 to 22 mpg above 65mph.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 07/30/08 - 08:45 am
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While each vehicle reaches

While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly speeds above 55 miles per hour. Just slowing down from 65 mph to 55 mph can increase your miles per gallon by as much as 15 percent.

Bizarro
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Bizarro 07/30/08 - 08:54 am
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That is funny Carleton. It

That is funny Carleton. It reminds me of a place in South Georgia where as teens we would go to examine this odd phenomenon. There was this road that appeared to go downhill, but when you stopped put your car in neutral then it would roll uphill. Which of course it wasn't it was an optical illusion. Lots of oddities like that. I remember in my youth I would win lots of bets bringing drowned flies back to life. Yep I would note a dead fly floating in an old beer or soda bottle and bet I could resurrect the fly. I would pour out the fly, place it on a napkin, add a moutain of salt, and wait. Everyone would laugh and poke fun till within a few minutes the salt would start to move and out jumped the fly. The flies weren't dead just their tracheal system waterlogged. I made a small fortune off of that one.

soldout
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soldout 07/30/08 - 09:18 am
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That's the answer; make

That's the answer; make enough off the bets on the dead fly trick to pay for your gas. At last; a solution. Seriously though; driving below the speed limit really cuts driving stress because following too close and changing lanes is a lot is a lot of work. If you cruise at 63 on I-20 you will almost never touch the break,change lanes,or be stressed.

PLAYLIKETHUNDER4
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PLAYLIKETHUNDER4 07/30/08 - 09:40 am
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and if i set my drums up in a

and if i set my drums up in a forest and played them, would there be any noise??
of course- and it would be pure bliss......scompared to reading all of this psuedo-scientific "swag ".

egan
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egan 07/30/08 - 09:43 am
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My Honda gets much better

My Honda gets much better milage at seventy than it does at fifty five. At seventy the engine is on its power band as does not have to downshift to go up hill. My Ford F150 V6 gets about the same regardless.

rufus
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rufus 07/30/08 - 09:44 am
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I don't think considering

I don't think considering changing the speed limit has anything to do with MPG. It's a new revenue source opportunity for the government

jack
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jack 07/30/08 - 10:58 am
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Mr Dalton, my BMW shows me a

Mr Dalton, my BMW shows me a continuolus mileage average per gallon and it registers most efficiency when I have reached a cruising speed regardless of whether 45, 55 or 70. What costs me dearly is pushing on the gas to get to to 55 or more miles per hour accordng to the same read out.

iletuknow
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iletuknow 07/30/08 - 11:20 am
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bs

bs

Bizarro
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Bizarro 07/30/08 - 11:24 am
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Are you a perscussionist

Are you a perscussionist playlikethunder2?? Hence your moniker!!! Tony Williams has always been a personal hero. Sad he died from Gall bladder surgery at just 51.

jackfruitpaper833
41
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jackfruitpaper833 07/30/08 - 12:30 pm
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Well when the children now

Well when the children now get to our age (40 and above LOL). They will be saying I remember the good ol days in 2008 when gas was $4.00, I wish it would come back. Gas will probably be about $9.00 or more when they get in their 40s. It's a cycle... this is said in EVERY generation, "I miss the good old days"

I4PUTT
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I4PUTT 07/30/08 - 03:47 pm
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Yes it will.....

Yes it will.....

createyourfuture
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createyourfuture 07/30/08 - 06:00 pm
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My car is turbo charged. It

My car is turbo charged. It gets better mileage at 65-70 than 55 as the turbo turns faster and pumps more air into the engine.

Bringing back 55mph is another gubment "no tolerance" one-size fits-all solution. I'm rather tired of them.

Vote Libertarian; Bob Barr for President!

jimmy1913
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jimmy1913 07/31/08 - 11:54 am
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I have a 2001 Neon at 65 mph

I have a 2001 Neon at 65 mph I get around 29 miles per gallon at 55 I get all the way up to 35 miles per gallon you guys are part of the reason that were in this mess now!

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