|When I delivered my energy message last April, I hoped that the national 55-mile per-hour speed limit--already in force--would help reduce gasoline consumption, which is essential if we are to extend the world's finite supply of oil. If we all drove within the speed limit, we could save more than 8 million gallons of gasoline a day. That's nearly a third of the reduction in total gasoline consumption I asked for in my energy program.
We have saved gasoline by driving slower. Tests by the Federal Highway Administration indicate that, depending on the type of car, drivers can get from 17 to nearly 50 percent better gas mileage at 55 miles per hour than at 70. And we have saved lives. Since the lower speed limit was adopted nationally 3 years ago, there have been approximately 9,000 fewer highway deaths each year than in 1973. The reduced speed limit has been the biggest single factor in this 17-percent drop in highway fatalities.
Unfortunately, highway speeds are again creeping up. ...read full document