When the original national speed limit came into effect in 1974 after the first Arab oil embargo, it was designed to cut back on gasoline usage. Even though the national limit was repealed in 1995, the old double nickel is a perennial topic and it reared its head again after the EPA announced yesterday that greenhouse gases are hurting us.
In 1995, highway speed limits increased from a nation-wide 55 mph to 65, 70 or 75 mph, depending on the state, and most Americans were thrilled. The obvious benefit of the change was people could legally get to where they wanted to go, but according to a new study, the downside has been an alarming increase in accidents and deaths.
Spurred by high fuel prices, New Jersey governor Jon Corzine has introduced a plan to decrease fuel prices that would bring back the 55 MPH speed limit. OK, so it's only a proposal, and it's only one state, but pundits suggest that something like this could spread like wildfire in today's current tinder-like political climate. (As evidence of how weird everything tends to get when prices at the pump jump up, note that Republicans are suggesting oil companies pay a windfall tax to
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