Putting brakes on high gas prices

July 8, 2008 5:48:29 PM PDT
Can you put the brakes on high gas prices by literally putting on the brakes?That's a proposition to lower the speed limit to 55 miles per hour, in part, to save money on gas. Some people claim driving slower can save money. Others think the idea is just a waste of time

According to the Department of Energy if every driver slows down to 55 miles an hour, they potentially could save up to 90 cents a gallon, but others say the benefits are simply not that clear.

Claudio Gutierrez spends more in a week on gas than most do on rent.

"It's a hundred dollars a day so it's six hundred dollars a week," he told us

But even with that pain at the pump he still doesn't believe lowering the speed limit is the answer to the problem.

"People aren't going to change the way they do things, it's' just going to be more work for people changing the signs up on the freeways," he explained.

Under the proposal, the national speed limit would go from 75 in some places to 55 miles per hour. The idea is that if drivers are forced to drive slow down, they'd use less fuel. Some believe it's a plan that could work.

"Definitely, because if your engine doesn't use as much gas when you're going slower than when you're speeding up," said drive Lanoi Turner.

But, one local expert questions the math. He says, unlike the 1970's when the last speed limit reduction occurred, newer vehicles tend to operate more efficiently at higher speeds. He says Houstonians use more gas in stop and go traffic.

"You're using much more gas to get going again than the difference between 55 and 60," Barron explained.

The Texas Department of Transportation also questions how safely the government can transition from higher speeds for something supposedly more efficient.

"If we were going to be able to implement a system like that, we were able to do it without it causing any additional safety concerns," said Raquelle Lewis with TxDOT.

Congress will hear arguments on this very issue. Even if the proposal passes, experts say it would take months before it could be implemented.

VOTE: What do you think?

      Headlines at a glance | News in your community | RSS feeds
           Slideshow archive | ABC13 wireless | Help solve crimes


Load Comments