I can’t drive 55 again; please don’t make me
“Borrowing trouble” is what my mom used to call it, this constant fretting about things that may never happen. This time I’m waiting for Congress to suddenly decide, once again, that a national 55 mph speed limit is a great way to save gas. As if $4 a gallon weren’t enough incentive!
You’ve heard it already. Slow down; you’ll burn less fuel if you drive slower. Truckers are slowing down. Even the airlines announced slowdowns. It’s easy to see how some dim bulbs in Washington might decide we should all slow down.
A lot of Americans are too young to remember the Arab oil embargo back in the ’70s when Congress imposed a national 55 mph limit to save gas. As one who often drove from Oklahoma City to Denver, I can only recall those days as awful. East Coast drivers (including those in Washington) scarcely noticed because on their congested roads, they seldom reach that speed anyway. And of course the well-to-do could opt for flying.
Out west it was a different story. We don’t drive dozens of miles out here; we drive hundreds. And we don’t speak so much of miles driven as hours behind the wheel. It takes most of a day to drive across Kansas, for example, and that’s on an interstate at over 70 mph. On a hot summer day at 55 mph, it’s just plain agonizing.
As mom said, I’m probably just borrowing trouble again. After all, we have a couple of oilmen in the White House now, don’t we? The rising oil prices are most likely fattening their wallets at this very moment. Why on earth would they want to make us buy less?
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