I Can’t Drive 55…Unless It Saves Me Cash.
The high gas prices have all of us in a tizzy. You will find numerous stories related to the problem everywhere you turn…television, internet, newspapers, even this blog. And the stories are teasing us. Good Morning America is reporting that although the price decrease of crude oil was the largest three-day decrease in decades, it didn’t really affect the pain we are feeling in our wallets. The Nation’s average cost-per-gallon dropped from $4.11 to $4.07, which leaves most motorists saying “Big Whoop!” But wait, a ray of hope….the newscast goes on to report, that we could see larger drops if the price of crude oil stays below $130 a gallon (sounds good). But then Bruce Bullock, Director of the McGuire Energy Institute predicts that we will see a price of $150 a barrel by the end of the year. (aw, crap.) Our hopes for a little less pain at the pump are shattered quickly and painfully. And, we are talking planes, trains AND automobiles, so you can imagine how this could cripple holiday travel.
As a Country, we are not happy. Everyone is looking for an explanation and a solution. It’s no wonder that we have numerous calls from distressed drivers to 1-800 LEMON LAW, complaining that they are not experiencing the high mileage per gallon which was mentioned on their MSRP sticker and featured in the glossy TV ads.
So, what can we do to save a dollar or two? In the past, we featured an article from cnn.com with some simple ways to add miles to your gallon. And now, New York Times Writer Peter Applebome is reporting that Senator John Warner, a Republican from Virginia, is suggesting that Congress consider returning to a national speed limit to save gasoline, and possibly ease up on fuel prices. While, he does not specifically throw the number 55 out there, he asked the Energy Department to help determine the most fuel-efficient speed limit. He notes that as a Country, we saved a whopping 167,000 barrels of petroleum a day when the 55 miles per hour speed limit was in effect. With experts saying our fuel efficiency radically drops when we hit speeds above 60 mph, the Senator feels that every 5 miles we go above the threshold costs us a whopping 30 cents per gallon. And he’s not alone; the Drive 55 Conservation Project has a website endorsing a 55 mph speed limit.
Your thoughts? Given how cars are constantly zooming past me on state highways (and I can assure you I am going quite a bit faster than 55), I am not convinced that consumers will be “driven” enough to reduce their speeding ways.