Sometimes I find the economic naiveté combined with the self-righteous high-mindedness of the left-wing irritating. (You may have noticed.)
But yesterday I read a left-wing proposal suggesting that we re-instate the 55-miles-per-hour speed limit that struck me as eminently sensible.
- Cars on average are about 25% more fuel-efficient at speeds below 55 mph. So it would save drivers money at the pump.
- There aren’t any upfront costs involved in implementing this policy. Cars don’t need special adaptation, panels don’t have to be installed on our roofs, we don’t even have to lower our thermostats. It wouldn’t involve any new taxes.
- A new law doesn’t even have to go through Congress. The Environmental Standards Agency could mandate it without further legislation.
- By reducing America’s oil consumption about 4%, it would reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and help reduce pollution of the air we breathe.
- A 55 mph speed limit might even save lives.
Unfortunately, upon further reading, I have discovered that the arguments are not quite as convincing as I first thought. For one thing, it’s not at all clear that cars are 25% more fuel-efficient at speeds between 45 and 55 mph. So it might not save as much oil as proponents think.
And the number of lives that a reduced speed limit saves is also not quite as straight forward as the initial claims reported.
It might still be a good idea to reduce the speed limit. But it might not be quite as obviously a good idea as I thought at first.