Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

"On This Day in American History"

On this day in 1974, President Richard M. Nixon signs the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, setting a new national maximum speed limit. Prior to 1974, individual states set speed limits within their boundaries and highway speed limits across the country ranged from 40 mph to 80 mph. The U.S. and other industrialized nations enjoyed easy access to cheap Middle Eastern oil from 1950 to 1972, but the Arab-Israeli conflict changed that dramatically in 1973. Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) protested the West’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War by stopping oil shipments to the United States, Japan and Western Europe. OPEC also flexed its new-found economic muscle by quadrupling oil prices, placing a choke-hold on America’s oil-hungry consumers and industries. The embargo had a global impact, sending the U.S. and European economies into recession. As part of his response to the embargo, President Nixon signed a federal law lowering all national highway speed limits to 55 mph. The act was intended to force Americans to drive at speeds deemed more fuel-efficient, thereby curbing the U.S. appetite for foreign oil. With it, Nixon ushered in a policy of fuel conservation and rationing not seen since World War II. The act also prohibited the Department of Transportation from approving or funding any projects within states that did not comply with the new speed limit. Most states quietly adjusted their speed limits, though Western states, home to the country’s longest, straightest and most monotonous rural highways, only grudgingly complied. Even after OPEC lifted the embargo in March 1974, drivers continued to face high gas prices and attempted to conserve fuel by buying revolutionary Japanese economy cars. For many, a desire for fuel-efficient automobiles became the standard until the trend toward gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) emerged in the 1990s. In 1987, Congress authorized states to reset speed limits within their borders, but proponents of the national maximum speed limit law claimed it lowered automobile-related fatalities, prompting Congress to keep it on the books until finally repealing it on November 28, 1995. Today speed limits across the country vary between 35 and 40 mph in congested urban areas and 75 mph on long stretches of rural highway. U.S. drivers now drive almost as fast as their European counterparts, who average between 75 and 80 mph on the highway. On some roads in Italy, it is legal to drive as fast as 95 mph.

Comment ...... Yes, its very dangerous on the highways these days.. In Connecticut there is no Law Enforcement to slow people down.. Most of the speeders here also follow close , less than a car length at speeds of 90 to 100 miles per hour. There have been some violent crashes where people and kids die but everyone seems to think it can't happen to them until it does..


Web Counter
Web Counter


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 3rd, 2017 10:08 am (UTC)
Your 70 mph is about the same as our 110 km/hr, which is the fastest out highways go, where I drive, anyway. I don't see too much difference between this and 100 mph and neither does my car. It wants to do 120 km/hr, haha :) I have to fight it all the way. I just wish it would sit on a speed like all my other cars did. Luckily people generally don't tailgate. Yes, this would lead to a lot of carnage...

It's 'funny' how things seem to change every 20 years. I remember the oil crisis in the 1770s and the change to smaller (Japanese predominantly) cars and then the (to me, un-understandable) change to 4WDs in the 1990s. The nest big change will be to electronic cars.
Jan. 3rd, 2017 01:31 pm (UTC)
I drive in the right lane on the highway doing my 65 mph and watch them them pass me out with their SUV's tailgating doing 80 and 90 and just wonder why? What is that important?
Jan. 5th, 2017 12:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, I wonder what is so important, too. And I bet 9 times out of 10, it isn't anything important!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )


L.J. Ferrari

Latest Month

October 2018


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by chasethestars