Thunder Road: States fight the 55-m.p.h. limit

States fight the 55-m.p.h. limit

Doing 80 on a long, straight highway through the flatlands was once considered almost a part of the American birthright. But when the oil embargo pinched the U.S. in 1973, high-speed, gas-gulping joyrides looked like something the nation could ill afford. Congress forced the states to impose a 55-m.p.h. limit, and a tradition died. Though lower speeds have saved countless lives and millions of barrels of oil, many road runners hate slow-motion driving. I Can't Drive Fifty-Five, a popular song by Sammy Ha-gar, has become the anthem of speeding scofflaws.

Now, with prices at the pump dipping below 700 per gal.,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!