Drive Against 55

Some states are flooring it

When Richard Nixon signed into law the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act in 1974, it seemed to be one of those rare, unimpeachably wise legislative acts: the measure made 55 m.p.h. the national speed limit. Since automobiles operate more efficiently and far more safely at 55 than at higher speeds, the limit has in seven years saved more than 20 billion gal. of gasoline and as many as 60,000 lives.

Now, however, the 55 m.p.h. speed limit appears headed for a stretch of rough pavement. Bills to raise or...

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