Patriotic answer to $4-a-gallon gas: Drive less, and slow down
Don't wait for a tech fix. Help America save big by driving 55.
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"Governor Reagan, as a conservative, don't you think the 55 miles-per-hour speed limit imposed by the government to save gas is a violation of our freedom?"
In his amiable manner, Reagan chuckled quietly and, as I recall, he replied something like this:
"Well, that could be. But, speaking just personally, I think it's not a bad thing if we all slow down just a bit and enjoy the scenery a little more."
We could all use that kind of common sense today as gas rises past $4.
Many ideas are being put forth to ameliorate an energy-price crisis that threatens job security and economic growth in the United States.
Famous oilman T. Boone Pickens wants to build huge turbines all over the Midwest to harness wind energy.
Many members of Congress want to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) where – at today's prices – there is probably $1 trillion worth of oil waiting to be pumped.
In California, moves are afoot to make the state the renewable energy capital of the nation.
But – and there always seems to be a "but" – all of those ideas take time. Five years to build substantial wind farms. Ten years to tap Arctic oil.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal has published predictions that a barrel of oil could reach $200 as soon as the end of this year. If that happens, gasoline would hit $6 a gallon.
Woe is us.
Or maybe not.
Instead, the time may be ripe for individual citizen action – like the Minutemen of 1775. After all, isn't that how we got this great country started 233 years ago?
There are two steps we can take right away that could have greater impact than oil from the Arctic. They are so simple and straightforward that they are seldom mentioned. But Americans took these steps during World War II, and they worked.
First, drive slower.
Second, drive less.
The savings of gasoline from these two steps would be phenomenal. (More on that in a moment.)
During World War II, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt mandated a nationwide 35 m.p.h. speed limit. At that time, 35 m.p.h. was the most efficient speed for autos. Even more important, it helped preserve automobile tires, which was crucial because Japan had cut off American access to natural rubber from Southeast Asia.