Commentary: No Cost Mileage Enhancer

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(Sacramento, CA)
Friday, July 25, 2008
Even if oil companies get the green light to drill off the coast of California, it will take seven years at minimum before oil from the coast reaches your gas tank.
Meanwhile, millions of barrels are available to consumers right now at no cost and no risk to the environment. Just apply a little less pedal to the metal. In other words, slow down.
In the 1970s, during a similar oil crisis, President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Highway Conservation Act, which, in effect, established a national 55-mile-per-hour speed limit.
Because of lower speeds, the nation consumed 167 thousand fewer barrels of petroleum a day. But in 1995, as the fuel crisis waned, Congress repealed the law.
Different cars achieved optimum fuel economy at different speeds, but in general, the U.S Energy department says 60 miles per hour is most efficient. Each 5 miles an hour above 60 you drive is like paying an extra 30 cents a gallon for gas.
Some in Congress are talking about lowering speed limits again. But no need to wait - just ease up on the gas pedal. You’ll conserve fuel, and, save money.
Ginger Rutland writes for The Sacramento Bee opinion pages.