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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
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2010-05-19          170914


I saw a discussion where someone was advocating a return to the 55 MPH national speed limit to save fuel. Saying that going 55 versus 65 to 75 saves 20% on fuel.

Even if that were accurate, here in NJ with a 55mph limit the roads could not handle the volume, and instead the interstates would become parking lots, consuming vastly more fuel.

I remember the 55mph era, it was great for speeding tickets thats about it!


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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2010-05-19          170916


This is (sort of something) I get into on a regular basis, but as it applies to airplanes, not automobiles.

In almsot every case the math doesn't work out in the end as simply as it looks at first.

As an example, I recently mentioned to someone that the fuel consumption rate of my airplane was ~11 GPH (gallon per hour) at cruise speed & altitude. They were sort of shocked. Pilots are a notoriously cheap bunch in some ways. They will nickel & dime everything, then happily spend $100 in gas to fly somewhere, eat lunch and go back home. Thus the famous "$100 hamburger" pilots are so well known for.

In this case however, my plane at 11 GPH covers 160 (statute) miles in an hour, so in automotive terms it gets about 14.5 MPG.

The person I was talking to however, was as I said, rather shocked that I would happily burn that much "extra fuel" (his words) since his plane only used about 8 GPH at a cruise speed of 110 MPH. So by his logic he was using about 3 GPH or about 27.5% less fuel.

The problem is, even though he's burning 27.5% less fuel, he's also traveling slower, about

The difference is however, he's using 27.5% less fuel while traveling about 31% slower.

In the end, he's using more gas to get from point 'A' to point 'B' than I am.

Likewise, if you are driving at 55 MPH instead of 65MPH you are traveling 18% slower, so unless you are getting at least 18% better fuel mileage, you really aren't saving anything.

It's the amount of fuel to get from point 'A' to point 'B' that counts.


Best of luck. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
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2010-05-19          170918


A chicken in every pot and a motor scooter in every drive. I'll bet that would get me a long way in politics. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2010-05-19          170922


Quote:
Originally Posted by hardwood | view 170918
A chicken in every pot and a motor scooter in every drive. I'll bet that would get me a long way in politics.


You have to update that: McDonald's hamburger and a SUV.


Murf and Dennis you also have to take into consideration value of time and the trips that would not be taken. I would think the airline industry would support this idea. When you get to taking a five hour drive for family vacation or such the extra hour or two would cause many to skip a trip or two. It would seem freight would have to go up that travels by truck.
....

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greg_g
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2010-05-19          170923


Quote:
Originally Posted by DennisCTB | view 170914
Saying that going 55 versus 65 to 75 saves 20% on fuel.
Not in my car. Mercedes designed their cars to get the best fuel economy at the most commonly traveled speeds. I have a 2006 E320 CDI (diesel) that gets >39mpg at 75mph, cruise control and A/C on. But on secondary roads where I have to keep it down under 60mph, I can't do better than 35mpg.

Driving on freeways only - I easily can make it to my daughters house in MN on less than a (21g) tank, elapsed time about 10.5 hours. But taking 55 mph secondary roads, I'd have to stop once for fuel. And the trip would probably take at least 14 hours.

Do I want to return to a national 55 mph limit? HELL NO !!

//greg// ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
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2010-05-19          170926


Ok, here is a question for the president of "Murf Airlines".
Ok now Murf are you sure youi are factoring in every possible equation?
We've all watched a bird trying to fly into a high wind, try as he might sometines the bird is almost going backwards in relation to the ground below him, so that takes a lot of energy (fuel) to get nowhere right? And I also realize that flying an airplane with a good tailwind may cut your fuel consumption to a point, but you still have to maintain airspeed within the tailwind or kasplat, am I somewhere near right so far?
I've watched small airplanes flying at a diagonal to the direction they want to go to compensate for a cross wind, seems like another fuel guzzler, still somewhat correct?
So as I read your post all things would have too be compared in a dead calm wind situation?
All this is from an old geezer who you couldn't push into the door of another airplane. ....

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hardwood
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2010-05-19          170927


Gregg_g
I don't want to get in a shouting match about speed limits, but I do think that 55/65, (and MEAN it, fines up the wazoo) for interstate and secondary would be a dooable thing for the safety standpoint alone. I know cars are safer today than when Nixon put the 55 mph limit in force and traffic deaths dropped dramaticly.
Your car may be an exception but I have a hard time believing that every car would get better mileage at a higher speed, it just doesn't factor considering wind resistance etc.
Ok, just my take on it. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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kwschumm
Join Date: Feb 2003
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2010-05-19          170929


I'd like to know who that "someone" was who advocated a return to 55. If he/she was a politician it was more likely an excuse to raise revenue through traffic tickets. The hypocritical, double dealing politicians here in Oregon want 55 everywhere *except* between Portland and Salem. That's the route that most of them take to get to work.
....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
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2010-05-20          170939




You know I forgot that we had 21 years of the 55 mph speed limit (1974 to 1995)!

"As gasoline prices surged after the Arab oil embargo of October 1973, Mr. Brinegar used his oil industry expertise to help the Nixon administration develop policies on gasoline refining and marketing. He also led the way in formulating legislation for the nationwide 55-mile-an-hour speed limit, which President Nixon signed into law on Jan. 2, 1974. A 1995 law ended the federal speed limit, giving states the authority to regulate speed limits. nytimes Brinegar passed away this week at age of 82" ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2010-05-20          170941


Ken, no idea there but in our state as many if not most when they are in session they can not be charged for such as your lowly speeding violation. If memory is correct it was felt the locals or such might use false traffic stops to prevent certain elected officials from making a vote.

Our current Lt Governor is well documented on this law as he has benefited from it many times. Vote all the bums out. ....

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yooperpete
Join Date: Jan 2004
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2010-05-20          170945


Here in Michigan, you'll get run over driving 55 MPH on a road with a posted 55 MPH speed limit. I drive these at 62 MPH (I normally drive 7 MPH over)and generally get a line up of cars behind me. On the I-75 expressway it is posted at 70 MPH. Most drive between 80 & 85. I make sales calls with one of my business associates and he normally drives the expressway between 85 & 90. Last week we got up to 105 and 110 for passing several times.

Back in the old days with the 55 MPH speed limits, I drove out West several times. That takes a long, long time.

I don't follow Murf's thinking about not getting the fuel savings when talking about MPG. I follow the GPH in air travel but also realize wind speed and direction is a big factor.

With regard to MPG, you will still achieve the fuel economy even if it takes you longer to get to a destination. Most vehicles with an automatic transmission go through a "Lock-up" stage where the torque converter is more positive. At that speed and above, you achieve better fuel economy until wind velocity drag reduces it. Lock-up on most is about 62 MPH if I remember correctly. ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
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2010-05-20          170947


KT;
I'm sure that "Ticket Fixin" is a national epidemic amoung elected officials. Just the other morning a "Cruiser Cam" showed our own Governor's SUV being pulled over for something, they didn't seem to eleborate on the details tho. ....

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2010-05-20          170950


Frank my friend, you are of course correct. I was using for all of the calculations the basis of a zero wind.

This at first blush seems deceiving, but it's not since as long as you are comparing two different airplanes traveling the same route, the wind would have equal effect on both, whether in favour of, or against you.

As for pushing you in the door, wouldn't dream of it, I'm old enough to know if someone doesn't want to fly, it's just better you don't take them along. Wink yeah right

On the other hand, read the statistics, your chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are about 1 in 11,000,000.

On the other hand, your chances of being killed in an automobile accident are 1 in 5000.

Statistically, you are at far greater risk driving to the airport than getting on an airplane.

There's an old joke amongst pilots, we aren't concerned too much with wrecks, highway construction or traffic jams, in fact there sort of interesting to look at.... from a few thousand feet above!

My favourite way of watching the world roll by on a nice day is "low & slow". It doesn't get much better than that.


Best of luck. ....

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
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2010-05-20          170952


Murf, I can understand Frank on the not being the biggest fan of flying and the odds of being killed in airplane crash is improved if you stay out of them. :-) ....

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
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2010-05-20          170957


Murf;
Between you and my kids who are seeming always to be going here ot there on a airplane on business, usually they are back before I know they left.
They give me all that business about being safer in a plane too, and you guys are correct. I did fly once to Hawiai or however you spell it and back, that was enough for me. I've always said I'd love to go back there someday soon as they get the bridge done. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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Murf
Join Date: Dec 1999
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2010-05-20          170961


Quote:
Originally Posted by kthompson | view 170952
Murf, I can understand Frank on the not being the biggest fan of flying and the odds of being killed in airplane crash is improved if you stay out of them. :-)



Isn't that sort of ironic, coming from an insurance man? LOL


Frank, don't wait for the bridge, take a cruise with the little lady, it's about the most spoiling a person can get without going to jail. ;)


Best of luck. ....

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DRankin
Join Date: Jan 2000
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2010-05-25          171083


The 55 mph was never about saving money or fuel and if it comes back now it will be for the same reasons: exerting political control and herding the stupid sheep(us).

....

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DennisCTB
Join Date: Nov 1998
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2010-05-25          171090


Hey Mark!

Now that you mention it I used to marvel at how politicians visting Manhattan would be wisked through in motorcades with officers blocking all the side streets to create an midtown expressway where there was none.

Obviously security was one of the main concerns, but it certainly puts our leaders out of touch with everyday commutation issues. ....

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Murf
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2010-05-25          171093


Quote:
Originally Posted by DRankin | view 171083
The 55 mph was never about saving money or fuel and if it comes back now it will be for the same reasons: exerting political control and herding the stupid sheep(us).


Mark, one of the best colloquialisms I've heard in a long time is "sheeple" to denote 'people' who act more like 'sheep' in just blindly following the orders of the day.

Mind you, I'm blessed to live in a place where the head of the Provincial Police (our version of a State Trooper, who have almost exclusive domain over major highways) drew criticism a few years back for making a statement to the effect of "We are the Police, not tax collectors, if the traffic is moving smoothly and nobody is driving like an idiot I see no reason to slow everyone down merely to enrich the coffers by issuing a few tickets."

When the top politician chastised him for his comments his reply was along the line of "If the vast majority of people travel at speeds well above the speed limits then maybe the speeds limits should be changed. Politicians should remember they're elected by the people we're writing tickets to after all, I'm not."

Smart feller he is.


Best of luck. ....

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hardwood
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2010-05-25          171095


My original post about the 55 mph limit was centered more toward how many lives were saved after the 55 limit was brought in.
We seem to be a nation of rebels, if the speed limit is 55 We're gonna drive 65, limit is 75, I'm gonna drive 85, etc.
Our nearby biggest city installed red light cameras, oh my what an uproar, that's entrapment, etc., etc, I think I'm right on this that like 2500 tickets were sent to violators so far.
I'm sorry, it don't take a genius to understand that if you don't run the light you won't get a ticket. ....

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kwschumm
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2010-05-25          171107


With traffic deaths at an all time low it seems that lowering the speed limit to save lives is a total red herring. If you want to save lives then eat your veggies, quit the red meat, exercise, and stay off the roads. No doubt soon the government will use coercion to socially engineer exactly that behavior by taxing the crap out of anyone who wants a burger.
....

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epacheco7777
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2010-05-25          171108


power tripps all of them gays libs. blacks whites demo. rep. 55 mph . bs! money saver or not there probly doing 90 somewhere on the phone telling someone if we can get everybody doing 55 mph the world whould b a better place crap. my big ol but hell lets go back 2 horse and buggy i got mine o ya carbon taxes my horse broke wind thats 200.00 lol o man i got it how bout walk. no that would take to long. thus the automobile 65 to 75 sounds good to me. EDP3. ps I live in a state thats 55 mph it suckes dont save a dern thing not even time go figger. and as far as saving lives pass grave yards all the time people r dyeing to get there...just a difrent outlook
....

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hardwood
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2010-05-26          171110


KW;
Please don't take my outlooks as being anything personal, they are just my view on things, if I'm wrong, then so be it. You may like red tractors, I like green tractors.
By the way we already have a tax on burgers in Iowa caled an "Eat in Tax". If you "Eat In" at a burger joint you pay the tax, if you take the burger with you you don't pay the tax. never did understand that one. Frank. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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hardwood
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2010-05-26          171112


KW; OK, I stuck my foot in my mouth again.
I should have remembered but didn't, so after rereading your profile you already like green tractors. So lets say you like strawberry, I like vanilla.
Again I'm sorry to have upset you or anyone else here, but to me one life saved by slower driving may have been the life a loved one of yours or mine.
We frequently make a trip from NE Iowa to north west of the twin cities to our daughter and her family. There is no way around the twin cities unless you drive an extra 50-75 miles which I usually do to avoid bumper to bumper 80+ mph freeway driving. Yes, I'm an old man and am very uncomfortable in those situations, and yes I understand by the one finger waves that I am in their way, so I just go the long way on the two lane roads where most traffic is slower and lots more room between me and the other guy. Am I saving fuel by going the long way around instead of driving 80, no I'm sure I'm not, but that's my cost of feeling safe on the road.
In my early driving years, mid 50's - early 60's the only speed limit signs in Iowa read "Reasonable and Proper", I'm not sure that people drove any faster then than they do now. ....

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Murf
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2010-05-26          171113


Frank, as a wise old man taught me years ago, don't sweat the little stuff, there's enough big problems in life to keep you busy worrying already.

I think the point really isn't the speed, but the skill. People today love the world "entitlement", be it a cheque every month, a guaranteed pension, or the "right" to drive whatever they please, however they please.

I have sort of extended family in Scandinavia, in those countries you physically show up for a road test with an inspector every 2 - 5 years depending on your age, more often when you're younger or older when your license comes up for renewal. If you don't pass the test, too bad, you're a pedestrian until you pass it. Driving slow in the left lane, you get pulled over and warned, and the warning goes on your record, get too many warnings, you get asked in for a chat about why should be allowed to keep driving. Speeding tickets are a set amount, they're a % of your income.

In 2002 the President of Nokia (huge multinational corp. based in Finland) was caught speeding, he was doing 47 mph in a 31 mph zone (converted from Metric) but because he makes a big salary, the fine was US$103,600. Ouch!

Anyway, my point way up there was that if they took a little of the money they spend on policing, cleaning up after, treating the injured, etc., etc., and poured it into a national drivers education program, there would be less accidents.

Take for example the highways in Europe, the famous Autobahns in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. The speed advisory (there is no legal limit) for most of it is 80 mph, although there is (at certain times of the day mostly) a speed limit around construction sights or areas of congestion. According to a 1995 study, the average speed of people on that highway was 83 mph.

According to a 'gentleman's agreement' amongst the car makers though, most cars are electronically limited to 150 mph, but they are easily removed, and to actually see cars traveling at speeds of 180 mph are not uncommon.

Despite all of that, they have an accident, injury, and death rate far below that of North America.

Education, not legislation, is the answer.


Best of luck. ....

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hardwood
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2010-05-26          171116


Murf;
Education, yes the more the better. I'm not sure of their status at the present time, but some form of laws have recently been passed here in Iowa prohibiting drivers younger than 21, (I think) from texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. They are probably much more capable of doing that than older people.
Our farm is on a heavily traveled two lane road used by a lot of people driving to the city and back to work daily. It's interesting that when the 4-H kids pick up the trash in the ditches about twice a year the get about ten times as many beer cans on the coming home from work side.
So do texting laws and drunk driving laws educate anyone, I don't know probably not. Will a 55/65 speed limit with mean it type fines get people to obey them, likely not.
As I said a while back, if I'm wrong them I'm wrong, but these are just my opinions. ....

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kwschumm
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2010-05-26          171119


Frank, no offense taken. I worded my response poorly and didn't mean to address it to you personally, just the collective "you" as in "anyone".

My frustration comes from the government looking for any reason to raise taxes and socially reengineer society rather than to leave people the heck alone. As Ben Franklin said, "Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".

And next time I hear "it's for the children" I'm gonna puke. There is nothing more shameful than wielding children as a weapon to bludgeon people into giving up money, freedom, and a way of life that has proven to work. ....

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Murf
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2010-05-27          171124


Quote:
Originally Posted by kwschumm | view 171119
The 55 mph was never about saving money or fuel and if it comes back now it will be for the same reasons: exerting political control and herding the stupid sheep(us).
[QUOTE=kwschumm;171119] As Ben Franklin said, "Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".

And next time I hear "it's for the children" I'm gonna puke. There is nothing more shameful than wielding children as a weapon to bludgeon people into giving up money, freedom, and a way of life that has proven to work. [/QUOTE]

If that's the case then maybe turn the tables, tell the politicians if it's really for the children then pass a law like we did up here.

It's now illegal to smoke in any vehicle if there is any occupant 16 or younger in the vehicle, even if it's a convertible with the roof down.

That should either shut the politicians up, or get them lynched. :)

Mind you the whole speed control BS is just that to me, my car and both SUV's are designed for optimum mileage at 70-85 mph and my plane gets it's best economy at 160 mph. ;)

Best of luck. ....

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greg_g
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2010-05-27          171135


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murf | view 171124
I my car and both SUV's are designed for optimum mileage at 70-85 mph and my plane gets it's best economy at 160 mph.
My point exactly !! My 85 Mercedes does in fact get better mileage at 55 mph than at 75, cuz it was engineered from the git-go to drive under the then-current 55 mph restrictions. But my 2006 Mercedes is the other way around. What these short sighted politicians miss, is that cars made since 1995 would start delivering poorer performance and economy, if forced to be driven outside their design parameters.

And I doubt the pols would write a provision into the bill to pay ECM reprogramming costs to optimize post-1995 vehicles performance and economy at 55 mph.

//greg// ....

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kthompson
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2010-05-27          171141


Frank I think it safe to say we all believe the slower you are traveling in an accident the better your chance is. I know when someone pulls out in front of me I hit the brakes and not the gas. (not being smart there)
....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2010-05-27          171145


KT;
No one wants to see or be involved in a car crash, but I think about how a crash at 60mph today is usually left with survivors. Then I compare to the cars we drove up till the early seventies with no seat belts, air bags, etc. that a crash at 60 was usually a pretty grizzly deal. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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crunch
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 264 Niagara County, NY
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-07-02          172034


Frank, I'm with you. My buddies always tell me they can "watch the grapes grow" when I drive. The problem is that folks never leave on time. I would rather leave 10 minutes early and then take a nice casual drive. Unfortunately my wife always has us leaving 5 minutes late.

I was actually a more more nervous driver when I was young. Reason being that now I take every legal heart, cholesterol, beta blocker drug known to mankind. So the next time you see a 60ish person barreling down the highway at 80 mph be aware of what might happen with a temporary lapse of conciousness. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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hardwood
Join Date: Dec 2002
Posts: 3583 iowa
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster

2010-07-02          172044


Crunch;
From one slowpoke to another we almsot sound like medical experiment twins.
After an accident four years ago left me following a walker around and taking enough "Legal" narcotic pain meds to kill a horse I'm still not up with the what ever the speed limit is plus maybe 25 mph above. 55 is fine with me, I'm not in a hurry to get to the cemetary. ....

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Car Fuel Economy and the 55 MPH speed limit

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kthompson
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 5219 South Carolina
TractorPoint Premium Member -- 5 Tractors = Very Frequent Poster  View my Photos  Pics

2010-07-02          172049


My 8th grade Enlish teacher said...better to be late than be the late. ....

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