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Letters to the Editor

Speed costs

January 15, 2008

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To the editor:

Upset about the high price of gas? The first and easiest answer is to drop the speed limits back to 55 mph.

Testing by Edmunds.com shows that with just a 10 mph drop from 75 mph to 65 mph, the result was an average fuel economy boost of 12 percent. A story on the San Francisco Chronicle Web site reported even better gas mileage at 55 mph. Driving a 2001 Chevy Malibu on a 200-mile trip, staff writer Michael Cabanatuan was able to achieve 35 mpg at 55 mph, but that dropped to 25 mpg at 70 mph.

It might take a little longer to get somewhere, but then we could show the world we didn't invade Iraq just for the oil.

Corey Williams,

Lawrence

Comments

freeordie 6 years, 11 months ago

I lived through it as well. It saves fuel and lives. But another LAW? Can't we just stay in the right lane Corey?

Ragingbear 6 years, 11 months ago

We all know that Corey is actually Left Lane Larry.

wysiwyg69 6 years, 11 months ago

why not outlaw all vehicles that get less than 25 miles per gallon and raise the speed limit to 85mph. seriously,

wysiwyg69 6 years, 11 months ago

maybe fred phleps can rear end gayok off the road

OnlyTheOne 6 years, 11 months ago

I can do better than 25 at 70 - my car's in tune, I use cruise control, actually drive (know what's around and happening in front of me) and I drive a larger V6 powered automobile.

bd 6 years, 11 months ago

drop the speed to 55, I don't care!

satar 6 years, 11 months ago

Lets go one better.. Outlaw the automobile.... ya right....

Jason Bowers-Chaika 6 years, 11 months ago

Every Kansas turnpike toll ticket has a time and date printed on it. Let's ticket anyone that goes from point a to point b in less time than is legally possible.

oldvet 6 years, 11 months ago

"Cars still get the worst gas mileage in the city, ..."

So build the SLT and we can avoid the city driving that wastes gas... hey, the SLT is a green project!!!

Camron Flanders 6 years, 11 months ago

mancityfooty, my jetta (v6) gets 28mpg at 75mph.

Corey Williams 6 years, 11 months ago

Considering that even the EPA only "estimates" that your concorde gets 26 on the highway, where is your proof that you get 32-33?

hawklet21 6 years, 11 months ago

I guess I should try to patent those hydrogen-powered rocket shoes...

toefungus 6 years, 11 months ago

We should encourage slower driving, but this is a free nation (well, a little free). If you want to burn your cash and your fuel, that is fine with me. Keep the government out of our lives in every way you can.

gccs14r 6 years, 11 months ago

200/25=8, not 4, so that's $24 in gas. $3 per gallon is heavily subsidized, so the actual cost is far higher. Middle eastern crude oil is about $1200 a barrel right now, factoring in the necessary DoD cost to obtain it.

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

See I knew someone would notice!!!!! Thanks for your patience and the kind words.....

rtwngr 6 years, 11 months ago

NO COREY NO!!!!!! I made the trip from California TWICE at 55 mph. Those were the slowest, most miserable road trips of my life.

Let's drive 70 mph and tell the rest of the world that we did invade Iraq for oil but we can't find it. Apparently it doesn't exist because it isn't showing up in lower gas prices now is it Corey? Boy, we couldn't even find their oil and steal it, huh?

Jason Bowers-Chaika 6 years, 11 months ago

Outlaw radar detecters. Their only purpose is to break the law. Speeders endanger lives and waste fuel.

As for those driving the speed limit using the left lane lawfully, I see no need to switch lanes constantly just so some lead foot can skid down the road at ninety. Do your patriotic duty and drive the speed limit in the passing lane.

rollcar 6 years, 11 months ago

As far as I'm concerned, the passing lane is (gasp) for passing. Whether you're going 55 or 85, if there is somebody behind you wanting to go faster than you, get right and let them pass you properly in the passing lane. Unless you have flashing lights on top of your car, pay attention to your own driving and let the authorities do their job with everybody else.

Erin Parmelee 6 years, 11 months ago

gayokay (Anonymous) says:

As for those driving the speed limit using the left lane lawfully, I see no need to switch lanes constantly just so some lead foot can skid down the road at ninety. Do your patriotic duty and drive the speed limit in the passing lane.


I know this has already been addressed, but this drives me crazy! I admit to being a "lead foot." I don't have a radar detector, but I am usually going 5-7 miles over the limit. Other than being rear ended, I have never had a collision, but I have had 3 speeding tickets over the course of my driving life (about 15 years). People who drive slowly--or for that matter, who DRIVE in the passing lane make me absolutely crazy. Even though I am going faster than most, I still use the passing lane for passing. To do otherwise is lazy, illegal, and totally passive aggressive. If you tout yourself as a safe driver, please use the left lane as it was intended.

rollcar 6 years, 11 months ago

They should put more of those fancy computers in cars that give your MPG in real-time as well as the average over the entire tank of gas. I have found myself adjusting my driving habits when I can see the effects right under my nose. Once you notice that your car dips to something like 8 MPG upon hard acceleration, you tend to lighten up a bit the next time. Same thing with speeding. Slow down 5 MPH and look at the indisputable gas savings.

I realize this would add a few hundred bucks (I'm guessing here) to the price of the car, but I think it would pay for itself in gas savings in no time. Just a thought.

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

You are correct, gas taxes don't go directly to schools. But if they weren't there whatever is spent on roads would have to come from the same pot of money that is used for schools, taxpayers pockets. You are also correct, roads are expensive but less so to maintain than to build new ones which we are not doing a lot of lately.

I haven't looked at KDOT's budget but I don't think it's is solely spent on maintaining new roads and bridges. Assuming that every mile of roads need expensive maintenance (resurfacing, rebuilding) every 7-10 years, the costs are spread out over time.

Gas taxes may not cover all the per year costs but that may be a result of "enlightened" tax policy. All income levels need to use the roads to earn livings, go to schools, to the Doctor. Higher taxes on gasoline would hurt low income families and middle class harder than those with more income. The State can find other sources of revenues to maintain and build roads and keep the gas tax, a flat tax rate, from disproportionately impacting lower incomes. Income taxes are "progressive" avoiding that problem. The Turnpike Authority receives revenues from tolls in excess of its expenses, I think that excess could be diverted to KDOT. Didn't Gov Kathy propose the excess be targeted at KU maintenance? Registration fees are another source of income. Interesting topic and great discussion.

rollcar 6 years, 11 months ago

But the time stamp can't take into account other factors like waiting in line at the booth to pay. Sometimes on a race day at the Speedway or even during a particularly busy rush hour, I've had to wait as much as 5 minutes to hand over my ticket to the operator. Thats a pretty big variable on a stretch of road that is only 20(ish) minutes long.

LogicMan 6 years, 11 months ago

"Actually, most Detroit cars are unibody construction, and do not have the heavy ladder frame used in the cars of the past. This has reduced weight considerably,"

Yes, except ... then we have piled in lots of extras. Like safety equipment (air bags, ABS, etc.), making AC, PS, and PB standard, emission controls, plush interiors, etc. And much more powerful engines than necessary are being installed. Standard (manual) transmissions are now fairly rare, and less efficient automatics are the norm. So, overall, fleet-average MPG has hardly budged in a couple of decades.

Corey Williams 6 years, 11 months ago

"I lived through the 55mph Federal speed limit. It was miserable."

So did I. Trips from my town to KC took 2 hours each way. But I also remember that the main reason they decided to raise the speed limit was because gas was under $1 a gallon. When was the last time you paid less than $1 a gallon?

And OnlyTheOne, what is this magic vehicle you drive that has a v6 and gets better than 25mph at 70?

rollcar 6 years, 11 months ago

Wow, this is getting heated. I'm not sure how one would go about providing proof of fuel efficiency to a blogger. If somebody tells me they get 33 MPG, I am inclined to believe them. If a person could be so cruel and cold-hearted as to lie about such a thing, let God sort 'em out.

gccs14r 6 years, 11 months ago

It's legal to pass on the right in Kansas, but it's not a good idea and it's plain rude to force people to do so.

If we go back to 55, maybe more passengers and freight will return to the rails, saving even more fuel. It sure would be nice to have a dedicated nationwide passenger rail network with high-speed trains.

labmonkey 6 years, 11 months ago

I had a 2003 Monte Carlo that weighed 4200 lbs empty. It got over 30 mpg, and I drove well over 70 mph most of the time. On a trip to North Dakota I got 34 mpg and made it from Emporia to Souix Falls, SD (450 miles) on one tank of gas...and I drove near 80 mph most of the way. The trick is the car was aerodynamic with a fat ass....so headwinds never affected you while tailwinds gave you a good push.

Instead of lowering the speed limit, either ban or heavily tax those lumbering 8000 lb SUV's that have the aerodynamics of a brick.

standuporget 6 years, 11 months ago

My last four cars were Jeeps. All of them got better mpg at 70 to 75 than at 55. My 2000 with a V6 24 04 V8 22 05 V6 20 must be the alltime 4w/d. 97 V6 I dont know but I would get it up to 99 mpg down big hills.

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

"Driving a 2001 Chevy Malibu on a 200-mile trip, staff writer Michael Cabanatuan was able to achieve 35 mpg at 55 mph, but that dropped to 25 mpg at 70 mph."

Let's look a little deeper, shall we? Let's tell do the analysis that these "reporters" either failed to tell you or couldn't be bothered with. Let's run the numbers.

200 miles / 70mph = 2.85 hours 200 miles / 25mpg = 4.00 gallons 4 gallons x $3.00 = $12.00

200 miles / 55 mph = 3.63 hours 200 miles / 35 mpg = 5.71 gallons 5.71 gallons x $3.00 = $17.13

Driving this trip at 55 mph takes nearly an 45 minutes longer (.78 hours) but save $5.13. You save $6.84 per hour. From an economic perspective if you value your time at greater $6.84 per hour then you should drive at 70 mph. I do and I will.

More worryingly, by driving at 55 mph you reduce funding for education, health care, and a host of other state programs that are funded by gas taxes. If you drive 55 on this trip, and assuming 50 cent per gallon tax, you pay $2.00 in taxes. On the other hand by driving 70 mph on this trip you pay $2.85 in taxes, 85 cents more, proving that you care more about kids and health care than your stingy, selfish, slow poke, minimum wage friends!

The choice is clear. If you make slightly more than minimum wages drive 70 mph. You will save time, be more productive, make more money, and will be helping to fund education and health care for the "childrens."

BTW, a 2001 Malibu? I'd rather crawl on my hands and knees to work daily than drive that! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrole...

labmonkey 6 years, 11 months ago

Also...I noticed a comment about more powerful engines than needed....if it's light enough, sometimes a more powerful engine can be a benefit as you burn less gas with the engine going 2000 rpm at 70 mph than a smaller engine that has to turn 3000 rpm at the same speed or even slower.

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

Editors Note: Sigmund's writers are still on strike and for some reason he feels his math should actually be correct, or more correct. So for those readers with 6th grade math skills this is how his post should have appeared. It is too bad the the LJW doesn't allow posters to "edit" their own posts, but they don't.....

"Driving a 2001 Chevy Malibu on a 200-mile trip, staff writer Michael Cabanatuan was able to achieve 35 mpg at 55 mph, but that dropped to 25 mpg at 70 mph."

Let's look a little deeper, shall we? Let's tell do the analysis that these "reporters" either failed to tell you or couldn't be bothered with. Let's run the numbers.

200 miles / 70mph = 2.85 hours 200 miles / 25mpg = 8.00 gallons 8 gallons x $3.00 = $24.00

200 miles / 55 mph = 3.63 hours 200 miles / 35 mpg = 5.71 gallons 5.71 gallons x $3.00 = $17.13

Driving this trip at 55 mph takes nearly an 45 minutes longer (.78 hours) but save $6.87. You save $9.16 per hour. From an economic perspective if you value your time at greater $9.16 per hour then you should drive at 70 mph. I do and I will.

More worryingly, by driving at 55 mph you reduce funding for education, health care, and a host of other state programs that are funded by gas taxes. If you drive 55 on this trip, and assuming 50 cent per gallon tax, you pay $2.85 in taxes. On the other hand by driving 70 mph on this trip you pay $4.00 in taxes, 1.15 cents more, proving that you care more about kids and health care than your stingy, selfish, slow poke, minimum wage friends!

The choice is clear. If you make slightly more than minimum wages drive 70 mph. You will save time, be more productive, make more money, and will be helping to fund education and health care for the "childrens."

BTW, a 2001 Malibu? I'd rather crawl on my hands and knees to work daily than drive that! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrole...

pimp11 6 years, 11 months ago

want breaking news LJW-- Bomb Threat at Tonganoxie High School. Watch the news this evening so you can catch up with the news!! We all got voicemails from the school district about this and still no breaking news!

Breaking news, Brandon Rush misses court. Thats real important!!!

LogicMan 6 years, 11 months ago

"Also:I noticed a comment about more powerful engines than needed:.if it's light enough, sometimes a more powerful engine can be a benefit as you burn less gas with the engine going 2000 rpm at 70 mph than a smaller engine that has to turn 3000 rpm at the same speed or even slower."

No, unless it is a really bad/obsolete smaller engine. Look at the MPG ratings of all new cars offered with 4 and 6 cylinder engines, for example. The smaller four cylinder (and less powerful) has better MPG, unless something is really odd. But sometimes the ratings are surprisingly close.

Rarely, the factory will offer a truely underpowered car. If I'm remembering correctly, GM once had a four cylinder option in their large Camaro!

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

Regardless of the "true" cost of oil no matter where it is drilled, middle Eastern or not, the price is really about $100/barrel to all refiners regardless of their nationality. But we can argue that later. Fact is I pay less than $3.00 per gallon of petrol at the pump as does most everyone in Lawrence, therefore my "analysis" was based upon that.

As the price of oil climbs higher pressure builds to find both alternate sources of energy AND more oil. As the price increases there will be political pressure to open up many of the current resources that are off limits and oil exploration will increase encouraged by the high price. Shale deposits that now are known but untapped become economically viable at $100+ per barrel. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_rese...

But more fun is this video of trying to drive an Audi A8 800 miles on a single tank. This is the best copy I could find although it might be available on youtube or by bit torrent, whatever that is. Enjoy! http://www.bbc.co.uk/topgear/clips.shtml?13

average 6 years, 11 months ago

Sigmund -

The 42.4 cents per gallon of tax in Kansas doesn't even cover the cost of building and maintaining our highways, roads, and streets. Sure, it gets shell-gamed (a little going to econ.dev, a little to transit and bikeways), but, net, more comes out of general revenue to pay for streets and roads. Roads are ungodly expensive ($7-$10 million a mile for a four lane road?). Since every penny of gas tax goes to building and maintaining roadways, gas is actually an untaxed good as regards things like schools and policemen.

Sigmund 6 years, 11 months ago

average, do you have links to support your claim that what is spent on roads and highways exceed the amount taken in by gas taxes? It is not that I doubt you, but anyone can be mistaken as my maths proved in my post. Don't forget that the KS Turnpike more than pays for itself and generates a significant profit, so don't count those miles. And let's not forget the income from registration taxes, not an insignificant amount in Kansas.

Given the number of cars in Kansas, driving an average 12,000 per year, and all paying the gas tax those few cents for every gallon add up. Even if 42.4 cents per gallon tax is correct, I don't doubt that, it is orders of magnitude more per gallon than the oil companies that actually find, drill, refine, and transport petrol to your local dealer makes per gallon, not to mention what the station owner makes. Kansas gets a HUGE amount of income per gallon, far more than "Big Greedy Oil" makes. Without gas taxes Gross State Revenues available for all State funded projects would be significantly less.

Further, cars allow many owners to significantly increase their incomes beyond the costs of ownership. That increase in income is "progressively" taxed. The more you make the greater percentage is taken. That also increases Gross State Tax Revenues. Those soccer moms in the huge SUV's and the daily commuters to KC are doing us all a favor, God forbid we all get Priuses. Tax revenues would plunge, a fiscal disaster!

So I say again, drive faster pay more gas tax, be more productive, increase your income. Do it till it hurts! Do it for the education and health care of the "childrens."

average 6 years, 11 months ago

I recall it from a AAA magazine. Can't find it exactly right now. But...

Let's assume that Kansas drives its population's share of the 3 trillion vehicle-miles driven a year in the US. 26 billion miles a year.

The KDOT budget alone (not counting local-funded streets, but including some city streets that get some funding) is $1.5 billion a year.

1.5/26 means we need to pay about 6c per mile to run KDOT. Multiply that by the average mpg (10, once you include semis?) for a need to tax at something like $.58 a gallon. And, again, this is before local street repair. Roads cost a whole helluva lot. The problem with Priuses is that they need as much room (and eventually extra roads and lanes) as any other car, but they don't pay more in gas taxes. And, one reason electric cars look so cheap to run is that they shirk their share of building those damn-expensive highways they run on. Someone will have to figure out how to tax them for road use well before even 1% of our cars are electric.

But, no, gas taxes don't go to schools. Never have.

gccs14r 6 years, 11 months ago

9 trillion in debt. That's the true cost of our gas gluttony.

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