Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My fellow Americans.

Mr. Paul Harmon is a fellow Hoosier and a Concerned American. He wrote the featured letter to the editor on today's Indianapolis Star editorial page. In the meat of his letter, which was all about how leadfeet should slow down on the interstate to save gas, Mr. Harmon stated:
President Jimmy Carter knew what he was doing when he lowered our speed limits. Maybe it's time to go back to driving slower.

Let's face the fact that with a Texan in the White House we aren't going to get an energy policy with any teeth.
Mr. Harmon is referring to the 55 mile-per-hour National Maximum Speed Law, or NMSL (rhymes with "numbskull"), which was enacted in 1974.

Who was president in 1974? Class? That's right.

Mr. Harmon is a fellow Hoosier, a Concerned American, and he no doubt votes. He is also apparently as dumb as an acre of fungus.


trainer said...

Reality should never intrude upon ideology.

Words Twice said...

Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?! Hell no!

Matt G said...

Ford took the Oval Office in August, and the NMSL act took effect in January, so it was Nixon that signed it in. Hey, anything to make something ELSE make headlines, right?

It would have been much more ironic, though, if it had been Johnson to sign it it. (A Texan.)

OA said...

Gas mileage is dependant upon vehicular weight (hey congress, why don't you pass more mandatory safety device laws? after all, we all know they don't add any weight to a vehicle...then you can bitch more about gas mileage. and they ain't free, either), tire size (which affects engine rpm), rotational weight of moving parts (including tires, wheels, engine components and transmission), resistance of the various bearings, lubricity of fluids and greases, gearing, aerodynamics, rolling resistance of the tires, and even profile of the cam(s)...among other things. Hell, my car knocks down better mileage at 75 than 50. Thinking it's as simple as "drive slower" shows incredibly shallow thinking...which is right in line with what this bug-addled fool feels.

Brad K. said...

In middle school (mid 1960's) pointed out that cars (Detroit only, back then) got the best mileage at 45 mph. And that was pretty close to true, across the board. Cars were heavier, engines were pretty consistent from make to make, except the hot rods.

In 1975 I bought my first Toyota. On several cross-country trips I found my mileage peaked about 67 mph. Consistently. I could estimate my mileage by figuring 40 miles per gallon, less 1/4 gallon each time I turned the engine in (lower efficiency with cold engine, associated slow driving and idling in town, etc.)

In 2001 my Ford F250 (assembled in Canada, don't you know, to avoid 'fleet mileage' calculations for US built vehicles) got about 12-14 miles per gallon. Except one trip back from a draft horse sale. I had a trailer with a bunch of stuff - two farm implements, 20 steel implement wheels, etc. On the highway, at 70 mph, I got 16 miles per gallon.

My point is that the best mileage varies with the vehicle, driving conditions, and gas. There are two stations in town here where I get 2 miles per gallon better mileage, for the same grade gasoline. Only since the prices went up over $2.50, that doesn't work there, either.

And I remember Pres. Carter for the 444 days of US Embassy hostages held in Iran (I wonder how Iranian history recalls that episode for their school kids?) until Pres. Reagan took office. Pres. Carter is also much to blame for the runaway inflation Pres. Reagan is credited with breaking.

Jerry said...

Welcome to Indiana.

bumper sticker philosopher said...

Overdrive transmissions, computer controlled ignitions and fuel injection make the old double nickel speed limit unnecessary and counter-productive.

My 1968 Camaro, a typical car on the road in 1974, has a 2 speed powerglide Automatic transmission with a 1.0 top gear and a 3.43 rear end. In razor sharp tune with new points and plugs it gets 8-10 MPG at 60 mph.

My 1995 Chevy truck has a 4l60E electronically shifted automatic transmission with a .78 top gear and the same 3.43 rear end ratio.

My truck gets 18MPG cruising at 75MPH in a vehicle half again as heavy as the Camaro.

I think the watermelons crying for a return to the 55mph speed limit are less interested in the environment than they are in forcing people to conform to their wishes.

Old Grouch said...

"I think the watermelons crying for a return to the 55mph speed limit are less interested in the environment than they are in forcing people to conform to their wishes."

Bingo! It's never about solving the problem, always about controlling other people.

kbiel said...

Cut the guy some slack. The double nickel was an idiotic idea and Jimmah Cahter was an idiot. I can see where he might be a bit confused. Besides, all good little liberals are taught that Nixon was an evil, conservative war-monger when history shows he was more of a nanny-state elitist like the liberals of today.

bob r said...

President Jimmy Carter knew what he was doing when he ...

Huh? He must not be writing about the Jimmy Carter that was President of the U.S. As far as I could tell, that man _never_ knew what he was doing.

TM said...

Look, anybody who thinks Jimmah Cahtah did something that benefited the country is a certifiable looney.

'Course that covers all Demos.

Tam said...

He gave us the Reagan landslide.

Rabbit said...

Long-haul truckers saw a net decrease in fuel mileage with the drop to 55 from 70 (although aside from Schneider and J.B Hunt drivers, whose engine speeds were governed, nobody paid much attention to it) due to the taller final drive gearing. It put the large diesel engines at RPMs too low for optimum torque and efficiency. The cost to replace the gears with lower ratios would negate any fuel savings for quite awhile.

Ah, the days of simple police radar and effective X-K band detectors, and CB radio. Don't miss them at all.


tom-the-impaler said...

I agree completely with mister Harmon.
Low speed limits will blend nicely with the stagflation and we can all relive the heady days of the seventies and the Spirit of '76 Malaise!

Rick C said...

Huh. This guy is clearly a spiritual brother to the recent protester asking if we would have let Nazi Germany host the Olympics.

David said...

NMSL is responsible for creating several generations of casual daily lawbreakers here in California. The vast majority of drivers here routinely drive 15 - 20 mph over posted highway speeds (generally 65 nowadays) and enforcement doesn't really start until you hit 90 or you're driving erratically.

I'm always astonished when I go to someplace like South Dakota, Nebraska or Idaho for a shooting event and find myself to be the only person exceeding the speed limit, out of habit.

The effect of daily lawbreaking on the California resident's attitude towards other laws, and law enforcement generally, is left as an exercise for the student.

Regolith said...

55 speed limits drive me fucking insane. Most of my time on the highway is spent driving from one piss ant little desert town to the next, with naught but desert in betwixt. I'd prefer to get that sort of thing over as soon ASAP, and the 55 speed limit contributes to making that drive as long and boring as possible.

Nathan Brindle said...

That anyone can think that Jimmy Carter actually ever knew what he was doing is completely incomprehensible to me.

I knew the guy was an idiot when I was 16 and he first burst onto the national stage. (Too bad he didn't flame out.) Four utterly crapulous years later, we threw him out, but he still won't STFU.

B&N said...

"My 1968 Camaro, a typical car on the road in 1974, has a 2 speed powerglide Automatic transmission with a 1.0 top gear and a 3.43 rear end. In razor sharp tune with new points and plugs it gets 8-10 MPG at 60 mph."

Are you serious? I'm scratching my head here, as my similarly built '66 Ford does about 20mpg, under the same conditions, no fooling.

Regarding the watermelons, you are dead on, there, sir.

Mopar said...

Equally amusing (at least to me) is the NMSL was repealed in 1995.
Hmmm... who was the evil president who did THAT?

Anonymous said...

And then, years later, Ralph Nader claimed that increasing the speed limit would increase traffic fatalities.

He didn't realize that not all roads/interstates needed the same level of policing.

Anonymous said...

Mr Harmon's statement that President Jimmy Carter knew what he was doing was more than enough to prove that he is indeed as dumb as an acre of fungus.

My dear, where on earth do you come up with such priceless phrases? You are a veritable wellspring of phrases and quips to point out and illustrate the endless stupidity of your fellow man. I bow to your mastery of snark!

rickn8or said...

It was the beginning of Mass Civil Disobedience by The Common Man that continues to this day.

Is it just me, or is some communities' response to gang violence and thuggery in general is to start writing more traffic tickets? I seem to be seeing more flashing blue lights beside the road lately. (And unfortunately, recently in MY rearview mirror in Wide-Spot-in-the-Road Arkysaw.)

Mikee said...

I got my driver's license in 1975, shortly after the price of gas doubled and the speed limit was lowered from 70 to 55mph.

Nixon! (spit!)oydhyc

Will said...

Hmm, my 65 fastback with a (replacement)302 v8, 2bbl, 4spd and 2.80 rear(both original), would go 100 miles on a dollar's worth of gas. Gas was 33cents in '71. I could drive from a NJ coastal resort town to the suburbs of Philly, on a buck. Two lane farm country roads, mostly. Speed range from 50-70mph. Just cruising. That rear gear was so tall, I would occasionally forget to shift to 4th! What's odd is I used to drive the same route in my mother's '62 Opel Olympia wagon (with a replacement larger 4 cyl), and got the same mileage.

Then came the 55 limit, and smog controls, and gas mileage in general was cut in half, even with the mandated slower speeds.

That national speed limit drove a big wedge between the citizens, and cops and politicians. You would think they would know the rule: never give a command you know won't be obeyed, or make a law that will be ignored.