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02 January

I Can’t Drive 55


On January 2, 1974 President Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act setting a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour (mph).  Before this law was singed the speed limit was governed by the individual states, which had speed limits that ranged from 40 to 80 mph.  In 1972 Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) stopping shipping oil to the United States because they were protesting the the US’s support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War.  OPEC also tripled prices for the US.  This action sent the US and European economies into a recession.  The new 55 speed limit was deemed more fuel-efficient, thereby curbing the U.S. appetite for foreign oil.


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