Drive Slower to Save Gas Money? You Must Be Kidding

If you believe what they tell pollsters, Americans are cutting back on all sorts of spending (including on food) in order to keep their cars’ gas tanks full of increasingly expensive fuel. Some have even resorted to using public transportation, though the number of people doing so in most of the country remains a small minority of the population. But are people willing to see a reduction in the highway speed limit to 55 mph?

Though cutting back on their highway speed would reduce their own gasoline usage and thus save them money, most oppose a legal mandate that would require them to do so. In a new Rasmussen Reports poll, 59 percent of respondents were against adoption of a national speed limit of 55 mph; 34 percent were in favor, and the rest weren’t sure.

Part of the problem is that relatively few people think a lower speed limit would bring a payoff in the form of lower gas prices, through reduction in demand. Just 26 percent of respondents believe it would have this effect.