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Thread: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    GOP Senator John Warner probably doesn't drive himself anywhere; he is flown, or chauffeured - at state expense and top speed. Which may explain why he is peddling reduced speed limits to "save fuel" for the rest of us.

    Just prior to the 4th of July weekend, Virginia's senior senator (and very senior citizen) said, "Given the significant increase in the number of vehicles on America's highway system from 1974 to 2008, one could assume that the amount of fuel that could be conserved is far greater" than under the old 55 mph National Maximum Speed Limit - which Congress repealed back in 1995.

    Warner may be right about fuel saved - more on that in a moment - but he went on to repeat the totally discredited agit-prop mantra that lower speed limits "save lives." During the NMSL era, advocates claimed that 55 was responsible for reducing annual highway fatalities by 4,000 deaths per year. This claim was used to morph what had been a fuel-conservation measure enacted in 1974, during a previous era of high gas prices, into a "safety" issue - with consequences that went far beyond conservation.

    If driving faster than 55 was not merely less energy efficient - but unsafe - then tickets could be issued, DMV "points" assigned and insurance premiums jacked up. Which of course is exactly what did happen - with the result being a nationwide fleecing program gussied up as a public safety measure.

    Overnight - literally - speeds that had been considered both legal and safe became illegal and unsafe. People who had never received a ticket in their lives were now receiving them regularly. People who had never had an accident in their lives were being hit up with insurance premium "surcharges" - on the basis of their now "unsafe" driving habits.

    But saving fuel and driving safely are not necessarily the same things.

    Sometimes, in fact, they are mutually exclusive.

    Doing 70 on a modern Interstate will certainly burn more fuel than doing 55. But doing 55 on an Interstate designed for speeds of 70-75 mph can actually be unsafe.

    The old man (Sen. Warner?) doddering along at well below the natural flow of traffic creates a rolling roadblock; cars bunch up and jockey for position. They are increasingly tempted to resort to maneuvers that would otherwise not be necessary to get around the slowpoke. The authorities can post all the artificially low, dumbed-down speed limits they like; people will ignore them - and drive at more realistic speeds. That is precisely what happened during the Drive 55 era. We all knew that it didn't suddenly become unsafe to drive 70 mph on Thursday because on Wednesday evening the law changed - and the posted limit had been dropped to 55.

    It was bunk - and we knew it was bunk. So we ignored it, en masse. The same will happen again if Sen. Warner's brainstorm leads to a new era of Drive 55.

    Attempting to force drivers to operate their vehicles at speeds 10-20 mph below speeds that are reasonable and prudent in order to save fuel is as ridiculous as insisting - at ticket point - that pedestrians walk 25 percent slower to conserve energy.

    It's also a great way to delegitimize legitimate traffic safety enforcement. The NMSL era completely corrupted the system by putting cops in the position of having to enforce laws everyone knew were BS. The constant harassment created enmity where none, if any, had existed before. When a person gets pulled for doing something he knows in his gut is probably not right - besides being illegal - he accepts his punishment with equanimity. But when you get pulled and ticketed for driving at perfectly reasonable and prudent speeds, you know you've been had.

    And you resent it.

    Do we want to return to this foolishness? If we do, it will be even worse this time because technology has improved to the point that catching "speeders" is much easier and more efficient than it ever was before. We have photo radar and the ability to track a vehicle via GPS - a computer determining its speed and (potentially) issuing a ticket automatically.

    If Sen. Warner wants to talk about conserving fuel, fine. That's a worthy topic - but a separate topic.

    It has nothing to do with safety.

    Please, No Mas. Not all of us have state-owned helicopters and private jets to whisk us to where we need to be - free of worry about being issued a piece of "payin' paper" in the name of "conserving energy."

    END






  2. #2
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Warner makes me sick. I thought he was dead.

    He is dead wrong on fuel savings. He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. That is patently false. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the savings was more on the order 0.18 percent of fuel consumption or 2/10ths of a percent.


  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    "Warner makes me sick. I thought he was dead."

    Unfortunately, he lives....

    "He is dead wrong on fuel savings. He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. That is patently false. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the savings was more on the order 0.18 percent of fuel consumption or 2/10ths of a percent."

    Amen - but don't expect Congress to be guided by facts....

  4. #4

    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Warner makes me sick. I thought he was dead.

    He is dead wrong on fuel savings. He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. That is patently false. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the savings was more on the order 0.18 percent of fuel consumption or 2/10ths of a percent.


    Guys. The 0.18% figure, to the best of my recollection, was in deed from the National Academy of Sciences, but wasn't their data from 1986? I don't know that that figure is still of any validity, especially when factoring in the exponential increase in 100 MVMT, plus the tremendous increase in truck traffic. Don't want to be the skunk at the garden party here, but we can't stop this ridiculous argument using aged statistics.

    Here's how to tackle the knee-jerk reaction of someone who I thought was an elder statesman with a good head on his shoulders (of course, he was nutcase enough to marry Liz Taylor). We have to keep pounding on the continued decline in fatalities, injuries and property damage. But, most importantly, we have to convince Congress, and ultimately state legislatures, that a new 55 law would certainly be ignored (everyone would take it as a joke) and totally unenforced (the cops are going to have to allow at least a 10-15 mph tolerance). It would take literally YEARS and a whole new mindset to get people down to 60 on the freeways, expressways, and two-lanes. AND THAT CHANGE WILL NOT COME FROM ENFORCEMENT, BUT FROM ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS WHICH WILL REDUCE TRUCK AND OTHER COMMERCIAL TRAVEL. Again, go back and look at the average speed figures from 1974-1980. The only significant slowdown we saw was during the wonderful, camelot-esque Carter administration, and only when we slipped into a very, very bad recession. If my memory serves, our overall factory production slipped to around 70% of capacity. That's the equivalent of taking 3 of every 10 18-wheelers off the road.

    In total exasperation here, what the hell is wrong with our representatives/senators? Why can't they think like the rest of us, or are they just plain stupid.

  5. #5
    DonTom
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    "He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. "

    Was he asked how an ignored speed limit saves gas?

    -Don-

  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by hwyhawg
    Warner makes me sick. I thought he was dead.

    He is dead wrong on fuel savings. He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. That is patently false. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the savings was more on the order 0.18 percent of fuel consumption or 2/10ths of a percent.


    Guys. The 0.18% figure, to the best of my recollection, was in deed from the National Academy of Sciences, but wasn't their data from 1986? I don't know that that figure is still of any validity, especially when factoring in the exponential increase in 100 MVMT, plus the tremendous increase in truck traffic. Don't want to be the skunk at the garden party here, but we can't stop this ridiculous argument using aged statistics.

    Here's how to tackle the knee-jerk reaction of someone who I thought was an elder statesman with a good head on his shoulders (of course, he was nutcase enough to marry Liz Taylor). We have to keep pounding on the continued decline in fatalities, injuries and property damage. But, most importantly, we have to convince Congress, and ultimately state legislatures, that a new 55 law would certainly be ignored (everyone would take it as a joke) and totally unenforced (the cops are going to have to allow at least a 10-15 mph tolerance). It would take literally YEARS and a whole new mindset to get people down to 60 on the freeways, expressways, and two-lanes. AND THAT CHANGE WILL NOT COME FROM ENFORCEMENT, BUT FROM ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS WHICH WILL REDUCE TRUCK AND OTHER COMMERCIAL TRAVEL. Again, go back and look at the average speed figures from 1974-1980. The only significant slowdown we saw was during the wonderful, camelot-esque Carter administration, and only when we slipped into a very, very bad recession. If my memory serves, our overall factory production slipped to around 70% of capacity. That's the equivalent of taking 3 of every 10 18-wheelers off the road.

    In total exasperation here, what the hell is wrong with our representatives/senators? Why can't they think like the rest of us, or are they just plain stupid.
    Amen to all the above - but politicians, by nature, latch onto emotional issues and are desperate to appear to be "doing something." I just hope that n this case we can stomp down the "moms" and other hysterics and others who will soon be - and indeed, already are - clamoring for reduced speeeeeeeeeed limits for the sake of saaaaaaaaaefty.

  7. #7
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by DonTom
    "He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. "

    Was he asked how an ignored speed limit saves gas?

    -Don-
    Warner's a senile old hack; I hope he straps on his Depends and shuffles off to the Home sometime very soon.

  8. #8
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by hwyhawg
    Warner makes me sick. I thought he was dead.

    He is dead wrong on fuel savings. He stated that the fuel savings from imposing a 55 mph speed limit was around 167,000 barrels a day or 2 percent. That is patently false. The National Academy of Sciences estimated that the savings was more on the order 0.18 percent of fuel consumption or 2/10ths of a percent.


    Guys. The 0.18% figure, to the best of my recollection, was in deed from the National Academy of Sciences, but wasn't their data from 1986? I don't know that that figure is still of any validity, especially when factoring in the exponential increase in 100 MVMT, plus the tremendous increase in truck traffic. Don't want to be the skunk at the garden party here, but we can't stop this ridiculous argument using aged statistics.

    Here's how to tackle the knee-jerk reaction of someone who I thought was an elder statesman with a good head on his shoulders (of course, he was nutcase enough to marry Liz Taylor). We have to keep pounding on the continued decline in fatalities, injuries and property damage. But, most importantly, we have to convince Congress, and ultimately state legislatures, that a new 55 law would certainly be ignored (everyone would take it as a joke) and totally unenforced (the cops are going to have to allow at least a 10-15 mph tolerance). It would take literally YEARS and a whole new mindset to get people down to 60 on the freeways, expressways, and two-lanes. AND THAT CHANGE WILL NOT COME FROM ENFORCEMENT, BUT FROM ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS WHICH WILL REDUCE TRUCK AND OTHER COMMERCIAL TRAVEL. Again, go back and look at the average speed figures from 1974-1980. The only significant slowdown we saw was during the wonderful, camelot-esque Carter administration, and only when we slipped into a very, very bad recession. If my memory serves, our overall factory production slipped to around 70% of capacity. That's the equivalent of taking 3 of every 10 18-wheelers off the road.

    In total exasperation here, what the hell is wrong with our representatives/senators? Why can't they think like the rest of us, or are they just plain stupid.
    I never placed much credibility with NAS studies, since the panel was largely pro 55. That being the case, I don't doubt that the 0.18 percent increase with posting 65 mph on rural interstates is correct. If anything, the percentage increase in fuel consumption is going to be smaller today, since cars are way more efficient at speed than they were in 1974 when the 55 mph limit was enacted. I have no reason to believe that these numbers, since they are percentages, will change much. Only the raw numbers will change.

  9. #9
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Just posted this article on the main site:




    http://www.ericpetersautos.com/home/...0&Itemid=10894

  10. #10
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    ???With the price of gas going to outlandish over the hill prices, the new MPG's that they want to impose, is getting more off the wall. This new alcohol, methanol, e-85, and all the other fuels that is being pushed around, most of us know that there is no way that we will get that kind of milage (35+) unless they turn down the horsepower, and lighten up the cars. Agreed that some of the vehicles are more fuel efficient for the amount of weight they have to haul. And how long do you think the semi driver is going to put around at 55 when they don't do it now? Our state allows 65 for passenger vehicles, and 55 for big rigs. Guess what, i haven't seen one at 55 for..... when ....... heck i never have seen one at 55! Most of them are at 70 or more. And with the technology that has increased the power, do you really think that any one will drive 55, since they get the same mileage at 85 with all the windows down??? :

  11. #11
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM
    ???With the price of gas going to outlandish over the hill prices, the new MPG's that they want to impose, is getting more off the wall. This new alcohol, methanol, e-85, and all the other fuels that is being pushed around, most of us know that there is no way that we will get that kind of milage (35+) unless they turn down the horsepower, and lighten up the cars. Agreed that some of the vehicles are more fuel efficient for the amount of weight they have to haul. And how long do you think the semi driver is going to put around at 55 when they don't do it now? Our state allows 65 for passenger vehicles, and 55 for big rigs. Guess what, i haven't seen one at 55 for..... when ....... heck i never have seen one at 55! Most of them are at 70 or more. And with the technology that has increased the power, do you really think that any one will drive 55, since they get the same mileage at 85 with all the windows down??? :
    I agree - but that was equally true for the entire period the NMSL (the old "double nickle") was in effect, too.

    However, it was still enforced - and that is what alarms me now. The relentless lust for our cash that government (and private corporations) have for our cash is more than enough to push through new lower limits in the name of "safety."

    They stand to make millions; perhaps billions.....






  12. #12

    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Just FYI. Last weekend I drove from Memphis to Nashville (about 200 miles). I set the cruise at 70 (the legal limit). My MPG computer on my '06 Town Car showed 25.9 MPG. The only people who didn't try to blow me off the road were the 18-wheelers, who have noticeably have slowed down.

    Hawg

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by hwyhawg
    Just FYI. Last weekend I drove from Memphis to Nashville (about 200 miles). I set the cruise at 70 (the legal limit). My MPG computer on my '06 Town Car showed 25.9 MPG. The only people who didn't try to blow me off the road were the 18-wheelers, who have noticeably have slowed down.

    Hawg
    Yep. Same here. On VA I-81 the traffic flows around 75 mph or so. Which is wonderful!

  14. #14
    Senior Member J. ZIMM's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    With all the uproar about getting better fuel economy, I get a big kick out of the big cars that seem to get very good or better mileage than a lot of the so called econoboxes are getting. Here is a guy in an '06 Town car thats getting 25.5 MPG's, and I'm still driving an old 1992 Mercury Grand Marque that has a 104,000 miles on the clock, and it still gets 27.7 MPG's. My question is, if these tanks can get this kind of mileage, why can't they get the same pound for pound with the smaller cars? I enjoy this car, with the safety, comfort, and don't forget, that I can put enough lugage in there, to keep the whole family satisfied for a week, with out looking for the nearest laundry mat every other day. We don't have to take two cars to get the job done. And don't forget, we also have air conditioning! The kids have enough room too stretch out, take naps, and not having to smell each others arm pits. Oh yes, we don't have to worry about crotchety ol' senators that wants to go back to the dinosaur age. :

  15. #15
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM
    With all the uproar about getting better fuel economy, I get a big kick out of the big cars that seem to get very good or better mileage than a lot of the so called econoboxes are getting. Here is a guy in an '06 Town car thats getting 25.5 MPG's, and I'm still driving an old 1992 Mercury Grand Marque that has a 104,000 miles on the clock, and it still gets 27.7 MPG's. My question is, if these tanks can get this kind of mileage, why can't they get the same pound for pound with the smaller cars? I enjoy this car, with the safety, comfort, and don't forget, that I can put enough lugage in there, to keep the whole family satisfied for a week, with out looking for the nearest laundry mat every other day. We don't have to take two cars to get the job done. And don't forget, we also have air conditioning! The kids have enough room too stretch out, take naps, and not having to smell each others arm pits. Oh yes, we don't have to worry about crotchety ol' senators that wants to go back to the dinosaur age. :
    Your big boat (great car, by the way - I love big boats!) has steep OD gearing that lets the engine loaf along at not much more than idle speed at 70 mph. The V-8 has so much reserve power, it probably needs only about 25 percent of its total output to cruise at a steady 70. A smaller car with a smaller engine has to work harder to maintain the same speed. It's kind of like a big strong guy who can bench press 300 pounds vs. a weak guy who has trouble with 135. The strong guy can throw 135 around like a feather; it hardly burns any calories, etc. But the weak guy has to use every ounce of strength he has to do the same thing - and gets a real workout in the process!




  16. #16
    srd275
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    I serious doubt it. Not that anyone here shouldn't contact their reps. I have already. There is a contact section on the www.motorists.org web site under be your own lobbyist. http://www.motorists.org/lobbyist/

    I think there have been two polls on this topic. A Gallup that Henry had mentioned to me as well as one from Fox News. Both were against a return. http://www.gallup.com/poll/107542/Ma...trols-Gas.aspx 56% against (and this one is more liberal)

    The Fox poll was within the last two weeks. 70% said no to a return to the 55. http://www.billoreilly.com/surveyarc...&surveyID=4997

    I am not saying it can't happen. I really find it unlikely. I generally feel that the 55 is more loathed than just disliked by most of the drivers.

    But as I said, I am not taking any chances either. I recommend to all of you that you contact your reps and tell them no.

  17. #17
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by srd275
    I serious doubt it. Not that anyone here shouldn't contact their reps. I have already. There is a contact section on the www.motorists.org web site under be your own lobbyist. http://www.motorists.org/lobbyist/

    I think there have been two polls on this topic. A Gallup that Henry had mentioned to me as well as one from Fox News. Both were against a return. http://www.gallup.com/poll/107542/Ma...trols-Gas.aspx 56% against (and this one is more liberal)

    The Fox poll was within the last two weeks. 70% said no to a return to the 55. http://www.billoreilly.com/surveyarc...&surveyID=4997

    I am not saying it can't happen. I really find it unlikely. I generally feel that the 55 is more loathed than just disliked by most of the drivers.

    But as I said, I am not taking any chances either. I recommend to all of you that you contact your reps and tell them no.
    Amen - and I hope you're right.

    However, I put absolutely nothing beyond the pale when it comes to politicians - especially when they are in a mood to be seen as "doing something" about a crisis, etc.

  18. #18
    srd275
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    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    I think I am right here.

    (But it doesn't hurt to to be proactive. That is why it pays to contact your reps. Thanks for keeping us all up to date).

  19. #19

    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM
    With all the uproar about getting better fuel economy, I get a big kick out of the big cars that seem to get very good or better mileage than a lot of the so called econoboxes are getting. Here is a guy in an '06 Town car thats getting 25.5 MPG's, and I'm still driving an old 1992 Mercury Grand Marque that has a 104,000 miles on the clock, and it still gets 27.7 MPG's. My question is, if these tanks can get this kind of mileage, why can't they get the same pound for pound with the smaller cars? I enjoy this car, with the safety, comfort, and don't forget, that I can put enough lugage in there, to keep the whole family satisfied for a week, with out looking for the nearest laundry mat every other day. We don't have to take two cars to get the job done. And don't forget, we also have air conditioning! The kids have enough room too stretch out, take naps, and not having to smell each others arm pits. Oh yes, we don't have to worry about crotchety ol' senators that wants to go back to the dinosaur age. :
    Your big boat (great car, by the way - I love big boats!) has steep OD gearing that lets the engine loaf along at not much more than idle speed at 70 mph. The V-8 has so much reserve power, it probably needs only about 25 percent of its total output to cruise at a steady 70. A smaller car with a smaller engine has to work harder to maintain the same speed. It's kind of like a big strong guy who can bench press 300 pounds vs. a weak guy who has trouble with 135. The strong guy can throw 135 around like a feather; it hardly burns any calories, etc. But the weak guy has to use every ounce of strength he has to do the same thing - and gets a real workout in the process!

    Amen to all of the above! We've come SO far in technology. We all need to get together and have a ceremony where a 55 sign is buried. It just won't help! No compliance, spotty and lackluster enforcement, and I doubt seriously that if I had driven to Nashville at a constant 55, my mileage increase would have been negligible, if even noticeable. Plus, it would have been terrifying and I would have to have driven on the right side of the rumble strips. When I got to Nashvegas, someone would have had to pry my hands off the steering wheel.

    Hawg




  20. #20

    Re: The Old Man in the Buick - and the Return of Drive 55?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    Quote Originally Posted by J. ZIMM
    With all the uproar about getting better fuel economy, I get a big kick out of the big cars that seem to get very good or better mileage than a lot of the so called econoboxes are getting. Here is a guy in an '06 Town car thats getting 25.5 MPG's, and I'm still driving an old 1992 Mercury Grand Marque that has a 104,000 miles on the clock, and it still gets 27.7 MPG's. My question is, if these tanks can get this kind of mileage, why can't they get the same pound for pound with the smaller cars? I enjoy this car, with the safety, comfort, and don't forget, that I can put enough lugage in there, to keep the whole family satisfied for a week, with out looking for the nearest laundry mat every other day. We don't have to take two cars to get the job done. And don't forget, we also have air conditioning! The kids have enough room too stretch out, take naps, and not having to smell each others arm pits. Oh yes, we don't have to worry about crotchety ol' senators that wants to go back to the dinosaur age. :
    Your big boat (great car, by the way - I love big boats!) has steep OD gearing that lets the engine loaf along at not much more than idle speed at 70 mph. The V-8 has so much reserve power, it probably needs only about 25 percent of its total output to cruise at a steady 70. A smaller car with a smaller engine has to work harder to maintain the same speed. It's kind of like a big strong guy who can bench press 300 pounds vs. a weak guy who has trouble with 135. The strong guy can throw 135 around like a feather; it hardly burns any calories, etc. But the weak guy has to use every ounce of strength he has to do the same thing - and gets a real workout in the process!

    Amen to all of the above! We've come SO far in technology. We all need to get together and have a ceremony where a 55 sign is buried. It just won't help! No compliance, spotty and lackluster enforcement, and I doubt seriously that if I had driven to Nashville at a constant 55, my mileage increase would have been negligible, if even noticeable. Plus, it would have been terrifying and I would have to have driven on the right side of the rumble strips. When I got to Nashvegas, someone would have had to pry my hands off the steering wheel.

    Hawg




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