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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Return of 55mph? Probably Not Yet.

Over at the Examiner, Mark Tapscot is warning that the EPA is going to inevitably mandate a national speed limit, as a result of its CO2 endangerment finding.

I don't think the EPA will do it, in part because I am not sure they can. The EPA has a mandate to regulate major emitters of pollution, and in general works on the large scale industrial policy level. The EPA makes rules on smog forming automobile emissions, also known as Tier II, for example.

Speed limits are locally regulated, on a state-by-state basis. The old 55mph national speed limit was enacted by Congress, and was enforced on the states with the threat of withholding road funding. The EPA doesn't have this budgetary power, and I am not sure if it has the legal authority to impose a national speed limit.

The EPA could, however, publish a rule that requires automakers to add speed related equipment to their vehicles. For example, a GPS system with a database of local speed limits could babysit the driver and make it unpleasant or impossible to speed. At the most extreme, the EPA could mandate a speed control system which simply limits the top speed of a vehicle.

I think it would be an excellent national debate if they tried for it. Let's get it out in the open. Do we believe in man-made global warming, as a nation, or do we not? Do we buy the EPA's ruling that CO2 is a poison, not just a plant food?


Anonymous said...

There is no way that people will go back to driving 55. NO WAY.

Pawl Bearing said...

As an automotive engineer I'm highly skeptical about the accuracy of a computational fluid dynamics problem where a 3°inaccuracy could flip the meaning of a result. Especially when the object simulated is a planet.
However as an automotive engineer, I also appreciate the stentopic nature of the world we live in. Some really subtle changes in environments can have pretty dramatic effects.
Therefore when reading about the rapid rate of loss of ice in the arctic and antartica and the droughts in sudan one cannot help but be concerned.
When such an overwhelming number of our fellow professional scientists are saying that we're to blame for this it is even more alarming.
55mph would suck. But there are be many things that are a lot worse.

notDilbert said...

Sure, let's try the 55 again, it was so widely accepted and followed the last time and we saved lots of gas. .....well least they gave out lots of tickets to all thoose crazy speeders.

And Paul Maybe you shoould read some more. It doesn't look like the poles have lost a lot of ice to me. Remember it's currently Simmer in the antartic so of course it iceburg calfing season.

start here

Automotive Recruitment said...

Reducing the limit would probably save some lives.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to Germany "auf wiedersehen!"... if this happens of course.