Welcome to Rye Country Day's Economic Blog. Here you will find perspectives by students taking Economics at Rye Country Day School. It is meant to be a forum where students can openly express their ideas and take positions on relevant economic issues. I urge everyone to participate in presenting their own ideas in an open manner so that we can all learn from each other. Regardless of whether you are currently taking Economics, everyone is invited and encouraged to comment on articles and get involved. Feel free to e-mail me, Alex Osborne at alexander_osborne@rcds.rye.ny.us , with comments or suggestions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Featured Entry - Increased Speed Limits


States around the country have recently increased speed limits. This presents a huge danger to fuel efficiency causing the new alterations to be widely disputed. Experts say that the connection between speeding and fatalities is actually not so accurate, and increased speeds may actually protect drivers. The cost of owning a car has spiked though in the select states; for every 5 miles a person drives over 60 mph, it costs that person an extra $20 a gallon and over a year it costs an additional $180 more to drive 75 mph as opposed to the traditional 60 mph. It is questionable as to which is a higher cost; possibly safer roads (created by the higher limits), or even more outrageous auto costs.

-Hayley O'Neil

5 comments:

Kunal said...

I find the assertion that "increased speeds may actually protect drivers" a bit doubtful. Actually, it makes no sense to me whatsoever, when one considers momentum conservation or centripetal force. It is definitely true that at higher speeds, fuel efficiency goes down. This is a result of higher air drag forces on a car as the speed of the car increases. The speed for optimum fuel efficiency, balancing forward thrust and backward drag, is about 60mph, as Hayley said. I think the balance between faster and slower speeds must be struck not between fuel efficiency and safety, but between (fuel efficiency + safety) and (time saved).

alex buckingham said...

With newer cars isnt the optimal fuel efficent speed generaly higher than 60? I think what the U.S. needs is more of the new diesel cars. They are far more fuel effective, and therefore speeding would not cost that much money. However convincing people that diesel cars are the way to go is probably much harder then it sounds. People are use to gasoline and fear change.

Josh Anderson said...

My comment on this subject matter is fairly simple. Most of our driving population today likes to get where there going as quick as possible. Increasing high way speed can't produce a positive change in terms of safety because it will only give driver further incentive to drive faster. If one wants to improve saftey on the roads, though it pains me to say so, have more policeman patrolling. When one sees a police car on the side of the road, first instinct is to make sure your under the limit. This is probably the only effective way or raising saftey and fuel efficiency.

Alex said...

Kunal, the assertion also puzzles me a little bit. I wonder who exactly made that claim. This appears to me to be another way the government is trying to make it seem like it is taking care of us when really the automobile accident business is a big one. Think of how many people are employed because of it. Another example would be the cell phone usage while driving. So let me get this straight, I cannot put a phone to my ear and talk to it but if I have my car speaker phone on and I hold a banana to my ear, that is okay? To quote Andrew Citrin, this really grinds my gears.

Andrew said...

Hmm, I don’t specifically remember saying that Alex, but it does seem like something I would say, especially in this situation. I’m pretty confused (like everyone else) over the exact logic behind “faster driving = safer,” considering the nature of driving. I can’t imagine a situation where I was worried about safety and proceeded to speed up. But the government definitely has some theory behind it, which likely makes sense in some aspect (such as “faster driving means people will tend to be further away from each other, resulting in fewer collisions”). In the whole, though, the government would not simply do this because of boredom, and the safety excuse appears to be a front, so economics clearly played a huge role in this decision. Job creation does seem like a possibility, as high speed limits will lead to higher driving speeds above the speed limit, meaning a stronger police force may be necessary. Also, like Alex said, the accident business is pretty large, but insurance business is even bigger. Other businesses might include the fast car industry, or even the safe car industry from people believing they are now more likely to get into an accident (even if the government denies it).