We're feeling the pinch of higher gas prices and several solutions have been suggested -- including drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and offshore. According to the Energy Information Administration, it will take until 2027 for drilling in ANWR to lower prices by $1.44 a barrel.
Given that gas prices today hover around $4.50 a gallon, can you imaging how high they'll be in 20 years? Such a reduction will prove insignificant. The same federal report indicates that increased offshore drilling will take until 2030 to affect prices (see "American energy policy, asleep at the spigot," July 6, The New York Times).
There is a way to lower gas consumption today -- drive 55 mph. That would save millions of gallons annually. Moreover, it would save thousands of lives, since highway fatalities have increased as states have raised speed limits. Don't like enriching Middle Eastern regimes? Want to improve our balance of trade? Want to save lives and take a small step toward energy independence? Urge your legislators to support bills mandating a return to a national 55 mph maximum speed limit.
ARNOLD A. SCHMIDT