Texas May Raise Speed Limit to 85 MPH


The website wrote to readers: "If you are currently an aggressive driver (cruising speeds from 75-85 mph, constantly accelerating and changing lanes and braking sharply) and you decided to calm down (driving with the cruise control set to 65 mph), your fuel economy would improve an average of 35 percent. If you want to drive at higher speeds (77 mph with cruise control on) but you eliminate midrange acceleration, lane changes and harsh braking, your fuel economy will improve from 12.5 percent."

That's not good news for Texas. "The faster you go, the more fuel you're going to burn," says Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle testing at Edmunds.com.

And the miles per gallon data on the sticker of a new vehicle may not offer the best mileage rate for consumers able to put the pedal to the medal. "[Typically], the first highway mpg figure is based on the speed pattern of 65. It's a very complicated pattern that has been modified over the years to include higher speeds but nothing like 85 mph so there will definitely be more fuel burned at that speed, " says DeHaan.

Higher Speeds Mean Harder Work for Engine and More Fuel

Fuel consumption rises when driving in the fast lane because of airflow. "At higher speed limits there's more work for the engine to maintain that higher speed because by increasing the drag on the vehicle the amount of airflow pushing against the vehicle causes the engine to work harder," says DeHaan.

In addition to an uptick of gas prices, residents could see a rise in accidents. "Obviously, the two things that kill most people on our highways are speed and alcohol. Increasing it to 85, or even 75, will have a dramatic impact on the death and injury rate on those highways where it's implemented," Jerry Johns, a spokesman for the Southwestern Insurance Information Service, told The Associated Press.

Here's some good news: "No one has to drive the speed limit. They can always back down," says Edmunds. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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