ABC News’ Z. Byron Wolf Reports: Sen. John Warner, R-VA., is getting calls and letters from irate constituents about gas prices and he’s suggesting a remedy that might not be the one speedy, car-obsessed Americans had in mind. Warner has suggested the federal government consider lowering the speed limit to 55. The two Senators wrote a letter to the Department of Energy asking them to explore the possibility of a federal speed limit and whether it could lower fuel prices.
Warner said the proposal has caused a bit of family strife with his son, John Warner IV, who has raced cars professionally and directed a movie on the "Golden era of NASCAR." Son Warner apparently gave Dad Warner the what-for this weekend, the Senator said.
"At one time I used to be a pretty good mechanic on automobiles but they now have gotten a degree of complexity beyond my grasp and I rely on my wonderful son who has devoted much of his life on auto racing, and he argued about me on this when I spent the past weekend with him and shook his fist at me, I don’t want this 55 miles per hour limit," said Warner, explaining his son’s argument that modern carburetors are much more fuel efficient than they were in the 1970s, when the federal government enacted a 55 mile an hour speed limit during the last oil crisis. The federal speed limit was in place at various speeds from 1974 thru 1995.
Ultimately, Warner is moderate on energy policy. He’d like to see offshore drilling and development of renewable resources. "But that off-shore drilling will not lessen the price today at the pump," he said today and for him the last straw was reading an article about a foundering "meals on wheels" program.
"I don’t know about my colleagues but this causes me severe heart palpitation and concern," Warner said with emotion. "When a reporter interviewed me an hour or so ago, a national reporter, he said, all right, senator, are you willing to drive at a slower rate? what sort of car are you driving? I told him what type of car I was driving and I said there are occasions when I drive over 55 miles per hour, 60 miles per hour, sometimes 65 miles per hour but I’m willing to give up whatever advantages it is to me to drive at those speeds with the fervent hope that modest sacrifice on my part will help those people across this land tonight, tomorrow, and the indefinite future, dealing with this financial crisis."