Texas May Raise Speed Limit to 85 MPH

Speed limit increase may increase what Texas residents shell out for gas.

ByABC News
April 7, 2011, 11:35 AM

April 7, 2011— -- A bill to raise Texas highway speed limits to 85 mph could have motorists getting there faster but shelling out much more money at the gas pump.

Consumers will see an "increase in demand for petroleum because as we go faster our cars get a lot less fuel efficiency," says Patrick DeHaan, a senior petroleum analyst for GasBuddy.com, a gas price sharing website.

The bill, introduced by Texas Rep. Lois W. Kolkhort, would make the 85 mph limit the highest in the country, according to the Dallas Morning News. A similar plan is being considered by the state Senate, according to the AP.

But first the measure, which is part of a larger transportation bill, must pass engineering testing and other studies before the Texas Department of Transportation authorizes it.

"Though this bill has passed the House, it's still not law," says department of Transportation spokeswoman Kelli Petras. "Technically, we cannot talk about pending legislation. Once something is law, then we can look into what we need to do about it."

The Department of Transportation "would have to conduct extensive speed studies. We'd have to do engineering analysis before raising the speed limit on any roads in the state. That's our normal process. That will not change," says Petras.

"We are allowing a few ideas to continue: that is, the option to build designated truck lanes, and the option to build 85 mph lanes for passenger vehicles. Our state's Texas Transportation Commission would still need to approve this measure, only after a future highway was designed and built to handle the higher speeds or weights," Rep. Kolkhorst said in a statement to ABC News.

"With gas prices what they are, this would only be an option in the years ahead, and certainly only after a great deal of study. There's no highway in Texas today allowing for 85 mph, but we didn't to close the door on tomorrow."