What if I told you that you can save money, save lives and save the planet, and it won’t cost you a penny? Crazy? You be the judge.

A little research online yielded some interesting facts. The following is based on a 50-mph optimum speed limit for most vehicles’ highway fuel efficiency. The vehicle gets 30 mpg highway, the driver commutes 20 miles per day and gasoline is $3.64 per gallon.

If the speed limit were 55 mph and most people traveled 60 mph, their gas mileage would drop 3 percent, or the equivalent of paying $3.75 per gallon.

If the speed limit were 70 mph and most people traveled 75 mph, their gas mileage would drop 23 percent, or the equivalent of paying $4.50 per gallon.

The commute would require each driver to sacrifice four additional minutes of their time.

Crash forces double for each 10 mph over 50 mph – or, in our example of 75 mph, the crash force is four times greater than it would be at 50 mph.

In 24 states that increased their speed limits, crash fatalities increased 15 percent.

Nationwide, we consume 7 billion gallons of oil per year to power our automobiles. Just consider the fuel savings from slowing down, not to mention the decrease in carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere.

The Maine Department of Transportation is headed in the wrong direction! It should lower the speed limit.

Four minutes, folks! Four minutes! That is all it takes to save fuel, save lives and help reduce global warming.

George Howitt

Portland