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Statement on Signing the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

American Government

Statement on Signing the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act

President Richard Nixon
January 2, 1974

I AM pleased to sign into law H.R. 11372, an act aimed principally at helping to reduce gasoline and diesel fuel consumption during the energy crisis.

This legislation will encourage State governments to establish maximum speed limits on their highways of 55 miles per hour. The continued receipt of Federal highway trust funds by the various States will be conditioned upon the establishment of these speed limits.

I have been gratified and encouraged by the number of States which have already voluntarily reduced their speed limits in accordance with my request. I have also been pleased by the response of so many Americans to my request that they slow down on the highways even when the speed limits have not officially been lowered. Estimates indicate that we can save nearly 200,000 barrels of fuel a day by observing a national limit of 55 miles per hour.

This bill also will permit the use of highway funds to support the cost of carpool demonstration projects, which can do so much to reduce the number of automobiles being inefficiently used on congested urban highways. The Department of Transportation is studying methods to improve the effectiveness of carpooling, and this legislation will require a report to the Congress on this matter by the Secretary of Transportation.

These steps are just two of many that can and will be taken to help us through this period of acute energy shortages.

With the attitude of cooperation and mutual concern expressed by a wide range of conservation actions by individual Americans, the social and economic impacts of the energy crisis can be minimized and we can look even more confidently to the day when we will become self-sufficient in energy.

Note: As enacted, H.R. 11372 is Public Law 93-239 (87 Stat. 1046).

The statement was released at San Clemente, Calif.

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