The United States slowed down on this day nearly 40 years ago. It wasn’t because a tragic moment made us all hold our breath but because of a bill signed into law by President Richard Nixon.
After oil embargoes from OPEC, U.S. citizens were forced to use less fuel and pay more expensive prices when they did fill up. In an attempt to get residents to be more conservative with their fuel consumption, Nixon signed the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act on January 2, 1974.
A part of the bill he signed lowered the national highway speed limits to 55 mph. By lowering the limits to more fuel-efficient speeds, the government hoped Americans’ desire for foreign oil would be curbed.
The law didn’t necessarily qualitatively produce the intended results, but the continued higher prices of fuel even after the embargoes were lifted caused Americans to move toward more fuel-efficient Japanese vehicles. Eventually the speed limit law was repealed 20 years later.
Some speed demons never abided by the 55 mph highway speed limit and we’re inclined to believe that if we would have had a 2012 Lexus LFA back then, we would not have been able to abide either.
The LFA comes with a ferocious V10 engine pushes more than 550 horsepower and can jump from zero to breaking Nixon’s speed limit in less than 3.6 seconds. Lexus’ first attempt at an exotic comes with extensive fiber carbon construction.
The price tag for the 2012 Lexus LFA is quite exhorbitant, but just listen to this thing purr in Motor Trend’s First Drive: