You will slow down! Would You Drive 55? - Yahoo! News ADVERTISEMENT Senator John Warner (R-VA) - elected in 1978 - recently expressed interest in the idea of a national speed limit to conserve gasoline. Warner, who is not running for re-election this year, wrote to U.S. Secretary of Energy Sam Bodman, asking "at what speed is the typical vehicle traveling on America's highways today most fuel efficient?" Warner told TIME his concern is for "the many millions and millions [of Americans] of limited means, sitting around their kitchen table trying to figure out how to make ends meet." Unlike long-term alternative energy sources, Warner says, a speed limit would work to bring down gas prices immediately. "Maybe some guy's got a better idea," he says. "But I haven't seen it." The National Maximum Speed Limit of 55 mph was created in 1974, when Richard Nixon signed the Emergency Energy Highway Conservation Act. Prior to that, states had been free to set their own speed limits, but the new law threatened to strip Federal highway funding from any state straying above the national standard. The ostensible purpose of this limit was to keep down gas prices, which had been driven through the roof by an OPEC embargo touched off by the 1973 Arab-Israeli war. And with gas-prices once again sky-high, Warner isn't alone in talking up a cap on speeding. Jackie Speier, a first-term Democratic congresswoman from California, is already on the case. Earlier this month, she introduced a bill that would cap highway speed limits at 60 mph - 65 in rural areas. It's currently awaiting a hearing before the House Committee on Transportation. Warner says he hasn't contacted Speier, but adds that he'd be willing to "stroll out on the floor" in favor of a speed-limit bill. He has yet to propose a similar bill in the Senate.