Forty-five years ago, today, President Richard Nixon signed The Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act which created the National Maximum Speed Law, prohibiting speed limits higher than 55 miles per hour (90 km/h). If states wished to receive any federal funds for highway repair, they were forced to comply.
The legislation was created in an effort to conserve gasoline after the OPEC oil crisis embargo started the previous October. This oil shock had its roots in two issues:
(1) The US pull-out of the Bretton Woods Accord, detaching the dollar from the price of gold, depreciated the currency and oil producers lost money.
(2) Nations supporting Israel during the Yom Kippur War were targeted.
The embargo ended in March of 1974 but, the price of oil had quadrupled by then. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve started in 1975 as a second response. The Department of Energy in 1977 and the National Energy Act of 1978 followed via President Jimmy Carter.