January 2, 1974On this day in 1974, President Nixon signed the Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act, which set a new national maximum speed limit of 55 mph. Up until that point, Americans enjoyed inexpensive Middle Eastern oil. However, in 1973, Arab members of the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) protested the West's support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War by stopping oil shipments to the United States, Japan and Western Europe and raising oil prices four times the original price. The president had hoped that by forcing Americans to drive at more “fuel-efficcient” limits, it would help them to not have to depend on foreign oil so much. The act wasn’t fully repealed until November 28, 1995.