Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) sent a letter to Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman last week asking him to calculate the potential savings of a switch to a 55 mph speed limit on major federal highways.

(Download the letter here.)

Warner wrote in the letter that the first time a 55 mph limit was enacted, back in 1974, national highway fuel consumption dropped by 2 percent. The 55 mph federal limit was repealed in 1995.

Warner said on Fox News Tuesday that he's merely urging lawmakers to study consider ways to help families deal with soaring gas prices.

"This is just an idea -- repeat, an idea of how America faced a similar crisis in 1973-'74, did reduce the demand at the pump and did reduce the cost at the pump," said Warner, who also noted he's a supporter of more domestic offshore oil drilling. "So why shouldn't we at least look at it as we scramble together here and work to put forward a program that'll help alleviate the very serious problem of cost to families at the gas pump today?"