A traffic and revenue study for a proposed tollway up in Austin (Hwy 183, I believe) essentially states that the toll roads aren’t viable if gas reaches $3 a gallon in the next 40 years. Well, here it is and yet the Governor and his Transportation Commission are forcefully leading us down a path to economic disaster tolling 73 miles in San Antonio and even more in Austin and other metro cities not to the mention the Trans Texas Corridor toll road. It’s grossly irresponsible to press ahead with such OBVIOUS and dire warning signs that show toll roads will fail with such high gas prices (with no end in sight) since most folks cannot afford to pay a toll when they’re foregoing necessities just to pay for gas.
Gas prices, temperatures and tempers
by Pat Driscoll
April 14, 2006
Motorists continue to pay increasingly more for gas, which could surpass $3 a gallon by the time summer sizzles in, and automakers are duking it out with oil firms over who to blame for troubles …
Gas shot up another 16 cents a gallon at Texas pumps over the past eight days, up a whopping 60 cents in seven weeks, according to AAA. Regular unleaded is averaging $2.75 statewide and $2.67 in San Antonio.
Funny thing, the Energy Information Administration said earlier this week that U.S. prices could average $2.62 a gallon over the next six months, but as they spoke the nation’s average climbed beyond that and some stations were charging more than $3.
“Crude prices pushed near the all-time record high of $70.85 earlier this week amid concerns that shipments from Iran, Nigeria and Iraq were in jeopardy,” said Rose Rougeau of AAA Texas. “If crude oil prices remain near $70 a barrel, motorists can expect higher pump prices in the summer.”
Other problems include dwindling gas supplies, refineries catching up on maintenance delayed by last year’s hurricanes, logistics involved with switching the additive MTBE with ethanol and costs to reduce sulfur in fuel.
An analyst told Bloomberg that he expects gas to reach $3.50 a gallon in some places. Another said $5 is possible if another hurricane like Katrina or Rita, which shut almost a third of U.S. refineries, rips through the nation’s belly again.
“We are in a world of hurt,” one said.
U.S. automakers are also in a world of hurt — they’re losing big bucks as buyers shy away from SUVs and large cars. Meanwhile, oil companies are reaping record profits, and that has set up an interesting scenario.
On Monday, a Chrysler spokesman accused oil executives of being greedy and indifferent by blowing exorbitant profits rather than reinvest windfalls to lower fuel costs, the Detroit News reported. The attack referred in part to an ExxonMobil ad that asked why the fuel efficiency of cars hadn’t changed in two decades despite huge efficiency gains after the 1970s oil shock.
Environmental activists couldn’t help but enjoy the turn of events.
“I’m happy to watch,” A Sierra Club spokesman told the Detroit News. “Each industry is right — that the other is to blame for a big part of the problem.”