Monday, May 05, 2008

Gas prices continue to rise

(For my out-of-state friends, I cross-posted this at Blogging for Michigan, but I think you'll be able to identify with what I wrote unless gas prices are cheap where you live.)

According to AAA Michigan, gas prices are at an all-time high in Michigan, averaging $3.65 per gallon. The cheapest price is in the Flint area ($3.61 per gallon) and the highest average is in Marquette ($3.73 per gallon). And, for a short time today, oil prices briefly surged over $120 dollars a barrel.

The high prices have some people praying at the pump, and one 10-year-old boy in Burton wrote letters to several local officials asking them to do something. He's feeling the pain because his mother has stopped buying extra goodies when she goes shopping. We're all cutting back because of high gas prices.

Blame it on increased demand or our falling dollar, but it doesn't look like prices will go down anytime soon (if ever). However, there is some good news on the fuel economy front that could accomplish two things at once - bring jobs to Michigan and help automakers achieve the 31.6 mpg standard the NHTSA proposed they reach by 2015.
A surplus Delphi research lab in Macomb County's Shelby Township has been donated to an initiative that could help automakers meet stringent new federal fuel economy guidelines.

USAutoPARTs, expected to be up and running by June, will involve auto suppliers, state government, the U.S. Department of Energy and universities in clearing roadblocks on the path to energy efficiency.

If successful, the initiative could help create thousands of Michigan jobs and bring millions in federal research dollars to the state. [...]

The consortium will research a variety of "pre-competitive" areas, such as developing lighter-weight materials, improving engine combustion efficiency, and figuring out ways to heat and cool interiors without drawing power from the engine.
The U.S. Army's National Automotive Center in Warren is involved, along with Wayne State University. The school signed up to teach evening classes at USAutoPARTs, which will provide a place for colleges to educate students in new automotive technologies.

I guess this is one of those examples of turning lemons into lemonade, although I'm not quite sure that 10-year-old boy in Burton would see it that way.


Kvatch said...

$3.70? Wimps! I can find regular unleaded for $4.50. Contemplate an extra $.70 per gallon and pity us poor Left Coasters!

(Sorry...I kid. I know the pain everyone is feeling. Our food prices are shooting up like fireworks at fairground.)

Energy efficiency could be the greatest challenge and job creation mechanism of our time, if we let it. Why can't we?!

Lew Scannon said...

They should have done this 30 years ago.

Kathy said...

Kvatch, I feel guilty about complaining after hearing that, although you have an advantage we don't have here in semi-rural Michigan - public transportation! It would be really difficult for us to exist without a car, but we cope by making sure we stop for necessities on the way home from work instead of going back out again. The internet helps with banking, ordering medicines, buying stamps, etc. I love the convenience.

Lew, I agree 100%. Experts saw this coming a long time ago, but we were lulled into complacency by the low prices (and the greed of the oil companies who liked the monopoly they had).

Frogette said...

Sadly 31 miles to the gallon isn't going to stem the pain at the pump. We should be aiming for 50 - 60 mpg.

Time to slap a solar panel on that SUV.

Kathy said...

Frogette, a solar panel is a good idea, just not here in Michigan where the sun is an anomaly 6 months of the year. ;-)