Our local weatherpersons forecasted big rain for today, but the Jet Stream blew it all south to Southern California again. Instead, we have wind from the north gusting up to 60 MPH. Since I’m going south for the evening commute, maybe it’s a good time to beat some Strava records. Too bad I brought my heavy, fendered singlespeed clunker today.
One of the big news story today is John Hofmeister’s prediction for $5 gasoline in 2012. I don’t know if it will hit $5 in the United States next year, but it’s not too hard to see gas will be a story again in 2011 like it was in 2008 when American prices broached $4. Nobody’s really talked about it, but our gas prices have been at record highs for the winter season, when gas prices normally drop significantly. Combine that with low inventories and dropping production worldwide, and we’re gonna get hit hard when the summer ‘driving season’ and mandatory reformulated gas begins next June.
My cycling friends say they’re glad they bike, but the price of gas affects much more than personal transportation costs. When gas prices go up, the economy slows, food prices go up, transit fares rise, transit service is cut, and people lose jobs. We’ll see another double to triple digit increase in bicycling next year, but a lot of that increase will be tempered by a another big wave of layoffs.
A bipartisan congressional commission recommended a 15 cent increase in the Federal gas tax so those high prices will benefit the public at large instead of multinational oil corporations. Incoming House transportation committee chair John Mica (R-FL) — who received $60,000 in contributions this year from the oil lobby — has pledged to shoot down any proposed increases in the national gas tax.