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Roadshow: $1,200 a month fuels long commutes

Gary Richards, San Jose Mercury News
Now, this is pain at the pump.

Record-setting fuel prices have hammered California drivers, but few are reeling like Rick and Arleen Roberts of Los Banos. Their monthly bill to fill up his diesel VW Golf and her Corolla:

Just shy of $1,200.

No typo, no misplaced comma.

“It’s killing me,” said Rick, 50, a scientist for Roche Pharmaceutical in Palo Alto.

“I never believed we’d be paying this much,” sighed Arleen, a catering manager for a hotel in Fresno.

Yep, he commutes 220 miles a day over Pacheco Pass to the Peninsula. She travels 165 miles deep into the Central Valley. That’s 1,925 miles a week, or more when they work six days out of seven – which both do often.
(29 March 2008)

Australia: Stuck in our cars on the highway to hell

Graeme Davison, The Age
CLIMATE change, peak oil, mounting traffic congestion and planning inertia have given Melbourne a transport headache. For half a century, we have hitched our hopes to an impossible dream – the dream of automobility. The freedom to drive when, where and as often as we like has become almost a sacred right. Now our dream has become a nightmare. As petrol prices rise and the environmental costs of maintaining a car-based city hit home, we may wonder how we got ourselves into this jam. And whether we can get out of it.

Australians have always been in love with mobility. A century ago, steam trains and cable trams helped to make Melbourne one of the most suburbanised cities in the world. We were even more likely to travel to work by train or tram than Londoners or New Yorkers.
(30 March 2008)
Contributor Aaron Wissner writes:
Echoing Matthew Simmons’ “Twilight in the Desert,” peak oil aware Neil King Jr. and Guy Chazon illuminate the limits of Saudi Arabia’s hydrocarbon resources. Sadad al-Husseini points out that conservation and increasing energy efficiency are necessary. The time of decreasing Saudi Arabian oil exports seems to be nearer than ever.

Airlines lighten up to cut fuel costs

Chris Kahn, AP
Your ginger-ale doesn’t come in a glass anymore on most US Airways flights. On Delta you’ll find yourself in a thinner, lighter seat. If you fly JetBlue cross-country, you’ll get a dainty bag of 100-calorie crisps in place of the original snack box of cookies, crackers and spreadable cheese.

With jet fuel prices so high, airlines have no choice but to scour their planes for ways to lighten the load. There’s no room for even the smallest bits of dead weight, from redundant wing lights to extra wires in the walls. Manufacturers also are using lighter materials in plane construction.
(29 March 2008)