Approaching the evening of one gorgeous Tuesday — weather-wise — here on California’s north coast with clear skies, temperatures in the mid-60s, and forecast for an even warmer tomorrow.
Rain penciled-in for Thanksgiving, though, and supposedly another big storm by Friday.
Right now, it’s cool.
A cheap-gas holiday ahead, however, not cool, for the road or climate.
OPEC is a big culprit, but yet: ‘OPEC countries failed Thursday to agree to a cut in oil production that was desperately sought by some member states worried about the recent drop in prices.
But Saudia Arabia, the largest among OPEC members, was against the cut in output — in a bid to retain market share and hold off competition from U.S. shale production.’
(Illustration found here).
Beyond a ‘travel nightmare in the east,’ where a humongous snowstorm/rainstorm will mucky-up holiday hustle, the movement of people and machines this Thanksgiving will be vastly aided by some of the lowest gas-pump prices in awhile.
Even here in northern Humboldt, the price for regular is down to $3.19 a gallon — a few cents more directly south in Eureka.
Statewide, the low pump prices will drive people to drive: ‘“It’s been nearly four years since California average gas prices in most regions were below $3 a gallon, but it’s now fairly easy to find individual stations with prices of $2.99 or less,” said Jeffrey Spring, spokesman for the Automobile Club of Southern California.’
Estimates are nearly 6 million Californians will travel 50 miles from home in the next five days, an increase of 3.8 percent over 2013, and the most in seven years — and nearly five million Californians will move via their cars.
Nationwide, 46 million Americans will make that 50-mile journey, and again, most in their vehicles.
Not good on any level.
Today from Grist:
Think last year’s Thanksgiving traffic was bad?
This year, it’ll be even worse.
Drivers should expect this Wednesday’s travel times to be 25 to 36 percent longer — and for rush hour to start two hours earlier — than on a typical Wednesday, according to the annual INRIX Thanksgiving Traffic Forecast.
Basically, INRIX analysts say, don’t even bother trying to drive between 2 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, unless by “drive” you mean “sit and stare at a Coexist bumper sticker,” which, I know, is everyone’s favorite thing.
And oil keeps falling: ‘Brent crude fell $1.35 a barrel to settle at $78.33. U.S. crude fell $1.69 to $74.09.’
OPEC meets Thursday, and we’ll see what happens there.
These cheap prices, though, are a facade — and Americans are in for the short haul, apparently, as the pump numbers drop, more big-bucket polluters hit the streets.
From The Atlantic earlier this month:
The price drop comes just days after the UN declared that fossil fuel emissions must drop to zero by the end of the century in order to keep global temperatures in check.
These low oil prices may undermine the message from the UN’s climate panel, Anthony Perl, a political scientist from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, said.
He studies the intersection of transportation and the environment in countries like the U.S. and Canada.
“I don’t think people will see the urgency of dealing with fossil fuels today,” Perl said.
Instead, he explained, people may choose to fill up their cars and burn fuel while the costs are low.
Falling oil prices may also deter businesses from switching to energy-saving technology, as a 2006 study in the Energy Journal suggested.
Saving several pennies at the pump, Perl said, may tempt Americans away from actions that can lead to a sustainable, post-carbon future.
Indeed, in the past month some automakers noticed a jump in gas-guzzling car sales.
According to CNN, October saw a 52 percent jump in Jeep SUV sales and a 36 percent rise in Ram trucks.
Some hybrid and electric vehicle sales fell at the same time.
“This is like putting a Big Mac in front of people who need to diet or watch their cholesterol,” Perl said.
“Some people might have the willpower to stick with their program, and some people will wait until their first heart attack before committing to a diet—but if we do that at a planetary scale it will be pretty traumatic.”
Yes, on the road again, as hard and fast as possible.