Gasoline

Gas prices are up in North Carolina as supply is dwindling.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Gasoline prices are up across North Carolina, and some stations are running out of fuel.

Colonial Pipeline shut down the line that pumps a million barrels of gas a day to North Carolina and five other Southern states. That's because of a leak that was discovered along the Alabama stretch on September 9.

Gasoline prices at the Carrboro Food Mart gas station in April 2013
Laura Candler

Gasoline and natural gas have hit record-low prices in the last few months. It was hailed as overwhelmingly good news for consumers and the economy.

But the price you pay at the pump may not be the real cost.

“So the real cost of that gallon of gas is the price you pay at the pump plus about four dollars,” says Drew Shindell, a professor of climate change at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

Shindell wrote a paper that calculates the “social cost” of energy, or the total cost to society.

A picture of a Viking gas-powered lawnmower.
kallerna / Wikipedia

Durham's "Get Your Grass Off Gas" campaign kicks off its fourth year next weekend. Each year, the city collects gas-powered yard equipment – like lawn mowers and weed whackers. They send those to the scrap yard and give residents discounts on new electric models.

City Sustainability Officer Tobin Freid says about 300 people have turned in gas-powered equipment over the past three years.

An older model Raleigh police car. The department is installing propane tanks in some of its cars.
Alberto Rodriguez via Creative Commons

The Raleigh Police Department is adding propane tanks to more of its patrol cars after a two-year test run. 

Gasoline prices at the Carrboro Food Mart gas station in April 2013
Laura Candler

The state Department of Transportation's main source of revenue will drop sharply over the next decade. 

That's according to the DOT's chief financial officer, who recently told the Board of Transportation that more fuel efficient cars are cutting into state revenue from the gas tax.  That source of funding accounts for 70 percent of the department's budget.  The DOT's CFO, Mark Foster, says growth in revenue from the gas tax depends on more drivers using more gas.

Electric vehicle fuel costs are about one third the amount a conventional car spends on fuel in North Carolina.
Wikimedia Commons

A new tool on the US Department of Energy’s website allows users in each state to compare the price of power for an electric car to the cost of driving the same distance using gasoline. In North Carolina, a gallon of regular, unleaded fuel costs an average of $3.41. The equivalent amount of electricity costs about a third of that- an average of $1.02. That’s 12 cents less than the national average.

People who live in the Raleigh area and want to use alternative fuels for their cars or trucks have a new choice. A station on New Bern Avenue opens today with both E-85 ethanol blend and bio-diesel available. It's the first of its kind in the state capital. Anne Tazewell is the transportation manager for the North Carolina Solar Center at N-C State. She says alternative fuel stations are slowly spreading across the state.

Drivers can learn how to save gas at a workshop today in Raleigh. The North Carolina Solar Center will host the Drive Green, Save Green demonstration. Participants will drive a five-mile course as they normally would and then try again with a few pointers in mind. Anne Tazewell from the Solar Center says a conscientious driver can save an extra 10 to 30 percent on fuel by following their advice.

Love And Gasoline

Sep 19, 2008

Love may make the world go around, but sometimes it may need a little gasoline to keep it going. North Carolina Public Radio asked listeners how the year's dramatic rise in gasoline prices has affected their personal lives.