|Issue of the Day Posts Tagged ‘Transportation’|
On Monday, Washington DC Metro experienced a collision between two above-ground commuter trains, resulting in 7 deaths and 76 people taken to hospitals, including two in critical condition. The crash site is still being treated as a rescue scene because there may still be bodies uncovered. In Metro’s 33 year history, there were 2 other major crashes—one in January 1982 where 3 were killed and a crash in 2004 that left many injured. In a report, issued by the National Transportation Safety Board in 2006, the Washington Transit Authority was warned about some of the cars that were involved in the Monday crash calling for either retrofitting or phasing them out. Recently, two crashes in Boston and Los Angeles occurred because of cell phone use. As a result, Los Angeles banned transit workers’ cell phone use while on duty.
In the last 13 years, the number of commuter rail transit mileage has increased 3 times from 4150 miles to 7000 miles in 2006. With President Obama’s energy plan calling for new construction projects and a greater emphasis on using mass transit as a way to cut greenhouse emissions, that number is expected to increase with the plan’s approval from Congress. Accidents with transit rail, even with the extra mileage, have remained relatively constant at about 3,000 separate incidents annually, ranging from minor to major, since 1985. The rate of accidents for rail continues to be the second safest mode of transport behind commuter air travel.
The price of gas in the last 48 days has risen $0.61 or 30.3% on average nationwide to set a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline to $2.669 on Monday. This comes as global events pull crude lower to $70 a barrel. Crude has had a rollercoaster ride with global events such as protests in Iran and sabotage in the Niger Delta; the World’s Reserve Currency and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) have stated that $75-80 per barrel is a fair level.
From each barrel of crude, a refinery produces 19.15 gallons of gasoline, 9.21 gallons of diesel, and 16.32 gallons of various other products. In 2007, the cost of crude oil only contributed 58% to the price of gas per gallon at the pump; this is 10 percent higher than previous years. The refining cost — up 1% from the previous 7 years — contributed 17% to the average distribution cost of a gallon of regular. Distribution, marketing and retail dealer costs and profits in 2007 were 10% of the gasoline price, which is down from the 2000-2007 average of 12%. The demand for gas in the US, another factor in the price per gallon, is driven by a steady increase in the monthly vehicle mileage. Given slow rise in vehicle fuel efficiency, the US consumption of gasoline has, since 1980, remained about 700 gallons per year or a consumption of 9 million of barrels of crude oil a day.
President Requests Funding for Transit Construction Projects
Published Monday, May 18th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
According to the Department of Transportation, last week President Obama sent to Congress a request for $1.83 billion in funding for major transit projects, which promises to create jobs and increase both bus and light transit rail options for commuters and travelers. More than $600 million of the funds are for new projects in places such as New Jersey and Colorado, adding up to 39 projects. The announcement detailed 29 projects of which have received federal commitments for funding in previous years; the last 10 are split between new major transit capital construction and the expansion of smaller transit projects.
The emergence of new construction projects for mass transit has come from the presidential initiative to increase the construction and use of alternative transportation to cut emissions and create jobs. Currently, emissions from cars contribute 88.4% of the US share of carbon dioxide, 56% of all carbon monoxide, and 55% of our share of oxides of nitrogen. Currently, the total highway system mileage (distance measured in miles) has increased steadily since 1975 to 4.016 million miles of roads, which handle a steady increase in national miles driven year after year. However, transit rail miles, which includes commuter rail, has surged and ebbed to settle at 6,972 miles of track in 2006.
Gas Mileage Wars Rage as EPA Considers State Limits
Published Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 by Lacey Loftin
Gas mileage wars are heating up between California and Detroit as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held public hearings on the possibility of California imposing its own limits on Fuel-Economy Standards, which until now has been the work of the EPA. This move to reconsider California’s request comes as a campaign promise President Obama made to the state, in that he would ask the EPA to reverse the Bush-era rulings. California wishes to enact 43 miles per gallon on average by 2016, which is far higher than the 35 miles per gallon by 2020 target of the Energy Act of 2007. Thirteen other states have adopted California’s rule and several other states are considering its adoption. Car makers, even the foreign makers, argue that if granted, the new standard will require a totally new engine, which in this economy is unrealistic as cash for innovation and research is just not there.
According to the Department of Transportation, the average miles per gallon for passenger cars is 22.4 mpg and the SUVs, after remaining quite flat, have risen to an average of 18 mpg. The average annual mileage for the approximately 243.3 million cars, trucks and SUVs on the roads was actually steady, until 2006 when US drivers averaged 300 more miles driven in a year. According to the Department of Energy, the US dependance on foreign oil has cost us about $1.9 trillion from 2004 to 2008.