NPR on falling gas prices

There is some pretty good news on American demand for gas, not entirely unpredicted. It’s going down, and energy economists believe that the trend will continue–from National Public Radio.

The great thing about the story: it nicely illustrates all the ways that drivers can substitute different behaviors and technologies to save money before they take the step onto public transit: by changing cars, by shortening trips, by rearranging trips, etc.

This is not to say that I think transit usage hasn’t made a different. Long-term trends towards urbanization promise to redistribute a greater share of the whole population into metro areas. Combined with natural increase in already urbanized areas, we should see more riders riding more over the long term.

The difference that refining makes

Just in case anybody thinks diesel engine fuel standards have not made a difference, check out the smoke here at the beginning of this clip from the marvelously campy 1980s mini-series Monte Carlo. You don’t–or you shouldn’t–generally see this level of particulate emissions from any diesel engine at this point due to much more stringent refining requirements, both in the US and and in Europe.

And you get Joan Collins and George Hamilton!