August 9, 2006 in Business

Pipe closure not changing drivers

The Spokesman-Review
 

High gasoline prices already had most people cutting back on driving before the shutdown of an Alaska pipeline threatened to push costs even higher.

However, few drivers are making bigger changes, such as carpooling or using mass transit.

Fifty-five percent of drivers said they had reduced their driving because of high gas prices, according to a poll released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. About one in five said they had started carpooling or sharing rides more often, while 12 percent said they had begun using mass transit more often.

Economists say Americans’ dependence on the automobile makes it unlikely drivers will change their driving habits dramatically, regardless of price increases, at least in the short term.

Washington

DOE award honors BPA pilot

The U.S. Department of Energy has named an aviation award in honor of John Cooley, a Bonneville Power Administration pilot from Cheney who was killed while stringing power lines two years ago.

The DOE awarded its first John Cooley Aviation Operations/Support Professional Memorial Award to Tony Shoemaker, chief pilot for National Security Technologies, at a ceremony last month in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Cooley worked for BPA for 25 years, stringing lines and flying helicopter line patrols in Eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana. He was killed when his helicopter crashed in north Spokane as he was stringing transmission lines.

Washington

SoCal, Northeast need power lines

New high-voltage power lines are desperately needed in Southern California and on the East Coast to relieve congestion on the nation’s power grid, the U.S. Department of Energy said Tuesday.

After studying the 160,000 miles of heavy power lines that deliver electricity across the United States, the department concluded in a report released Tuesday that certain areas of the country, particularly California and the Northeast, need significant additional transmission capacity.

The findings could prompt DOE to label those areas and others as “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.”

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