Down to Earth
By Paul Dillon
Jan. 4 – There’s a fascinating report from Sightline called “Shifting In Reverse” that says high prices are lessening the appetite for gasoline in Washington and Oregon as residents are indeed using less. However, it’s not just the cost at the pump. Social and technological changes as well as shifts in driving behavior are behind the trend.
From the report:
• In 2011, per capita gasoline use in Oregon and Washington fell to its lowest level in nearly 50 years. Washington residents now consume 7.3 gallons per week, while Oregonians use 7.1 gallons per week.
• Gains in vehicle efficiency played only a small role in the decline in gas consumption. Despite higher fuel economy standards, the real-world MPG of the U.S. fleet has only risen slightly over the last 10 years.
By Paul Turner
Jan. 3 – I was riding the early bus in the first forward-facing seat.
A girl got on just before downtown and sat in the center-facing seat directly in front of me. She might have been 18. Could have been 20.
She proceeded to extract a compact from her bag and began applying makeup, studying the little mirror as she went.
I wasn’t sure this was a great idea. It was pretty dark in the bus. And the ride is not without an occasional jostle. How could she do a precise job?
I imagined saying something to her. “You know, you don’t really need that stuff. You look just fine.”
But, of course, I kept quiet. Billions of dollars spent convincing women to be insecure about their appearance had already spoken.
By Rich Landers
Jan. 2 – Members of Northwest Whitewater call their New Year’s Day tradition on the Spokane River the “Only Fools Float the River on the First” event – and they had no shortage of numbskulls aboard this year.
The 20th annual Fools Float on Tuesday included 19 boats and 32 people braving temps that ranged around 23 degrees, reported organizer Paul Delaney.