Gas price puzzler

Over this weekend, area gas prices were in the $2.49 per gallon range. This extended from Mint Hill as far south as Westinghouse Boulevard (Exit 1 off I-77). Crossing the state line to Carowinds Blvd—just an eye blink away—gas prices were $2.29 per gallon. At the next exit, in Tega Cay, prices were in the mid $1.90s per gallon range. Even factoring in South Carolina’s less expensive gasoline tax, I still find myself wondering how just a handful of miles can equate to a .50 cents or more difference in gasoline prices.

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How cuts in the DMV will affect you

[singlepic=231,270,190,,right]If you are going to the DMV in Charlotte or Raleigh, better get there well before 5 pm for now on. As a part of Gov. Mike Easley’s push to reduce spending, DMV offices will no longer help anyone after 5 pm. So if you were in line from 3:30 to 4:59 and there are people waiting ahead of you, don’t get mad when they turn away. We warned you.

The DMV cuts could save the state $1 million a year. Of course, that $1 million will probably be spent handling complaints from people who were in line and denied at 5 pm. The DMV didn’t have the best reputation for customer service before. Now, it only looks to be getting worse.

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New cure for cell phone, driving addiction

People have become so addicted to cell phone use, they need a computer system to tell the caller and texter the message can’t be received because they are driving. Nationwide Insurance unveiled a new technology today with Aegis Mobility and NASCAR today called DriveAssist—a new cell phone technology that helps eliminate the temptation of the No. 1 distraction.

DriveAssist also allows options to the caller, including the opportunity to leave a message, send an audible alert or request a callback.

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The taxpayers’ role in the new Lynx train line

[singlepic=193,320,240,,right]Last fall, the big policy question in Mecklenburg County was the half-cent sales tax to pay for a north corridor train. The tax passed easily in the November referendum, and the train looks as though it will be built, albeit at a much higher price tag. It was also in November last year the new South Corridor line opened running along South Boulevard between downtown Charlotte and Interstate 485. Ridership has been more than expected thanks to the recent turn in the economy and the gas shortage. Despite many riders, David Hartgen of the John Locke Foundation argues tax payers are footing most of the bill, not riders.

Taxpayers are picking up more than 90 percent of the tab for a lucky few commuters riding Charlotte’s LYNX light-rail line, despite the trains’ limited public benefit for traffic congestion, air quality, or land use.

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The ravages of Hurricane Mike (and Roy)

With the economy in a tailspin, the last thing we needed was a gas shortage. Some people have been camping out at gas stations just to be able to fill their cars. John Hood, Mint Hill native and president of the John Locke Foundation, offers a solution to how the crisis could have been better handled: prices for gas should have been raised during the shortage to prevent non-essential users from topping off their tanks.

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