COMMENTS: Mental Arithmetic

ABC's selection for its lead story was the high price of gasoline. Dan Harris (embargoed link) told us that a gallon now costs over $4 in Chicago, offering a couple of vignettes submitted by viewers on resulting hard times. Ben Tracy's four-dollar-gasoline story for CBS was quirkier. He told us that the filling station pumps made before the digital age had a dial for setting the price by hand. There are 17,000 of these C20th pumps still in use around the country: they "top out at $3.99 the highest price imaginable when they were made in the '90s." Tracy introduced us to the unfortunate Lou Engel, who now has to resort to mental arithmetic when selling gasoline at his repair-and-towing station on the Island of Vashon in Puget Sound. ABC's second energy story was A Closer Look at windmills by Barbara Pinto. She traveled to the blustery hills of Rockport Mo where a farm of four Suzlon turbines supplies all the electricity the town of 1300 needs, plus extra juice to sell onto the grid. The local utility has promised the town's residents and businesses that electric rates can now be frozen at current levels for the next 25 years.


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