July 19-26, 2006

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Nūz: Santa Cruz County News Briefs

Gallon Drunk

'Fuel efficiency" may not be a buzz-phrase for Venezuelans who guzzle gas at an astonishing 12 CENTS A GALLON. But for cost-conscious commuters in Santa Cruz, who are now paying upward of $3.30 a gallon (yes, that's more than it takes someone in Venezuela to fill their entire tank), every cent counts. Saving both money and the environment were what self-described commuter advocate DR. RON S. NOLAN had in mind three months ago when he co-founded SOLAR METRO ONLINE, which provides information on solar energy and transportation issues. The site's most popular section is its daily updates on gas prices at 22 stations in Aptos, Capitola, Soquel and SANTA CRUZ.

"Gas prices are a large factor in people's budgets," said Nolan. "We thought that this would be a valuable resource."

Other websites that list local gas prices, according to Nolan, merely rely upon volunteer referrals, which can be unreliable, or credit card transactions that can be several days out of date. Prices at Solar Metro Online are updated by one of the website's staff members every day between 2 and 3pm through phone calls or personal visits to each gas station.

Faithful followers of Nolan's site stay up to date on the latest fluctuations, though it's all a far cry from last year at this time when gas prices were--sigh--around $2.50 A GALLON in Santa Cruz.

All of which brings us back to the land of really, REALLY cheap gas. Venezuelan President Victor Chavez is deemed by Nolan a "hero to his people" and by PRESIDENT BUSH as a second cousin to the antichrist. That whacky leftist is using the profits from state oil company METROGAS to subsidize cheap food for the poor, in addition to creating numerous social development programs.

In fact, earlier this month, the Venezuelan government donated $100,000 to Barrio Unidos, the Santa Cruz-based nonprofit dedicated to stemming the tide of youth violence. Look for Bush and his billionaire oil buddies to "thank" Venezuelans by continuing to do everything he can to destabilize their government.

Nūz just loves juicy tips about Santa Cruz County politics.

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