Concerned by the uncontrollable – snow and gas prices

dwpUPDATE: Weather Forecaster Dennis Mattinson adds to this story: “Right now my weather crystal ball doesn’t show any significant precipitation until the end of the first week of March. Let me put this another way, we are now exiting what usually is one of the wettest months of the winter, in a dry mode. February 2013 will go down as one of the driest in a long time. March can be wet as well, but it will be very hard to make up for any precipitation lost from February. We are now reaching a “drop dead” point where there are some real concerns, over this winter season and its potential for average precipitation amounts. And right now, the Climate Prediction Center is painting a picture that March will be below average in precipitation as well. We will see…”

Two conditions we live with here in the Eastern Sierra – the snowpack and gas prices – are equally out of our control. Right now, the snowpack has flattened out at just about the long-term average. Gas prices, driven up by many factors, may have leveled off too.

First the snow. According to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power website, the Mammoth Pass snowpack, in terms of inches of water, sits at 33.4 inches which is right on top of the long term average for this time of year. December and January looked like we might get a banner snow year. February, not so great.

The DWP snow pillow measurements show Mammoth Pass at 99% of normal to date. Rock Creek, 64%. South Lake, 68%. Big Pine Creek, 55%. Cottonwood Lakes, 48%. Precipitation measurements look even more grim. Lee Vining tops the list with 75% of normal to date. Long Valley, 48%. Bishop, 26%. Big Pine, 20%. Independence, 29%.

In the bigger picture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports that dry conditions will continue to cause problems in much of the United States and particularly in the West. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, “A growing body of research suggests that extreme weather patterns such as drought are being driven by climate change.”

gas_prices_-2.jpgAs the Eastern Sierra hopes for the best for our environment, another uncontrollable concern continues – gas price hikes. The U.S. and right here in the Eastern Sierra have sustained something like 50 cents in gas price increases over the past month or so. All of a sudden the expected prices of around $3.50 per gallon shot up to over $4.

Many national news sources like Forbes and the Washington Post point to a higher demand for gasoline since the economy has improved, higher global demand and commodities speculation. According to the Washington Post, traders buy up gasoline futures contracts which pushes up prices. The Post reports that large financial institutions like hedge funds and other Wall Street investors do not buy oil to use it. Instead, they bet on which way prices will go. This often drives up prices at the pump.

Then there is the 48.6 cent per gallon gas tax in California.

As for prices here – a gallon of regular in Bishop and the Owens Valley goes for $3.98 on the low end up to $4.59 on the high end. Mammoth Lakes last saw prices at $4.66 or $4.74 per gallon. Bridgeport comes in at $5.09 per gallon of regular unleaded.

For more than a few, it’s a time to try to cut travel and to hope for more snow.

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8 Responses to Concerned by the uncontrollable – snow and gas prices

  1. tj February 27, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    The economy has only improved for those who rely on the goverment for their $$ … not for those of us who actually work for a living.

    • Jeremiah's stance February 27, 2013 at 9:42 am #

      Wrong! The Economy has only improved for the top 2%. That’s why the 45% percent of the nations wealth is in the top 2% possession.
      The Economy will never improve if our legislators and Representatives keep lying to us and coming up with these silly names like Fiscal Cliff, Sequester, when really the truth is our government keeps kicking the can down the road when it comes to paying for two unfunded wars and the bush tax cuts that became the Obama tax cuts.
      So save yourself from the embarrassment if you wanna talk politics, You can find the real truths at The Young Turks or if you wanna do something about the legal bribery and corruptive influence money has on our democracy/republic then go to We can’t keep making these arguments that serve the top 2% best interest.

    • Jeremiah's stance February 27, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      I am done with all you Bill O’Reilly viewers talking about lazy, moochers, people looking for a handout, and the beliefs that it is that particular group of people that are hurting the country.
      All of you Republican voters and those who believe the Republican talking points when it comes to welfare, Here some welfare facts for you, and believe me I don’t expect you to see the light but stop with blaming the citizens when The Republicans Thrive on corporate welfare, and they have been loosing all the culture wars, and most of their stance’s is extremely unpopular with the american people the only reason they have been sustained is because of the corporate donors!!
      It either a decision of acceptance or denial, the choice is yours.

  2. Desert Tortoise February 25, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    The Lundberg Survey attributes the spike in gasoline prices to temporary shut downs of several refineries for pre-spring driving season maintenance and they predict prices will fall in a matter of weeks.

    • Jeremiah's stance February 26, 2013 at 5:06 pm #

      I don’t understand why people dislike your comment? It seems it’s the truth unless this crowd is more likely to adhere to this “IT’S OBAMA’S FAULT” “OBAMA’S GAS PRICES”.
      Funny thing is I remember Newt Gingrich promising lower gas prices, like the president has the power to do such a thing.

      • SierraFan February 27, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

        And when Bush was in office, he was blamed for the high prices due to his “Oil Man” back ground. The President has very little if any pull on lowering fuel or gas prices.

  3. Philip Anaya February 25, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    Paid $4.14 cash price, regular unleaded this morning at Giggle Springs Bishop and then $4.11 at Arco (cash) this afternoon in Northridge (LA) . Chevron was $4.29 in Bishop and $4.27 in Northridge today. Is life getting easier in the Eastern Sierra?
    Well that’s all the news fit to print except I was wondering (off subject of course), as I was passing thru Lone Pine, where I could find some of that “Owens Dry Lake Bread”, I saw on a advert sign. I need a little selenium every now and then and I was hopeful. As I felt that need and I did wonder two things more. Where was that water in the Aqueduct 100 years ago, on this very day. Had it made it to Lone Pine yet. It left the Aberdeen cutout ,the start of the 233 mile long enginerring wonder around Feb 13, 14. 1913. Nine moons and about 270 odd sunsets later it arrived not far from Northridge, Nov 6, 1913, There it is,take it .
    Oh yea,the other wonder ; Can I get a receipe for that bread?
    And, For a wonderful oral history of the Aqueduct and the Owens Valley:


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