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AC_Beyond2012E

TAMPA, Fla. (Feb. 19, 2012) – Both oil and gas prices climbed last week after headlines reported an improving U.S. economy, Greek bailout plan, and heightened tensions with Iran. The closing price for a barrel of oil reached a nine-month high and gas prices continue to hit record prices for the month of February. The national average price for a gallon of gas is $3.55, with two states, California and Hawaii, already surpassing $4 a gallon. A barrel of oil closed Friday at $103.24 on the New York Mercantile Exchange--$4.57 more than the week prior.

The Commerce Department reported U.S. contractors broke ground on more homes than originally forecast in January and the Labor Department announced insurance applications for the unemployed fell by 13,000 in the second week of February to 348,000. These two pieces of information were taken as positive indicators the U.S. economy is improving and were enough to help support increased oil prices, despite continued news of lackluster demand.

European leaders are scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the final details of another bailout plan for Greece. This news alone added optimism to the market and increased speculation a resolution will soon be in place to help the indebted country and repair global fuel demand. This comes at a time when tensions with Iran worsen as stricter sanctions are placed on the country to curb their nuclear efforts. Oil prices are expected to increase again this week on concerns Iran will disrupt oil shipments on the Strait of Hormuz and halt exports to French and British companies.

“A couple of weeks ago, it looked as if consumers might see some relief at the pump after oil prices traded below $100 a barrel for several consecutive weeks, but that is no longer the case,” said Jessica Brady, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group. “The price at the pump continues to increase and break monthly records and it doesn’t look like relief will come anytime soon. Global headlines fueled a bullish market last week and pushed oil prices to a nine-month high.

“Although U.S. fuel demand remains sluggish and it’s evident consumers are doing what they can to cut associated costs, it’s not having a significant impact on the market. Retail gas prices are expected to increase further this week and will likely do so well into March, making $4 a gallon more of a reality come spring.”

The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline is $3.55, a 5 cent increase from last week. Florida’s average of $3.67 and Tennessee’s average of $3.48 both increased 4 cents from last week. Georgia’s average price of $3.54 increased 2 cents from last week, respectively.

CURRENT AND PAST PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline

Current              Week Ago         Month Ago        Year Ago

National:           $3.556              $3.509              $3.382              $3.163

Florida:             $3.672              $3.634              $3.469              $3.147

Georgia:           $3.547              $3.521              $3.384              $3.091

Tennessee:       $3.488             $3.448              $3.273              $3.020

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AC_Beyond2012EGAINESVILLE – If the earth was an artist’s canvas subject to redesign, parts of eastern Alachua County would like vastly different thanks to some UF students’ creative imaginations.

Using design boards and sticks, students presented development ideas for Plum Creek lands in eastern Alachua County recently at the Curtis M. Phillips Center.

These ideas included the creation of mixed urban and agricultural areas, the aligning of buildings to capture solar energy and the conservation of rain to water the earth, among others.

“I was coming in…expecting to be kind of impressed” said Robert Hutchinson, member of the task force that evaluates the ideas, “but I was amazed.”

Plum Creek is the largest timber landowner in the U.S. with about 7 million acres nationwide and 65,000 acres in Alachua County.

The student projects were semester-long graduate work in the UF College of Design, Construction and Planning.

Eco Fusion, one of the 12 projects, looked at the orientation of buildings to capture as much sunlight for energy use, said Mary Padua, associate professor at the department of landscape architecture.

The group also considered how it could conserve the water from storms to use to water the earth, Padua said.

Pierce Jones, extension program leader for Energy Programs at UF pointed out the financial savings from sustainable planning.  He gave a real-life example of a plan later revised to use less land-area.

The savings in road construction was about $145 million and in fuel costs a year was substantial, Jones said.

“If you don't design right, the cost of living will be unsustainable,” Jones said.

Cluster Drape, another student group, incorporated the use of algae for fuel as an alternative to gasoline, said Oneil Howell, 30, architecture major.

One drawback to the algae production, however, was that it could be harmful. But this negative could also be a positive, Howell said, as it could generate more jobs for researchers to maintain the plant.

A contract with Alachua County allows the timber company to build one residential unit for every five acres it owns, said Powell, real estate director for Plum Creek.

And with about 65,000 acres in Alachua County owned by the company, the contract would allow the company to develop about 13,000 residential areas in Alachua County.

Graduate student Wes MacLeod said he did not agree with the company developing lands in eastern Alachua.

“A more sustainable solution would be developing a place that is already developed,” he said.

Powell, however, said that while they are allowed to build, they plan to develop only a small portion of the eastern Alachua County and conserve as much as 22,000 acres in the county.

Alachua residents are encouraged participate in the meetings to discuss what would be best for the community. Participants are encouraged to register at www.envisionalachua.com.

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AC_Beyond2012E

LAKE CITY -- The following is a list of roadwork underway by the Florida Department of Transportation that may impact traffic.

ALACHUA COUNTY:

Archer Road (State Road 24) Nighttime lane closures at Southwest 40th Avenue to extend the left turn lane.

 

Archer Road (State Road 24) Nighttime lane closures Tuesday through Thursday from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. between Southwest 44th and 78th streets, west of Interstate 75, for paving.

 

East University Avenue (State Road 26) Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from Waldo Road (State Road 24) to Main Street (State Road 329).

 

Interstate 75 at Newberry Road (Exit 387) Nighttime lane closures Sunday night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for northbound ramp traffic to westbound Newberry Road. All traffic will use the eastbound lane and the traffic signal. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph on I-75 and semi-trucks are allowed to use the northbound inside lane approaching the Newberry Road interchange. The sidewalk on the south side of the overpass between the northbound and southbound exit ramps remains closed. Pedestrians are directed to use the sidewalk on the north side of the road.

 

Interstate 75 frontage road (April Boulevard) Daytime lane closures from US 441 to the end of the road for drainage and shoulder work.

 

Interstate 75 at Micanopy (County Road 234) Daytime lane closures at the Micanopy exit on and off ramps Thursday and possibly Friday for both northbound and southbound directions from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for resurfacing.

Interstate 75 (Paynes Prairie) Daytime lane closures up to two lanes for the northbound direction on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and for the southbound direction on Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at mile marker 379 in the Paynes Prairie area to resurface damaged asphalt. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures. Note: The planned closures are subject to be rescheduled due to bad weather or other conditions.

Newberry Road (State Road 26) Daytime and nighttime lane closures Sunday through Tuesday for eastbound traffic at the Interstate 75 overpass for drainage work associated with the I-75 ramp widening.

 

North Main Street (State Road 329) Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from East University Avenue to Northwest Eighth Avenue.

 

Northwest Sixth Street (State Road 20) Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from Northwest Eighth Avenue to US 441.

 

Northwest Eighth Avenue (State Road 20) Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from North Main Street to Northwest Sixth Street.

 

Northwest 34th Street (State Road 121) Daytime lane closures from University Avenue (State Road 26) to US 441 near the FHP station to repaint the roadway markings.

 

Northwest 39th Avenue (State Road 222) Daytime lane closures Monday both east and westbound from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to trim trees in the median.

 

Southeast 171st Street Daytime lane closures Tuesday between Windsor and State Road 20 in Hawthorne from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. to take roadway samples for testing.

Southwest 34th Street (State Road 121) Daytime lane closures between Williston Road (State Road 331) and West University Avenue (State Road 26) to repaint the roadway markings.

 

State Road 26 at US 301 Possible daytime lane closures at the overpass for safety improvements.

 

State Road 26 Daytime lane closures from Hawthorne Road (State Road 20) to the Putnam County line to repaint the roadway markings. Also, crews will be repainting the roadway lines which is a moving operation.

 

State Road 121 Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from the Levy County line to Southwest 34th Street (State Road 121).

 

State Road 235 Daytime lane closures after 8:30 a.m. between County Road 241 and the Bradford County line near Brooker for drainage and shoulder work.

 

US 301 Daytime lane closures between the Bradford and Marion County line to repaint roadway markings. Also, crews will be repainting the roadway lines which is a moving operation.

 

US 301 Daytime lane closures for northbound traffic Tuesday through Thursday between the Marion County line and County Road 325 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. to take roadway samples for testing.

US 441 Daytime lane closures to repaint the roadway markings from Northwest Sixth Street to the Columbia County line.

 

Williston Road (State Road 331) Daytime lane closures for westbound traffic from Main Street to Southeast 16th Avenue (State Road 226) Monday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to take roadway samples for testing.

 

BAKER COUNTY:

 

County Road 125 (Manntown Bridge) The Manntown Bridge, just south of Interstate 10,  is closed to all traffic for four months to accommodate bridge replacement. Traffic is detoured to Mud Lake Road (County Road 130), State Road 121, I-10 and back to CR 125.

 

County Road 250A (Forest Road 42) Possible daytime lane closures to work on drainage between US 90 to Interstate 10 in preparation for resurfacing.

 

State Road 2 Crews will be performing some roadway testing between the Columbia County line and the Georgia line on Wednesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. which is a moving operation.

 

State Road 2 Daytime lane closures west of County Road 127 near the Georgia line on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for routine bridge maintenance.

 

State Road 2 Daytime lane closures east of the Columbia county line Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for resurfacing.

 

BRADFORD COUNTY:

US 301 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines between the Alachua and Clay county lines which is a moving operation.

 

US 301 Daytime lane closures Wednesday and possibly Thursday between County Road 18 and 221 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. to take roadway samples for testing.

COLUMBIA COUNTY:

Baya Drive (State Road 10A) Daytime lane closures between US 90 East and West to repaint the roadway markings.

Branford Highway (SR 247) Work to add a northbound right turn lane onto Bascom Norris Road is underway and utility companies are moving their utility lines off the east side of the road which should not impact traffic.

 

Interstate 75 Daytime lane closures Wednesday from 1-4 p.m. for northbound traffic from south of US 90 (Exit 427) to north of I-10 (Exit 435) to take roadway samples for testing.

 

Interstate 75 Nighttime lane closures Monday night after 8 p.m. between US 441 and the Suwannee County line for repaving. Daytime lane closures for guardrail replacement.

  • Tuesday night, the I-10 eastbound ramp to I-75 northbound will be closed from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. and traffic will be detoured to I-75 southbound to US 90, re-enter I-75 northbound. This adds 16 miles to the trip.
  • Wednesday and Thursday nights, the I-75 northbound ramp to I-10 eastbound and westbound will be closed. Traffic will be detoured to SR 136 (Exit 439), re-enter I-75 southbound to I-10 eastbound or westbound. This will add eight miles to the trip.

All of the planned closures are subject to be rescheduled due to bad weather or other conditions.

 

Interstate 75 Daytime lane closures for northbound and southbound traffic between the Alachua County line and north of US 41/441 to replace guardrail. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures. No lane closures allowed from Friday at 6 a.m. through Sunday at 9 p.m.

 

Marion Street (US 441) The road will be closed Thursday, Feb. 16 at 5 p.m. through Saturday, Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. from US 90 to Franklin Street for the Olustee Festival. Also, the road will be closed Saturday, Feb. 18 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. from the FDOT offices north to US 90 for the Olustee parade.

 

State Road 2 Daytime lane closures from the Georgia line to the Baker County line Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for resurfacing.

 

HAMILTON COUNTY:

Interstate 75 No lane closures planned on this upcoming resurfacing project between the Suwannee River Bridge (Suwannee County line) and US 129 (Exit 451).  Workers may be on the side of the road so use caution in the 10-mile long section of roadway.

 

Interstate 75 The southbound agricultural inspection station at mile marker 446 is closed while a new station is built.  All livestock is redirected to the FDOT weigh station at mile marker 451 which is north of the closed agricultural inspection station.

 

US 41 Crews will be performing some roadway testing between State Road 6 and US 129  on Tuesday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. which is a moving operation.

 

LAFAYETTE COUNTY:

State Road 51 Daytime lane closures from the Dixie County line to US 27 in Mayo to trim trees.

 

State Road 349 Daytime lane closures from US 27 to the Dixie County line to trim trees.

 

LEVY COUNTY:

Northeast 205th Avenue (County Road 331A) Daytime lane closures from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to begin work adding a sidewalk from County Road 318 to Northeast Fourth Avenue for Williston Middle School.

US 19 Daytime lane closures for northbound and southbound traffic in Fanning Springs for work in the medians.

 

MADISON COUNTY:

State Road 53 Daytime lane closures from US 90 to the Georgia line to repair the asphalt.

 

US 19 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines between the Jefferson and Taylor County lines which is a moving operation.

US 90 Daytime lane closures from Greenville to the Jefferson County line to clean ditches. Also, crews will be repainting the roadway lines between the Jefferson and Suwannee County lines which is a moving operation.

 

SUWANNEE COUNTY:

Interstate 10 Daytime lane closures between US 90 (Exit 275) and US 129 (Exit 283) to place guardrail in the median and work on the motorist aid call boxes. The speed limit is reduced to 60 mph during lane closures. No lane closures allowed Friday through Sunday.

 

State Road 51 Daytime lane closures from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. between Evergreen Avenue and Pinewood Drive for paving a turn lane onto a new side street location – Silas Drive.

 

TAYLOR COUNTY:

State Road 51 Daytime lane closures from Steinhatchee to the Dixie County line to trim trees.

US 19 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines from County Road 30 to US 221 which is a moving operation.

 

US 98 Possible daytime lane closures Monday through Friday as work continues to build a temporary bridge across the Aucilla River at the Jefferson County line. No detours will be required for this project.

 

UNION COUNTY:

State Road 100 Work continues on the multi-use trail that follows the old Norfolk Southern rail corridor adjacent to SR 100 from State Road 238 to County Road 237. Motorists should watch for construction equipment and workers in the area Monday through Friday.

 

State Road 100 No lane closures scheduled at the intersections of Lake Avenue and State Road 121, however workers will be in the area to install new traffic signal equipment.

 

State Road 100 Crews will be repainting the roadway lines between State Road 121 and the Bradford County line which is a moving operation.

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AC_Beyond2012E GAINESVILLE - Average retail gasoline prices in Gainesville have risen 3.8 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.66/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.3 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.47/g, according to gasoline price website GainesvilleGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Gainesville during the past week, prices yesterday were 47.1 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 18.5 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 12.3 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 34.8 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"Retail gasoline prices have continued to slowly rise across a majority of the United States," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "With the exception of one state- Wyoming- all states are seeing their gasoline prices averaging over $3/gallon again, with some of the largest cities- New York City and Los Angeles closing in on $4/gallon," DeHaan said.

About GainesvilleGasPrices.com

GasBuddy operates GainesvilleGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

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AC_Beyond2012E GAINESVILLE- Average retail gasoline prices in Gainesville have risen 4.7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $3.62/g yesterday. This compares with the national average that has increased 3.0 cents per gallon in the last week to $3.43/g, according to gasoline price website GainesvilleGasPrices.com.

Including the change in gas prices in Gainesville during the past week, prices yesterday were 47.0 cents per gallon higher than the same day one year ago and are 16.9 cents per gallon higher than a month ago. The national average has increased 10.2 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 31.9 cents per gallon higher than this day one year ago.

"The national average has continued on its upward trend as we move closer to spring and EPA-mandated cleaner burning gasoline," said GasBuddy.com Senior Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan. "The smaller movements in gasoline prices as of late in areas of the country will certainly not hold much longer. Gasoline prices tend to start moving significantly higher towards the end of February and into mid-March, so motorists should be preparing for higher prices," DeHaan said.

 

GasBuddy operates GainesvilleGasPrices.com and over 250 similar websites that track gasoline prices at over 140,000 gasoline stations in the United States and Canada. In addition, GasBuddy offers a free smartphone app which has been downloaded over 20 million times to help motorists find gasoline prices in their area.

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