Gasoline pains for drivers in Western Pennsylvania

Written by Jon Schmitz on .


The price of gasoline is edging back up in Western Pennsylvania, and we continue to pay much more than the national average per gallon, according to AAA.

The price per gallon in this area climbed 2 cents to $3.525, more than 22 cents above the national average, AAA said.

"According to the AAA Fuel Gauge, only 12 states (including Pennsylvania) and Washington, D.C. currently have an average price at the pump that is more expensive than one year ago. Not coincidentally, these are also the states where gasoline supplies and distribution were most heavily impacted by Hurricane Sandy this fall. While the net impact of the hurricane was demand destruction, which contributed to a lower national average to end the year, tight supplies in the Northeast linger and continue to buoy prices in the region.

"In the first 90 days of 2012, geopolitical tensions with Iran pressured the national price at the pump almost 65 cents higher. Without a similar market moving story to begin 2013, it is likely that the year-over-year discount will widen in the coming months. AAA continues to expect that gas prices in 2013 will average less than the annual record of $3.60 per gallon set last year."

Allstate Insurance says a new survey shows that many Pennsylvania teens and parents aren’t hip to the new driver’s license law that took effect a year ago, or just not bothering to comply with it.

The law requires 65 hours of supervised driving including 10 hours of night driving and five hours in bad weather before full licensure; limits the number of non-family passengers in a junior license holder’s vehicle; imposes a curfew from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.; and imposes a six-month waiting period after the 16th birthday before one can apply for a license.

Only 38% of parents and only 15% of teens say young teen drivers generally comply with GDL laws.

Nearly half (46%) of all Pennsylvania teens say they’ve broken at least one GDL law... but only 19% of parents are aware of these infractions.

The most common response teens gave for breaking GDL laws was “had an emergency” (39%)

Additionally, there are major contradictions between parents and teens surveyed when it comes to enforcement:

81% of parents say they enforce the GDL nighttime restrictions with their teen (40% of teens disagree)

77% of parents say they enforce the restrictions for passengers under age 18 in their teen’s vehicle. (50% of teens disagree)

76% of parents say they enforce the minimum number of supervised driving hours with their teen (51% of teens disagree)

70% of parents say they enforce the mandatory 6-month holding period before applying for a license (45% of teens disagree)

“We know that Pennsylvania parents and teens don’t want to put themselves, their passengers or other motorists at risk,” said Allstate Insurance spokesman Chris Conner. “But we also know that teens are our youngest, most inexperienced drivers. We hope these survey results serve as a call to action to parents to learn and enforce the state’s GDL laws.”

Pittsburgh Public Works, in cooperation with PennDOT and the Federal Highway Administration, will hold a public meeting on plans to replace the Greenfield Bridge from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Jan. 16 at St. Rosalia Catholic Church, 411 Greenfield Ave. This is going to be a major disrupter that causes closure of the Parkway East for several days to allow implosion of the old bridge but the work is not programmed to start until the end of 2015.

Road work

Traffic in the Liberty Tunnels will be restricted to one lane overnight on weeknights through Jan. 22. The outbound tunnel will have single-lane traffic starting at 10 p.m. through Friday and again on Jan. 22. The inbound tunnel will have a lane closure starting at 10 p.m. Jan. 14 to 18 and again Jan. 21 as crews work on the cellular antenna and cable. Restrictions will be lifted by 5 a.m. daily. The outbound lane closures will begin later on nights when there are major events in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Drain cleaning and repairs may cause lane closures Downtown on the Boulevard of the Allies and on Second Avenue and Ross Street beneath the boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

Drain cleaning on the southbound side of the Interstate 79 Neville Island Bridge may cause lane closures from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. Restrictions also may be needed on the ramp from northbound I-79 to Grand Avenue.

Work begins next Monday on replacement of a drainage pipe under Burtner Road in Fawn. The road will be closed between Route 28 and Ridge Road around the clock from 7 a.m. Monday through mid-February, with only local traffic allowed.

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