Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: High gas prices and the future of Los Angeles

In case you hadn’t noticed:Gas prices jump to $3.91 a gallon, heading to $4. Reports KPCC: “The main reason gas is up is the high price of oil.”

Higher gas prices create boon for Gold Line ridership. Reports Pasadena SN: “As the price of regular gas broke above $4 a gallon in Los Angeles County in March, ridership on Metro’s Gold Line reached a new high, climbing 10 percent compared to March 2010, transit officials said.” Meanwhile,Monrovia prepares for Gold Line by eliminating Old Town trolley.

Will high gas prices end new L.A. sprawl? Not according to Matthew Fleischer, who opines on KCET’s SoCal Focus: “Despite rampant foreclosures and a complete glut of housing, the city of Santa Clarita just approved the development of yet another massive mixed-use satellite community on the urban periphery–a 1,100 residential development, with hundreds of thousands of square feet of commercial space in the middle of nowhere.”

Boxer supports Obama’s call to end oil subsidies. ABC7 reports that Sen. Barbara Boxer “emphasized cracking down on speculation in the oil markets, investing in clean energy and releasing oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to help lower gas prices.”

California’s right to exceed federal auto emissions standards is upheld. Reports LA Times: “California’s authority to enact automotive air pollution standards that are stricter than federal law has withstood legal challenge after a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Automobile Dealers Assn. did not have legal standing in the case.”

Pasadena considers ban on plastic grocery bags. Reports Pasadena S-N: “The proposed ban would prohibit the use of plastic bags at drug stores, pharmacies, supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience food stores, food markets and liquor stores, as well as establish a 10 cent surcharge on single-use paper bags.”

Burbank expands public smoking ordinance. Reports ABC7: “Burbank is enforcing a new city ordinance to restrict smoking in public areas of apartment buildings and condos.”

California has the nation’s largest solar market. NY Times’ Green reports on Solar Energy Industries Association’s list of top 10 solar states.

Photo: Jason Caya of San Francisco gets ready to fill his car with gas at a Shell gas station on April 27, 2011, in San Francisco. (David Paul Morris/Getty Images)