Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: New study shows removing hybrids from the car pool lanes slowed us all down

When hybrids joined the rest of us on the freeway, we all slowed down. National Plug-In Day celebrates electric cars next Sunday as San Pedro worries about their above-grown gas tanks. Meanwhile a black bear made an appearance in Sierra Madre Monday morning. Here’s your Tuesday morning greens.

A new study from the University of California, Berkley, shows that the hybrid’s expulsion from California car-pool lanes slowed traffic. As CBS LA reports, “The study found that moving hybrids out of carpool lanes slowed the general flow of traffic, as one might expect. However, the speed of the carpool lanes are influenced by the speed of adjacent lanes, the researchers said.” Therefore, all lanes of traffic were slowed.

National Plug-In Day is October 16th. Electric vehicle enthusiasts will be celebrating all that is gas-less next week, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Twenty-one cities, including Santa Monica, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Orange in California, will  hold electric car parades and tailpipe-free tailgate parties to celebrate -- and test drive --currently available plug-ins from Nissan, General Motors, Tesla and SMART, and soon-to-be available models from Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford and Coda,” writes the LA Times. Around 400 electric vehicles are expected in Santa Monica this Sunday.

Residents in San Pedro are worried about the safety of area gas storage tanks. “Energized in part by last year's natural gas pipeline explosion in the Bay Area that killed eight people and leveled a swath of homes, residents of L.A.'s tight-knit port community have revived a long-simmering controversy over the safety of one of the largest and oldest above-ground fuel storage facilities of its kind in the U.S.,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Residents are seeking a court-supervised assessment of the installation's safety and an idea of what would happen in a disaster scenario. 

A large black bear made an appearance in Sierra Madre early Monday morning. As NBC LA reports, “The animal knocked over several trash cans as it foraged for food in the 600 block of Oak Crest Drive at around 1 a.m. Monday. The bear searched the area for several minutes, and then scampered back up into the nearby hills.” No injuries were reported.

Last Friday, Governor Brown signed seven clean water drinking bills in law, reports California Watch. Among them, AB 983 allows for “severely disadvantaged communities to obtain 100 percent grant funding for water infrastructure improvement projects.”  AB 1194 “makes adjustments to and clarifies drinking water laws to ensure that state public health laws conform to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.” AB 54 allows water agencies to fast track infrastructure improvements.

Image: beeron /Flickr