Gas prices going up despite oil below $50 a barrel

Your wallet might be getting a little lighter this summer, and it isn’t from the gambling here in Las Vegas.

Motorists are paying a little more at the pump, even though the cost of crude oil remains below $50 per barrel — just one of several factors that go into calculating gasoline prices, AAA Nevada spokesman Mike Blasky said.

West Coast gas prices — and their taxes — are among the most expensive in the United States, Blasky said. The region’s growing economy, increasing demand for gasoline and recent maintenance at Northern California’s oil refineries help drive up those costs.

“Until consumer demand levels off and refineries resume normal production, prices are likely to rise this summer across the region,” Blasky said.

Additionally, Blasky said that California’s conversion to a more expensive summer blend of gasoline is a factor at the pump, even though Nevada is not required to make the fuel switch.

Ken from Las Vegas recently sent an email to the Road Warrior asking whether a 12-cent gas tax increase in California was affecting prices in Nevada.

No, it’s not, because California’s gas-tax hike doesn’t kick in until Nov. 1, and it’s still unclear whether we’ll feel those effects at fueling stations in Nevada.

Mass appeal for a left-turn signal

Every Sunday morning, Roy from Las Vegas notices a stream of traffic turning left into the parking lot of St. Joseph’s, Husband of Mary Roman Catholic Church near Tenaya Way and Sahara Avenue.

“Why, oh why, is there not a yellow caution arrow at this intersection, since it is constantly backed up before Mass?” Roy asked.

Traffic volumes did not warrant a flashing yellow left-turn arrow at this intersection the last time it was studied by Las Vegas traffic engineers, city spokeswoman Margaret Kurtz said.

“Typically, Sunday traffic is considerably less than the average weekday traffic, and any backup of vehicles entering and exiting a church dissipates quickly with little impact to adjacent signals,” Kurtz said.

However, Kurtz acknowledged that conditions at this intersection may have changed, and traffic engineers will take another look to determine whether a flashing yellow left-turn arrow could make any improvements.

Buffered bike lane

Richard from Las Vegas noticed that bicycle lanes are now running down the middle of the street in several neighborhoods on the city’s north side, particularly along Bradley Road, between Ann Road and Tropical Parkway, and also on Tropical, between Bradley and Decatur Boulevard.

“This seems awfully dangerous to the bike rider,” Richard said. “What is going on?”

Bradley Road and Tropical Parkway were recently restriped to improve traffic conditions around nearby Kay Carl Elementary and Lied Middle schools, Kurtz said.

Parents picking up their children from those schools routinely parked in the curbside bicycle lanes and adjacent travel lane, creating unsafe conditions in the neighborhood.

That situation prompted the city to add some buffered bike lanes and designated parking lanes as a way to manage traffic while creating a safer corridor for children who ride their bicycles to school, Kurtz said.

The city also added designated right-turn-only lanes at a few of the intersections to improve traffic slows during school hours.

Uncoordinated signals are problem

Every day, Bernie said his drive on Blue Diamond Road is a “pain in the neck” because the street’s signal at Valley View Boulevard is not synched with the nearby signal at Dean Martin Drive in the southwest Las Vegas Valley.

“When the light turns green for the light at Valley View, it turns red at Dean Martin, creating gridlock at both intersections because there is no continuity on the road,” Bernie said.

Officials with the Nevada Department of Transportation and the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada said they will take a look at the signal timing for these intersections.

Questions and comments should be sent to Please include your phone number. Follow @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

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