It' seems like something to celebrate, but Bay Area transportation officials warn there's a dark cloud looming. "Many cities across California have lost a significant amount of money," MTC spokesperson Randy Rentchler said.
The flipside of low gas prices, Bay Area transportation officials say get used to your local pothole. pic.twitter.com/kh3ZBcgZ48— Laura Anthony (@LauraAnthony7) February 9, 2016
Rentchler said with the state's complicated gas tax formula tied to lower gas prices, California will lose about a $1 billion in transportation funding that would normally go toward fixing things, like potholes. "What does that mean? It means the freeway interchange you need fixed can't get fixed. The extension you want for let's say BART is funded by the same source in many cases, it can't get done," he said.
At Walnut Creek Ford, low gas prices have helped fuel a surge in truck and SUV sales, up 20 percent in the past four months and they're pushing some customers away from hybrid cars. "I found some customers that were originally looking at the hybrid, and the difference between the hybrid gas ratio was not significant versus the price point, so they were going with gas instead," Walnut Creek Ford spokesperson Stephanie Malone said.
WATCH VIDEO: Bay Area drivers excited to find gas below $2 a gallon
But putting more large, less fuel-efficient vehicles on the road means greater emissions. "I think people do react to the market at the time. We hope they have a longer view. The price of gas could spike back up. What I'd like people to begin to understand is their effect on the environment," Bay Area Air Quality Management Board spokesperson Mark Ross said.
In the short term, changing the mindset of consumers may not get easier as some analysts predict gas prices will stay low for some time.