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Solo car commute is a costly, fuel-ish option

Trying to decide whether carpooling, car-sharing or other forms of alternative transportation are worth it? Factor in the following for what they're worth:

• Regular unleaded gasoline cost 15 cents more per gallon in Portland on June 3 than it did at the same time last year, according to AAA Oregon's most recent figures.

• The average 2003-model passenger vehicle gets fewer miles per gallon than the average vehicle made in 2002, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency, and both are less fuel-efficient than vehicles made 15 years ago. The reason? The proliferation of light trucks, sport utility vehicles and minivans Ñ which only have to meet an average fuel economy standard of 20.7 miles per gallon Ñ outpaces cars, which must average 27.5 mpg.

• The city has 750 on-street metered spaces in downtown and the Lloyd District for registered carpools, only 515 of which are in use this month. The monthly cost of the spaces is $45 to $55. The average cost of regular monthly parking in downtown Portland is $135 per month, according to the city's Office of Transportation.

Ñ Janine Robben