Fuel costs in Austin and across the nation are record high—and they're not going down anytime soon.
Average gas prices in Travis County are sitting a hefty $4.16 per gallon, according to AAA, compared to an average of $2.70 last year. Nationwide, fuel prices are at an average of $4.48 per gallon.
The bill per gallon is the highest ever recorded in Austin but experts don’t expect a reprieve anytime soon—GasBuddy head of petroleum analysis Patrick DeHaan said to expect new records on a “near daily” basis.
"There isn’t much reason to be optimistic that we’ll see a plunge any time soon,” DeHaan said, adding to expect prices closer to $5 by the end of the week.
Why are prices climbing? DeHaan says to blame low inventory combined with high demand, more expensive blends and warming temperatures jump-starting “driving season.”
While gas prices are marginally cheaper in Williamson and Hays Counties, between $4.12-$4.13, surrounding counties are locked into the same price range.
With a net worth of $219 billion, Tesla CEO Elon Musk represented Texas at the tip-top of Forbes’ World’s Billionaires List, which measures the wealth of all 2,668 billionaires across the globe. Together, the world's billionaires hold a total of $4.7 trillion, $299 billion of which resides in Austin.
Joining Musk are eight other Austin-area entrepreneurs, with Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd dropping off the list in the new year, and dozens from across the state.
Forbes determined net worth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 11, 2022, but also provides real-time rankings.
No. 1 (+1) Elon Musk, $219 billion
Always neck and neck with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who is currently worth $171 billion, the half-time Austin resident has multiplied his wealth more than 10-fold in the last four years. Between growing compies Tesla, which relocated its headquarters to Austin, and SpaceX, which is in South Texas, Musk also recently joined the board at Twitter after buying 9.2% of the company. This is the first time Musk has taken the top slot on Forbes' list.
No. 24 (+6) Michael Dell, $55.1 billion
A lifelong Texas resident and University of Texas alumnus, CEO and chairman of Dell Technologies Michael Dell’s fortune has more than doubled since 2020, when he was worth just $22.9 billion. In 2017, Dell donated $1 billion of his fortune to the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to help child poverty.
No. 369 (+82) Robert F. Smith, $6.7 billion
Founder of Vista Equity Partners, one of the best-performing firms of its kind, Robert F. Smith is the wealthiest Black man in America. Smith is also the first Black man to sign the Giving Pledge, promising to give away the majority of his wealth, which has more than doubled since 2016. Smith reached a $140 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department in 2020 involving undeclared offshore accounts.
No. 637 (-15) Bert "Tito" Beveridge, $4.5 billion
Founder of the booming vodka brand, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bert “Tito” Beveridge started the company with $90,000 spread across 19 credit cards in 1997. In 2022, Beveridge’s net worth is down slightly by $100 million.
No. 709 (+247) Thai Lee, $4.1 billion
The only female billionaire in Austin, CEO of $11.1 billion IT provider SHI International Thai Lee is soaring upwards in the global billionaire rankings. Since 2017, Lee’s wealth has increased two-and-a-half fold. Born in Thailand, raised in South Korea and starting her company in the U.S. in 1989, Lee also ranked sixth on Forbes’ Self Made Women list last year.
No. 1,012 (-4) Joseph Liemandt, $3 billion
Founder of the investment firm ESW Capital, Joseph Liemandts's wealth hasn’t budged above $3 billion in four years. A young prodigy, Liemandt first made the cover of Forbes magazine at 27 years old in 1996.
No. 1,096 (+78) John Paul DeJoria, $2.8 billion
The Patron Spirits Co. founder and John Paul Mitchell Systems hair care mogul John Paul DeJoria is catching back up after falling more than 500 spaces on the list last year. His fortune has been on a roller coaster since 2013 but he’s never failed to make the list.
No. 1,445 (-196) Jim Breyer, $2.1 billion
One of Facebook, now Meta’s, first venture investors, Breyer has some high-up connections, like his U.S. Senate minority leader brother-in-law Mitch McConnell. Breyer has invested in more than 40 companies like Etsy, Marvel and Legendary Entertainment, but credits his involvement with Facebook as his best business decision.
No. 1,729 (+21) David Booth, $1.7 billion
Making up a marginal amount of his 400-space fall from last year, Dimensional Fund Advisors cofounder David Booth told Forbes he began a decades-long experiment in applying academic theory to real-world investing in 1981.
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Island life in a luxury villa and riding around on ATVs is a world thousands are creating for themselves digitally through a game known as White Sands.
Started by Austin entrepreneur Adam Hollander, the venture adds to locals getting in on the metaverse, an early stage realm where developers are using virtual reality, augmented reality and other tools for virtual worlds.
According to KXAN, Hollander used $1.2 million of his money for the virtual space where users can take part in activities like hot air balloon rides, paintballing, stand up comedy and more.
GM...\n\nI LOVE my pink ATV! \n\nHere is me riding around @whitesandsgame \n\nENJOY.pic.twitter.com/BResPCpnU8— Blockchain Brown (@Blockchain Brown) 1648985235
Users can build on plots of land via Minecraft. Three thousand of those plots were granted to users through NFTs, or digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens, and sold out quickly, with the value rising up 50%.
A couple of weeks ago, Hollander posted about how the initial land sale raked in 1,500 ETH, which is equivalent to $4 million.
KXAN also reports that White Sands raised millions without investor money and will put up luxury villas for sale, after which it expects to raise $4 million.
Gamification is a key feature of the metaverse, which Hollander knows well having served as Microsoft’s gamification director from 2015 to 2017. Before becoming co-founder of White Sands at the start of the year, Hollander was involved in other technology ventures, including Hungry Wolves, a collection of 6,000 randomly generated wolves prowling the Ethereum blockchain.
(White Sands Game/Twitter)
In a recent interview with FOX 32 Chicago, Hollander explained the value of this burgeoning real estate.
“One day you might be playing virtual golf, the next day you want to save a princess from a dragon, the next day you might hold a business meeting and at the end of the day, you’re going to need a place to come home to at the center of the heart of this ever-expanding, open and interconnected metaverse,” Hollander said.
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