Texas Railroad Commission Chair Mulls Political Future

Amid great fanfare two years ago, Barry Smitherman, then the Public Utility Commission chairman, bought a plug-in Chevrolet Volt. Now the chairman of the Railroad Commission of Texas, Smitherman drives a Chevy Suburban.

“I became very disappointed with the technology,” Smitherman said of the Volt, which he traded in after several months. The mileage was not what he had hoped, he said.

The switch from a hybrid-electric car to a gas guzzler mirrors Smitherman’s change of jobs, from a regulator of electricity to a regulator of the oil and gas industry. It could also have a beneficial political side ...

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