Q. Several years ago, a high-rise bridge was constructed over the Brunswick River on U.S. 17 to provide access for cargo ships to the port of Brunswick. The contractor was being fined for every day pa

Q. Several years ago, a high-rise bridge was constructed over the Brunswick River on U.S. 17 to provide access for cargo ships to the port of Brunswick. The contractor was being fined for every day past the deadline. How much was the accumulated fine? — Al Tate, Atlanta

A. A $1.504 million fine was deducted from the $64.88 million that the joint venture of Recchi America & GLF Construction Co. was set to earn for the Sidney Lanier Bridge project, according to the Georgia Department of Transportation. The $2,100-per-day rate was assessed for late completion of the contract to build the main span of the bridge, which opened April 7, 2003.

Q. Why is diesel fuel priced higher than the regular gas in the United States when it is priced lower than regular gas in Western Europe? — Pavittar Safir, Roswell

A. Europe has lower taxes on diesel than on gasoline, according to the Oil Price Information Service. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst with OPIS, a Gaithersburg, Md., firm that bills itself as the world’s most comprehensive source for petroleum pricing information, said diesel is the fuel of choice for global agriculture so when commodities prices were higher in 2008, there was a huge surge in diesel demand. Diesel also is the benchmark for measuring global economic growth, so diesel prices soared relative to the price of crude in 2008. Amid the global recession, diesel demand in 2009 has plunged, he said.

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2022 or e-mail q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).