Posts Tagged ‘Cars’

Bill Heard Chevrolet Tragedy Hits Home

September 27, 2008

  I was sorry to read in the Ledger-Enquirer that the Carl Gregory deal collapsed over the price of leasing of the Bill Heard Chevrolet lot on Manchester Expressway, which is owned by a third party.  He could have had  Carl Gregory Chevrolet up and running and put more than two hundred people back to work quickly, and was apparently anxious to do just that. 

  The tragedy of this event no doubt hits home for a lot of us with freinds and relatives who had worked at Bill Heard Chevrolet. A good friend of mine – he asked me not to use his name – who is 72 years old, learned last Friday that, after working for Bill Heard for more than 30 years, he didn’t have a job any more. He was given no severance pay.  He said that he had been offered two weeks severance if he signed an exit contract on Friday, September 19, but hesitated after being advised to wait to see if maybe the company would also give him a car. When he went back he was told the money was not available, so he left with no severance at all. He believes that no one got severance pay, unless they got it before Tuesday, September 23rd.

  So now, at 72, he is looking for a job, because he says he can’t afford to retire.  Fortunately, his spirit is still high, with both his and his wife, also my dear friend, still having a sense of humor; and he probably will land a new job soon because he does have a lot of creative talent, and he is not the type to give up.

  According to the paper’s story, other automobile dealerships are looking into buying Bill Heard Chevrolet. Let’s hope it happens soon.

Advertisements

The Gas Price Cycle

September 12, 2008

  Just think about the cycle.  You buy gasoline at $3.69 a gallon. Your car pours carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  This helps fuel global warming. One of the products of global warming is more and stronger hurricanes.  The hurricanes close down coastal oil refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Gasoline goes up to $5 a gallon. The hurricanes pass through. The refineries reopen. Gas prices drop to $4.50 a gallon…maybe.

NASA)

Hurricane Ike from International Space Station (Photo: NASA)

  Solution: stop pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. How?

  There are lots of answers to that. But, they all take time to come on line. So, we have to ask, what do we do now?

Well, EcoDriving tells us there are a few things you can do right now to cut down on your fuel consumption by fifteen percent.

– Stop driving like a bat out of hell.  A steady 60 mph is, for most vehicles,  the optimum speed on the Interstate

– Properly inflate your tires.

– Get your engine tuned.

– No more jackrabbit starts.

– Keep rolling by not coming to a complete stop unless you just have to. It takes more gas to start from a compete stop.

– Plan your trips. Go to the store once a week instead of every day, for instance.

– Don’t leave heavy things in your vehicle. The heavier the vehicle the more gas it takes. For instance, don’t leave your golf clubs in the trunk of your car.

  This is all stuff that everyone can do right now and if everyone does it,  it will save millions of barrels of oil every year, cut down on air pollution, and bring down the price of gasoline.

Comparing the Cost of Driving to Using Mass Transit

July 19, 2008

 Hey! The price of gasoline has dropped below $4 a gallon. Who can resist such a bargain?

 

 

But diesel is still way up there. What if you had to fill up this baby?

 

There is one good answer to this, public transit. Let’s take a look at the difference in cost.

 

Right after I took the shot of the pickup, the driver and his young son came out of the gas station’s convenience store. After mutual greetings, the conversation with the young daddy, a friendly man, went something like this.

 

  “Do you use this truck for work?”

 

  “Oh, no. It’s my play thing, but I do drive it to work.”

 

  “Any idea what gas mileage it gets?”

 

  “Not enough,” he answered with a smile.

 

  “How much?”

 

  “Oh, on the highway, about 18 miles to the gallon.”

 

 “That’s pretty good for a truck that size.”

 

  “Yeah, not bad. In town it’s about 13.”

 

  “What does it cost you to fill it up?”

 

   “About a hundred dollars.”

 

   “How often?”

 

   “Once a week.”

 

   “That means you are paying $400 a month for gas.”

 

   “Well, actually, 500.”

 

   “Do you plan to switch to a smaller vehicle?”

 

   “No. This one is paid for.”

 

   “What you are paying a month for gas amounts to a good car payment.”

 

    “That’s true, but this one is paid for, and even if I wanted to switch, I couldn’t get much of a trade-in for it now. The capital expense would mean I wouldn’t save by switching.”

 

  Just think, if he were still making payments on it, and paying for maintenance and repairs, it would be close to a thousand dollars a month.  

 

    Well, what if he used public transportation? In Columbus, at $2.50 a day for round trips to work, it would run him something like $55 dollars a month. That’s $55 compared to $500. In Atlanta, it would run him about $77. In New York, $88.

 

  Even if he considered taking a bus, he probably couldn’t because he probably lives in a suburb which has no public transportation.  I didn’t think to ask him, but the chances are high he does live in a suburb because so many people do. And that’s another big problem. It’s called sprawl and it’s all over America.

 

 

  

 

    

  

 

  

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

Metra vs. Marta – Marta’s Ridership Is Up 14%; Metra’s Up 7%

July 18, 2008

  Atlanta’s Marta transit system offers more convenience than Columbus’ Metra. But, it also costs more to use. Let’s look at the comparison.

 

   Columbus buses run every hour. Marta buses have varying frequencies, some as long as a 30 minutes, depending on demand.  However, Atlanta’s trains run every 5 minutes on trunk lines and 10 minutes on branch lines during the rush hours. Atlanta wins that one hands down.

 

  An adult one-way fare on Marta is $1.75. On Metra, it’s $1.25.  Metra does charge $1.90 to Fort Benning.

 

  Senior citizens and disabled in Columbus pay $0.65 one way. In Atlanta it’s $0.85.

 

  Marta offers K-12 students ten trips for $10.50. Columbus students can get a monthly pass for $20.00.  So, if Metra student riders who use the monthly pass get a much better deal because that comes to about $5.00 a week.  

 

  Marta offers university students a $40 unlimited ridership for a month. Metra doesn’t specify whether the 31 Day Trip Card is for university students as well as K-12.

 

  As far as ridership is concerned, Metra averages almost a million boardings a year, while Marta averages about 140 million.

 

  . Columbus has 40 busses covering 9 routes. Marta has 544 buses covering 120 routes and 238 rail cars. Those 238 rail cars have more boardings than Marta’s 544 busses.

 

Marta serves a population of almost 2 million people. Columbus serves a base of almost 300 thousand.

 

  Marta’s overall ridership is up 14 percent over this time last year. Metra’s is up 7 percent so far over last year.

 

  What good are those comparisons? I don’t know. I guess they just tell us that it’s cheaper to ride Metra, but Marta’s service is more convenient. Some will say, well, it costs more to live, but pay is higher in the Atlanta area.  It appears pay is definitely higher, and maybe the costs are higher for shelter because real estate is higher, and so are property taxes, but I doubt if there is much difference in food and clothing. One thing is for sure, though, life is a lot less hectic in Columbus than in Atlanta.