We see today a fierce unspoken competition between trucks and trains. It is well known in those industries and with those who ship the products, components, parts, natural resources, produce and event he fuel itself. After all the fuel competes for the cheapest mode of delivery as well. Whether it is a pipeline, rail car, tanker truck, ship, barge, etc. In the case of military, you can add in all the squadrons of flying gas stations too. The price of fuel can be the savior to an industry which is hammered by over seas competition or is trying to find a little more room to cut costs to appease a persnickety union with greater health care costs, safer working conditions (at least they often claim that), less working hours, more paid vacation time, bonuses, higher pay, etc. The money has to come from somewhere and the price of fuel and the supply will often determine the viability of a large corporation. Those companies, which use lots of fuel are very much affected by these trends. For instance; Airlines, Trucking Companies, Railroads, Manufacturing Companies, and Service Companies of every shape and size. When these companies pay more for fuel those prices are figured into the price to the customer. When such companies have long term contracts to a customer and the price moves upward too quickly then these companies have to eat that cost. This causes huge operational losses and poor quarterly earnings, which effects their market valuations due to hammering by the gambling casino stock markets when they report these losses. This in turn leads to massive lay offs. Which is not a good thing.
If you have been laid off recently, you may wish to look at your companies supply chain and distribution both too and from and the use of vehicles which use fuel and determine if high fuel prices is a part of the reason or another large factor in the fact you were laid off. Even companies you might not even think of are very much affected by fuel. Telecommunication, Cable, Garbage, Utility and even Pharmaceutical companies have vast fleets of vehicles.
Recently we saw two massive Labor Union disputes in the fire-ridden state of California. One was the RTD ? Rapid Transit District, which uses tons of diesel fuel per minute. So where will the RTD get the money to pay the workers more if the fuel prices are so high? Well last time they went on strike for five weeks and the RTD wanted to slow down talks because they were saving 5 million dollars in fuel every day the strike was on. So the longer it lasted the easier it would be to meet the demands of the striking workers. This leads to even more problems since the entire flow is disrupted by those who are suppose to be insuring the safe flow of transportation. Of course when people cannot get to work, buy things or go to school, other things suffer too. For instance; the store owners in lost revenue and the cities, counties and state in lost sales tax revenue; the State of California Franchise Tax board in lost income tax of the workers who did not work; the schools who are paid by enrollment numbers by the state and the colleges which derive income from tuition which now have more drop outs; the student loan programs because people who do not go to school obviously do not feel they should be paying for it; and we all pay in increased time stuck in traffic causing increased poor air quality because many of the people riding the buses now drive or pile into other peoples cars which make more trips. Generally the pollution of cars carbon monoxide from the burning of gasoline is twice as bad for people than the CO2 from the bus burning diesel fuels.
Many city buses today burn natural gas, some are electric, ethanol and believe it or not hydrogen. The beef with the bus drivers is they want more money? Yes so does everyone, but we are all in a recession so now, we destroy the credibility of the transportation system and hurt the taxation input of a strapped for cash state. Although this is only one of the recent strikes, the other being the grocery union. Grocery stores have huge distribution centers and some of the largest fleets in the nation. Safeway, now Safeway-Vons stores had at one time the second largest fleet in the nation hauling it’s own product. Ten years ago; Safeway had 3600 trucks and Vons had over 2500. Making a total of 6100 trucks or units. When the grocery stores stop, the trucks stop, the stores close, which is okay because no one can get to work on the bus anyway? Who is going to use all that fuel of the buses and grocery trucks, which are parked? Did this lower fuel costs, due to over supply? Yes, but not when it co-insided with the need for intense amounts of fuel to put into the fire trucks, water trucks and aircraft fighting the fires California fires last year. Or when displaced people fill top off their cars and grab the kids. Still others jump in their motor homes and drive to AZ, NV or the other parts of the state. The reason we bring this up is to demonstrate that the flow of fuel affects every thing we do in life; our jobs, families, school, work and safety; not to mention our food, shelter and clothing.
If you will think for a second everything you eat, every piece of plywood in your house and piece of clothing you wear was transported to you and folks that took fuel. The cost of that fuel is figured into the price of your new sweater, nails and roofing material over your head and the Starbucks coffee you drank and the McDonalds Hamburger you ate, perhaps without the bun on your new Low-Carb Diet? Generally when the average person on the street thinks of fuel, they think of gasoline in their car and the prices at the pump and how much it takes to put the hand of the dial on “F.”
Folks there is a lot more to fuel and how it effects our daily lives besides your gas gage reading full or empty. The flow of fuel is a critical part of our civilization and the costs associated with it effect more than your ATM Card balance or the dollars in your wallet. Think about it.
“Lance Winslow” – If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance; www.WorldThinkTank.net/wttbbs