Fuelishness

Keep on (not) truckin’. Photo courtesy Groendyke Transport

Here’s a fun story. My man Hal was homeward bound after a track meet in Lakewood and lo and behold, there was no gasoline to be found in either Florence or Weirdcliffe.

There’s no shortage of gasoline. But there is a shortage of tank-truck drivers, thanks in part to The Bug® and decisions made around same. And we two old newspapermen, to our everlasting shame, had to get the deets from (choke) the TV stations’ websites.

KRDO had the best piece, quoting spokespeople from AAA, the National Tank Truck Carriers, and Groendyke Transport.

Something like a quarter of tank trucks were parked in April due to a lack of qualified drivers, sez the NTTC. Older drivers decided to retire, sez Groendyke. And driver schools shut down, which kept new drivers from getting certified.

And if Circle K can’t fill its tanks, well … neither can you, Skeezix.

AAA Colorado is urging motorists not to panic-buy gasoline the way they did toilet paper. Yeah, good luck with that. They’ll be panic-buying both because right now they’re out of gas and shitting themselves.

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24 Responses to “Fuelishness”

  1. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Yet another reason to stop reliance on fossil fuels and ditch the ICE. I truly believe in what’s left of my lifetime I’ll see the value of used vehicles with ICE (internal combustion engines) plummeting like skinny sew up shod bikes at a yard sale.Doubters fail to realize that GM and Ford are all-in on electric vehicles mostly because of the huge profits lurking once they scale up. Now if we could somehow capture that infernal heat y’all are having into energy bricks, we’d have it made come winter. I’m intrigued with the folks here in the Mitten State who have adopted geothermal heating/cooling.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Ayuh. Once the auto industry took a deep and abiding interest the writing was on the wall. The U.S. boyos were late to recognize the demand for small, efficient fuel-sippers Back in the Day® and shed market share the way a dead dog does fleas. They don’t want to get caught with their knickers down again.

      They’re gonna need some big-ass batteries to drive the four-ton monstrosities Americans favor these days, though. Look for trucks towing trailers towing boats towing motorcycles towing batteries. Lots and lots of batteries.

    • Pat O’Brien Says:

      “This sucker’s quick.” The next time you see the fork and front wheel hood ornament on a F-150, the cyclists will tell the cop, “”I didn’t hear it coming behind me.”

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hm, hadn’t thought about that. It’ll be like that lobster diver who got swallowed by a whale. Never saw it coming.

      Of course, the lobster diver got spit back out. Big ol’ Ford pick-’em-up trucks don’t regurgitate prey.

      • Herb from Michigan Says:

        I can almost always hear the rumble of tires on pickup trucks and most whale like SUV’s from quite a ways. Hoping they stick with the noisy rubber when they go electric But in the end (no pun intended) it’s more about them spotting you then it is you hearing them. My son’s Rav hybrid is impossible not to hear. When he’s in electric mode and coming down the drive it sounds like every brake rotor is dragging. He says he gets a lot of looks in parking lots but people do know he’s there. So the Toyota Early Warning System works.

        • Pat O’Brien Says:

          That’s in reverse, right? My buddy’s Rav 4 Hybrid has the same or similar sound effect. We call it preparing for warp speed. But, we he drives away you can’t hear much of anything.

          Anyway, the studies suggest that electric vehicles produce less CO2 emissions that a gasoline powered equivalent. But, smaller is always better. Toyota and Honda quit importing the Yaris and Fit into the US, about the time I was considering going smaller. Until the infrastructure for all electric vehicles is established, it seems the Prius is my only choice for a small hybrid hatchback. And they are hard to find right now,

          • B Lester Says:

            Three years ago I bought a used Ford C-Max hybrid. I don’t think they make them anymore, but it’s clearly the coolest car I’ve ever owned. Four door hatch, with all the high-end bells and whistles. The automatic windshield wipers are the coolest. I’ve gotten 43 mpg for my time with it. I guess I’m saying there’s more out there than the Prius.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Ho, not around here they’re not. A neighbor has three or four of them, I shit thee not. They fairly spill out of his driveway and onto the sidewalk.

          Honda was right in there early on with its Insight, but you just don’t see as many of them on the road. The Prius is basically the gold standard in that category.

          The RAV 4 hybrids are turning up in serious numbers around here. My sis bought one up in Fort Fun.

        • B Lester Says:

          Three years ago I bought a used Ford C-Max hybrid. I don’t think they make them anymore, but it’s clearly the coolest car I’ve ever owned. Four door hatch, with all the high-end bells and whistles. The automatic windshield wipers are the coolest. I’ve gotten 43 mpg for my time with it. I guess I’m saying there’s more out there than the Prius.

  2. John Hodge Says:

    Back when western Colorado had its most recent Gas Boom That Will Never End, a lot of folks around these parts went out and got their commercial driver’s license so that they too could cash in (or at least earn a living). Then, six or eight years ago now, The Boom That Will Never End ended. You know things are hittin’ bottom when Halliburton pulls up stakes. Beats me what happened to all of those suddenly extraneous drivers, but seems like this could be an opportunity for some.

    Then again, there’s probably a big difference in certifications between hauling gasoline as compared with waste fracking fluid. One can cause a whole lotta problems if you spill it, and the other is just gasoline.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I have a feeling that long-haul trucker’s lifestyle is a tad rougher than C.W. McCall made it sound on the radio. Especially if you’re pulling one of those loads that goes “Boom” if mishandled.

      Here’s a Planet Money piece on the trucking industry. Interesting reading.

      • JD Says:

        Didn’t/doesn’t Salsa make a Long Haul Trucker (LHT)? My cousins several years back rode them self-supported from the Arctic circle in Alaska to the tip of S. America, taking one solid year, and never got paid a cent.

        ‘Course they carried their own TP! 🙂

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Surly was the outfit behind the Long Haul Trucker. I was given to understand they’d dropped that rim-brake option and were down to the Disc Trucker, but I still see both on their website, so who knows? Maybe they changed their minds.

        I bet you still have to provide your own TP, though.

  3. Pat O’Brien Says:

    It’s the environmental impact of the lithium mining craze that concerns me now. I thought, since I drive very little, a 1.5 liter subcompact would be right for me instead of an electric or hybrid. Especially since my co-op electric company still buys some coal fired power. But, some suits in the US or Japan decided we don’t need them, at least not a Honda or Toyota.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yup, mining and recycling and disposal, o my. There are no easy answers, as the fella says.

      I’m trying to avoid buying any sort of auto. Ours are both paid off, and neither of us drives much. My Subie is 17 years old and only has 140K on the odometer, so I figure I’m good for a while, especially if I try to do more of my fetching and carrying using some of these bicycles cluttering up the joint.

      It’s awfully warm for that sort of thing at the moment, though. 77° already and it’s not even 6 in the ayem.

    • carl duellman Says:

      from what i’ve heard, lithium batteries are very recyclable and i think some battery producing companies are including in their battery manufacturing process. whether it actually happens is another story.

  4. Herb from Michigan Says:

    There are strong cases made for keeping a fuel efficient ICE on the road versus running out and buying electric. The net-net in carbon emissions when creating a brand new car full of all kinds of earth materials takes a back seat to something that is already built albeit burning dead dinosaurs. For that matter keeping just about anything operating and out of the landfill is better for the planet. So POG gets a Save the Planet medallion for his old Subie.
    FYI about the only things actually factually recycled around these here parts are metals and paper. Sadly the plastics and glass are not even though they say they are.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Word, Herb mi amigo! My 4 year old Rav4 has 17K miles on it. We drive very little. So, the economic and ecological thing to do is to just keep it. How boring.
      Also, you know you are a desert rat when you describe 35% humidity as muggy!

  5. Shawn Says:

    Oh yeah! Well I have a 23 year old rig* with only about 114K on it. Since I bought it 7 years ago from a little old church going lady (Really. Although she hit a lot of cars in the church parking lot and the church pastor complained about it to her son. But the rig only has scrapes and bumps from its’ church outings. It makes it “look mean”), I’ve only put about 34K on it. I think I have more miles riding my bikes over the same time period.

    *Rig is a relative term offering the guise that the vehicle is noble and reliable, which it questionably may not be considered as having. But it is painted in a cool Ferrari red color. Ooooo.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I always like to have a few scratches, dings, and dents in my rigs. I’ll put ’em in myself if I have to. That way you’re not all upset when someone opens their door into yours in a parking lot.

  6. khal spencer Says:

    Wish I still had the Tacoma. With 335k miles, it still ran well. But when we moved to Fanta Se, it just sat there. No runs to the dump, and at 20 mpg, silly to drive to work 33 miles away. My wife’s ’09 was only replaced because some idiot plowed into it. I sold my ’07 the year I couldn’t drive a standard as I had torn rotator cuff surgery and a broken foot. Normally with cars I tend to their every need and run them to failure after a few hundred thousand miles.

    Nice thing about the newer ones is with aerodynamics, direct injection, modern engine management, and CVT, they get way better fuel mileage than the old ones. We were lucky to get 30 mpg on trips in the ’09 Impreza. Last time we went to Boulder before the pandemic, Meena’s ’17 Impreza got about 40. Unless someone totals these out from under us, we will probably kick the bucket before they do.

    What I recall, and I recall a lot, even back to the ’73 gas crisis, is that Mah Fellow ‘Murrcans went out and bought fuel efficient cars only when they absolutely had to, and jettisoned them for Ford Excretions and Chevy Subdivisions the rest of the time. Does everyone remember how well Jimmy Carter’s “sweater” speech went over? Yeah, I do too. Smartest president we ever had in my lifetime and he got the bum’s rush.

    I thought the Insight was a great little car too but I can probably count the numbers I’ve seen on one hand. Even in Progressive People’s Republic of Fanta Se. Damn thing gets better mpg than my motorcycle.

    The big companies make more money on the big stuff. Even the foreign companies are selling Sequaias, Lexus LX’s, and Armadas when they can. So I don’t blame the auto industry for building what sells. Your average American only cares about gas mileage when the price at the pump gets unpleasant. Climate change? For the average American, climate change is someone else’s problem. Well, now that we in the southwest can fry our eggs in the shady part of the sidewalk, maybe that will jolt a few people’s senses. Nah.

    Meanwhile, as others have said, it takes massive mining to make batteries. Are you ready for a strip mine near you so your neighbor can power his “environmentally conscious” SUV? Nah, better dig out the lithium and REE in China and save the Endangered Furry Critter in your backyard. A lot of windmills, solar panels, and nuke plants will be needed to charge 300 million battery powered Subdivisions and Excretions. Especially if we phase out oil, coal, and natural gas. Windmill and solar farms aren’t exactly tiny and well, nuke plants make your average American tighten their sphincter a little.

    Whether its gasoline or electrons, our high energy habits, desire to Keep Ahead of the Jones, and, not to mention, that there are soon to be 400 million of us, are among the root cause of our problem. I am not an optimist. Bring on the 10 km asteroid, please.

  7. Shawn Says:

    Yes it’s interesting that intelligence is perhaps what we, the electorally steered democracy of America, would like in a leader, but instead we choose to be led by those with more flash and bang. I also believe that President Carter was/ is a President of note. His program of energy conservation still has me looking at light switches and making sure that they are turned off when I leave a room.

    I had the benefit of owning a ’78 Rabbit as my first car. I recall filling the tank up with $5.00. It once got 43 mph when I kept my foot elevated off of the floorpan. I learned from it, that 78 HP is sufficient horsepower to dance on any road.

    I agree about questioning the philosophy of building more for power generation. More solar, more wind, more hydro, more nuclear, etc.. Another thought from President Carter, “What about conservation?”. I believe our capitalist society has done a fine job of marketing to us and made it so that enough is not enough. If we can, we want more. And those who market to us, make more as well. If you fart long enough in a gymnasium, you’re probably going to smell your own gas.

    Asteroid? That would make it interesting. We’d all know it was coming and things would get horribly exciting before impact. Hell would probably be a better place during the approach. Perhaps though, a massive solar flare. Something that we wouldn’t know occurred until it was upon us. A few moments of crisping and the planet may then have a habitable future for other than humankind. But why must we be so fatalistic. Us cyclists can be comfortable knowing that with enough time and miles we might become immortalized as an SUV hood ornament.

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