• Now called Car Allowance Rebate System

    President Obama signed the Cash for Clunkers bill into law on June 25, which the NHTSA is now calling the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS).
    The program was designed to get millions of gas guzzlers off the road by helping people to pay for a new, more fuel efficient car or truck with the trade-in of an older vehicle.
    The official government website cars.gov lists these 5 Important Things to Know about the program:
    Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
    Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify
    Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
    Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
    You don’t need a voucher; dealers will apply a credit at purchase
    If you’re interested in taking advantage of in CARS, take a moment to sift through site’s well-organized, easy-to-understand FAQ section for some important particulars, such as:
    There is a cap on your purchase. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price cannot exceed $45,000.
    The program includes leases provided the period for the new vehicle is at least for five years.
    The amount of the credit is $3,500 or $4,500, and generally depends on the type of vehicle you purchase and the difference in fuel economy between the purchased vehicle and the trade-in vehicle. Different requirements apply for work trucks.
    The program ends November 1, 2009
    If you plan on participating, let us know how it goes, what kind of “clunker” you’re trading in and what you purchase in exchange.

    President Obama signed the Cash for Clunkers bill into law on June 25, which the NHTSA is now calling the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS).

    The program was designed to get millions of gas guzzlers off the road by helping people to pay for a new, more fuel efficient car or truck with the trade-in of an older vehicle.

    The official government website cars.gov lists these 5 Important Things to Know about the program:

    1. Your vehicle must be less than 25 years old on the trade-in date
    2. Only purchases or leases of new vehicles qualify
    3. Generally, trade-in vehicles must get 18 or less MPG (some very large pick-up trucks and cargo vans have different requirements)
    4. Trade-in vehicles must be registered and insured continuously for the full year preceding the trade-in
    5. You don’t need a voucher; dealers will apply a credit at purchase

    If you’re interested in taking advantage of in CARS, take a moment to sift through site’s well-organized, easy-to-understand FAQ section for some important particulars, such as:

    • There is a cap on your purchase. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price cannot exceed $45,000.
    • The program includes leases provided the period for the new vehicle is at least for five years.
    • The amount of the credit is $3,500 or $4,500, and generally depends on the type of vehicle you purchase and the difference in fuel economy between the purchased vehicle and the trade-in vehicle. Different requirements apply for work trucks.
    • The program ends November 1, 2009

    If you plan on participating, let us know how it goes, what kind of “clunker” you’re trading in and what you purchase in exchange.

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  • The City of Las Vegas, Nevada has taken a giant leap forward in its efforts to promote alternative energy sources by running 1,350 of its 1,500 vehicle fleet – ninety percent- on sources other than gasoline.

    Las Vegas began this effort in order to improve public awareness of the viability of alternative fuel sources, and operates vehicles on everything from hybrid technology to biodiesel, compressed natural gas and hydrogen fuel cells.  The city’s decision to convert their fleet to alternative energy proves to the public on a daily basis that these fuel sources are not only effective, but safe as well.  “There was a great deal of fear associated with hydrogen and CNG. Many thought they were sitting on a ‘bomb’ and that they would explode,” said Dan Hyde, the Fleet and Transportations Services Manager for the city of Las Vegas, “Since we built the world’s first hydrogen energy station in 2002 — where the entire hydrogen fueling site operated independently of the electrical power grid due to a state-of-the-art, standalone 50Kw fuel cell — there was a great deal of resistance from the City’s Fire Marshall, building inspectors, and electrical engineers to authorize its construction, especially since there were no building codes associated with hydrogen as a transportation fuel at the time.”  The facility was eventually completed after three years of planning and construction, and now operates with complete safety.  “We have already done the hard part in proving alternative fuels work, and we know how to get a hydrogen facility built,” said Hyde.

    The City of Las Vegas hopes that its efforts will persuade other cities to go green with their fleets.  Dan Hyde thinks that “using [the city of Las Vegas as a model] will bypass delays like those we encountered, because we can tell fleets how to avoid the mistakes we made.”

    Photo courtesy of ideowl under the Creative Commons License.

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  • As you know, a tire’s performance plays a critical role in your fleet’s fuel economy. And if the U.S. Department of Transportation gets its way, you soon won’t have to guess at your tire’s impact on fuel economy and carbon dioxide emission reductions, according to government-fleet.com. You’ll just have to look at the label on your tires when you purchase them.

    The proposal, which was put forth by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), also would provide customers “with two other key pieces of tire performance information: wet weather traction and tread wear,” according to NHTSA officials, as reported by Modern Tire Dealer (MTD).

    Should the proposal get approved, tire dealers would be required to display the label until that tire has been sold. The new ratings would also be posted on safecar.gov where savvy shoppers can compare overall tire performance before buying them.

    “Today’s proposal takes the guess work out of buying the best tires for your vehicle,” says U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “Our proposal would let customers look at a single label and compare a tire’s overall performance as it relates to fuel economy, safety and durability.”
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  • Spencer Gordon went away to college and came back with an idea that would transform the Gordon family business, according to the AJC.com.

    John Gordon, 56, Spencer’s father, was running his own business, Gordon Document Products, when he learned about biodiesel from his son.

    At first the Gordon’s powered their small fleet of five office machine business trucks on biodiesel, with the idea to make them a greener company. Then, the fuel for their business grew into another business altogether, and they’re now producing biofuel 24 hours a day.

    But they also stay busy collecting the waste oils needed to produce their product. A story on Mother Nature Network reported that the Gordons routinely travel to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport (food courts) to pick up loads of fry grease; and Popeyes kicks in at least 40 gallons of waste oil every two days.

    Now in its second year, Perfect Circle Renewable Energy is expected to produce 50,000 gallons of biodiesel for Atlanta-area commercial fleets in 2009, including Gordon Document Products. Next year, the goal is 225,000 gallons.

    The AJC article stated that the federal government currently offers a $1 per gallon tax credit to companies that use biodiesel, and there are 176 American biodiesel producers in the U.S.
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  • Nitrogen gas is steadily overtaking standard air when it comes to inflating tires for your vehicles, and one Phoenix based company is now offering their services to companies with fleets and the trucking industry.

    In an article posted on The Auto Channel, NitrogenMan just completed installation for Safeway grocery stores to fill their vehicles with nitrogen.  Tests, on tires filled with nitrogen, have shown it improves handling, fuel efficiency, and up to a 40% longer tread life.

    Because Nitrogen is an inert, dry gas, it allows the tire to run cooler than with normal air, which creates a more consistent tire pressure, despite the weather outside.  In turn, tests show this reduces the need for maintenance and the possibility of a blowout on the road.

    The Auto Channel
    also reports that industry studies found that “Nitrogen-inflated tires can increase fuel economy by between 4 and 10%.”

    Safeway
    , which is one of the NitrogenMan’s first major clients, plans on completing the conversion of the grocery store’s fleet of 320 trailers and 80 tractors by August.

    Nitrogen tire inflation has not only seen an increase with truck fleets, but also with auto dealers offering the service on new car purchases.

    For more information on Nitrogen inflation, check out the full article here.

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  • We took a little a little time off from our CB dictionary so we could gas up for the final stretch home, but we’re back and ready to help our fellow fleet managers wrap up the last few letters of the alphabet in the CB lingo language lesson.  So put the pedal to the metal as we barrel through the letters U-V-W:

    U

    U.C.B.T.A. – United CB Truckers Association

    Ungowa Bwana – O.K.

    Uncle Charlie – FCC

    Use the Jake – Slow down

    V

    Valve -Tube

    V.F.O. – Variable Frequency Oscillator

    VOX – Voice operated relay. Allows the operator to transmit with the sound of his voice, rather than using a microphone push-to-talk switch.

    W

    Walking in here blowing smoke – Clear signal.

    Wall-to-wall bears – Police are everywhere.

    Warden – The wife, the FCC

    Watch the pavement – Drive safely

    Watch your donkey – Police are coming up behind you.

    Water hole – Truck stop

    Wear your bumper out – Following too close.

    What’s your twenty? – What is your location?

    Wilco Roger – affirmative.

    Wind Jammer – A long winded CB’er

    Work Twenty – Place of employment.

    Check back with us next week when we reach our destination with the letters X-Y-Z, or you can get a dictionary full of terms from the book, Woody’s World of CB.

    10-4 from Hotlanta

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  • The Energy Department reported Monday that gasoline prices rose for the eighth straight week, with the national average for unleaded gas up 2 cents to $2.69 a gallon.

    The increase is the smallest since fuel costs started rising in April and analysts are saying that prices should top out not much higher than $2.70 a gallon.

    While the price are still a little high for fleet managers trying to keep operating costs down, costs are much more manageable compared to last summer.  At this time last year, the national average was $4.08 a gallon.

    This summer prices are leveling out sooner because of cheaper crude oil and less demand due to the struggling economy.

    Breaking down prices by regions, the West Coast had the most expensive prices, averaging $2.93 a gallon.  Gulf Coast states had the cheapest gas at $2.56 a gallon.

    What are prices like in your part of the world?  Let us know.
    To get a complete rundown of prices around the country, check out the article posted on USA Today.
    Photo copyright of 2009 Yahoo! Inc.
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  • Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia are among four states whose DMV’s are now requiring people to refrain from smiling for their driver’s license photo.

    The software is used to prevent identity theft and in an article posted by the USA Today, the state of Illinois has credited the process with preventing at least 6,000 people from getting fraudulent licenses since 1999.
    The four states picking enforcing the no-smile policy are doing so  because a smile makes it harder for face-recognition software to compare the new license photo with other DMV database photography and can slow down law enforcement efforts.
    Since it’s introduction in 1999, the software has proven to be less effective when facial expressions differ in each photo and that a dull facial expressions will ultimately make the process of comparing photos more accurate.

    31 states across the U.S. currently use the system, but only the four mentioned are asking drivers to keep from smiling for the camera.

    Say cheese.

    Photo copyright of chadmagiera under the Creative Commons License
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  • Valued at $124 million, the fleet doesn’t include fuel and maintenance

    Like any other major metropolitan city, Tampa has a sizable fleet of city-owned cars, trucks and SUVs to operate, maintain and fuel daily. It also has a sizable deficit largely because of it.

    The Tampa Tribune
    reported that the cost of maintaining the 3,000-vehicle fleet by the bay is more than partially to blame for being $52 million in the red for next year’s budget.

    City leaders find themselves asking questions similar to those being addressed by small business owners in cities across the U.S.: Should the fleet be reorganized or downsized?


    Mercury Associates
    , a consulting firm, was hired by the city to take a closer look at the fleet in search of saving Tampa and its taxpayers some money on the $124 million fleet, which according to the article, doesn’t include the millions spent on fuel and routine maintenance each year. Which as you know, can add up fast.

    “With the fiscal constraints we are under, we need to have the right sized fleet,”
    Public Works director Irvin Lee said.

    The study will cost $100,000 and should be completed in a few weeks. We’ll keep you posted on the outcome.

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  • Well, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors sold some vehicles this month. The Big Three received a substantial order on June 1 from one big spending customer — the United States Federal Government.

    GSA’s official press release stated that The U.S. General Services Administration purchased $210 million of new fuel efficient vehicles, with the goal that each new vehicle will replace an older, less efficient one in the federal fleet.

    The agency ordered 14,105 fuel efficient vehicles with $210 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), bringing the total number of fuel efficient vehicles ordered by GSA using ARRA funds to 17,205 at a cost of $287 million. The breakdown includes:

    2,933 Chrysler vehicles for $53 million

    7,924 Ford vehicles for $129 million

    6,348 General Motors vehicles for $105 million

    By September 30, 2009, another $15 million will be spent on advanced technology federal buses and electric vehicles.

    “GSA is committed to spending Recovery dollars quickly and wisely,” said Commissioner James A. Williams of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “Simultaneously, we are focused on acquiring vehicles that will provide long-term environmental benefits and savings by increasing the fuel efficiency of the Federal fleet.”

    Photo courtesy of futureatlas.com under the Creative Commons License

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