Toronto, Ontario -- July 6, 2018 -- In today's Friday Fun: Calgary emergency crews remove SUV form CTrain tracks, North American gas prices surge, Saudi Arabian women hit the roads and much, much more.
Calgary emergency crews were called to attend to an SUV that had landed on the CTrain tracks. A Calgary Fire Department spokesperson said the vehicle left Memorial Drive, drove up and over the concrete divider and dangled above the CTrain tracks. The driver, the lone occupant, was able to free himself and escape the vehicle according to a news report. Trains were delayed along the route. https://bit.ly/2KJXNYV
Last holiday weekend gasoline prices were as high as they’ve been in the past couple years. Some analysts suggest a new global record will be set this summer in terms of demand for gasoline. North Americans are feeling economically confident and traveling this summer. Millions of new cars have been sold in China to families that have not had a car before. All in all, it is expected that this summer’s driving season will see record amounts of gasoline used. Jet fuel is also in high demand. This past Friday was the single busiest day ever in the air industry, with more flights scheduled to take place that day than any time before in history. The price of a barrel of crude oil is expected to stay relatively high through the summer as a result. “We are making meaningful changes to our supply forecasts: we see lower output from Iran, Libya and Angola ahead, but increase our forecasts for Saudi Arabia. On balance, this leaves the oil market tighter than before, with less spare capacity,” said a JP Morgan analyst this past week.
Britain's biggest 'crash for cash' racket was busted this past week. The scammers were said to have gotten away with £2 million in car insurance. The scam was uncovered when members of the family carrying out the fraud were caught on a CCTV camera faking the accidents by driving a Land Rover into a forklift truck. The scam was run out of a family-run garage in south Wales. https://dailym.ai/2IPYcnE
As the 15 million women in Saudi Arabia take to the road for the first time, analysts are predicting a boom in the economy. Last year Saudi King, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, issued a decree stating that women can now get a driver’s license. Getting women behind the wheel will do much to help the desert kingdom’s economy. As it is, car sales were down about 22% last year. The low price of crude in 2016 had knocked the country’s economy for a loop. Some even think that the Saudi stock index will rise almost two percent this year as a result of the gains in insurance, banking and petrochemicals that will follow on the decision to allow women to drive. According to a story from the country, women’s insurance coverage will also include roadside assistance service specifically for women who might find themselves in an emergency. The kingdom is still segregated by gender in many areas of society. The roadside assistance will be women only. As a source told the Arab News, “This service is provided as an additional service for women and it is not available for men. If a case is complicated the employee will take the car to one of our centers to make sure everything goes smoothly.” According to the story, insurance companies are also planning to develop special sections for female employees to deal with female policy holders. But many think the roads will be safer with women on them. According to the source, “Women driving will have the greatest impact in improving and reducing traffic accidents because of the nature of women and their keenness to follow traffic laws and regulations. Statistically, women are safer drivers, which mean they are also less likely to file a claim than men. Therefore, they will generally pay less for car insurance,” according to a source in the story. https://bit.ly/2z9hOnh
Last week in this column, a story appeared explaining that the first fueling station for hydrogen-powered cars had opened in British Columbia. Apparently, OEMs will include three years of hydrogen fuel with the sale or lease of a hydrogen-fueled vehicle, which is a deal. According to data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) hydrogen fuel prices range from $12.85 to more than $16 per kg. The most common price is $13.99 per kg. According to the NREL a kilogram of hydrogen has about the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline, but hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars are about twice as efficient as a gasoline vehicle. That is, one kilogram of hydrogen would be equivalent to the price of gasoline at $7.00 a gallon or $1.89 per liter. Hydrogen is a more expensive fuel than gasoline today. Fortunately, the NREL estimates that hydrogen fuel prices may fall to a price range between $8
and $10 per kg between 2020 and 2025. If gasoline was $3.50 per gallon at that time, a hydrogen vehicle using $8 per kg of hydrogen fuel would be cheaper to operate.
The TechForce Foundation is a U.S.-based non-profit organization focused on the welfare of transportation technicians. The organization has just released a new report that illustrates the growing severity of the vehicle technician shortage. The data in the study is for the United States. But the general themes in the report apply here as well. Based on an analysis of data from the National Center for Education Statistics, TechForce found that the post secondary supply of new entrant vehicle technicians, “… has not kept up with the spike in demand,” for technicians. According to the report, “... auto tech post secondary completions have been declining since 2013… The supply of postsecondary auto graduates decreased by 1,829 completions in 2016 from 2012. There were an estimated 38,829 graduates for 2016 in contrast to the projected… new entrant demand of 75,900.” A source was quoted in the story as saying, “With only a small percentage of students interested in going into a skilled trade versus seeking a college degree, the competition among all the skilled trades for those students is fierce. If you look at auto technicians, they can make a very solid, middle-class income. However, starting wages for auto technicians are among the lowest across the skilled trades, and that is often what young and men and women will focus on when making a career decision. Add to that the fact that entry-level technicians are expected to arrive at their first job with their own tools and it does not make the career very attractive, compared with other choices.” https://bit.ly/2Iuvbh7
Interested in shortening cycle times by up to a day? An article in a U.S.-based trade paper discusses how a busy collision repair shop managed to keep operating through a recent renovation. According to the story a Ford dealership in Michigan wanted to create 20 more repair bays, a clean-room area for aluminum repairs and two paint booths, with one large enough to handle Transit vans. But during the renovation the company was squeezed for space. To keep the business turning over, the company created an overnight shift for painters. According to the story, “... to help keep the vehicles rolling through in a timely manner, body shop manager Joe Hershey instituted a unique practice: an overnight shift.” A three-person team consisting of a painter, painter's helper and a body shop worker, went on to a 10 p.m.-to-6 a.m. shift to get the cars painted that had been repaired during the day. "It was slightly inefficient, in that you have to move some cars around to accommodate the next shift, but it was quite productive," Hershey told Automotive News. "I did see multiple occasions where we were able to speed up the repair by a half day, sometimes a full day, due to the fact we were able to capitalize on people working on the vehicle subsequent to the body being worked on." The dealership now has 55 bays that service dozens of cars a day. https://bit.ly/2tzqqOG