Shortsighted

Bad decisions from the past haunt the transportation industry today.


People are shortsighted if they make decisions today that end up costing more money or having other bad consequences in the future.

People are nearsighted when their eyes cannot focus on distant objects. Distant objects seem fuzzy.

It seems to me that we are both shortsighted and nearsighted about the need for vastly greater efficiency in our fleets. Our vendors have not felt the wrath of their customers about the dismal performance improvements over the last decade because we are not angry. The OEMs are just being good businesspeople by following the whims of their customer.

As individual consumers consider for a second what we have bought. For the last decade we have bought the biggest cars, trucks, vans and SUVs we could find. In any parking lot you could see top of the line dual wheel crew cab pickup trucks (spotless—they never pulled a big trailer or hauled a heavy load). Next to them you can see massive SUVs. That’s what we wanted. That’s what we were sold. That’s what was profitable to build.

Let’s take some bets. If the price of fuel drops to $2 again for more than a few months the sales volume will jump back up again. Anyone want to take the bet the sales volume of the behemoths won’t jump?

That is where the nearsightedness comes in. We can’t see the inevitable future too clearly. No matter where you come down on the science of global warming you have to appreciate that oil comes from some of the most hostile and repressive places on earth. We are beholden to people we normally wouldn’t even consider associating with. We are becoming increasingly dependent on them.

In some ways we are like heroin junkies. Once oil starts to become harder to come by what would we not do as a country to secure our next fix? Who wants our kids fighting some warlord in some hellhole for access to a few thousand barrels of crude?

Of course that doesn’t even take into account the environmental disaster that we are motoring into. Apparently small changes in the climate will change rainfall patterns, increase strength of storms, and make a mess of a lot of the world.

A lot of people feel that global warming is just a bunch of crap. Another bet. How many people want to bet that global warming is a hoax? Perhaps all these scientists have got it wrong. It’s happened before. I don’t know, but it’s not a bet I would take.

Let’s get back to our fleets. Let’s face it: We are part of the problem. We use millions of those gallons of oil. Our short-sightedness and our nearsightedness are both burning up a resource that is increasingly dangerous to our security and adding carbon to the atmosphere which is probably dangerous to our kid’s security.

Someone tell me why we don’t have 25 mpg Class-8 tractors.Where are the hybrid delivery trucks that with regenerative braking and all the other goodies deliver 35 mpg?

I say we should get mad. We should express ourselves in the most effective way possible with our wallets. Support the OEM leaders in efficiency with your purchases. Fight the shortsighted people in our own organizations who want to spend less today. Tell the sales people you won’t accept a 10 percent improvement in efficiency—ask for 30 percent!

Let’s get off the dime and join the fight. It’s the good fight.

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