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Saturday, August 04, 2012

Rail, rail (Against the dying of the bail)

Hehe. Just channelling my inner poet there.

Earlier in the week I wrote about comparing July CMIs. How 'bout we compare July carloads on railroads? From the August Rail Time report:

There is of course no parallel whatsoever with 2007, is there? What really busts my chops on this one is that compared to last year, when shipments were experiencing a transitory real negative from the tragedy in Japan, I don't see how we can be racking up these numbers. They are more negative than they appear. June and July ought to be positives, and they are not. 

Further, it does appear that we have maxed out on MV production and sales. Some dealerships seem to be having problems moving their inventory. I don't think it's going to crash, but I do think it's going to slow fractionally, which removes another lifter from the economic engines. 

The last couple of weeks on MV rail stats have been disappointing in their YoY comparisons, given the situation back then. 

The forward truck (production) indicators continue to weaken. Freight as a whole entered the second half in kind of a slow mode.

To see what's happening, compare these releases from the same outfit:
5/22: Ignore those storm clouds on the horizon
6/27: All is well!
8/02: Concerns are surfacing.

It should be fun to watch this progression.

One interesting trucking note that you probably didn't know, because you are not the kind of idiotic nerd that reads trucking news - our supremely wise government is paying outfits to buy electric trucks and covering the costs. Read about it here. The next trucking revolution is in NG, which is really gearing up. And you don't have to subsidize it to make it happen - lower fuel costs will do that for you. Eventually the consumers will benefit from lower costs. 

So, while we're debating over whether we should cut $100 dollars from a monthly SS check of $982 to save money, just remember that we had enough money to cover the costs to a private company of over $100,000 to buy an electric truck instead of the alternative. Because they really, really care.

Consider the thought of a fleet of delivery tractor-trucks hitting the charger at the end of the day. Now consider all the recent stories about grid instability.

Finally, consider the environmental lawsuits if a utility attempts to construct new transmission capacity.
Neil - it is difficult to describe my reaction upon reading that particular news item. Consider me still to be stammering in print.

It is at times like this, as a galvanic convulsion overwhelms your entire CNS to the degree that sparks shoot out of your eyes, ears, nose and butt simultaneously, that I am thankful that I was raised in a religious tradition.

The only coherent thing I can find to say regarding this is still "Lord, we have done those things we ought not to have done, and we have not done those things which we ought to have done, and there is no health in us."
An interesting data point: On a couple of occasions now, I have run across key technical personnel from electric vehicle manufacturers who were looking for another job. Not because they were going to lose their job imminently, but simply because they no longer believed the technology had a future. The batteries just aren't coming.

I've thought so myself for a long time, but I was surprised to hear these folks say it.
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