Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Fuming Over Fumes

Gasoline is continuing its climb in parallel to increasing crude oil prices…and it’s not expected to taper off anytime soon as we approach the traditional Summer travel season.
The cheapest gas on the Lundberg Survey this morning is in Newark, New Jersey, which has an average price of $3.21. San Francisco drivers are paying the highest price per gallon at $3.88.

May I switch to a siding and rant for a moment?

As soon as I finish the show this morning, I am climbing on a flight to New York, where tomorrow we’ll be doing a two-hour extended-mix version of this show from the Equities Magazine Investor Conference on the oil and minerals sectors—I have about eight segments lined up for insight on gold mining companies, copper mining companies, and capital managers who are assessing the investment landscape.

Should be a pretty good show tomorrow from 9 to 11 Central Time, and I hope you're tune in.

So I am getting ready to go this morning, and I went downstairs before the show to put my bags in the company car, which I will drive to the airport. I was in this vehicle a last week and noticed there was only a quarter of a tank of gasoline in it. The power steering pump was making a horrendous noise—that f e e d m e e whine that power steering pumps make when they’re out of reservoir fluid.

I mentioned to one of the fellows in the office that the vehicle should be looked at, and the tank topped off, one week ago.

Do you think it got done?

It was driven at least once more to Sugar Land (where there is no Equal), effectively expending the remaining fuel in the tank so that the low-fuel indicator light glowed an ominous orange on the dash panel. And even less power steering fluid remained in the pump system.

I know this because when I went down to put my bags in the car, the steering felt like those chintzy Driver’s Education simulators we had in high school—remember the one’s that were supposed to give you a sense of resistance in the wheel as you guided the sim through curves and turns? The power steering pump was squeeling like a stuck pig, because like the fuel pump, it was also sucking fumes.

So I stopped my routine this morning--interrupted my important work of collecting for you the latest information, innovative ideas, and valuable nuggets of wisdom—and drove this squealing, hard-steering pig out of the parking garage, and down the block to a gasoline station, to pump gas and plug a bottle of steering fluid into the reservoir because those responsible for tending to such details didn't.

Here’s the deal—and you may already have such a policy in place (the trick is getting folks to follow it): You drive the company car, you bring it back with enough gasoline for the next guy to get his errand run without running out of gas.
How difficult is that principle to understand, let alone execute?

You notice something’s amiss, alert those responsible for maintaining the vehicle so that they can follow up; and it may be in your best interest to follow up on their follow up.
Just un-believable how we treat our co-workers sometimes…

So gasoline’s at an all time high again for the second day in a row…I paid $3.48 to soothe the savage beast in our company car...still cheaper by the gallon than power steering fluid: 10-ounces of that stuff will set you back $4.00, which would price it somewhere north of $20/gal.

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