Ten tips from the NFIB on how to keep your eyes on the prize during crazy economic times.
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Chauffeured transportation operators and coachbuilders will usually mention United Arab Emirates and its gleaming, expanding city Dubai when talking about what they're focusing on in key international markets. While the Middle East is a tension zone for the U.S. in the post-Iraq war era, it's also a very important region for economic expansion and travel, and UAR plays an important role in this transition. It's not uncommon to see press releases on chauffeured services being started up in the area, such as a program linked to UAR's fairly new, growing airline
, Etihad Airways. Dubai is a dynamic urban center today - it's now home of the world's tallest tower and other eye catching sites. It's also the focus of a corruption scandal
, but it is an important business center for those tracking international markets.
Mercedes-Benz will unveil its first hybrid luxury sedan in 2010, the same year that will be the Lincoln Town Car's final model year. A review of the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid.
Mercedes, which provides the S-550 as a staple of European livery markets, appears to be aiming toward a larger share of the U.S. sedan service market.
Mercedes made a noticeable mark on the trade show floor of LCT East earlier this month, with its 550 and new R-Class models.
Economic and automotive forces will redefine the next decade of luxury transportation: green, sophisticated, stylish, and solid. -- M.R.
The U.S. Senate just passed a $25 billion loan program for automakers building fuel efficient vehicles. The House also passed this bill on Wednesday and President Bush is expected to sign it
by end of day tomorrow. Automakers have been lobbying hard for this money for nearly two years as they feel the pressure of increasing vehicle fuel efficiency at least 40% by 2020. To reach this level, automakers' costs will be more than $25 billion, but they've been asking for a cost-saving loan program such as this one. Detroit was able to get what it needs during days of $700 billion loan clamor.
The New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission has extended the new car purchase 25 MPG mandate on taxis out another month until the end of October. This happened after taxi owners sued the city, and the TLC is waiting for a verdict. Read all about it
- this will impact Black Car operators and their Jan. 1 start up, and Luxury Limousine operators are closely following the story.
PINK PLAYBOY: We haven't shown any lunatic limousines in a few months, so this compliation for your edification is long overdue.
Our favorite is the Pink Playboy limo, although we are bit puzzled as to which demographic exactly would go for this. But given that female clients are mostly driving the interest in party poles, the Pink Playboy may allow that brand to break through the typical Playboy demo of aging swingers and retro-hipsters.
The other limos span the elaborate, the dilapidated, the gaudy, the bizarre -- it's all here; a testament to the creativity and edginess that endears the party limousine business to America.
AVIS GETTING AGGRESSIVE: Avis seems to be accumulating a lot of attention lately, as it asserts its rental and chauffeured vehicle services.
The global travel community has just named Avis its favored rental vehicle company. Its 40% stake in Carey and foray into South Florida chauffeured markets are giving chauffeured operators fits, since Avis doesn't have to play by the same rules.
Look for coverage on the escalating battle in South Florida on LCT's e-newsletter and future issue of LCT Magazine.
The NLA, the Florida Limousine Association, the West Florida Limousine Association, and the Florida Ground Transportation Associaton have created a strong, united front on tackling this issue that could have unprecedented consequences for passenger safety, regulatory integrity, and future operator business models. More to come in LCT -- online and in print. -- M.R.
Americans might have less money to spend on trips and weekend special events, but what about international visitors? They like the fact that their euro, pound, Canadian dollar, or whatever else they have, is doing better than the U.S. dollar right now. They can get great travel deals as the hotel industry has been experiencing
for awhile. If you'd like to build your global traveler volume, start with affiliates in Europe and Canada and go from there. Or network with travel agents, tour operators, travel managers, and online booking companies to direct traffic to your website.
LOTS OF LINCOLNS: The venerable Lincoln Town Car has been ranked No. 6 on Forbes' list of Ten Easiest Cars to Bargain For. The Cadillac Escalade, also a major livery vehicle, ranked No. 4. The complete article here. This is a good time to buy 2008 models, since the 2009 model season starts Oct. 1 and 2008 has been one of the slowest sales years for Detroit's Big Three.
New York City is the obvious center of turmoil in the financial industry downturn. What other cities are tied into this mess and could also be going through tough times? According to an analysis piece in Business Week
, "the impact of a downturn could be more serious in smaller cities that are less diversified. Wilmington, Del., where many of the nation's credit-card companies are headquartered; Charlotte, N.C., home of Bank of America and Wachovia; and Sioux Falls, S.D., where many back-office jobs are located, each have about 15% of residents working in finance, real estate, and insurance."
This is a time of change in the chauffeured transportation industry, as many operators downsize, merge, and look for new customers. If you're in a market directly affected by the financial industry crisis, one of the best moves is finding out what other operators are doing to expand their business as the economy staggers from one punch to the next. LCT Magazine will be covering this, and we'd love to hear from you on what you're going through now, good and bad. You can click the Feedback button, or send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Jon LeSage
During a recent interview with T.J. Clark, president/CEO of Limos.com, he talked about how much travelers want to leave and read comments on trip experiences, and how that will be part of the revamped version of Limos.com. As an example of a popular travel site, he mentioned TripAdvisor
, a popular travel booking site and one that emphasizes consumers leave comments on what they've loved and hated. There's a section called Rants & Raves that has "thumbs up/thumbs down" icons. Consumers love this about the Internet now, according to Clark, and Limos.com will make this a big part of promoting the site. The motivating factor will be getting your customers to rave about their trip, not go thumbs down.
One thing that stood out while attending Green Fleet Conference last week: if going green, learn more about ISO. Fleet managers and corporate execs are looking at International Organization for Standardization (ISO) policies, such as ISO 14001, and many are adopting them to build total organization green programs. This is part of the process that Green Ride Global makes available to clients. Several operators have mentioned adapting to ISO compliant practices, including Royal Coachman Worldwide. ISO says that its program helps companies reduce energy consumption and improve their image among regulators, customers, and the public. (See www.iso.org for more information.) --J.L.
VOICE AND VOTER OF REASON: Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch enjoys a high-degree of respect and stature in the financial world. Thankfully, he retired seven years ago before the Wall Street madness hit, and has spent enough time gaining perspective and becoming qualified to advise and consent on all matters economic. His latest views. -- M.R.
A LIMO TANK? Mercedes-Benz has released a steely limousine fit for the age of terrorism -- or any freeway full of clueless motorists.
The primary selling point obviously is its stalwart security features that can withstand concussive attacks and protect the human cargo within.
Given the latest wrath toward CEOs and investment idiots on Wall Street, chauffeured transportation companies may want to add one of these to their fleets for clients who want to AVOID THIS. -- M.R.
JIM LUFF REPORTS AND RETORTS: LCT's contributing editor and indomitable operator sounds off on his story about pole-driven party buses in the September issue. . .
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You've probably seen "RSS" buttons on lots of websites lately, including this one. It stands for "Really Simple Syndication" or "Rich Site Summary." This is a good thing to have on your homepage - it can link you up to news stories and press releases on search terms that you care about, such as "limousine," or "ground transportation," or "business travel," or anything else you tend to look for. If you click on the RSS button on this page, or on our LCTmag.com website in the News section, it will allow you to set up news feeds onto your website - if you use Yahoo, Google, AOL, or other readers. And if you go to most any newspaper, magazine, weblog, or other sites, you'll see they have RSS buttons now. It makes information gathering quicker and more efficient.
What are the most popular green car models these days? Knowing this might help you make fleet decisions and promote green choices to your customers...
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We've changed the Feedback button and gone back to how we started. You can post comments and they'll go up immediately. We'll be checking the blog a few times each day, and editing feedback if it goes out there too far and causes damage. The good news: nearly all the feedback we've received on LimoLicious has been good to read, so please keep it up.
UPWARD MARKET: Lest there be any doubt, the party bus market steadily advances. Main Street obviously wants its party buses, and operators nationwide, such as this one in Des Moines, are meeting that demand. No mention of any poles, although municipal buses already are equipped with several of them. For safety, of course. While some industry elites may frown upon the plebian party buses, these carnival caravans yield some of the highest vehicle profit margins, despite excessive fuel costs. -- M.R.
WILDER THAN A PARTY BUS RIDE: These are brutal economic times, which justify some blunt talk. What is particularly frustrating for so many business owners and consumers is the sheer complexity of the unraveling investment world. Clarity becomes a highly-valued commodity amid the pain and uncertainty. One Bloomberg News columnist offers some refreshing insight. This is too big of a debacle to simply say everyone is at fault. Because when everyone is at fault, no one is at fault. So the blame game must go hand-in-hand with the economic explain-game. The other truism that emerges from the collapsing house of cards is that we should have never stopped listening to our Depression-era grandparents. They have been proven correct on financial advice and sensibility over and over and over again. All that talk about saving, investing conservatively, maintaining integrity, and delaying gratification applies to all generations in all types of economies.
For smaller operators and business owners, the one sliver of a silver lining could very well be that Main Street will fare much better than Wall Street. But this economic enema will be painful before the system is thoroughly cleansed. And chauffeured transporation companies that serve the financial industry, unfortunately, will suffer. Meanwhile, is it too flippant to ask if all those busy bodies in Washington, D.C., New York, and other major financial centers who are desperately trying to ward off a meltdown need comfortable, quality chauffeured transportation? Is it worth marketing to bankruptcy attorneys who may want to ease the pain of financial implosions by offering clients chauffeured service to their law offices? Chauffeured transportation needs to enjoy the same status as alcoholic beverages: A refuge and consolation in good times and bad. "Have a drink -- and a limo." -- M.R.
IS IT A CONTROVERSY YET? LCT Magazine Editor Martin Romjue addresses the latest industry kerfuffle which is now referred to as simply, “The Pole Factor.” Please click on. . .
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LAH President Joe Jordan also sent out this link
to a Boston Globe piece packed with photos from the hurricane and its aftermath.
A few days ago, Joe Jordan, president of the Limousine Association of Houston, sent out the following status report on Hurricane Ike and what it's like to live in the aftermath...
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LUXURY LEASES STILL AVAILABLE:
For all the credit compressing and squeezing going on amid the yo-yo meltdown, auto companies are still actively leasing
out vehicles with no discernible downturn since the beginning of the year, according to Swapalease.com
. In fact, the leasing stability is good for the luxury auto industry, which of course, provides the vehicle staples to the chauffeured transportation industry. -- M.R.
How is it that airlines are losing money now that fuel prices are dropping? Some have set up "hedging" deals
, which means they locked in fuel purchases at let's say $110 a barrel and then it dropped to nearly $90 a barrel, even though it had gotten up to $140 a barrel not long ago. There are a few large operators that have set up hedging fuel programs and may also be regretting the seesaw ride fuel prices are taking them on these days.
California's Public Utilities Commission is banning cellphone use
by train engineers a week after a Metrolink crash in Los Angeles took 25 lives and badly injured other passengers. The engineer was text messaging that day, though it's not clear yet whether that was the cause of the collision. The PUC also oversees chauffeured transportation. California, like many other states, recently banned the use of hand-held cell phones in cars, requiring drivers to use speaker phones or Bluetooth. Communicating with chauffeurs in California and several other states should be regulated by operators and not so much by state governments.
After calling the financial market conditions the worst since the Great Depression, the Wall Street Journal ended its analysis piece looking at what's going well in the U.S. economy...
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CHAUFFEURED VS. RENTAL: Rental car companies are making inroads into the chauffeured transportation industry, with their economies of scale, synergies, and vast distribution networks. Auto Europe is another example. The October issue of LCT Magazine explores the latest competiive moves of rental car companies.
But the rent-a-chauffeur market trend is ripe for some skpeticism: Are the rental chauffeurs professionally licensed? What are their qualifications -- an actual professional chauffeur or an airport counter sales agent doing double-duty? How does their level of attention and service compare?
The questions need to be answered before we can conclude whether rental car is a true QUALITY threat or more of a CHEAP QUANTITY alternative. -- M.R.
If you're considering giving celebrities free rides to incentivize them into becoming long-term clients, you might want to do some of the credit card processing and other protocols you do for everyone else. Limousine operators in Central Texas
have learned this the hard way from "Austin Hedge," a San Antonio phony with the real name of Terry Lenn Sanders. He's accused of thieving $20,000 in service from private limousine services. He told them he was a famous musician trying to keep a low profile and tour the area with his son. They should have told him they'd be happy to set up a contract with him and charge his card.
Here are a few to look at, and stay tuned for an upcoming issue of LCT Magazine, with lots of show photos, and coverage of the first-ever Green Fleet event.
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JIM LUFF REPORTS: It was Friday afternoon and the day could not have been any busier both in my business life and my personal life. As the president of a children's charity, I was preparing to throw our biggest fundraiser the next day: A party for 6,000 people. I was feeling overwhelmed already when I was informed that we had a major emergency involving one of our cars in Paso Robles. . .
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FOURTH-ANNUAL EVENT HELD ITS OWN: Despite economic setbacks and operator fears, the LCT Eastern Conference scored a coup of sorts: More than 600 attendees. Given the challenging circumstances, that figure points to a lot of hope and optimism. While plenty of operators nationwide are taking some business hits, many of the operators at LCT East reported either flat or rising revenues. The trade show floor maintained steady traffic throughout the event, and the seminars this year served up specific, targeted information for improving operations and finding new ways to pursue markets and make more money. (NOTE: Obviously, these observations were made, and conversations held, before Monday's horrific global market meltdown).
Key industry trends crystallized at the show: 1) Unprecendented regulatory and political challenges on the horizon; 2) fast-moving acceptance and demand for greener vehicles; 3) a recognition of the central role that online marketing, media, and communications will play in future chauffeured industry marketing and transactions.
Based on attendee behavior, we concluded the networking and social functions were a success. LCT-sponsored events repeatedly prove to be the most relaxed, informative, and creative networking "portals" for savvy 21st Century chauffeured transportation operators. See you at International LCT Show 2009 in Las Vegas. -- M.R.
FINANCIAL FURIES: We won't recite all the headlines of today's Wall Street fiasco, but there is one nugget in a Reuters story that explains the consequences for the chauffeured transportation industry:
New York Gov. David Paterson said Wall Street might lay off 30,000 workers in a worst-case scenario.
That's 30,000 well-paid Wall Street financial managers and movers, many of whom use chauffeured transportation. This would only compound the downturn in business this year experienced by the industry's largest companies, such as Dav El, BostonCoach, Empire CLS, and Carey International.
Ditto for countless affiliates and independent operators who rely on referrals and farmouts. So far, this industry's leading pessimist, Scott Solombrino, CEO of Dav El, has nailed it. He has been predicting unfolding events with remarkable accuracy. See a Q&A with Solombrino in the upcoming October issue of LCT Magazine. -- M.R.
I'm in my hotel room right now in Chicago, getting ready for Green Fleet tomorrow and Tuesday. I'ven been watching news coverage of the Texas hurricane, hoping for the best and wondering how operators I know are doing right now. Probably in another city waiting to drive back to Houston and sift through the damage. Galveston was drenched in flooding and other areas hit including Lake Charles, Louisiana. Here in Chicago, we've been drenched in rain, connected to the hurricane. Streets have been flooded out; I went to interview Sal Milazzo, one of the Windy City Limousine owners, this morning at their sharp looking new HQ. Some of the streets have been completely flooded out, so we had to take an alternate route to the office.
LCT East went well. A few less people than last year - about 600 this time. But the ones who made it are doing well and were glad to be there. Operators love to hang out with each other and talk shop, no matter how busy and crazy their work days can be. And it was great to be at the Mohegan Sun again. We'll cover LCT East more this week, and Green Fleet, here in LimoLicious, and in the November issue of the magazine. --Jon LeSage
The Twycross Zoo in Lorain, Ohio, wanted to thank six local limousine operators for providing rides to disabled kids from the Saxon Hiss Special Needs School. The kids were very excited to ride in limos and visit animals. The zoo's website covered the event
with a photo to get the word out on something very positive being given to the community. Steve Mallen, Owner of Select Chauffeurs said, "I am really grateful to All Star American Limousines, Capital Limousines, Heartbeat Limousines, Home James Cars, and Special Occasion Cars for their support, by providing their limousines free of charge. We are also grateful to Brownhills Glass for kindly sponsoring the entrance costs. Without their help I would not have been able to take so many children for the trip to Twycross Zoo."
AIRPORT SOLUTIONS: In this small city northeast of Vancouver, B.C., operators are now allowed to pick-up arriving passengers curbside, without a prior reservation. The enlightened town council has authorized walk-out limo service, enabling passengers to hire a limo on the spot. This obvioulsy will bring more business to the region's limousine operators, since passengers can see, compare, and choose among ALL ground transportation options. It's refreshing to see government actually make life easier for operators, instead of continously trying to tax, regulate, nag, marginalize, or deter them, as is the case at so many airports nationwide.
The council simply came down on the side of common-sense business fairness -- if arriving passengers can choose between a taxi, shuttle service, or municipal bus, why not put limousines and livery sedans into the mix? Just as a shuttle service reservation can be made after claiming baggage, the same opportunity should apply to imousines and black sedans. Those preferring advanced limousine reservations can still make them and be greeted by a chauffeur, not having to worry about first-come, first-serve. But once presented with the availability of superior limousine service, many passengers likely will become loyal customers. There's nothing like seeing a comfortable, elegant Town Car, or stretch version, parked alongside a yellow cab, a bouncy blue shuttle bus, or a packed city bus. -- M.R.
An article in the Ocala Business Journal
today proves that fuel prices do not have to be bad for business. It's all a matter of how you work with what you have. This Florida operator
makes fuel prices work to his advantage.
As always, even negative events can bring new opportunities. Pricing, packaging, and promotions allow for a lot of leverage when the economy starts to lurch in unpredictable directions. -- M.R.
Are there really as many green limo companies out there as you would assume after searching through the Internet? I've never heard of EnviroCar, a Phoenix-based company that says its offering Priuses and Lexus RX400h SUVs
to give passengers "chauffeured hybrid transportation." Nor have I heard of LA-based Econation
, which claims that it's created a trusted worldwide network of limousine companies at the request of their Fortune 500 and entertainment industry clientele. Offering green fleet vehicles is becoming more important all the time - you can't go to an industry meeting without hearing operators asking each other what they're doing. But there is a lot of hype out there. We'll have to see where this all goes in the real world.
One sure way for an operator to gain lasting exposure, connections, and clients is by getting a TV or movie gig.
of St. Louis will hit a high-profile
this fall by providing limousine service to a local family getting their home made over for ABC TV's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
Another operator, Head Limo
of Las Vegas, Nev., is profiled in this month's issue of LCT for having been the limousine company featured on VH1's hit reality show, "Flavor of Love
," starring rapper Flavor Flav and former supermodel Brigitte Nielsen. Owner Ricky Head, standing 6-feet 9-inches, and Flavor Flav are pictured above.
As LCT Magazine prepares for its International LCT Show in Las Vegas in January 2009, the event theme, "Reach For the Stars
," can be taken literally in the pursuit of celebrity-studded transportation opportunities. -- M.R.
Hurricane Ike is passing over Cuba on Monday, Sept. 8 and is on its way toward Galveston and Houston by Saturday, according to Stormpulse.com, which uses data provided by the National Hurricane Center. Hurricane Gustav is over and caused much less damage than did Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the Mississippi coastline... here's wishing the best for Texas.
Here's a press release on how things have gone in New Orleans since Hurricane Gustav passed through last week. It wasn't as devastating as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the city was much better prepared this time.
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POWER TO THE PEOPLE:
A recent consumer survey
shows that despite -- high gas prices, global warming hysteria, alternative fuel options, carping over carbon footprints, sniping at SUVs, finger-wagging
bout consumption -- Americans still want their S-U-V.
For the chauffeured transportation industry, this should be encouraging and a sign of reality. When SUVs burst onto the motoring scene in the 1990s, many Americans found them to be ideal: roomy, comfortable, practical, safe. Ask any family with two or more children who are regular Home Depot customers; the preferred vehicle of choice is the SUV -- not the hatchback, the station wagon, or the VW Bus.
In America, like it or not, market tastes dictate material production. That's why the chauffeured transportation industry should proudly promote the SUV, whether it runs on black or green fuels, as the ideal way to get around. There is nothing to be ashamed of, and don't let the environmentalists badger your business. People who buy SUVs will be receptive to reserving them when they want to be chauffeured. Thanks to SUVs, and the Lincoln Town Cars, the most comfortable and pleasurable part of air travel are the trips to and from the airports. -- M.R.
Hydrogen fuel cell cars are considered the essence of future alternative-fuel vehicles by auto industry analysts, but they are a long ways away for mass production. The Honda FCX Clarity is one of the most watched over hydrogen vehicles, but this USA Today auto analyst
thinks the seating is limo like. Hybrids are considered the more available alt-fuel option for the time being. Keep your eyes on fuel-cell vehicles.
New York City Taxi & Limousine Commissioner Matthew Daus (3rd from right) and Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty (left) pose with cast members of the off-Broadway musical "Stomp'" as part of a public service video. And in his newsletter, Daus also updated readers on the 25 MPG rule enforcement for taxis (and soon for black car operators):
"I am also pleased to mention that we have continued to stay in touch with auto manufacturers and that our confidence in the availability of vehicles capable of complying with our new fuel efficiency standards remains high. We are also aware that many taxi operators have heeded our encouragement to plan ahead and have wisely ordered their hybrid-electric vehicles well in advance to ensure a steady and ample supply. Considering the interest that has been demonstrated in this program by other major taxi towns, a number of which have already either passed similar ordinances or are in various planning stages of doing so, I must say that my enthusiasm has only grown as we approach the October 1 effective date."
There's a lot coming up very soon: LCT East at the Mohegan Sun, and then right after that, I'll be flying over to Chicago to attend the first-ever Green Fleet Conference
. I'm looking forward to learning more about the fuel and vehicle options that affect operators and will be covering it online and in LCT Magazine. Green Fleet is being put on by Automotive Fleet, a sister publication here at Bobit Business Media. It will mostly be made up of corporate and government fleet managers and auto manufacturers and suppliers promoting their green programs. This should be good - I used to cover that industry and know that fleet managers have been bringing alternative-fuel vehicles into their fleets since the early 1990s and have a lot of experience with every thing you can think about: CNG and LNG, propane, hybrids, hybrid electric, hydrogen fuel cell, ethanol, and in the '90s - methanol. I can't wait - maybe I'll see you there. -- Jon LeSage
IT'S JUST SO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA:
A Santa Monica-based limousine company has found a unique local clientele -- a niche known worldwide but endemic to this area: LIMO REHABBERS!
Yes, if you are rich, beautiful, and famous, and can only cope with it all through drugs and alcohol, there's a limo waiting to take you to a posh Malibu rehab facility. Lindsay Lohan
, Robert Downey Jr., Nick Nolte, Ben Affleck, Amy Winehouse
, . . . these discrete limos are for you.
deserves credit for finding a market niche distinctive to its local area and for thinking outside of the livery box. At LCT, we admire operators who dare to milk new markets during an economic downturn, proving there is ample opportunity everywhere.
And rehabbers are always recession-proof. As long as Hollywood churns out the young and the senseless, rehab facilities will enjoy a steady clientele dropped off in luxury chariots. -- M.R.
Take a look at the new website offered by the U.S. Dept. of Energy, called Fueleconomy.gov
. There is a lot of good, useful information from a respected source of transportation fuel trends. Some of the benefits of visiting the site include: comparing new vehicles for purchase by mileage, emissions, and safety ratings; where to buy fuel nearby for the cheapest price; details on alternative-fuel vehicles; tax incentives for purchasing diesel-powered vehicles; and late-breaking news stories. It's a warehouse of information on a subject that's becoming top-of-mind for many operators.
JIM LUFF REPORTS: Share Jim's experience of landing multiple sales just for recognizing the name of a community leader.
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GUSTAV BLOWS BY, OIL PRICES BLOW THROUGH THE FLOOR:
The price per barrel of oil is plummeting toward a $100, which sounds cheap given the $146 per barrel horror of a few months ago. An L.A. Times story
offers this hopeful tidbit for operators:
Fadel Gheit, senior energy analyst for Oppenheimer and Co., said he wouldn't be surprised if oil returned to the $50 to $60 levels of roughly a year ago.
"Demand for oil from China is slowing down," Gheit said. "In Japan and Europe, the developed economies are slowing down also. All of these factors will be bearing down on oil prices in the coming weeks and months."
WOW. If that indeed comes to pass, then all of our collective panic and dread will have seemed a bit foolish. And the speculators will look like the temporary culprits. The fossil fueled era of chauffeured transportation isn't quite over yet, and may just have a few acts left. While the above prediction would be universally welcomed, it cannot provide long-term comfort. The trends this latest spate of oil prices unleashed -- smaller, greener vehicles, less miles driven, more use of livery buses, the quest for alternative-fueled limousines, fuel surcharges -- should continue until the U.S. achieves a more diverse mix of energy sources, including for oil. But what a relief if we don't have to put up with $150 per barrel oil on the way there. Let's keep those Town Cars rolling. . . -- M.R.
From Sept. 1 to Sept. 30, 2008, Ford Fleet – Limousine & Livery Vehicles is offering the following purchase incentives on 2008 models...
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Gasoline prices are dropping, which is a good trend - the national average prices is $3.68 per gallon according the most current Dept. of Energy data. This is better than $4.50 per gallon, but it's still tough for a lot of ground transportation companies
. Chauffeured transportation companies are feeling the pinch - while fuel surcharges have been increasing this year, they're still below where they need to be to cover the real cost of fuel, even as prices have dropped in the last month. Corporate and retail clients may not be thrilled to hear that you're increasing the fuel surcharge from 7% to 10%, but these charges are being increased by every transportation industry.