QUALITY ACHIEVEMENT: Congratulations to two industry coachbuilders for getting Cadillac's official stamp of approval. Information and links below. . .
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One of the finalists in the LCT Operator of the Year category for 11-30 vehicles category provides us with an industry bright spot
amid a faltering economy and battered transportation sector. The Jacksonville, Fla.-based operator has seen revenues and profits actually increase. We emphasize that amid any general trend, there are plenty of exceptions. LCT has heard from enough operators anecdotally nationwide to conclude there are more than a handful of chauffeured transportation companies experiencing a 1999 business atmosphere instead of the 2009 gloomosphere. Using the right tools, strategies, messages, and innovations often can circumvent or at least hedge against countervailing economic forces. -- M.R.
MY HOW THINGS CHANGE:
The Los Angeles Auto Show
is considered the first major auto industry event for the new model year. It used to be in January, but ever since being moved to November, it's competed less with auto shows in Detroit and New York and has provided a first-look at cool new stuff. The irony this year is that GM and Chrysler gave it a thumbs down, and Ford was the only Big 3 manufacturer to attend and show its cars. The Detroit automakers must keep their costs well trimmed, so it's not surprising they stayed home. Another interesting part of the L.A. Auto Show is the central focus on green, altnernative-fuel vehicles, even as auto sales plummet down and gas prices go the same route. -- J.L.
A Los Angeles-area shuttle service is offering door-to-door family rates for clients heading to the airport. Can the same concept
work for luxury chauffeured transportation? As consumers look for value and lower costs, an all inclusive rate may help invite more business. Such strategic pricing for specific market segments is one way to keep the revenue flowing during a recession. Many people are holding on and saving not because they have lost a job or a home, but out of fear. So give them a worthwhile reason to spend. -- M.R.
NO HOPE LEFT FOR LIVERY?
The Obama-inaugural-mania appears to have consumed available chauffeur and livery vehicle services in the greater Washington, D.C. area. A DCExaminer.com
article interviews Richard Kane, CEO of International Limousine Service of Washington, D.C., and Richard Alexander, owner of RMA Limousine in Rockville, Md., about the avalanche of requests for high-end luxury vehicles. That's good for chauffeured transportation, but politically speaking, does anyone from the incoming Obama adminstration or its ranks of supporters care to pedal into D.C. on a bike? Wouldn't that be making a positive green statement? For a political clique that seems so serious about going green, they sure don't hesitate to ride around in the black. -- M.R.
Who would have thought that gas prices would fall about as fast as they rose last spring and summer. The cynical wisdom maintains that gas prices always rise faster, and fall slower. This time around, with the economy tanking, it doesn't look like gas prices are taking their time to drop. This limousine operator
has dropped her $25 fuel surcharges. This may make good business sense, now that gas averages more than $2 per gallon LESS than in June/July. As consumers tighten spending, you never want to give them a reason to justify holding back. Look for more fuel surcharges to become de facto rebates. -- M.R.
Jackson Limousine Service is giving away 10,000 free turkeys and fixings to low-income Los Angeles residents. And getting coverage on NBC's local TV station
. How much does that cost him compared to buying a TV commercial and an online advertisement? -- J.L.
Transporting professional athletes, coaches, and managers is a great way to build profitable business in your market. Just ask Partners Executive Transportation
, which has done well through its New York Yankees contract. And it's not just famous football, baseball, and basketball teams that need chauffeured rides - hockey teams
, soccer teams, golf tournaments, and then there's women's professional sports leagues. Networking with major sports marketing companies
helps build relationships with decision makers. Check it out - could be a win win win project.
WHILE WE'RE ON THE SUBJECT:
Of used limousines, this one definitely stands out as ancient -- unless you want to remake it into a classic.
But then, is 1979 a classic car year yet? We suppose you could promote the 79 Fleetwood stretchette as a limo for bad economic times, since 2009 will be the worst year economically since 1979.
A cheap limousine for cheapening times? How about, the green-killer? Jimmy Carter Claptrap?
USED MARKET: Be careful when looking for a used limousine. Customer service and quality must remain top-notch during a recession, and livery vehicles should be impeccably presentable. With that said, does it matter if the customer knows if the vehicle is an 05, 06, or 07? A 99 would be pushing it, however. More information at the Limousine Trader.
We're not fretting about $147 per barrel oil and runaway inflation. So we're not headed toward the 1970s. Oil prices are likely to fall lower
. Amid all the economic trouble, we can be gleeful if the Arab oil princes and their companies take a big hit. While it likely will mean only one less Rolls-Royce for your typical oil sheik, their real pain will come from diminished economic stature and influence. Let's keep pushing for those greener, fuel-saver vehicles. -- M.R.
BIG 3 COLLAPSE WOULD BE CATASTROPHE: A leading analyst said today that if Ford, GM, and Chrysler file for bankruptcy, the American economy would violently contract. Full story and his words:
A Deutsche Bank economist quantified the impact of the collapse of the trio on the American economy. Deutsche's Joseph LaVorgna estimates that if the auto-makers were to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the first three months of next year, it could cause US GDP to shrink by at least 4% as auto production would fall by 30% to 35%. He also believes unemployment would immediately leap from its current level of 6.5% to as high as 8.25%.
RAIDING THE CUPBOARD:
In an economic downturn, every little marketing idea or possibility helps. For operators, here is another potential limousine market: Govenrments trying to lure businesses
. Along with real estate agents taking clients on tours of foreclosed homes, local Chambers of Commerce, county governments, and state business groups may be eager to impress potential business relocators. As is often the case in a recession, businesses start eyeballing lower tax and regulatory climates, and may consider moving to states more hospitable to business. If you operate in such a state, be on the lookout for organizations that want to impress business owners with limo tours. -- M.R.
One silver lining of 2008 for chauffeured transportation had been the weaker dollar, which, while contributing to inflation and high commodity prices, kept exports strong and international travelers coming to the U.S. Now, the economic infection has spread around the globe
. It's all the more reason to emphasize viable, feasible ground transportation services, i.e. GET ON THE BUS. -- M.R.
BENEFITS OF BUSING:
Charter and tour bus rides have been increasing in this country and should continue to do so next year, according to a report released by the American Bus Association
. Why is the industry's revenue growing even though economic conditions are poor? Part of the customer demand this year came from high fuel prices and concern over green issues. Yet even with declining gas prices, things continue to look good for the industry. The report cites a Travel Industry Association study showing that 41 million Americans chose not to take airline flights over a recent 12-month period simply because of expected hassles associated with flying; consumers want to have transportation options. And nightmare gridlock in many highly trafficked corridors, particularly in the Northeast and on the West Coast, created an opportunity for motorcoaches. All of this is good news for operators who are building up their bus fleets.
MIXED BAG: A chauffeur's life is exciting, glamorous, boring, and unhealthy, Jim Luff says, based on his own experience.
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An event planner in San Diego asked me the other day why operator fuel surcharges haven't dropped recently along with gas prices. I didn't know the answer. A TV news story
from Bakersfield, Calif., made me think of this incident once again - Vintage Limousine told the reporter they're spending less on gasoline but fuel surcharges will remain the same and the company will offer customers discount specials. Experts in the fuel business expect oil prices to go back up again, but for now, they're in a downward slide. So, the question remains: What to do about your customer fuel surcharges? -- J.L.
GETTING THE WORD OUT: Towne Auto Group's David Bastian sent out this letter to the chauffeured transportation industry to build support for the Detroit automakers during a very tough time.
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Online social networking has become a big deal - for making business and personal contacts, getting the inside scoop on news stories and market trends, promoting your business, learning more about solutions to complex problems, and other good reasons for getting involved. In chauffeured transportation, In the Left Lane
and the Limos.com forum
, are active locations for people in the industry to make good use of their time online. LCT's Events department has just set up two online group discussions to promote its upcoming International LCT Show and to give those attending an early bird start for networking and connecting before going to Vegas to meet each other. One is through Facebook
and the other through Linkedin
. Online networking takes up more time for busy people, but its value increases every day.
PANIC BUTTON: GM faces the most critical make-or-break moment in its company history. Click below to read more about its latest letter to America and the debate over bankruptcies and bailouts. . .
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WORKING & NETWORKING:
Read all about J. Howard Frisk, an operator with 32 years in this business and 85 vehicles, based in Springfield, Mo. (also the home of a few coachbuilders). Frisk regularly puts in very long days from early morning well into the evening. If fact, you can read a timetable
from one of his typical days, which started out with a 6:30 a.m. executive breakfast meeting and wrapped up after attending a fundraiser. Frisk sits on the boards or committees of more than 25 community and industry organizations. All of this may sound quite extreme, but it is actually close to the norm for many operators. To be in this business, you've got to love talking to other business people, and spend much of your life networking and promoting your business.Years later, this man seems to be happy where he is.
SUPREME LIMO: No limousine operator should ever feel self-conscious, or beyond hope, about vehicle fuel consumption when compared to this heavily-fortified piece of livery. Details are emerging about GM's new Cadillac limousine for the President. The stretch is about as un-green as possible, although its occupant will be relatively green given his minimal political experience. So although President Obama won't be riding in a green vehicle, he will no doubt reaffirm his green credentials by groping for more green from taxpayer wallets. -- M.R.
NYC NEWS: New York City's Mayor Bloomberg announced this morning an incentive program to motivate taxi owners to switch over to fuel efficient vehicles. This happens not long after a federal district court judge ruled that taxis don't have to live up to the TLC's 25 MPG mandate.
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OUTLOOK: Corporate business travel is taking a big hit, with companies looking to save money any which way. See MSNBC Report. We would caution against overzealous corporate travel cuts. Three points to consider:
1) Face to face meetings are more productive than teleconferences: Notice how everyone e-mails, instant messages, and surfs the Net while teleconferencing? People pay attention more when there's face time. It's harder to plug in elsewhere when seated around a conference table with everyone watching.
2) Also, we are horrified at how some companies are asking employees to double up in rooms. This is an outrage. If you, as a company owner, can't afford two hotel rooms, then dont send two people. Professional business travel is not a high school band road trip with everyone bunking in everyone else's rooms. Employees should collectively refuse the "bunk up" mentality. What cheapskates. However, we at LCT have no gripe with corporate travelers "bunking up" for limousine and livery ground transportation. No sense in two people riding in two separate Town Cars. Two or more people in a black luxury vehicle also renders that vehicle very green, indeed.
3) Getting on the road for conferences, trade shows, and meetings actually can be a mental break for employees and managers; something about a new environment that fuels creativity and motivation. Of course, the hotel room needs to be comfortable (Courtyard, Hampton Inn at least), and the ground transportation should be chauffeured. We insist. -- M.R.
A Queens, N.Y., police officer was given kudos by a local newspaper
for not letting Noble Limousine Service clog traffic. Noble was recruiting drivers and let them back up traffic for hours on 35th St. in Long Island City. Things got ugly until Highway Officer John Glynn rode his scooter through the clogged street and wrote summonses for the violators - motivating drivers to clear out of the way. That is one tough town. When you're providing luxury service - whether you're in NYC's livery, black car, or luxury limousine category, you want to be considered a high-level customer service provider and not just a bunch of punks.
The "green" movement is not going away, even as the recession deepens and gasoline prices continue dropping. Corporate accounts are pushing less for hybrids and alternative-fuel vehicles, but it's not going away. In fact, the green movement is expected to be an expanding part of the U.S. economy that will add jobs, technology, and innovative services while other industries slide downward. This will come through greening up buildings and houses, C02 reduction programs, recycling programs, and more green vehicle options. General Motors is basing much of its future on hybrids (especially Chevrolet Volt) and other alt-fuel models, and this is the case with other major manufacturers. In this industry, operators continue to launch green programs, comply with corporate client requests, and learn more about how it all works. Take a look at the Hybrid Limo Express website
. This operator went into business in 2007 and was ready to be there for the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission's black car MPG mandate in early 2008. Hybrid Limo Express has established itself as NYC’s largest fleet of hybrid vehicles (200), comprised of hybrid Lexus RX400s, Toyota Camrys, and Toyota Highlanders, according to the company. And there are other operators continuing to do quite well during the economic downturn. It's a valuable market niche that faces economic challenges like everything else, but will be alive and well going forward. - Jon LeSage
JIM LUFF SAYS: Find a mentor for yourself and pay it forward by mentoring someone else.
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REDUCTION MUCH BETTER:
There's a good article
in an online magazine called Environmental Leader. Becoming "carbon neutral" has been taken on by many companies as their way of not adding to the global CO2 emissions crisis. The problem is: how do CO2 emissions get reduced, not stay at their negative level, which increases every year? As the writer George Ahn says: "Carbon neutrality has become the rallying cry for the industry, and while companies are doing a great job of patting themselves on the back for offsetting carbon emissions and planting trees, let’s not forget the fundamental issue here: we continue to deplete our natural resources and increase carbon emissions and it’s astounding how little is really being done to fix that."
Moving from one office location to another is a big deal for business owners. In chauffeured transportation, it boils down to having enough parking spaces for fleet vehicles and employee parking, having a good amount of office space for desks, meeting rooms, and storage, and being centered in the right place for most of the trips you take. That could be near the major airport, or close to key highway off ramps. It also has to do with where your staff lives - you don't want them to resent long commutes every day. For Drivers Unlimited Inc., based in Darien, Conn., moving its headquarters came down to
finding the best possible location for meeting all these priorities. And moving to a new company office is usually a good sign that the business is growing.
COUNTDOWN TO THE TOP TWELVE. . . In about 24 hours, the industry will learn the finalists for the 2009 LCT Operator of the Year Awards. Aside from being the leading awards in the chauffeured transportation industry, winning one means an operator has finally arrived. Past winners use the awards to tremendous marketing effect -- an inestimable asset during a recession -- and serve as experts and leaders in the industry. Four of the 12 finalists announced tomorrow will become Operators of the Year after a panel of six judges scores all finalists in the following business categories: 1) staff/chauffeur training; 2) Industry and community involvement; 3) Use of technology; 4) Customer service; 5) Safety performance; 6) Media and marketing.
The finalists will be announced on Driving Force, LCT's weekly e-newsletter, on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 12, and will be posted on www.lctmag.com. Operators of the Year will be divulged and celebrated on Tuesday night, Jan. 27, 2009, at the annual LCT Awards Gala at the International LCT Show at the Venetian Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
DOOM, GLOOM, & BLOOM: Not all operators and companies are sustaining losses in this economy on a cliff.
Individual states, cities, and regions form their own economic micro-markets with varying levels of employment, business activity, and capital investment.
One St. Louis operator is seeing record revenues, based partially at least on a Hummer limousine. So the bottom line is that a magic formula for surviving a recession is a myth.
It boils down to how each company handles its own unique set of circumstances. -- M.R.
Building an effective company brand name is not easy. There are legal issues involved in trademark laws and corporate identity practices, and there are practical issues in establishing an effective, well remembered name. In chauffeured transportation, there are a lot of locally known company names that are sometimes identical or close to other operators in another part of the country. This can be a real problem when a competitor has that company name trademarked and wants to protect its company name in court. A less legally troubling problem is changing your company name inconsistently and confusing your customers. You may have added the words "worldwide," or "global," or "transportation," or something else to your website, but you still have the old company name everywhere else. And then you might change the name again in six months, further confusing people.
Here are a few articles to review that offer guidance on protecting your business name:
Business Name Registration
Picking the Perfect Name for your Corporation
How to Name Your Business
Who are the TOP TWELVE for 2009? Look for the 2009 LCT Operator of the Year finalists to be announced Wednesday on Driving Force, LCT Magazine's weekly e-newsletter. Three finalists in four categories -- 1) 1-10 vehicles; 2) 11-30 vehicles; 3) 31-50 vehicles; 4) 51+ vehicles -- will be named as contestants for the most prestigious and widely recognized awards in the limousine and chauffeured transportation industry. Each finalist will be profiled in the February 2009 issue of LCT Magazine and recognized at LCT's annual Awards Gala at the International LCT Show 2009 in Las Vegas on the night of Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009. The FINAL FOUR winners will be revealed at the banquet.
With chauffeured transportation so focused on being finicky and frugal, we believe the times are ripe for a backlash demand to emerge for blatant luxury and excess. It can be good for the financial soul in set doses.
This $600,000 Rolls-Royce stretch makes the ultimate statement on behalf of classy comfort and premium brands. We would marvel at any operator who can make this stretch a profit center unto itself.
But you may have to start out looking for clients in the global gold-spot of Dubai of Arabia, where wealth cannot be spread any further because everyone is neck-deep in it. -- M.R.
DISTINGUISHED LIVERY: We're obviously interested in the highest profile limousine in the world, the stretch that carries the President. Read about Obama's new unofficial Caddy. The only question we have is, given the deepening recession and Obama-philic references to combatting global warming, shouldn't The One set a good example for frugality and earthly stewardship by riding in an armored Prius? Just wondering. -- M.R.
SUFFERING SQUEEZES: Independent small businesses -- the bulk of the chauffeured transportation industry -- are facing many obstacles, including fewer credit and capital opportunities and declining payrolls amid the troubled economy. STORY HERE. If there is one sector of the economy that deserves more attention, protection, investment, and bailout safety nets than the bungling brats of Wall Street , it is the vast layer of small busiensses that undergird our economy and employ most private sector workers (You know, those of us and our companies who pay the bulk of the taxes that funds the public sector, including the sugar-babied government workers in California who get to retire after 30 years @ 90% pay until death) . Let us hope the incoming political claque has enough sense to exempt such businesses from heavy-handed regulation and additional taxation. Small businesses are the real Golden Goose of our economy. -- M.R.
Gasoline prices have dropped to their lowest level in 21 months
, with the national average now at $2.24. With the economy sliding downhill, at least there's one good trend happening out there. It does raise some questions for the chauffeured transportation industry:
-How long will this stay low? Oil industry analysts have differing opinions; some believe it will spike back up once demand increases. But they don't really know.
-Do operators need to reduce their fuel surcharges? If you increased to 10%, do clients expect you to go back to 7%?
-Will operators still be asking for green cars? Are the corporate client requests for green cars still strong as companies struggle with the recession? Will the green movement still be a top priority for the public and customers?
Lots of questions. Let's see what happens. -- J.L.
TEMPLATE FOR FUTURE COMPANIES?
was profiled recently in the Times of London
. While the concept of green remains relatively undefined and highly subjective, companies like this one are making attempts to transform and adapt. But the question the chauffeured transportation industry eventually must define and answer with clarity is: When is an operator green enough? What is the future gold standard? What level of carbon emissions is the right balance? There is a perpetual aura of insatiability among environmentalists, with their doomsday warnings and strict demands. Businesses in all industries should be aware of that and take care they don't become enslaved to ever-shifting ground rules and goal posts. -- M.R.
BTN Breaks Carey Story: Avis Budget Group today confirmed to Business Travel News that it has declined to increase its stake in chauffeured transportation provider Carey International to 80% from 45%. Avis Budget had one year to assume the majority stake following its initial October 2007 investment in Carey.
"Due to the challenging economic environment, we have chosen not to exercise our option," Avis Budget vice president of corporate communications and public affairs John Barrows said in an e-mail to BTN today.
Avis Budget officials had described the initial $60 million investment in Carey as a way to diversify its offerings to offer a complete ground transportation solution to the corporate market. "It's another product to put in our bag," Avis Budget CEO Ronald Nelson told BTN in January. "Many of our top customers spend as much on limo as they do on car rental."
SLOWING SLOT MACHINES:
Here's a no brainer: When the economy clamps up, people can't afford to throw money away. Atlantic City gambling operations are taking some big htis
. Maybe the casino floors can be retracted to accommodate wholistic Zen nature gardens. Just a freaky thought on a Friday.
GET JUICED: We've just heard about an online supplier of parts and accessories for the hybrid and alternative fuel automotive market. It's called JuicedHybrid, and it’s a technology platform focused on user experiences of hybrid enthusiasts. It’s a good place to review the latest product offerings, and order parts and accessories that might not be readily available nearby.
A limo operator and his mechanic are going to jail in England for dealing cocaine
. The limousine business was just a front for drug dealing. Using a chauffeured transportation business as a storefront for an illegal business, and to use the limos to transport contraband, also happens in the U.S., according to an FBI agent who spoke to me off the record. It's not a common occurrence, but it does happen near airports in major cities. It's very good to background check your affiliates and farm-outs - just in case. -- J.L.
CHRISTMAS PARTIES: We are optimistic in that we believe the Christmas spirit will survive the recession, and with that, most workplace and private holiday parties. What does that mean for revenue-strapped operators?
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"People say there is a recession, but I took in $10,000 in new business Monday in Bakersfield, Calif.," says Jim Luff. Read on to hear his story.
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THEY KEEP GOING AND GOING. . .
As fuel prices reached the sratosphere this summer, gleeful detractors of the SUV started writing its obituary. While new SUV sales have declined, the number on the road has not, as this study shows
. Despite all the hand-wringing about global warming and going green, Americans, by golly, still like their C&Cs: Comforts and conveniences. As anyone who has owned or leased an SUV will tell you, the vehicles may be bulky but they are so practical and user-friendly. Of course, that's why SUVs have succeeded spectacularly in the chauffeured transportation market; they blend in to traffic while accommodating every possible luxury amenity. And if you can make them go green by sacrificing nothing, so much the better. Don't let the latest hip political chatter about shared sacrifice fool you. SUV users and drivers owe nothing to anyone. Operators need not feel obligated to compromise the feasibility of SUV transportation in the name of sharing wealth. -- M.R.
ACTIONS & CONSEQUENCES: The electorate sent an irrefutable message last night, one that should be heeded and respected. While jubilation prevails, the accompanying relief and optimism did not extend to the post-election spasms of Wall Street. Some realities are solidly established as well: 1) After Jan. 20, we will not have a government divided between two parties -- the situation that prevailed for much of the 1990s and aided the prosperity boom; 2) All levers of government now reside in the hands of one sheriff in town, and whatever happens, there will be no more excuses about lack of power to accomplish goals given the hefty Congressional majorities; 3) Blame will be very easy to assess and assign should anything go wrong.
For chauffeured transportation, the most immediate concerns include the union-backed card-check legislation that could hamstring and eventually decimate some operators. An escalating recession likely will continue to stymie customer demand. New transportation regulations could add to the cost of doing business. That all may sound pessimistic, but so far, the pessimists have been accurate, however unwelcome their messages. Silver linings do always emerge, and creative entrepreneurs reflexively think, work, and succeed outside the box regardless of circumstances. And that is the real source of hope and change. -- M.R.
THANKS-FOR-GIVING US BUSINESS:
As we've posted many times this year, another operator received very positive media coverage for doing charitable work in the community. Tempe, Ariz.-based Aloha Limousine will be giving out 50-to-100 Thanksgiving dinner kits.
Local residents are asked to contribute food for the program and then will be eligible to win a freebie three-hour limo ride. Locals can drop by the Aloha office, call them, or visit the website. Very nice - they contribute yummy Thanksgiving meals, meet new customers, and improve their name in the city.
That election campaign was dragged out for quite a long time - nearly two years. It looks like the decision has been made and there won't be any lawsuits challenging state balloting, a la the 2000 election. Both McCain and Bush have given complimentary bow out speeches. So what's next for President-elect Obama, and how will this affect the chauffeured transportation industry? CNN Money offers a good overview
of the economic issues that affect the new administration. The limousine industry has mixed feelings. In an LCTmag.com web poll that happened about two months ago, a little more than half of the respondents backed McCain and the rest Obama. Speakers at industry events have mostly expressed apprehension about the impact of an Obama administration on labor laws and enforcement, business regulations, and taxes. Whatever the Obama administration and the increased number of Democratic House and Senate members go after, they have something much larger to deal with than anything else: the credit crisis and its impact on the global economy. They'll have to dig through this with the help of the other party, the business community, and the public. -- Jon LeSage
NEW YEAR LCT: Our January 2009 issue will offer a complete guide to business travel trends for next year. HEADS UP: It won't be as pretty as this year. But at least some level of business will be getting done and surviving companies and their employees will still need to get around. Business travel preview here.
Political candidates, environmental groups, and the auto industry are still pushing for alternative fuel options. As gasoline prices drop, the emphasis is more on having less dependency on foreign oil and more on domestic fuel sources. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
delved into what's been happening lately. While there are still criticisms of using natural gas as an energy source, such as CNG powered vehicles, it's an attractive option for many U.S. fleets, including chauffeured transportation.
Escort Limousine in Fairfax, Del., is doing all it can to support democracy. It's all above the board and non-partisan. And goofy.
LOOKING AT HISTORY:
One more thing on presidential lmos - the New York Times just posted a very cool slide show tracking the history of these vehicles. Take a look
SKINNY LIVERY: If indeed the U.S. is about to elect a slender president who champions shared sacrifices, then what better place to start than the White House and Congressional transportation fleets. This limo could set the tone for the next few years, as Americans must pay more for everything and governments set about to control more of our lives.
What better way to inspire Americans to new heights of frugality than to roll up in this minimalist stretch. If the governing coalition expects sacrifices and plans once-in-a-lifetime measures, then we want a once-in-a-century inauguration with the next President riding shotgun in this claptrap for the times. Other loony limos here. -- M.R.
Whoever becomes president and takes office in January most likely will be driven around in a new high security limousine similar to the prototype model in this photograph, according to a New York Times report
. The raised roof and wide windshield pillars on this truck-based Cadillac model are inherited from the ultra-armored limousines that entered presidential service in 2001. High level safety and security is now a higher presidential limo priority than it was years ago.
INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY. . .But just in case any of you do business with this company, you should know what's going on. Story here.