With Sacramento Gas prices inching up to $4.00 a gallon. Electric Cars are looking sexy

Image result for chevy bolt in Sacramento


There is no joy at the pumps these days . If your driving a mid size car in Sacramento a tank of gas could cost you fifty eight bucks,.  If your driving a huge pick up or SUV nearly a hundred.   The more we spend for gas the less we have for other things.   If you like me, your looking at the Toyota Prius’s again and other hybrids at the pump.   One car you wont see at the pumps  is a Tesla or Chevy Bolt.

A couple a days ago my friend Avery , saw me walking down “I” street and asked me if I needed a ride.   He drives a Chevy Bolt. and I asked him how he liked it ? 45, minutes later…………..

Avery  lives in midtown Sacramento and works in Auburn.   Nearly two years ago he bought a Chevy Bolt.   Avery rents an apartment and his landlord will not allow him install a charging station.  So for a petrol driving man like me, the natural question is why would he buy an all electric car?

He says he has a system, he and his electric car friends (Apparently, electric car owners know other electric car owners- he knows nine people who own electric cars ). share information,  Best charging locations (for non Tesla owners) restaurants and bars that have free complimentary charging for their customers.  They tend to shop at locations that have charging stations.

His commute to Auburn is 42 miles. While his car uses extra energy going up hill, he said he can recapture most of that energy going downhill.

He said, his energy costs (the cost to charge his car) for March was fourteen dollars.

He said, his Chevy Bolt has been trouble free.  He has 31,000 miles on his Bolt and with an exception of a small rattle in passenger door its been trouble free.   The car currently needs a new set of tires.and there is a sizable dent on the drivers door. A victim of a steel pole  in a midtown alley. 

He really likes the Bolt, its peppy and fun to drive.  He wishes he would have bought a model with more options.  He said the fit and finish could be better, but its wayy better than an a hundred thousand dollar Tesla his friend owns.  

He likes:  Very low operating cost.  Its very peppy and fun to drive.   Roomy and flexible.   The he can drive in the car pool lanes.   What he paid for the Bolt, after Credits and discounts it cost him $26,000.

He dislikes:  The unavailability of fast chargers for the Bolt.  In and around Sacramento it its  On a trip to Oregon it was maddening, its like drip, drip, drip. Taking more than 90 minutes for a half charge.    Its the only reason, I would choose a Tesla over the Chevy.  The verbal attacks he has received since owning the Bolt.  Earlier this year, a lone driver in a car pool lane forced him out of the lane.   People have tried to unplug my car as it was charging.  Its like I’m driving an evil car.  Its ridiculous until its not.  While I’m one person, I feel I’m helping our planet.   My next car will be electric. When are you coming to the dark side?  





The Downside of Cheap Gas, Layoffs

As American consumers continue to celebrate record low gas prices there is the other side. The current prices is too low for most American oil companies to pump oil out of the ground resulting in thousands of layoffs, the numbers range from 10, to 40,000 from the Dakotas to Texas, low gas prices is taking a toll on oil workers and the communities who depend on those workers.

Start of a slowdown: Drilling ebbs in the Powder River Basin as oil prices plummet


Oil Boom Bust

Photo:Dan Cepeta

William Bell, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, installs a toolbox in the bed of his new truck at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds in Douglas. Bell, who has worked in oil fields for decades, has been working in Douglas during the oil boom for about three years. He bought his truck just before demand for work started to taper off.

By: Benjamin Starrow /Casper Star Tribune

Douglas, Wyoming — A plunge in oil prices has been accompanied by an exodus of RVs from the Wyoming State Fairgrounds, where fifth-wheels recently competed for spaces at one of the few campgrounds in the area.

Part of the slowdown is seasonal. Drilling in Wyoming typically ebbs during the winter. But even by those standards, the past several months have been uncommonly slow, according to some 35 or so campers who remain.

News of layoffs are frequent occurrences. Rumors of jobs in states like Texas surface and are dismissed. And oil field hands, accustomed to making top dollar over the past two years, contemplate moving to other fields like construction, where a pay cut is all but assured.

“All last summer, we were working 80- to 100-hour weeks,” said Bill Long, a 48-year-old dirt mover from Sheridan. “Now if we get 10 hours, we’re lucky.”

Through Thursday morning, he had worked one hour all week. He recently signed up for unemployment.

Long’s friend William Bell, a truck driver from Colorado Springs, Colorado, agreed.

“Things have dried up,” he said. “You can tell by the lack of traffic.”

Their tale is a common one here in Douglas, a small town at the southern edge of the once-booming Powder River Basin.

Oil Boom Bust

Photo:Dan Cepeta

Davis Sessions, of Lewiston, Montana, sits in his trailer at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds. Sessions, a welder, was laid off from his job that morning but found a new job hours later.

The town became a magnet for oil field hands over the past two years. Housing vacancies shriveled and rents soared. Trucks jammed the streets.

And Converse County tax collections skyrocketed. County sales and use tax receipts rose $9 million in the first six months of the fiscal year, from $25.5 million in fiscal year 2014 to $33.9 million in fiscal year 2015.

Life has slowed noticeably in the past several months, residents said, as prices on the American benchmark for crude slumped below $45 a barrel. Prices reached a high of $107 a barrel during the summer.

Wyoming’s rig count has mirrored the decline in price. The state lost four rigs, two oil and two gas, to reach 42 the week of January 30. The state recorded 28 oil rigs, or 10 fewer than what Wyoming registered during the same week last year.

At the Depot Restaurant in the center of Douglas, business during the lunch hour rush was brisk. Diners packed the tables and waiters rushed busily to and from the kitchen.

Owner Linda York said the restaurant has yet to witness the impacts of the slowdown, but she said she is monitoring the situation.

Oil Boom Bust

Campgrounds at the Wyoming State Fairgrounds were filled to capacity with energy workers just months ago. About 35 workers remain at the campgrounds.

“We don’t share the whole ‘Yeah, gas prices are going down’,” York said. “You see people you know getting laid off or getting their hours cut.

David Sessions is one of those people. A 47-year-old welder from Lewiston, Montana, Sessions was laid off from his job Thursday morning. He called a friend and a few hours later was hired by another company. He expects the new job to be completed in 30 days.

Sessions said he was unfazed by the slowdown.

“You got to know going into it you’re going to work yourself out of a job,” he said, referring to the industry’s cycles of boom and bust. “This is when the cutthroating starts. I took a cut in pay, but I don’t have to go 5,000 miles to find something else.”

Peter Wold, president of Wold Energy Partners and CEO of Wold Oil Properties in Casper, said his companies benefited from a stroke of luck: They were late to the drilling boom.

The Wold companies were in the process of permitting wells last year.  If prices rebound in August, the companies will begin drilling.

“We’re hopeful they will, but we’re not holding our breath,” Wold said.

The nature of Powder River Basin wells compounds the price issue, Wold noted. Many of the wells drilled in the past year produce at high rates during the first 12 months then drop off precipitously.

Many companies were relying on that first year production to pay off their drilling expenses. With prices projected to remain in the doldrums for much of 2015, those companies could now face difficulty, he said.

Firms’ ability to withstand a period of low prices will depend on the strength of their balance sheet, Wold said.

“Undoubtedly, there will be some distressed sales that companies will be taking advantage of, I think,” he said. “If you’ve kept your powder dry and you’re able to ride this thing out, you might even take advantage of some distressed sales that may come about.”

Some parts of the basin have yet to see a drilling slowdown. Oil rigs begin to appear on the horizon traveling north from Douglas on state Route 59, the central artery of the Powder River Basin drilling boom.

A half-dozen water and fuel trucks could be seen parked at the Cheyenne River rest stop. In Bill, a tiny roadside community straddling Highway 59, 40 employees of the oil services giant Schlumberger employees checked into the Oak Tree Inn on Thursday, said Pandora Westfield, who works at the hotel diner.

“We haven’t slowed down since September of last year,” she said.

Farther north, in Wright, residents said drilling has shown no ill effects of low prices. A receptionist at the Wright Hotel said the inn has been booked for the past two weeks.

And at Hank’s Bar and Grill, owner Hank Pridgeon said oil workers still make up the majority of diners every night. In March, he plans to begin converting the bar into a convenience store and gas station.

“I’ve been in business for 27 years in Wright, and every year has been better than the last,” he said.

The disparity in activity between Douglas and Wright is likely due to contracts, said Charles Mason, a professor of economics at the University of Wyoming who tracks the oil and gas industry.

Some companies took steps to set long-term contracts in the fall, when it became apparent prices were in a pronounced slide. Those firms have insulated themselves against further drops in price, and they continue drilling, he said.

“It’s insurance. They’ve bought themselves a little time,” Mason said. “When they run out, whenever they run out, I think you will see these guys fold up — unless prices recover.”

Oil supply now outstrips demand. A recovery in price will depend on the easing of the current surplus and on the economies of Europe, China and Asia, which have slowed in recent times, he said.

Back at the state fairgrounds, Long and Bell expressed hope the slowdown would be short-lived.

Bell, the truck driver, said he had been offered two jobs in construction, but he was not wild about the idea, given the prospects of a pay cut.

Long said he would go back to working road construction if jobs in the oil field dried up.

“Next week might be another 90- to 100-hour week. You never know,” he said. “I’ll try to hang in there as long as I can. Then I’ll find something else to do.”

In the meantime, both have car payments to make. Each man recently bought a truck.

Bell, looking over his vehicle, noted that oil prices seemed to drop the week after he made the purchase.

“I was kind of upset,” he said.

Sales of midsize cars shrink as buyers go smaller

You can’t drive far in the U.S. without seeing a Toyota Camry, Honda Accord or Ford Fusion.

Midsize sedans have been America’s favorite cars for decades. That’s changing. More people are choosing small cars like the Chevrolet Cruze and even smaller ones like the Honda Fit because they’re worried about gas prices and car payments. There’s another reason, too: Small cars are no longer the cramped econoboxes of the 1980s and 1990s, and they have many of the same features as larger cars.

2012 Ford Focus

Compact cars will outsell midsize ones as early as this year, forecasts J.D. Power and Associates, a marketing information firm. That hasn’t happened in at least two decades.

2011 Hyundai Elantra

Just five years ago, automakers sold nearly 250,000 more midsize cars than compact cars in the U.S. Gas was cheaper then, and automakers had fewer small models to sell. But by 2015, J.D. Power expects compact and subcompact cars to command 20 percent of sales, while midsize cars will account for just 14 percent.

2012 Buick Verano

For most of the past 15 years, the Camry has been America’s best-selling car. And Toyota wants it to stay that way. This fall, the Japanese company released a new version that increases fuel economy to 35 miles per gallon (15 kilometers per liter) and sells for even less than the old model. But it’s facing tough competition from smaller cars such as the Hyundai Elantra, which gets 40 mpg (17 kpl) and costs $5,000 less. Elantra sales surged 46 percent to 161,000 through October, while Camry sales fell 9 percent to 251,000.

2012 Honda Civic

The Elantra isn’t the only competition. For a brief period this year after the Japanese earthquake, the Chevrolet Cruze unseated the Camry as the best-selling car in the country.

2012 Subaru Impreza

Melanie Jackson, 29, a paramedic, went shopping for a midsize car last summer but wound up with a two-door Honda Civic coupe because she was wowed by its fuel economy. She says the Civic can easily fit her three sons, their backpacks, football equipment and groceries. And she averages 38 mpg (16 kpl) and spends only $30 a week on gas.

2012 Fiat 500 Cabriolet

“I forget how to put gas in the car because I do it so rarely,” Jackson says.

Here are some reasons for the growing appeal of small cars:

2012 Mazda 3

Today’s small cars have all the bells and whistles

Unlike the stripped-down models of earlier decades, small cars offer all the amenities of bigger models, like leather seats, satellite radio and keyless entry.

2012 Toyota Corolla

Buyers can get a Nissan Versa hatchback with a navigation system for a little more than $15,000. Downsizing Baby Boomers, as the more than 76 million Americans born from 1946 to 1964 are known, and tech-savvy young drivers don’t want to compromise on features when they get a smaller car, so automakers are responding.

2012 Chevy Cruze

Mara Landers, 35, an assistant professor of mathematics at Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, California, drove a 1998 Civic that was so spare it didn’t have a radio. She traded it in for a 2009 Civic with power windows, keyless entry and a digital dashboard display.

“The new Civic really feels like a luxury update of the old one,” Landers says.

2012 Kia Forte

Small cars are cheaper

An Elantra starts at $16,445, but can be loaded up with leather seats, a navigation system, a rearview camera and other features that raise the price tag to $23,305. To get a midsize Hyundai Sonata with those same features, buyers have to pay $6,000 more.

Small cars are roomier

The 2012 Ford Focus compact is nearly 8 inches (20 centimeters) longer and 5 inches (12.5 centimeters) wider than the Ford Escort — the car it replaced — was a decade ago. That means buyers don’t need to move up to a midsize just to stretch their legs. Adding inches here and there is an easy way for carmakers to increase a vehicle’s perceived value. The difference between compact and midsize cars also is narrowing. In 1992, the compact Corolla was nearly 17 inches (43 centimeters) shorter than the Camry. But the Corolla has stretched, and is now just 10 inches (25 centimeters) shorter.

2012 Nissan Versa

The Environmental Protection Agency defines compact cars as having 100 to 109 cubic feet of passenger and cargo space, while midsize cars have 110 to 119 cubic feet. That gives automakers plenty of room to play with.

One reason companies are racing to improve their small car offerings is an upcoming increase in fuel efficiency standards. Carmakers have agreed to double the average fuel economy of their fleets to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Companies will have to meet that goal with more efficient gas engines, hybrid technology and other methods. But they’ll also meet it by selling more small cars. The Ford Focus, for example, gets 5 more miles (8 more kilometers) per gallon than the Fusion.

That difference is important to many cars buyers because gasoline prices remain high. At an average of $3.34 a gallon (88 cents a liter) nationwide, regular gasoline costs 16 percent more than a year ago. And it could reach $4 ($1.05 a liter) next spring, a level it almost touched earlier this year.

Of course, it’s too early to declare the death of the midsize car. Sales have dropped before, most recently with the rise of crossover wagons such as the Toyota RAV4 and Ford Edge in the last decade. Those vehicles combine the roominess of SUVs with the nimbler handling and higher gas mileage of cars.

2012 Dodge Caliber 

And midsize cars remain very popular in the U.S. Five of the 10 top-selling vehicles in October were midsize sedans, and sales actually grew during the recession as people downsized from even larger cars, such as the Toyota Avalon and Chrysler 300. However, small car sales grew faster.

2012 Ford Fiesta 

Toyota, for one, isn’t predicting a big drop in sales of midsize cars over the next five years. One factor: As women make more money, they’re expected to move from small cars up to midsize ones, says Gregg Benkendorfer, Toyota’s national manager for product marketing.

People also may move back into midsize cars if gas prices stay relatively low and stable, says Jeff Schuster, senior vice president of forecasting for LMC Automotive, a consulting firm.

2012 Mazda 5

But for now, small cars have the momentum. They are on dealer lots for less than a month before being sold, compared with more than six weeks for midsize cars, according to car information site Edmunds.com.

Jackson says two of her friends have downsized to small cars since she bought her Civic, and they’re as happy as she is.

“I don’t think I’ll ever go back up to a larger car,” she says.

By Dee-Ann Durbin/Associated Press Auto Writer

The Nissan Cube in the Land of the Giants (sacto area gas $3.89)

The Nissan Cube has been around for a couple years.  While I have admired the unique shape of the vehicle, I never liked the front end, it looks like a cartoon car.

Yesterday a friend called and  asked if I would join him to meet a mutual friend from Norway, who had a four hour layover at San Francisco International.  My friend is 6.6 and drives a Ford Explorer.    So I was surprised when he pulled up in a blue Nissan Cube. I was also surprised to see two other people in the car which meant that I would be siting behind my 6.6 friend, I’m 6.4.

Surprise  I fit.

My friend commutes from Placerville to West Sacramento  his 2005 Explorer was averaging 19 miles to the gallon and his fuel cost a couple of weeks ago was about 137 a week.    He needed a car with better gas mileage however being 6.6 and over three hundred pounds comfort was important.  His colleague had one and suggested he try it.    He said he had more headroom in the Cube.    He said it cost him $61 to fill the Cube  and his weekly fuel cost is about $90 a week.

With over 1300 of grade a menfolks, the car rode smoothly on I-80 with four large men in it.  There was a bit of  wind noise ,however no had to yell.    No one complained about seat comfort.   The driver floored it to make it over the hills between Fairfield and Vallejo.

The interior seem plasticly but the room was immense. The vehicle cost him less the 18k fairly loaded.

When he parked the Cube at the airport, it was amazing how small the car was, about the length of a Toyota Corolla.

A lot of big guys drive pick up trucks and SUV’s for the room.     I’m 6.4 and I had more head and leg room in the Cube than the Cadillac Escalade.

So if your a big guy or a person who needs a spacious vehicle ,take a look at the Cube.