We gave Andy the day off to celebrate and decided to post a bonus cool car video for your entertainment. Enjoy!
The reason states require removal of studded tires is two-fold:
- It destroys roads incurring greater repair bills
- The lead from the studs and asphalt dust are hazardous to your health
There are two dates that matter, the date range when studded tires are allowed and the date when they are prohibited. The idea is that bad weather can last later in some years than others. Some states do choose to make a special provision, like Georgia, which only allows studs some years but generally prohibits them.
Most states that allow studs provide a little flexibility by having a second date after the allowed date range that represents when it’s actually prohibited. That’s the date when they’re going to start handing out fines.
States that prohibit Studded Tires entirely (obviously not needed):
Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Texas.
States that prohibit Studded Tires entirely (that surprised us):
Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Illinois.
Below is the best information we could find about studded tires by state. This information comes from Washington State Department of Transportation–be sure to look up your local state Department of Transportation. Also, some cities have statutes that are different than the state. According to AAA.com most states begin passing out fines for driving with studded tires on April 2nd.
OP-ED by A. R. Bunch
If you take a quick look at the news lately (aside from the daily inappropriate workplace philandering of the latest celeb or politician) a trend is emerging. The world is changing, rapidly, and vehicles/transportation is right in the middle of it.
Here’s just a brief list of topics that are trending according to Linked In just this week:
1,500 Holiday Flights without Pilots
Uber Ex-Employee Alleges Covert Tactics to Steal Rivals’ Secrets
Sweeping Tax Reform to be debated
Bitcoin surges through $11,000 less than 24 hours after topping $10,000
What we’re seeing is a hyper-change of culture and how we move goods, services, and people around is changing just as quickly. Frankly, we’re all getting some intellectual and emotional whiplash. I wanted to dash off this quick update because it’s the holiday season and I for one hear my heart crying for me to refocus on what’s really important, while at the same time my instinct is telling me there’s a theme to all this change and I can’t really step down until I’ve sifted out the potential impact on my life.
I happen to live in a midsized town across the bridge from a midsized city that’s growing by leaps and bounds. Property values are skyrocketing as builders can’t keep up with demand. As I drive around town I notice a strange trend. Developments and apartment complexes are being built miles from other infrastructure. If I drive north on a rural road toward the next small town, which is also growing quickly, the area between is “filling in” as you might expect. What is different is that the infrastructure isn’t filling in–only the dwellings. One grocery store might be next to a dairy farm and beyond that a large apartment complex, then empty fields, then a high-density development. It hit me, we don’t need as much business support as we used to. The nearby strip malls sit empty and all those grassy fields were supposed to become more “shopping” which we won’t need because of the internet and “HOME DELIVERY.”
City planners still haven’t accounted for internet shopping so the only thing really being built are places to live. Lower density means more dependence on roads to connect us. We’ll soon need more capacity and upkeep and savvy city planners might be wise to plan ahead when budgeting, but that’s another topic.
I looked for a common thread both in my observations and the news topics listed above to see if there are forces behind what we’re seeing and I’ve come to a set of interesting conclusions.
#1 Technology and automation are making life more complicated and stressful, at least in the short run.
There seem to be two main camps, those who abstain from the tornado of technology and those who embrace it to the hilt. Camp one, like my own mother, will find it ever more difficult to accomplish the basic tasks they once took for granted like paying bills, getting a paycheck, and buying groceries. Camp two, like me, will find it impossible to keep up with the rate of change that seems to change how we do every simple thing in our lives. We’re also facing a complete life shut down whenever there’s a simple glitch in technology that gets faster, cheaper and more powerful daily but seems not to get any more stable. If you decide to not own a car, for example, how do you get home when your cell phone gets wet and turns into a brick? Just call…well, hail a rideshare…oh, I know, I’ll look up the bus schedule…nope. None of that!
Of course, most of us find ourselves stuck in the middle trying to survive, and I’m not using the word survive to be dramatic. We must not only learn to use technology instead of sticking our head in the sand, we must also learn how to fit technology into our lives in a manner that brings more life instead of impeding it.
If it seems like I’m talking about nothing new, consider technology change level two. When the PC turned from an expensive paperweight into an indispensable tool of business it didn’t just kill the typewriter, it centralized and automated business practices, we had to learn to remote sign contracts, information became trackable and searchable, online identity eventually became more real than your reputation in your community. It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened rapidly. The shift to cell phones had a similarly profound effect.
I know this has been happening for a hundred years. The invention of the car and the lightbulb and so on, have all had drastic impacts on American culture as well as individual health. (Did we really have wrestles leg syndrome or insomnia before cars, desk jobs, and electric light on demand?) I’m not arguing that it’s different only that it’s happening at a pace we’re struggling to adjust to and that it may indicate a larger mega-shift is at hand.
This doesn’t have to be a scary thing. The industrial revolution did a lot of harm if you view it early on from the perspective of a child forced to work twelve hour days in unsafe conditions to help feed his family. But if we step back and look at the impact of it long term, after we’ve had a chance to adjust our laws and our culture to it. You could make a case that we’re ultimately both better and worse depending on your perspective.
This leads me to conclusion #2.
If we take the same filter and apply it to the things we’re seeing right now, a picture immerges. What if we’re in the early stages of the next great revolution? What if it already started and the next 20 years will decide the quality of life for generations? Are there skills that we can learn now to help us weather the coming turbulence more easily? I think there is.
Whether you start the industrial revolution at the invention of the cotton gin or the steam engine in the early days the terms innovation and industry were virtually synonymous. If you had a great invention or the money to capitalize on someone else’s invention you could become wealthy. The gap between rich and poor widened until a vacuum appeared where the need for educated workers required the creation of a middle class.
I predict that this new automation revolution will present with similar effect. We’re already seeing overnight success for innovators and wealth for investors. Alongside this jump in opportunity is a widening gap between haves and have-nots. The traditional answer to automation is education. Put simply, more machines will need few but better-trained operators to tend them. But this is the minor theme in this mega-shift.
The surprise side effect of the industrial revolution was that the world got smaller. Cheaper parts make cheaper items including vehicles and the need for cheaper labor means moving jobs to less developed regions. Basically, we traveled more and competed globally, and we earn the same or less. We consumed more and became less self-sufficient–less locally sufficient. Few of us can change our own oil, most of us can’t cook our own food, and that food isn’t grown anywhere near us. We’ve become dependent on glitch technology, unstable economies, and cheap goods and services. Did I mention that our spending power hasn’t gone up?
We’re stressed out and its no wonder. I’m not trying to bring you down dear reader, we’re about to turn it around. I just want to say that conclusion #3 is when you can 3D print a cell phone in your garage with plans you buy off the internet and you just made a ton of money selling a software patch for the operating system of that cell, the company that used to make money manufacturing that phone in Asia, as well as the store that used to sell it to you, are going to go the way of the typewriter. The need to move people and goods around will change radically and the world will, in many ways, get bigger again.
Before the industrial revolution was an age of enlightenment that brought us out of the dark ages. Prosperity and rationality lead to an appreciation for creativity and philosophy. Humans began to value things beyond the end of their fork. If there’s hope for the future it’s that automation will give people time to dream up better perspectives for a higher quality of life.
Rose M. from the company Patagonia wrote a great article on her company’s commitment to using recycled material in their products to reduce the depletion of virgin natural resources (link). While I don’t think environmentalist lobbying government to put us back in the Stone Age to save the planet will truly help the world, I do applaud companies that voluntarily seek market-based answers. Step one of the solution has to be giving people a good option. However, here’s a ridiculously long block quote to illustrate one perspective I think we’ll need to take head-on.
But the natural world and we, ourselves, can’t sustain this economy. Just one fact among many: between 1970 and 2012, more than half of the world’s wildlife was lost. The loss happened largely in poorer countries because their resources go to feed wealthy consuming countries. “Extinction,” as the journalist George Monbiot said, “is the bycatch of consumerism.” The consumption economy is destroying the natural world.
It’s also outdated and ineffective. “Capitalism has produced great wealth and helped lift hundreds of millions from poverty,” writes Stephen Heintz, the president of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, “But it has also produced deep and growing inequality within many societies and eroded local cultures, traditions and livelihoods. Industrial capitalism, with its reliance on fossil fuels, has heated the planet nearly to a point of no return with potentially catastrophic consequences for all forms of life, and financial capitalism has pushed income and wealth inequality to levels not seen since the Gilded Age.”
The economy isn’t working: it’s not working for the planet and it’s not working for us. Says hedge fund founder Ray Dalio, “… for the bottom 60%, it’s a miserable economy.”
If the early industrial revolution conflated the terms innovation with industry, this new digital/automation age is conflating the terms consumerism with capitalism. Perspectives have begun to shift. We’re no longer thinking that cheaper is better, and we’re redefining our definition of better. Is it worth paying more to support products that you believe will bring you better health or a more sustainable environment? We each must answer this question for ourselves, and perhaps on a case by case basis.
But does capitalism automatically equate to rampant waste?
Capitalism is defined as “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.”
Consumerism is defined as “the theory that an increasing consumption of goods is economically desirable; also : a preoccupation with and an inclination toward the buying of consumer goods.”
Isn’t Patagonia Inc. proof that corporations don’t have to be greedy? Isn’t there an answer to be found in our own decisions? Why do politicians take bribes and celebs philander? In part because we don’t hold them accountable, right? Why do corporations soak up cheap virgin resources, treat employees badly, export jobs to places they find cheap labor where they can skirt safety and pollution standards? Because we still buy their cheap products.
I promised to come to a more uplifting point and I will. I’m not blaming all our problems on simple greed so I can shake a finger at you and me. I want to empower each of us to learn two skills that will help us survive the coming changes in our society as a result of the shift in technology.
I’ve mentioned that are earning power hasn’t gone up and now I’m indicating that we need be willing to pay more for goods that echo our values. I’ve flogged the point that we are stressed and busy, but now I’m saying that we need to become better-informed consumers in order to reward some businesses and punish others. So what’s the answer?
It’s deceptively simple. Think about everything your purchases and be intentional about your use of technology. For the latter, I recommend the books “The 5 Choices” by Kory Kogon and Adam Merrill. It contains a section on making savvy tech choices. You can also find good resources at LifeHacker.com.
For the former, choose quality over quantity at all times. That goes double for anything you’d have to use debt to acquire. Advice for smart use of debt can be found around the internet, I recommend Robert Kiyosaki “Rich Dad Poor Dad.” Bottom line, don’t buy it or put in your mouth or wear it if it won’t make your life better. Just asking the question, “will this bring me more life?” That’s the standard.
What’s all this got to do with vehicles and commuting?
Simple, after houses the most expensive thing most of us will own is a car. Of course, a college education is almost in a tie with home buying and I recommend thinking twice before buying that as well. However, how you get around and how things get to you is a big part of our life. In the wake of the last crash, home buying has become more regulated, with mandatory checks and balances on your financial end as well as physical inspection of the property. Cars…not so much.
If you’re planning a trip please consider having someone look at your vehicle. Get tires rotated every time you get an oil change. Have brakes checked semiannually. For the love of all that’s holy don’t buy a used car without having it inspected. Cars represent a big expense and you need to know its value and have it’s safety verified before you spend your money on it.
Prepurchase car inspection is more affordable than you’d think, click here for more detail.
That’s it for me on this first day of December. Please be safe on the roads and try not to let the stress get to you. We’re all feeling it. Slow down. Take a break. Listen to some cheery music and enjoy your favorite dessert as slowly as you can eat it. Tomorrow will come and you’ll be okay.
As always, if you think I’m full of it, let me know in the comments below.
by A.R. Bunch
A good question that, surprisingly, doesn’t get a lot of attention is, just which is better to drive for, Uber or Lyft. I have two years’ experience driving for Uber but haven’t actually driven for Lyft although I’ve tried to sign up for them. More on that later. This article in Insider Envy provides a more neutral look at the question and I’ll recap their findings here then provide my own experience.
Recap of Insider Envy article:
|Sign up Bonus||Lyft wins (Uber now varies market to market but not the $500 they used to offer)|
|Tipping||Lyft edges out because they’ve been doing it longer|
|Earning Potential||Uber keeps you busier and has more rider options (x, xl, SUV, etc.) which can mean you’d earn more, but in my experience it depends.|
|Public Image||Lyft presents as Happy Hippy (which they aren’t) and Uber comes off like the evil empire.|
|Facts/Figures||Lyft wins both driver satisfaction & hourly earnings (according to 2017 survey)|
My Experience: Uber
I don’t think Uber deserves every ounce of its bad reputation. There’s a lot they could have done better, a lot of improvements they’ve made, and a lot more room to improve. However, Uber has a mechanism for improving how they operate and is becoming aware of their tragic flaw.
Uber’s tragic flaw, in my opinion, is a hyper-focus on their goals, which were to grow worldwide by using technology to exploit a void in transportation market they thought they alone saw, before anyone else saw it, and use that as a springboard to dominate autonomous driving vehicles from the birth of that market. To accomplish that goal they put different departments in charge of rider experience and driver experience and promised both the moon. Whenever there is a conflict between the needs of the rider and the needs of the driver, Uber chooses the rider. They didn’t seem to spend any time on contemplating corporate culture, brand perception, or win/win solutions. They knew they’d make enemies in every city they went to so they put on their thickest skin and took a damn-them-all-to-hell attitude to everyone’s problems. It served they well, ultimately.
Two Sides to Every Battle:
To be fair, the cities they sparred with weren’t lily white in their efforts to keep Uber out. They were often protecting a local taxi cartel who’d operated without competition for decades, or even their own mass transit systems that ran so inefficiently that people would pay twice the price to rideshare just to get where they needed to go in a timely manner. But the cities came out looking like they were looking out for their citizens’ safety when in fact they were delaying inevitable technology advancements that actually pull drunk drivers off the road, making it safer.
Since Uber was focused on winning they treated all press like good press and marched like Sherman to the Sea across America and the world. In my opinion, they saw themselves as resilient, while the public saw them uncaring. In the past not caring about something was often appropriate—like minding your own business. In today’s political climate, not caring is the darkest of evils.
Mistakes vs Sins
Uber has heard the clarion call, however. Not just the CEO stepping down, etc. which we’ve covered (internal link), but recently they’ve been sewed by google’s Waymo over stolen secrets. While the lawsuit is not resolved, Alphabet has already awarded Lyft $500 million in venture capital which has to be connected to the suit.
In my opinion, Uber is a young company despite its size and making typical young company mistakes. They only become a problem if they don’t do anything about them, and they’re already working on them.
My Experience: Lyft
Lyft on the other hand. I’ve not had great experiences with. Nothing tragic and that’s probably telling. I tried to sign up with Lyft soon after I started driving for Uber. The app hung up and when I went to the local Lyft Hub they said I’d need an appointment. I couldn’t get an appointment because the app hung up before I got that far. I had a similar issue while on-boarding for Uber and when I dropped into the local green light hub they fixed it. I’ve gone in for several issues, as I said they aren’t perfect, and each time I’ve had a great experience. They know they have bugs and they created a way to address them. Lyft seemed surprised that something didn’t work and not interested in doing anything about it. Now, that’s just one person’s experience and may not be typical.
I did try to sign up again. It took a while to break through the previous hang up, but I finally got to go into the hub again and they treated me well. However, I had a hang up with my insurance card. I co-own my vehicle and the insurance card only listed the other driver. It took me three weeks to get my insurance company to mail me a card with my name on it and by then I’d decided to drive for Roadie, a package delivery company instead of adding another rideshare like Lyft.
My reason for giving up on Lyft is based on two factors around the topic of earnings. When I turn the Uber app on I don’t usually have a lot of downtime. I talk with a large number of other TNC drivers. Many who driver for both, and repeatedly I get the same comment. “I earn more per trip with Lyft, but they account for less than a third of all my rides. So my weekly earnings are bigger from Uber.”
Now, most of my contact is in the Portland, OR, market. I’m told that in Vegas everything is Lyft. I’m betting that Lyft does have a better toehold in some markets. It’s just not possible for Uber to dominate all the cities worldwide they’re trying to focus on. The recent hit to their reputation will probably shove them out of some cities, like London, and even if the city government doesn’t step in formally, it wouldn’t take too much for a local taxi company to launch their own app and keep the big players out.
So at the end of the day, it’s pretty much impossible for me to recommend one rideshare giant over the other. Fortunately, you can easily audition them both for yourself. You’re going to need a lot of the same paperwork for either one so you may as well higher on for both at the same time. It’ll make for a busy week, but I’ve you’ve just lost you’ve got the time I’d race them against each other to see who starts you faster. Then I’d drive them each for a week and see who makes you more money and who treats you better. Then do us a big favor and respond to this article to share your experience.
In a LinkedIn article dated August 1st, 2017, Scott Nyquist echoed sentiments of a previous post here on the Kicker Blog. The LinkedIn article, entitled “why driverless cars might not hit the road so fast,” makes well-researched points that reinforce the conclusion that driverless cars will likely be a part of the future but not in the near future.
Nyquist compares AVs to EVs (all electronic vehicles) in that experts were enthusiastic about them and were quick to predict their inevitable dominance. If the comparison is true then EVs will also not become the norm as quickly as experts predict.
In late 2010, for example, one expert prediction was that by 2013, 200,000 electric cars would be sold in the US, and in 2015, 280,000; in fact, the figures were 96,600 and 119,000, respectively. Carlos Ghosn, the well-respected CEO of Nissan, said in 2011, that by 2016, there would be1.6 million Renault-Nissan EVs on the road; that forecast was off by more than 80 percent. President Obama saw a million EVs on American roads by 2016; the real figure is fewer than 300,000.
Considering the legal and physical blockades that need to be overcome it seems more likely that autonomous cars will become a feature of cars in the future but will be restricted in use much the way current cruise control is. Certain well-mapped zones will open up to them to take advantage of their ability to crowd more cars onto the roads, but other areas that are under construction or too rural to be mapped up to the minute will remain human-required. This balanced, gradual approach will take decades to bring about a total driverless age.
But that’s just an opinion. We’ll just have to wait and see how it turns out.
Here’s a couple links to videos about trailers. When towing a trailer this summer please remember to hook up and load correctly.
We’re always scanning the web for cool car stuff. Here’s a link to an article we found interesting. If you own one of these vehicles (Porshe Cyanne, Range Rover, BMW x6, Mercedes G65 AMG, or the Dartz Prombron) please contact us so we can interview you. Thanks for all our awesome readers, we know you’ll find us someone willing to show off one of these beauties.
We’re always searching the web for car related fun and we’ve decided to launch a best of the web series. Here’s what has us drooling today.
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