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Nevada Ramblings —
December 2001

Columnist — Carolyn Bishop

A peek into the future using a computer program to access various transportation options reveals a grim picture for Southern Nevada’s air quality. Millions of federal funds could be forfeited if air quality is not brought to federally mandated standards.

The options explored — such as the addition of high-speed lanes or the addition of 250 rail miles — would have little effect on air quality.

All of this brings bad news to Nevada motorists who would be subject to immediate stringent measures. The Regional Transportation Commission General Manager Jacob Snow recently outlined the measures that could be undertaken soon. "We might have to start requiring consolidated smog checks," he said, "mandatory trip rides and tightening standards on diesel vehicles."

Carolyn Bishop Headshot

Snow went on to explain that a smog check would mean that drivers would have to take their cars once a year to a regulated smog check facility instead of a local gas station. He warned this would rank right down there with the experience of making a trip to the DMV. Mandatory trip rides would require employers with 20 or more employees to have their workers either carpool or ride public transportation.

Remember the good old days when full-service gasoline stations were the norm? Las Vegans have two options for this service: a stop at the Texaco Auto Service on Flamingo or a visit to Fabulous Freddy’s Car Wash. At the Texaco, plan on paying 50 cents more per gallon for this service. Fabulous Freddy’s will pump your gas and clean your windshield at no extra charge. Fabulous Freddy’s General Manager Ryan Ford says that offering this service enables them to compete with larger chains. "Of our gas customers, there are 25 to 30 percent who come here for that extra service."

Suppose you are driving along and spot a hubcap lying in the street. You will probably drive on. After all, it’s just a hubcap and who cares? Well, Hub Cap Annie does. She’ll swing her Mercedes to a stop and leap through traffic to grab a hub cap. In no time, she has it sold through one of her two Las Vegas outlets. She’s a success and no doubt about it. Not only that, she looks like any up-and-coming executive, fashionably dressed and sporting manicured nails and the latest hair style. "I want Hub Cap Annie’s to become the McDonald’s of the hubcap world," she says.

Gasoline prices on the street have declined dramatically in Nevada. Before I left for the Thanksgiving holidays, I paid $1.18 per gallon for regular unleaded and returned nine days later to find gasoline selling at $1.14.

A local casino is promoting their own method of saving on gasoline. The Castaways is offering a "Win Free Gas for a Year" promotion which runs through the end of the year. Castaway "members" can earn tickets by hitting a hand-paid jackpot on slots, winning an bingo game, winning a three-spot keno game, hitting a blackjack or winning a three-team parlay card. Weekly drawings for free gasoline are held every Wednesday.

California refineries have cut the octane level of premium and mid-grade gasoline. This means premium grade gasoline sold in Nevada has dropped to 91 octane while mid-grade has dropped to 88.5 from 89. Most of the gasoline sold in Nevada is the lowest grade which will remain unchanged. According to Peter Krueger, executive director of the Nevada Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, those who buy the higher grade of fuel shouldn’t notice any changes in the performance characteristics.

Eight chemical engineering students from the University of Nevada, Reno won third place in the American Institute of Chemical Engineers Chem E Car Competitions. The purpose of the competition was to demonstrate means other than gasoline for powering automobiles of the future. Nevada students scored third place by using a store bought model rocket engine to propel their car just 19 inches short of the 60 foot goal. Another team from Colorado State University used a hand-packed rocket motor propelled by a mixture of potassium nitrate and sugar to win the competition. The second place winners used vinegar and baking soda as a fuel.

Mark your calendars now for next year’s Western Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Expo to be held Feb. 26-28 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is the last WPMA Convention to be held at the MGM.

Make your room and flight reservations early for the 2002 meeting. For flights, call (800) 272-8031 and ask for PJ Beech. Because of the Winter Olympics in Utah, room reservations will fill up fast. Visit the WPMA website for a complete schedule at www.wpma.com.

The opening speaker will be the Honorable George Bush. Eat hearty at the Inspirational Breakfast while listening to Dave Alexander advise us "You Don’t Have to Be Thin To Be Fit." Dave knows what he’s talking about. He is 55 years old, stands 5 foot 8 inches tall, weighs 265 pounds and has finished more marathons and triathlons than anyone else his age. He was recently featured on the front cover of Men’s Health magazine as the "fittest fat man in the world."

The WPMA Post-Convention Trip will be May 15-25, 2002. Join your friends from the petroleum business on a trip to Beijing, China and a Yangtze River cruise. Included is an optional five-day/four-night extension to Tibet. Destination Travel will be making all the travel arrangements. For more information call Destination Travel at 800-748-4777 or WPMA at 801-263-9762.

Originally published in the December 2001 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2001 by KAL Publications Inc.

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