Friday, February 17, 2017

February 2017 SDADA Column

What does a 50 mpg pickup look like? Is it something that your customers would drive? Would it
serve the utility that your customers need from their truck?

Those questions embody what is at stake in the current and ongoing battle over clean air standards. In 2011, the Obama administration and the EPA called for an industry-wide standard of more than 50 miles per gallon by 2025. The deal called for the EPA to conduct a “mid-term review” of rules for 2022-25 by April 2018.

The EPA, acting before Trump's inauguration, ruled on Jan. 13 that no change in the regulations was warranted for 2022-25. The auto industry was caught a bit off-guard by this development and they are not be happy about the quick and rather incomplete "review".

Auto executives want Trump to roll back clean-air standards. They feel that the standards are too rigorous and could cost America jobs.

One of the problems in attaining such high MPG standards is consumers' appetite, or lack thereof, for electric vehicles. Certainly, South Dakota dealers do not see a rush of consumers knocking down the doors to get electric vehicles. I have yet to have one of my ag producer customers ask me when an electric 3/4 ton pickup would be available to pull his stock trailer.

Hopefully, the Trump administration can bring a common sense approach to the idea of clean air standards and fuel economy. As dealers, we just want affordable options that serve our customers needs. If those are electric, fuel cell or other alternative energy options, that is fine.

Just let us sell what our customers want at a price they can afford!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Time to Feed the Wolf!

One of the more famous fables (short story, typically with animals as characters, that conveys a moral) of Aesop, a slave and story-teller believed to have lived in ancient Greece, was about the boy who cried "wolf".

The story is about a shepherd boy who repeatedly tricks nearby villagers into thinking a wolf is attacking his flock. Finally, when one actually does appear and the boy again calls for help, the villagers do not come, thinking that it is another false alarm and the sheep are eaten by the wolf.

So it is with the new generation of weather forecasters. It is unheard of for them to offer any forecast without some alert, watch or warning - no matter how insignificant or ridiculous. It's the ultimate in too much information - traditional media, social media, government agencies, etc.

As I look at my favorite weather website currently, there is an alert that today's (2/10/2017) forecast is to be MUCH WARMER than yesterday. IT'S 56 DEGREES ON FEBRUARY 11TH! DOES ANYONE REALLY NEED THAT ALERT! (Of course this is right next to the social media icons so I can sign up to have these brilliant insights sprinkled into EVERY facet of my life!)

One recent practice is naming winter storms - as if those of us in the Midwest were somehow cheated by not being able to refer to our snow storms by name like hurricanes. Those hurricane names sound so cool and ominous! Never mind that about 25 percent of all predicted blizzards/winter storms amount to anything more that a bit of snow blow up against the side of the building.

Meteorologists will name a storm (Atlas, Neptune, Hercules, Zeus, or some other godly name) and then predict 6-12 inches of snow. If you've ever been around 6-12 inches of snow, you know that is like projecting a car payment of $200-1200. There is a difference!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Explorers Win 2016 Volunteers of the Year

The CMS Explorers won the 2016 Volunteers of the Year Award from the Chamberlain-Oacoma Chamber of Commerce. The group accepted their award at the annual Chamber luncheon on Thursday, January 26, 2017. Each year, the Chamber gives the award to a person/group that makes a difference in the community by volunteering.

The Explorers Club is a service club for 6-8th grade boys. For more than sixteen years, the organization has served the Chamberlain-Oacoma community and school through fundraising and various service projects. In 2011, St. Joseph's Indian School students joined for the first time and now are active participants in the club.

Since its inception in 2001. the group has raised over $100,000 for their community and school. While that is a significant sum of money, Chamberlain city engineer, Greg Powell,  has said in the past, the Explorers have helped start and fund over $500,000 in projects for Chamberlain including ball fields, playground equipment, swimming pool equipment, fishing piers and other infrastructure.

That money has been used for a new baseball field, scoreboard and lights, a new soccer field, new playground equipment, a new picnic shelter, trees, new slides and other equipment for the municipal swimming pool, a fishing pier in the municipal campground, audio-visual equipment and an AED device for the school, the "Meals on Wheels" program,  Relay for Life, new flag poles at Avenue of Flags, playground equipment at American Creek Park, equipment at Tri-County Veterans Park and a disc (or frisbee) golf course among other things.