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Vol. 15, No. 15 Week of April 11, 2010
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Greening of Oil - Latest from Mac Ackers

WHY ‘UNDERCOVER BOSS’ MATTERS … Reihan Salam, co-author of “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream,” wrote a thought-provoking piece in his April 5 weekly column for Forbes about the new reality TV series, “Undercover Boss,” calling it “a remarkable educational tool.” The CBS program, which has 13 million to 17 million viewers per episode, features top executives from major American firms such as Waste Management, Hooters and 7-11 going undercover to work alongside front-line employees. The show gives viewers a glimpse of the human beings behind America’s corporate bosses, which Salam says helps “the audience move beyond the caricature of heartless, rapacious chief executives. Broadly speaking, one gets the impression that these men — and unfortunately all of the CEOs so far have been men — are hard-working, conscientious people who’ve devoted their lives to leading large, complex enterprises.” As for the show’s featured employees, often characterized as victims by fictional cinema and television, Undercover Boss doesn’t just present “plucky, morally upright employees who invariably do the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts.” Salam says we also get to see “incorrigible, incompetent and simply cruel employees, who test the patience of the undercover boss.” Read Salam’s column at http://bit.ly/9JTXfV.

NOT TO BE BLOWN OFF ... Nissan has announced the pricing on its 2011 all-electric LEAF. It’s approximately $25,000; with additional rebates some can get it for only $20,000. The legit breakdown? Operating costs of a highly efficient internal combustion (normal) engine are 10 cents per mile; a pure electric vehicle’s operating costs can be as low as 2.5 cents per mile. At current U.S. electricity rates, it should cost less than $3 to fully charge a 23-kilowatt hour battery, giving the first commercial electric vehicles a range of approximately 100 miles. It’s being said that cities and regions with electrified transportation sectors won’t be the only ones to benefit, that it will bring costs down for the entire nation. Can any automobile gurus verify or challenge these claims for me? You can read more about the value chain of the electrified transportation sector here: www.electrificationcoalition.org.

MISTAKES ENERGY COMPANIES MAKE … In designing new facilities energy companies should focus less on bells and whistles and more on nuts and bolts, Solomon Associates said April 5. In building new plants many refiners, chemical manufacturers and power generation firms fall into the common trap of assuming that by spending millions of dollars on the latest generation of equipment and technology they will automatically yield better operating performance. But research by Solomon Associates, a Dallas-based performance-improvement company for the energy industry, indicates that this is not the case. Solomon says operators cannot buy their way to prosperity. (Who knew!?) The four most common mistakes, per Solomon, are designing new facilities for throughput or capacity rather than overall performance; failing to include operations personnel in the project team; planning to run the new plant the same way as the old plant; and cutting corners on training. For more information: www.solomononline.com.

YOUR WALLET WILL THANK YOU ... But you can thank me for the reminder! Twenty-five states are launching “Cash for Appliances” rebate programs just before Earth Day on April 22. You’ll have to move quickly to cash in on the limited dollars for rebates on energy efficient appliances. But figuring out when programs start, which appliances are included and who qualifies for different rebates is a pain. ApplianceRebate.com has put all currently available rebates online — including utility, municipality, manufacturer and retailer rebates. They also provide a tool that calculates the operating cost of a new appliance based on the consumer’s actual gas and electric costs within their zip code. All of the site’s tools are free. I’ve checked it out, it’s pretty simple and it’s legit. But I don’t qualify. Bummer.

Contact me! I am Greening of Oil’s social networker. My weekly column is posted in both Petroleum News and on Greening of Oil’s Buzz and Latest news pages. My e-mail address is mac@greeningofoil.com. And remember to cast your vote about climate change in the “share your opinion poll” on Greening of Oil’s latest news page at http://www.greeningofoil.com/latest.aspx


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