Monday, September 19, 2016

Perhaps Greensboro Should Control Our Own Future

In a previous post here at our own  Does Colonial Pipeline have the parts ready to go or do they need to be produced?
"The welds have to be inspected with xray...
How long will the inspections take before the pipeline can be used?

How long is the bypass going to be?

Do we actually have a 45 day supply at the tank farm?

Are they going from valve to valve or cutting in between?

If the parts exist, how far away are they and how long will it take to get them here?

If there is only premium gas being delivered, is there a shortage of regular at the tank farm?

Who owns the gasoline at the tank farm?

Does all/most of Greensboro's gas come from the same facility?
It could make a huge difference. A few years ago when I needed an $18,000 pump (track motor) for an excavator (track hoe) I had to have one made at the factory in Korea as no one, not even the manufacturer, Daewoo,  stocked them as not to have to pay inventory taxes on them.

It took 30 plus days to make the part.

You see, unlike most who type away at blogs or call themselves journalists, I've actually worked in construction, transportation and even delivered materials to pipe lines. And the construction trades, just like manufacturing of all kinds, routinely rely on what is know as JIT (Just In Time Delivery) to get products delivered to them.

You see, no one wants to pay inventory taxes year after year, after year on parts or products they might take years to sell or use.

As a matter of fact, JIT was primarily invented as a means to help companies stop paying inventory tax.

Does that mean companies inventory nothing? No. It just means companies inventory a lot less than they used to and rely on trucks which rely on fuel which relies on pipelines to get the parts where they need to go.

Could it be we'll be out of fuel before the replacement parts are made to fix the pipeline? Somebody better be thinking ahead or the new parts might not ever get there.

Colonial Pipeline has announced plans to deliver gas by ships and trucks but ships and trucks run on fuel too. More price hikes on the horizon.

Maybe it's time we rethought this entire thing and built a transportation system that isn't quite so fragile. One of the things I've proposed for years is a moped factory right here in Greensboro, North Carolina building gasoline, multi-fuel, hybrid and electric mopeds as well as 3 wheel enclosed cab mopeds. No, mopeds aren't for everyone but even those of you in cars would benefit from the lower fuel prices caused by more people riding mopeds and fewer people driving cars.

I even gave it a mention in my platform for Mayor of Greensboro.

Another thing that needs changing is inventory taxes. Inventory taxes need to be stopped. I don't know if the City of Greensboro levies any kind of inventory tax but if it does then that will come to an end if I am elected Mayor of Greensboro. After all, companies only pass it along to consumers.

And if I'm elected the City of Greensboro will lobby the State and Federal governments to stop inventory taxes altogether.

As I was writing this the cable TV, Internet and electricity all went out here where I live and work. Sure, it was raining but only gently, no electrical storms, no thunder. I thought, Wow, Duke Energy uses natural gas supplied by those same pipelines to generate electricity, did they run out?

Of course the power quickly came back on, natural gas isn't really transported in the same pipeline and if Duke did run out of gas they are set up to quickly switch to coal but the trains that haul that coal run on diesel fuel supplied by none other than... you guessed it, Colonial Pipeline.

"Colonial transports various grades of gasoline, diesel fuel, home heating oil, jet fuel and fuels for the U.S. military. The products Colonial carries are fungible, meaning they are interchangeable. The different brands of gasoline take on their specific brand qualities when additives are placed in the product by our customers, and after the product has left the pipeline.

Colonial has active product codes for 38 different grades of gasoline-including reformulated gasoline (RFG) and multiple vapor pressures for each grade, seven grades of kerosene (including two for military), 16 grades of home heating oil and diesel fuel (including diesel fuel marine for the U.S. Navy and light cycle oil) and one grade of transmix. Of the 62 codes, 29 are for fungible products and 33 are for products that must be shipped on a segregated basis."

And yes, there is Plantation Pipeline which follows the same path running right beside Colonial Pipeline but obviously one pipeline cannot meet the need as stations are running out, gas lines are forming everywhere and prices are expected to keep rising.

And maybe it is just a temporary thing. The question is: how long is temporary? Perhaps it's time we started asking ourselves, how can Greensboro control our own future?

Some of the answers to that question can be found in my platform for Mayor of Greensboro in 2017.

And building a megasite in Randolph County so that residents must drive 30 to 40 miles one way to work each day is not one of those solutions.

I'd love to know your ideas as well.