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Is Hell Freezing over?

It must be pretty chilly in Hell these days, as I have been told that it will freeze over when I’m right. Well, tell Satan to put on his woolies, as once again I’m proven right when I make some off the wall prediction.

I have been saying that as soon as the cost of the electricity to fuel EVs reaches that of the cost of fueling an ICE vehicle, folks will begin rethinking their EV purchases. Well, its happening in Europe.

From the Wall Street Journal:

In Germany, Tesla has raised supercharger prices several times this year, most recently to 0.71 euros in September before falling somewhat, according to reports from Tesla owners on industry forums. There is no public source to track prices on Tesla superchargers.

At that price, drivers of Tesla’s Model 3, the most efficient all-electric vehicle in the Environment Protection Agency’s fuel guide in the midsize vehicle category, would pay €18.46 at a Tesla supercharger station in Europe for a charge sufficient to drive 100 miles.

By comparison, drivers in Germany would pay €18.31 for gasoline to drive the same distance in a Honda Civic 4-door, the equivalent combustion-engine model in the EPA’s ranking.

Tesla didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

The change has been particularly notable in Germany, Europe’s largest car market, where household electricity cost €0.43 per kWh on average in December. This puts it well ahead of France, where consumers paid €0.21 per kWh in the first half of the year, but behind Denmark, where a kWh cost €0.46, according to the German statistics office.

Although this hasn’t had an immediate effect on EV sales, manufacturers are looking closely at the issue. Government subsidies are coming off, insurance rates are increasing, and ongoing maintenance is showing to be high, once you include battery replacement. If folks begin to realize that EVs are substantially more expensive than conventional ICE vehicles, including the ongoing cost of fueling them, the marketplace may speak volumes particularly to manufacturers.

Major auto manufacturers have spent billions retooling for EV manufacturing, but are beginning to express some concerns about the viability of the EV market.

Remember, you saw it here first, kind readers. The marketplace will out and all the finagling and adjusting by the government, EV touts, and manufacturing will not change it. People will do what then want, and when they realize that they are funding a vehicle that simply doesn’t cut it from a feature by feature comparison, plus it costs more to fuel it, the result will be a rethinking of the entire EV project.

Just remember, wishing doesn’t make it so.


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Merry Christmas

From the Scripture according to Luke…

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed [a]wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a [b]manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And [c]behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. 10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a [d]manger.”

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill[e] toward men!”

When Astrid asked me to write a Christmas message this year, I could think of no better way to start it than with the original Christmas Story. There are four versions, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But it’s Luke’s that we remember from our childhood, dressing up like shepherds and angels, and acting out the story.

It’s ironic that such a wonderful story would start with the government placing requirements on the people. Not unusual, since that’s what happens, but ironic. Luke says “registered” but the word we often see in that place is “taxed.” Thirty years later, the babe lying in that manger told his followers to “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”

The beauty of the story above is its timeliness. It hasn’t changed in two millennia. The cynic will say that it is just that, a story. However the more than one billion believers will say that it is the beginning of an understanding. A way to combine infinite love with secular life. We believe. Therefore it is real.

We are told that the story simply couldn’t have happened that way. Why would shepherds be in the field in the middle of winter? Angels and heavenly hosts, oh please. And the rest, stars moving over the place of the birth and three wise men. Give us a break.

I am puzzled as to why it is so difficult to believe.  To believe in a supreme being, to believe in someone walking among us spreading the word, to believe that there is something larger than we are, and something to which to aspire.

The Christmas Story is one of love, of trust, of belief, and yes, a bit of magic. We tend to add a sprinkle of the ‘impossible’ to make it something special. But is it really impossible? The wise among us think not. As we believe in virgin births, angels, heavenly hosts, and the like, are we not making the impossible just a tad more possible.

Sure, we secularize the holiday with parties, feasts, and presents, but is that the end of it. I’m reminded of Father Beiderman, a priest from my misspent youth, who when asked about fund raising and the replacement of a perfectly serviceable window with stained glass, he said that it wasn’t the money, or the bake sales, or the window. It was the process. The bringing together of so many people who became closer to each other, and in many ways closer to God. Smart fellow, that priest.

So as we celebrate this year, lets remember not only the food, fun, gifts and parties, but lets also remember the end result, the bringing together of friends and family and then wonder, just a bit, if the little baby in Luke’s story didn’t have more in mind than angels and wise men. Maybe, just maybe, Father Beiderman’s process is what is it all about.

As we remember this wonderful story, as we spend time with friends and family, as we buy presents and think what Tom or Mary would really like, are we not reflecting the peace and love that surrounded that manger so many years ago.

So to all our friends, Christian and Jew, Muslim and Buddhist, Hindu and Atheist, and all the rest, please have the happiest and Merriest Christmas and holiday season.

Your Friends at Parking Today


When all else fails, bury the lede

Here we have a situation where a reporter had an idea then wrote a story in such a way to show the world he was right. This article, “Can California’s Electric Vehicle Push Overcome the Red State Backlash” in the Los Angeles Times is a case in point. He goes to a ‘red’ state and interviews a number of leaders. He notes that they are all Republican, and so when they express their opposition to the “California Mandate” he infers that it’s because they are conservative. He then succeeds in burying the lede.

The next to last line in the story tells the tale.

Ultimately, electric cars will win not because of blue state mandates, but because they’re a better product, he said.

Yes, when EVs reach the point that they can charge in five minutes, reliably have a range of 300 miles, are able to find fast charging stations virtually everywhere, run well in cold weather, and are priced within a range so that the average person can afford them, then they will succeed no matter the politics of the marketplace.

As you read the article, Astrid has posted it on Parknews.biz, you will find that most of the arguments against the EV comes from thinking through the process. There are major concerns about the lack of ability to provide the electricity to charge a large fleet of electric vehicles. (The Swiss, for instance, have made charging EVs illegal in the winter as they simply must make a choice, charge EVs, or not have enough power to heat their homes.)

California, ground zero for EVs, is in a situation where it doesn’t have enough power to cool its resident’s homes, and have asked EV owners not to charge their cars at certain times so as to not pull down the power grid. And although it has mandated EV only sales in 12 years, has seemingly made no plans to increase the electric resources in the state.

At some point government subsidies have to end. And when they do, the true cost of ownership will come to the fore. When it costs $80 to charge an EV to run 300 miles, and when the cost of battery replacement begins to hit, car owners will begin to revolt against mandates that require you to purchase a certain type of vehicle.

I can see the day when car dealers will be located on the border between California, Nevada, Oregon and Arizona, so folks can, if they wish, purchase ICE vehicles and drive them back to their homes in the golden state.

In the end, the marketplace will out. When, as noted above, EVs turn out to be a better, more cost effective product, they will replace internal combustion engine driven cars. Until then, not so much.

Oh, by the way. For some reason you don’t see the term ‘carbon footprint’ in articles like the one in the LA Times. But that’s a conversation for another day.


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Are We Doing Ourselves a Disservice?

Astrid reports over at Parknews.biz that she is getting news every day that crime in parking, read that in garages and with PEOs in on the rise, up in some areas as much as 95%. What are we, as an industry, doing about it?

It is almost like we are ignoring the problem. I don’t see activity on a national level attacking crime in our facilities. We have always had a bad reputation in this area, mayhaps its time to attack it head on.

We here at PT have a New Year’s resolution, to have articles in every issue about crime reduction and safety in garages. Starting in January, we have an excellent article about a former law enforcement professional who is using techniques he learned on “the job” to not only lower crime, but raise revenues and overall customer satisfaction. From the article:

One day, when I was reviewing data analytics for this parking lot, I noticed that the revenue numbers were up, car counts were up, citation collection rate was higher, but citation issuing was down. In addition, the appeals rate was lower, and there were a lot fewer complaints about safety concerns like lighting conditions, cleanliness, and even harassment from the homeless population. So, what had changed? This parking lot was doing well before he stepped in, but now it was outperforming every other parking lot in the region.

The solution was “saturation patrols.” The idea being that at non peak times, employees were in their uniforms, out in the garage, engaging customers, picking up trash, fixing lighting, dealing with homeless, and making the place more welcoming. Read the entire story in January PT.

But, and it’s a big BUT…to do this we have to have boots on the ground. That means we have to have employees in the garage. Rather than investing in ways to lower the number of staff, we have to keep our customers engaged with those who work in the garages. Sure, maybe we can ‘get rid’ of a staff member by applying this technology or that, but what if we can increase our revenues by double or triple the cost of that staff member by keeping him or her in place? Which is the better decision?

I think I know the answer to that, and so do you.


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Now its Lack of Security, What Next?

Astrid has a lead article in today’s Parknews Newsletter that expresses concern that EV charging stations can be hacked and through that hack, can collect user data, and even bring down the grid.  Read all about it at Parknews.biz

This is not some JVH look out the window piece but is written by Sandia Labs after a four year study. That means that most likely its real. So where does that leave us. The study simply says that we are moving too fast, that EV charging companies are being incentivized to be first to market and get those chargers online. Adding high security takes time and costs money so it is being left by the wayside.

I know, I know – this is self serving for JVH since I have been saying for months, even years, that we are not letting the free market work, but are pushing much too fast on this EV program. We are leading technology by simply believing what ‘futurists’ are telling us and moving forward pall mall in spite of reality staring us in the face.

Parking Managers are telling me that not only are chargers becoming more expensive, but the cost of installation can and often is more than the cost of the charger. I was told just the other day that one manager simply would like to hire an electrical consulting engineer to give her a valid installation number before she started down this EV path. She then told me that those folks, ones who will actually commit to a number, are few and far between. She likened it to getting a price for home improvements, only to find when the walls are opened there is mold or rot that was unknown when the price was given.

Would it not make more sense to move slowly down this path. Allow technology, both in the EVs themselves and in chargers, to move up to the expectations of the garage operators and the driving public? I’m sure that the manufacturers will get there, I’m just not sure how long it will take.

I wonder if we aren’t in a VHS/Beta conundrum now. Will we make the right choice?


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Why not Drive?

Upwards of a quarter of a million people will fly out of LAX today and most will get to the airport by private vehicle. They will either be dropped off, or they will park their car at one of the many thousands of spots both on and off airport. Some will wring their hands at the stupidity of these drivers, but I wonder.

What was their alternative?

I guess they could take a fly away bus, Uber or Lyft, or a taxi, but then what. For the bus, they have to get to the terminus either be dropped off or park. They then must schlep their bags to the bus, and get them loaded on the bus. They leave on the buses’ schedule.

As for Uber/Lyft or taxi, the cost can be more than parking at the airport, depending on their length of stay. Plus at LAX and many other airports, they are dropped off outside the airport and must take a shuttle to their terminal, thus loading and unloading bags a second time.

When I take a parking shuttle, the driver helps me with my bags at both ends and then drops me off a few feet from the skycap. I then take a short walk to my plane. I do it on my schedule, not one created for me by a bureaucrat at a bus or Uber/Lyft or taxi company.

More important, when I return, I want to go home, not wait for a shuttle, Lyft, or a bus, and then sort out my transportation at the other end.

I want convenience. I know the back streets to take to miss most of the traffic to the airport. I make a reservation to park so I get the cheapest cost and am ensured of a spot. I know how long its going to take me, and when I have to leave to catch my flight.

It would seem the airport agrees with me. LAX just built a 4000 car parking garage adjacent to the airport with fast shuttles to each terminal. Why would an airport build parking, if, we assume, they are really wanting you not to drive. I can think of one reason, they listen to their customers. And they customers tell them they want to drive.

I wish those who are in the traffic and the hustle and bustle of the airport all the best. This year we are staying at home. But those holidays when we had to be at two celebrations on the same day are still in my memory.

A happy and grateful Thanksgiving to you and yours



Thanksgiving 2022

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ― Meister Eckhart

When we think about Thanksgiving, we most often think about sitting around a feast with family and friends and giving thanks for all the abundance we have. Fair enough.

However, how often do we express gratitude for all the things, big and small, that we experience every day. Do we simply wait until the last Thursday in November, and offer a blanket thanks for all the good we experienced during the past year.

It’s easy to remember the big things, the surviving a serious operation, the birth of a baby, the closing of a particularly difficult deal, a marriage, the meeting of a new friend. But what about the little things that make each day worth living, the warmth of the sun on your face on a spring day, the way a dog kisses you for no reason, how about the extra three seconds the light stayed green so you could get through.

We, if we are well bred and polite, thank people who hold the door, or who offered a hand when we needed it. The word thank you just rolls off the tongue like it was programmed. It’s expected. If we don’t, folks get the idea that we don’t ‘care.’ We say it so easily, so conveniently, I wonder if we really are thankful or simply make it an automatic part of our lives. It’s like the sign on the construction site apologizing for any inconvenience their activity and noise is bringing you. The sign went up before the construction started and will be the last one removed. Do they think that by simply putting up the sign that I will feel better at 3 am when the construction sounds fill my bedroom.

When we pray at the beginning of the Thanksgiving feast and offer than blanket thanks for all the good that has beset us, has it become just another sign along the way.

The question I will ask you, fair reader, is just how do you SHOW gratitude through your actions every day of your life. Do you compliment a person on the look of their dog, or the new jacket or hat. Do you surprise a friend with an extra donut or cup of coffee at work. Do you offer a smile or hug when its least expected.

When you say your daily prayers, do you thank the good Lord for all the little things, do you even remember what they were. A Harvard University study found that people who expressed gratitude for little things as well as big ones were happier. It suggested one make daily lists of things that they were grateful for from that day. At least then you would have to fumble with the preprogrammed prayer when you speak to your maker.

Maybe this Thanksgiving can be a time not only of thanks and gratitude, but a time of change. A time to begin to show that gratitude daily for all the things we are thankful for every day.

Have you thought about starting each day with a thank you and making it a habit?  If you do it, does your blood pressure go down?  Are you more creative?  And thus, attract people like a magnet with your energy of gratitude.

Happy Thanksgiving 2022

Parking Today

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Elections a couple of generations ago

Here we are, almost two weeks after the election, and we still don’t have the final counts in some races. I guess its just modern technology. When I will a kid living in a small country town in the orange country of California, it worked like this.

Each precinct had about 800 to 1000 voters. There was an election board in each precinct made up of half Democrats and Half Republicans. You went into a little booth (cloth covered) and voted with a pen on printed ballots. When you came out, you handed the ballot to an inspector who placed it in a locked box with a slit on top.

Every so often someone (one of the board) came out and mark off on a list hanging outside the polling place those who had voted so far. (So poll watchers could know who voted and start working on those who hadn’t.)

When the polls closed, the board opened the locked box and counted the ballots. The Democrats kept an eye on the Republicans and vice versa. There was virtually no cheating going on. When the results were tallied, they were called in to the county, and then from there to the state.

Usually this was completed by 2AM, 4AM at the latest. Polls usually closed at 7 PM.

That was it. The ballots were placed back in the locked box and the next morning picked up and taken to headquarters where they were held if a recount was needed.

The only “Mail in ballots” were those for folks who where sick or out of town. You had to apply for those (Called absentee ballots) in advance. When they arrived at election headquarters those voters were marked off on the individual precinct’s voter list and those ballots were placed in the locked box taken out to the individual precincts and then counted with the other ballots. (I’m not sure about this, maybe they were counted at election headquarters and added on the totals as they came in.)

The precincts were in schools, libraries, fire stations and dare I say it private homes. In fact, our precinct was in the home next door and the homeowner served breakfast, lunch and a light dinner to those who came to vote. She was a great cook.

I know folks want to make it easy to vote, opening polls a month before election day and accepting mail in ballots. That is of some concern to me. What if we find that one candidate or another is an ax murderer a week before the election, but half the people have already voted. An ax murderer could easily have been elected. I guess that’s a shrug of the shoulders and a resounding “Oh Well.”

Usually the only places that election fraud occurred were places that had only one party or another on the election boards. Happened.  I’m a tad concerned about computerized voting. The guy who writes the program controls the election. If you don’t believe me, ask a person who writes code.

Just sayin


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Sometimes I wish I was wrong about this

As you frequent readers know, my favorite law is the law of unintended consequences. Virtually anything our politicians put their minds to have consequences they didn’t plan on. They seem to have a religious fervor about a topic, and don’t consider just what might happen if they plowed ahead.

The headlines today, after you get past the winners and losers in the election, and the bombing in Poland, seem to be surrounding the ‘green’ movement and what is happening world wide.

Germany: The Germans have discovered that closing their nuclear power plants and shuttering their coal powered electric generators was not a good move. They are now scrambling to reopen these vilified power sources to keep their citizens warm this winter.

Africa: The head of the African union is telling the COP conference in Egypt that they want to use their extremely abundant natural resources (read that natural gas) to power their emerging economies. For them, renewable energy is simply not reliable enough and too expensive.

Worldwide:  Automakers are deciding to use a different kind of battery on their electric vehicles to lower the cost – the kind of battery used on most cars in China. However, the new battery will lower the range of the EV. Not a good selling point.

Finance: Since it has been determined that wind farms are not truly financially viable, (expensive to build, expensive to maintain) and not really profitable, the private funding that was flowing into the wind side of the ‘green economy’ is drying up. I think this is the most telling. Let’s face it. Wall Street doesn’t put money where it won’t grow.

Government support: The green economy has grown based on government largess plus laws, like California, soon to require only EV sales in the state. If it was truly popular with the marketplace, none of this should be necessary.

The latest survey shows that about a third of the population in the US are likely to install a solar panel, buy and EV, install an EV charger at home, or even work in a ‘green’ industry. The rest are either negative or ambivalent. The market is not jumping on board.

So, in spite of trillions in government money invested, laws requiring green activity everywhere, entire countries moving their power sources to renewable energy, the law of unintended consequences is proving itself valid.

So, we are becoming mired in a so called ‘green economy’ the consequence of which is seemingly endless funding and legal requirements by all levels of government, and after decades of trying, only about a third of the populace is falling in line. AND we are finding that much of the renewable power supply and the like simply isn’t up to the requirements of modern power needs either in developed countries, or in developing countries.

We just can’t seem to get around my favorite law, whether we want to or not.


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The Parking Industry Expo and the Big Ten Parking and Transportation Conference Announce Joint Event for 2023

The Parking Industry Expo and the Big Ten and Friends Parking and Transportation Conference are excited to announce that their joint 2023 conference events will be held on March 28-30, 2023 at the Schaumberg Convention Center, PIE Director Marcy Sparrow announced today.

The Big Ten and Friends will host 80 plus university parking, transit, and fleet leaders, who will be participating in the PIE seminars and exhibit hall along with university-specific programming.  A highlight will be a panel session featuring university transportation experts on Thursday, March 30. During this interactive session, the experts will share their stories and answer questions from attendees.

Big Ten and Friends Parking and Transportation Conference representative Ross Allanson, CAPP, CPP, Director of Parking & Transportation Services at the University of Minnesota, said that he was pleased that the two organizations could come together after they paused their Big Ten conference while the country responded to COVID-19.  Centrally located, Schaumburg, Illinois is an ideal location for a conference that brings together universities and colleges from across the nation.

The Parking Industry Expo is sponsored annually by Parking Today Magazine. In 2023, it will be held at the Schaumburg Convention Center adjacent to the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel, a short 20-minute ride north of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. The dates are March 28-30. For full information, log on to  https://pieshow.parkingtoday.com/

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