Category Archives: Transportation

Fake news: The Thanksgiving travel surge did not happen

As noted in my other post, there were +3.4% more travelers during Thanksgiving week than during the prior week, inline with the normal weekly variation amid a six month rising trend.

Last week and up through today, there have been numerous news reports implying a huge surge in holiday travel. The surge did not happen. Fauci tells us there will be “surge upon a surge” of new cases through the end of the year holidays. (May be – but track records for predicting future aspects of the pandemic have been abysmal. Time will tell us what happens.)

Passenger count data shows that last week’s news reports were not true. Aa few media outlets are begrudgingly back tracking but in an off handed way. They now acknowledge that traffic was 60% below last year – but – wait for it – air traffic reached a post-pandemic high amid the holiday surge! Scary!

Except its a normal week over week climb out of the air traffic hole formed in March.

  • Since the bottom in air traffic was reached in the spring, 57% of all days have represented a higher value than the day before, typical of a rising trend.
  • On a week over week basis, most weekly passenger counts were greater than the week before over the past six months.

Headlines proclaiming a new post-pandemic passenger level are solely intended to be inflammatory and to scare you. This is level 1 bull shit reporting by the media. As previously noted, 91% of all news stories about the pandemic have a negative spin and even when new cases are decreasing there are 5.5 times more stories about increasing case counts.

This chart includes Thanksgiving week, Sunday through Saturday passenger counts as provided by the TSA.

As you can see, both public health and the media greatly exaggerated about last week.

And we wonder why no one believes public health or the media?

For all the scary headlines about Thanksgiving week travel, travel was up just 3.4%

For Sunday through Saturday, there was a 3.4% increase in traveler during Thanksgiving week versus the prior week. Which is inline with the week over week variation of slowly returning air traffic, as has occurred for months. The prior week did see a +10% increase but in recent weeks, the week over week change has been about -6 to +8%.

That does not mean there will or will not be a spike in new cases next week as there are many other factors in play.

Meanwhile, the media does its usual context free scary and misleading news report: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Americans to avoid travel for Thanksgiving, but millions have flown since that warning. “

Yes, about the same number of millions that flew the week before!

This chart, updated through Saturday of Thanksgiving week, makes this clear – there was no huge increase in Thanksgiving holiday travel via air.

Update: The media catches up after the fact.

“Thanksgiving air travel rises to pandemic high – but still less than half of last year’s levels”.

Stated another way, all of the scary pronouncements and headlines are just stupid and not true. (Note – even car travel was down sharply year over year – there is no specific estimate yet, nor is there a week over week estimate. Like air travel, it was probably not as large as claimed before the event.)

CDC update 11/30/2020

Note that due to the holiday, some reports may be delayed – we could yet see this curve change shape in the coming week. However, the slope has been moderating for weeks and per other data, there are indications that this trend is real. Time will tell, particularly as the government has asked everyone to get tested – mass screening using a diagnostic test – which will generate false positives. False positives can be taken into consideration and controlled – if they want to.

It’s official: Only healthy people allowed to fly

Airlines are an Americans with Disability Act-free zone:

It should be noted that all airlines mentioned recommend that any customers who cannot wear face coverings due to a medical condition or disability should postpone their travel until the temporary mask requirements are no longer in place.

Source: Airline rules for face masks | kgw.com

I have twice written to my elected representatives opposing further airline bailouts. Airlines want all taxpayers to bail them out while simultaneously restricting flights to healthy individuals only. Airlines are free perhaps, to restrict access on their own dime, but not on the taxpayers dime.

Recently, Delta kicked a hearing impaired person off a flight after his masked slip and he could not hear the flight attendant (nor see her mouth move because – masks!) who notified him of the mask falling down below his nose. The airline was notified of his hearing impairment and shown his two hearing aids but crew didn’t care and kicked him off the plane. The CEO later apologized to the customer (airlines have forgotten what “customer” means) but asked him to remove his video from social media.

Qantas will mandate Covid-19 vaccination prior to international flights starting sometime in 2021

A separate news story, however, says Qantas may not resume international flights until July of 2021:

Australia’s national carrier Qantas will require future international travelers to prove they have been vaccinated against Covid-19 before flying.

Source: Qantas to require Covid vaccinations for international flights | CNN Travel

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) expects to roll out a digital IATA Travel Pass in Q1 2021, which would hold a secure record of your vaccination history (including potentially other vaccinations), and even support a future digital passport.

EV: GM expects dramatic cost reductions and EV range to 450 miles within about 4 years

Alongside the scaling of EV production, GM expects that the cost of its Ultium batteries will drop by 60 percent by the middle of this decade, bringing the batteries “closer to cost parity with gas-powered engines.” GM also said that its second-generation Ultium batteries will be ready by that time, which will have twice the energy density of the current batteries.

Source: GM Accelerates Electrification Timeline, Plans 30 EVs by 2025

Electric vehicles: Driver causes high speed Tesla crash, sending hot batteries into nearby homes, starting minor fires

This is wild. Slightly drugged out driver doing 100 mph crashes his (?) Tesla sending hot batteries flying into nearby home windows and causing minor burns. Definitely not normal occurrence!

CORVALLIS, OR (KPTV)- A wrecked Tesla became a launching pad for fiery projectiles after a high-speed crash in Corvallis Tuesday night sent hundreds of batteries flying in every direction, including

Source: ‘Crazy chaos’: Corvallis residents react after Tesla crash sent batteries, car parts flying into nearby homes | News | kptv.com

Never thought about this possible outcome – flaming battery projectiles! This is not the fault of the Tesla but of a driver crashing at 100 mph.

Boeing 737 MAX to fly again

Boeing originally failed in its design and implementation of the 737 MAX. Now, though, after long scrutiny and evaluation, it is likely the safest plane in the sky. Still, very understandable that future passengers are nervous about the aircraft.

How passengers will feel about flying in the aircraft is unclear, although Southwest customers’ response to the MAX in a recent survey was positive, executives said.

Source: Southwest prepares 737 MAX jets’ return from desert, says some customers wary | Reuters

Shocking: GM is recalling all 2017-2019 Bolt EVs, will cut range by 10% to prevent fires

This is an huge blow to the Chevy Bolt EV line – they have confirmed five vehicles had their batteries spontaneously catch fire. And they do not know why, yet.

GM is recalling 68,667 of the cars globally from the 2017 through 2019 model years, including nearly 51,000 in the U.S.

Source: GM recalling Chevrolet Bolt EVs due to fire risks amid federal probe

GM dealers will update the software to prevent full charging of the batteries, cutting range by about 10%, as an interim solution. Alternatively, they ask owners to not fully charge their batteries or to not park inside garages or car ports. The latter may be tough – many people charge their vehicles at  home, inside the garage and might not have 220 v access available outside. Many who live in apartments and condos only have “carport” or “garage parking” – and have no place to park their vehicles outside. Plus, being winter time, range is already reduced by cold temperatures. This is a bit of mess.

All of the fires involved nearly fully charged batteries so they assume (but don’t know) that this is the cause.

They do not expect to have a real solution until sometime in 2021 – and it is not clear that this interim solution solves the problem, either.

Who buys an electric vehicle?

A study by the University of California-Davis showed that in California, people with income over $150,000 per year purchase a third of electric vehicles (EVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). People with household income of $100,000 to $149,000 account for about 20% and people with household income of $50,000 to $99,999 per year account for about 27% of these vehicles.

Source: Automotive Trends: New Car Buyer Demographics 2020

What is an EVSE “electric vehicle supply equipment” cord and why so expensive?

Those who have taken apart the electrical connections that connect a 220 v wall outlet to an EV find there is very little inside them. Other than some relatively simple safety features, they are basically a 220 v extension cord with the right connectors on both ends.

Why so expensive? At this point, its a small volume market and they can charge too much.

Source: What does an EVSE actually _do_? | Chevy Bolt EV Forum