When I was younger, there was a radio program called "Car Talk" that I would listen to on drives with my mom and dad. The show was hosted by two brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi, better known as "Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers" who would listen to callers’ car problems, usually accompanied by said caller doing their best impression of the strange sound coming from their vehicle.
The brothers, between bouts of laughter, and in their iconic Boston accents, would diagnose the problem and send the caller off with some heartfelt advice on fixing the issue and making sure the problem didn’t happen again. I always enjoyed listening to callers share their crazy car stories and weird problems, or sounds they ran into, only to later be good-naturedly ribbed by the brothers about how they handled said car.
In the end, whether the issue was resolved or not, Tom and Ray always gave their best perspective on the situation and sent the caller off with helpful advice.
Unfortunately, Tom passed away in 2014, and in 2021, "Car Talk" came to an end. The show left a lasting impression. for listeners like my family, and left us with some great words of wisdom you couldn’t get just by going to a garage down the street. In the world of the fleet, that kind of wisdom is invaluable, especially these days when it feels like we’re on the cusp of so much change.
I’d love to see a new generation of government fleet Clicks and Clacks poking fun at the frustrations we face today while also giving some solid advice on how to deal with those road bumps. The show could take a different approach to break down new emissions regulations and why your electric vehicle (EV) isn’t getting the mileage you planned.
These days there are still the old problems, like funky sounds coming from the belly of a vehicle, but a whole new level of frustration with these changes. A lot of this has to do with new standards and supply chain disruptions.
Changes and new regulations bring in more political discussions that branch across governments. In a perfect world, fleet managers could snap their fingers and switch a whole fleet to electric, infrastructure built and all, and parts, equipment, or any additional vehicles would arrive faster than Amazon's next-day delivery. But government fleet is anything but simple.
And as we head into 2023, we know the challenges will continue. I wish I could have the answer to fixing something as big as supply chain shortages as easily as Click or Clack could diagnose a rattling sound coming from A 2002 Subaru Outback catalytic converter. However, from the discussions I’ve had, these aren’t overnight fixes.
What do we do in the meantime then? I would say keep learning from other fleets. Understand how they are adjusting to these changes. The good thing is we have a great network of people through webinars, social media, and events like GFX. And if there’s anything Government Fleet isn’t covering, or hasn’t gone more in-depth with, let us know.
We want 2023 to be a year of learning, improving, and being a go-to resource for what’s happening in the world of fleet. Just find moments to laugh in between. To quote Tom Magliozzi, “Happiness equals reality minus expectations.”
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