Tuesday, November 17, 2009

How I'd Improve Gas Station Pumps

Why must pumping gas be such an ugly, messy, and industrial affair? I have yet to find a pump that puts the consumer experience first. This needs to change.

I understand that because the nozzle tip is going into a gas tank, it needs to be plain metal, but there's no need for me to see it. I propose adding a retractable outer shell over the metal end that collapses as you put the nozzle into the gas tank. When the nozzle is removed from the tank, the outer shell would re-cover the nozzle and catch gas drops. Just imagine, no more gas drops on your shoes.

The retractable cover is based on advanced collapsible pink cup technology.

The lever that's pulled to allow gas to flow is very unappealing. It's A barren 3-inch metal strip that may or may not lock into position for hands-free pouring. I think there should be a button on the outside that you press once to get the gas flowing. Like its metal brethren, the button would return to its original place when the tank is full. This would make the nozzle piece sleeker.

With my improvements, this won't happen again!

All pump stations should ask if you want a receipt before pumping. There's nothing a driver wants to do less after returning the pump than answer whether or not a receipt is needed. I only want to sanitize my hands after dealing with gas and be on my way. Sure, people could just use gas gloves, but why make the gas pumper purchase protective equipment when that won't be necessary with these changes.

Gas gloves, like this one for U.S. Patent US6643846, won't be needed if I have my way.

With any revolutionary idea like this one, there are some hurdles in the way. There's the cost of designing a prototype, let alone a mass produced version. Building new pumps and retrofitting current models requires hours of work and manufacturing logistics. Selling station owners on the idea is hard because they might have to increase their prices by a few cents. I think customers won't mind the price if it means a guaranteed 100% clean gas pumping experience.

For clean gas pumping you can either hire me as a consultant to implement my idea or drive to New Jersey and Ohio to have someone pump for you. Who says New Jersey isn't high class?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Quest to Ride all 1,126 Metro Cars Begins

One day, I shared a Metro ride with fellow blogger MoCoLotion who pointed out that we were riding the first Metro car, #1000. With that ride, I began logging the cars I rode each way to and from work along the red line. I've compiled 40 cars that I rode since #1000 and will continue to do so until I forget to note the car number too often.

The momentous occasion demanded this cell phone picture.

So far I haven't had any repeats. It's not that surprising because the Metro system has 1,126 cars and will have a few hundred 7000 series models in the system in 2012. According to a recent press release, "There are 290 1000-series rail cars, 364 2000/3000-series rail cars, 100 4000-series rail cars, 188 5000-series rail cars and 184 6000-series rail cars."

I'll log future rides along the right panel of this blog where only the truly bored are welcome to follow along. For now, here are the trains that I've graced with my backside:
  1. 1000
  2. 1015
  3. 1032
  4. 1063
  5. 1064
  6. 1068
  7. 1101
  8. 1111
  9. 1143
  10. 1194
  11. 1195
  12. 1205
  13. 1246
  14. 1250
  15. 1271
  16. 3038
  17. 3075
  18. 3106
  19. 3107
  20. 3169
  21. 3196
  22. 3217
  23. 3221
  24. 3251
  25. 3255
  26. 3267
  27. 3270
  28. 3279
  29. 4001
  30. 4021
  31. 4031
  32. 4043
  33. 5056
  34. 5125
  35. 5147
  36. 6074
  37. 6102
  38. 6122
  39. 6136
  40. 6153
  41. 6182

Six weeks after beginning my quest to ride all Metro cars, I finally had a repeat car, #3023.