How Old is “Too Old”?

Upgrading Vs Swapping



When it comes to the world of automation controllers, it is important that a system perform as long as it possibly can. After all, what good is buying a new machine when a company has to shell out millions every few years for a full replacement? That being said, like all things, these systems have their own expiration date. Of course, that expiration time is not an exact number and very much depends heavily on multiple factors. Depending on the facility, management, operator, etc., an entire setup can potentially last up to 30 years if well maintained. In fact, while we are in the year 2022, there are numerous companies today that are still using equipment from the 1980’s with some going back further than that!

“When Should I Upgrade?”

Upgrading your system is a large undertaking for any company. Not only is the cost to upgrade something to really consider. Businesses also have to account for operations, deadlines, and return on investment (ROI). When thinking about upgrading your equipment, some important factors to think about include:

Production Challenges
If you are seeing a higher volume in sales and your current setup cannot meet the rise in demand, then it may be time to consider upgrading. Newer machines can output product at a faster rate.

Labor
Labor is often one of the largests costs when it comes to business operations. Not only are we talking about the base wage of an employee, but also the cost of training. Some fields of work have high turnover rates which makes having to hire and train new employees a constant and expensive venture. Some uprgrades are available that now automate certain tasks once perfomed by employees.

Cost
While the upfront cost might end up being quite a steep price to pay. In the long term, upgrading your equipment can give a business the competitive edge it needs to produce products faster, higher quality, and more efficiently thus saving money on the back end.

Expansion
As a company expands, the prospects of upgrading and automating certain aspects of the production is can not only help saving money in any long-term costs that comes with expansion, but also maintain quality control as the company grows.

Waste
The production of waste is not only an issue that comes with potential environmental and legal rammifications, but also with economical ones as well. The accountability of letting environmental waste go unchecked has long-lasting and very expensive repurcussions. Upgrading to newer equipment can also mean a reduction in waste production as well.

Better Precision
Newer equipment also tends to be more precise with higher accuracy in manufacturing which aids in the produciton of more complex components.

“What if Upgrading Isn’t Worth It?”

As previously mentioned, the greatest obstacle when it comes to upgrading is the upfront costs. Usually companies with enough capital can make these upgrades. Some companies with more limited capital may make incremental upgrades. However, there are plenty of businesses out there that simply do not have the sort of capital needed to commit to upgrading their equipment. This is especially challenging when a company’s equipment suddenly breaks down and needs replacing. The dire need for operations to continue means small turn around times (if any) for machines to be shut down. While this is happening, a company can lose huge sums of money from not having product to sell. Therefore many companies want whatever the quickest turn around time possible to get production back up.

One alternative solution for companies with smaller budgets is to just buy refurbished and certified pre-owned equipment from vendors. The advantage of this being that most components are able to be hot swapped. This allows you to just purchase and replace the broken part and not have invest in completely new machinery. Another advantage of this is that a company can save a lot of time and money by not having their technician needing to learn an entirely new system. Especially when going from a setup that was installed 30 years ago to the newest one.

The End Cost

It is important to take note that when replacing with pre-owned/used parts, these are in fact; used. It is good to make sure a refurbished vendor tests the product before selling it. Some vendors offer, warranties and have return policies in place. That being said, you’re still working with old equipment. The lifespan of used or refurbished items will not have the same longevity as new parts. This means the cost you were hoping to save by a simple part replacement may again end up costing you more down the road.

Ultimately, it is up to the owner to weigh the pros and cons. Afterwards they have to think about long vs short term solutions and if the cost is worth it.

NHL Teams that Travel the Most

There’s nothing more thrilling than attending a sporting event to watch your favorite team take on a tough opponent. Home games are a blast, but traveling to a new city to watch your team can be an equally exhilarating experience. For fans, traveling for one game can be a whirlwind to plan, but athletes are traveling multiple times a week – especially hockey players. 

NHL players have many games a week, and several teams are based outside of the U.S., meaning they spend a lot of time on the road during the season. There’s a lot that goes into getting your favorite players on the ice on time. On average, your favorite NHL team travels nearly 50,000 miles per season!  

For this study, MRO Electric’s resident hockey fanatics analyzed how many miles each team is slated to travel based on the upcoming season.

Methodology

To gear up for hockey season (and for this study), we reviewed each team’s schedule on ESPN to see where everyone will skate off to. Next, we used Google Maps to calculate the mileage between each hockey game of the 2022-2023 season for every team in the league. This study assumes that each NHL team is driving to and from each game and doesn’t need to travel elsewhere for personal reasons. We measured the travel time back to home ice, meaning that if a team spent multiple games on the road, we calculated the distance between each venue on the road and then the trip home. Finally, we found which teams travel the most and which individual games require the most miles to get from point A to point B.

Top 10 NHL Teams Traveling the Most Miles in 2022-2023 Season

If your favorite hockey team is a part of the pacific division, chances are your star players are traveling far and wide to push the puck. Pacific division NHL teams account for seven of our top 10 most traveled teams. The majority of teams in this division have at least a handful of games that require trekking over 2,000 miles and several more that clock in at just over 1,000 miles. Not only that, but the league’s average distance for an away game overall is just over 19,000 miles. Talk about going the distance!

The most well-traveled team in the league is Edmonton’s own Oilers. The Oilers claim the unofficial title of the NHL’s top road warriors, traveling over 5,000 more miles than any other hockey team in any division. The Edmonton Oilers have nine games that require them to travel 2,000 miles or more to get to. Oiler fans in the Sunshine State who support them on November 12th will have traveled nearly 3,000 miles to get there.

Another Pacific dream team to go the distance is the Anaheim Ducks. On October 18th, Anaheim’s beloved Ducks travel over 2,000 miles to face off against the New York Islanders. New York is a fighting city and the Anaheim Ducks are a tough bunch to tussle with. Fun fact: these mighty mallards came in second place last season for most fights on the ice. Can you blame them though? Any hockey team that is jet-lagged is bound to be a little crabby.

Many of the league’s east coast teams have the luxury of being some of the least-traveled hockey teams, but one unlucky franchise has to hit the road more than the others. The only team in the NHL’s metro division to make our top 10 list was the Carolina Hurricanes. Caniacs (that’s Carolina-speak for huge Hurricanes fans) have to travel nearly 2,800 miles from Raleigh to San Jose to support the Cardiac Canes at their most distant away game of the season.

Hitting the Road: Games with the Highest Mileage

Teams on the road travel great distances to compete against each other on enemy territory. Many teams in the league will have a few consecutive games away from having home-ice advantage. Not only is it tough to be away from home for extended periods of time, but it’s even worse when you’re getting booed for being on the wrong team. 

If you ever question your favorite team’s commitment to the game, consider that the distance the NHL would travel as a whole this season would take you around the globe 63 times and from LA to NY 569 times! Truthfully, NHL teams go through many hoops to play their hearts out game after game. For fans wondering how far their teams will go to put on a good show, here’s a closer look at some games that require the most travel from rink to rink.

We’re certain that the New York Rangers will not be feeling the love during Valentine’s day week this hockey season. The Rangers have to travel just over 3,000 miles after rallying against Raleigh’s Carolina Hurricanes to face off with the Vancouver Canucks on February 15th. That’s a lot of pressure– winning against the Canucks could mean breaking a few fans’ hearts in Vancouver. Oh well, all is fair in love and hockey.

The most gas-guzzling NHL game of the regular season takes place in the Emerald State, where the Boston Bruins will take on the Seattle Kraken. The Bruins will have to travel a total of 3,006 miles to take a shot at Seattle. The only two hockey games on our list of games with the highest mileage not involving our friends in the Great White North both feature Boston in some way. In December, the Los Angeles Kings will journey 2,985 miles to square off with the Bruins in Bean Town.

Closing Thoughts

Whether your favorite hockey team has the home-ice advantage or not, cheering them on against a fierce competitor can be an emotional whirlwind. The truth is, your commitment to your favorite team means a lot to them– especially when they’re in enemy territory. NHL hockey players travel between cities and sometimes countries multiple times a week to make it to the game. There are many moving parts that go into making sure your favorite players safely get from venue to venue, so consider that next time you cheer them on against a tough rival team!


In the same way, your favorite NHL team has a lot of moving parts and players, your business needs a solid system and plan to make it all happen. As a premier factory automation wholesale distributor, MRO Electric can help your business by working with the best manufacturers to get you the best parts to get the job done.

“They Terk Urr Jurrbs!”: Automation Changing Employment

For those who are not familiar with meme culture or are avid viewers of the long-running Comedy Central show, “South Park”, the title of this article is a call-back to an episode in which the residents of the titular town express outrage in losing their jobs to immigrants–from the future year of 3045–who travels to the present to find employment. These “time immigrants” are willing to work for lower wages than their present-time counterparts. They then send money back to their families–in the future. As absurd as this plot sounds, the story’s overarching theme reflects timeless anxiety that resides in the American psyche: job security. Anxiety that bleeds well into today’s world of automation.

US History with Job Loss Anxiety

Job loss and labor replacement are not anything new to Americans. Since this country’s inception, companies have been looking for ways to increase profit for the lowest cost possible. As any entrepreneur can testify, one of the biggest costs for business operations is labor. If the past reveals anything about our history with labor, it will show that it has been….tedious….at best. Since the abolishment of slavery, affordable labor has always been an objective for many business ventures. Often this manifested itself by companies hiring various immigrant groups and having them work for low wages, then firing them in favor of another immigrant group willing to work for less.

Of course as one would imagine this created great anxiety among an already struggling socioeconomic group, which led to numerous conflicts between different immigrant groups over labor issues. One example of such is the treatment of Chinese immigrants during the 1800s. Not only did these migrant workers deal with laws that targeted Chinese people such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. Often Irish workers, frustrated with being replaced, would lash out and attack these migrants from China.

This also doesn’t consider that this was also taking place while the US was going through its Industrial Revolution and the mass migration of people leaving farms and moving to urban areas only to have to compete for jobs amongst each other. These events all happening simultaneously, stand to highlight the underlying fear of job insecurity and foreshadowed what was to come.

An Early Era Warning of Automation

During the 1930s, British economist, John Maynard Keynes, predicted rapid technological progress within 90 years. Industrialized countries were openly embracing technology as a way of job growth for many. Keynes, however, warned of what he referred to as “technological unemployment”. Rather than the optimistic outlook that technology would expand job growth, it would instead shrink the number of available jobs for employees. Keynes went as far as to refer to technological unemployment as a “disease” that would be afflicting the world. Now almost a century later, Keynes’s predictions appear eerily true.

Automation and the 1950s

Despite the ideal iconography that the 1950s invokes for a number of people, the decade had its own brand of challenges. The mid-50s found itself in what would be described as the worst “economic slump since the Great Depression”. Companies like Caterpillar and General Motors were laying off employees by the thousands as they made deeper investments in automation. In a 1958 article, The Nation described America’s transition towards automation as: “stumbling blindly into the automation era with no concept or plan to reconcile the need of workers for income and the need of business for cost-cutting and worker-displacing innovations.”

The AI Age of Automation

The 1980s saw another leap in the world of automation with the introduction of AI technology. The developments in artificial intelligence meant that machines now could work autonomously to an extent without the need for a human controller. This changed the game across multiple industries because now this meant that (at least in certain aspects) where an operator would need to stop, the machine would not have to. This also changed the game in regard to the tradition of employment equilibrium. In the early days changing the workforce simply meant trading out one group of employees for another. Also, in previous decades, despite machines becoming more prominent and replacing the jobs of employees in labor. By in large they still required human operators to make them function. Essentially, while they replaced jobs held by humans, they in turn created jobs to be filled by people as well.

Artificial Intelligence removed the need for humans to be manually manipulating the process, to an extent becoming its own operator. Also, despite these new AI machines still requiring an operator, the expertise of an operator needed became much higher. AI specialization meant a narrowing in jobs available to lesser-skilled employees.

Automation’s Full Throttling During the Pandemic

For the majority of people around the world, the Covid 19 pandemic has been an unprecedented event unlike any other. In less than a month, millions of people lost their jobs, and businesses across various industries were forced to shut down. With unemployment at its highest since the Great Depression, remaining businesses had to find ways to adapt their daily operations to this new global situation. Companies started looking toward automation as a way to fill the employment gap. Restaurants replaced their cashiers with self-service kiosks. With the mandates of social distancing, grocery stores leaned into curbside-service apps, with some even using robots to run items out to customers. This switch to automation goes beyond the scope of the service industry. Hospitality, manufacturing, and healthcare have all switched to implementing automation in positions that were once held by human employees.

While it is easy to presume that the pandemic is the leading cause of this wave of unemployment, one New York Times article writes that upwards of 300 global companies had already projected to replace their staff with automation up to 43 percent. This means that this shift towards automating labor was expected to happen, but the pandemic just expedited the process.

An AI algorithm automates taking drive thru orders.


Automation vs The Human Condition

While it may seem that automation is on the verge of outmoding all the jobs held by people, the element of the human experience is our biggest pushback against this future. People want to be able to walk into their local coffee shop and converse with their baristas. How many of us try to impatiently dial through an automated call just to speak to a customer representative? Despite statistics showing that automated vehicles have a lower rate of driver error than people, federal and state laws are being written to restrict automated driving. This is because while yes, machines make more calculative driving decisions. The ability of these machines to adapt and make human-valued decisions are practically non-existent. Not to mention the question of liability should something occur.

The 2003 film, IRobot, portrays a((n)albeit extreme) version of this dilemma. Will Smith’s character, Del, gets into a life-threatening car accident that also involves a 12-yr-old girl. The robot on the scene makes a calculated decision to save Del instead of the child concluding that Del’s chance of survivability was higher. In short, the machine isn’t capable of complying with our human values. Hopefully, it is our value of the human experience that will continue to stem back the push toward automation, and in turn, help alleviate much of the job anxieties that many have.

Diversity in the Engineering Field

Opening Summary

The last decade has seen a huge shift in the way diversity plays a role in companies, with the lessons of diversity and inclusion being taught at more company meetings, and more team-wide open discussions. Often the question of: “Why should there even be conversations about diversity in the workplace?”, comes up in professional spaces. It is easy to dismiss the concepts of diversity and inclusion as simple ‘virtue signaling’ and there are numerous companies performing “diversity theatre”. However, when you get past the superficial and performative layers, there are valid points to make in regards to workplace diversity. The topic of diversity is very controversial, ironically invoking a rather diverse range of emotions and thoughts. The concept of diversity in itself is more complex than just “Oh hey, this person looks different from me so I need to work with them”.

This article will attempt to cover various issues among three demographics. While the issues being written are NOT the only obstacles facing these groups, they are the most common ones.

LGBTQ in the WorkPlace

For decades members on the LGBTQ community have experienced many obstacles in the workplace in regards to discrimination. While this form of discrimination is found across multiple industries, engineering fields such as automotive are historically known to promote that form of discrimination. This has speculated to be due to in part there being a “car guy” culture within the work environment. In an article written by Jeremy Alicandri for Forbes, Alicandri notes that a Ford Foundation-backed study found that 1 in 4 LGBTQ employees experienced discrimination or bullying in the workplace. Another study by Out Leadership, found that 47 percent LGBTQ employees experienced micro aggressions that resulted in 70 percent deciding to cover up or mask their LGBTQ characteristics.

So the question remains: Why is it important to change the work place culture?

The same Forbes article addresses the issue through a pragmatic lense. That is simply that by not including and changing the culture for LGBTQ members, a company is inevitably going to lose money. This comes in the form of both employees and consumers.

From an employment perspective, the loss of valuable talent due to discrimination in the workplace is a huge oversight for a company to make. Potentially a company could lose out on something innovative that would have yielded sizable profits all because they allowed for discrimination to happen in the work place. One example of this is of Dr. Lynn Conway, professor ameritas at Michigan State University. Conway began employment at IBM in 1964, but was fired in 1968 after it was discovered that she was transgendered. Dr. Conway speculates that it was out of fear of the company’s public image if it were discovered that they had a transgendered employee. She was hired by several other organizations (Xerox, MIT, and even the Dept of Defense) over the years and became the top scientists in her field, contributing to innovative technology that are still used in computers today.

Women in Engineering

In an online publication from the University of California, Riverside, the number of women currently working in the field of engineering is about 14 percent. This is a big leap from the 1980’s when the numbers were closer to 5.8 percent. While the number of female employees is on the rise in the field of engineering overall, there are still barriers and challenges that face women in the work place. One of the challenges that women still face are having enough role models in the work force that younger employees can look up to for guidance. Just as much as women are entering the engineering field, many women are leaving just as fast because companies are not flexible. Therefore it still leaves a huge disparity in the number of women in higher managment and leadership positions that more junior female employees can look up to when entering the engineering field.

Another issue is that while more companies are starting to implement policies and changes that can accomodate women in regards to allowing them to be able to balance their work with their family responsibilities, there are still a lot of companies that don’t have effective accomodations for things like maternity leave and needing to leave work for childrent-related issues.

Racial Diversity in Engineering

According a report by the Stem Education Journal (SEJ), STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) is currently the fastest growing occupational cluster in the US, with engineering being second only to the medical field. However, while a lot of companies are calling for racial diversity, at the same time positions in the STEM field continue to stagnate due to long employee retention by companies. While this is generally seen as a positive in regards to companies valuing their employees, at the same time it is presenting the issue of majority demographic within companies.

A 2019 report released by Georgetown University, found that despite making up a third of the population, the number of Black and LatinX people only made up about 14 percent of employees in the engineering field, while Asians made up 16 percent, and White employees making up 61 percent. Additionally, report goes on to cover the income disparity between racial groups with Black and LatinX employees making 15-18 percent above the average of a bachelor degree holder, while Asian and White employees make 61 – 71 percent more. Further research had also shown that in order to close the wage gap, Black and LatinX employees generally have to gain a graduate degree to make close to what Asian/White employees would make with undergraduate degrees.

One contributing factor begins in high schools where Black and LatinX students attend schools that do not have access to classes that would ideally set them on right career path towards engineering. One example the study shows is that the subject of Calculus tends to be absent in many high schools that are predominantly Black and LatinX students. To address this inequity, some robotics programs like the one in University of Michigan, are changing the curriculum to push Calculus back to later years and starting Freshman off in more linear-based math such as Algebra, as it is something that is more commonly accessible in public high schools.

Conclusion

In his 2005 book, “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty First Century”, economist and author, Thomas L. Friedman covers the economic “flattening of the world” or more simply, globalization. Friedman highlights the inevitibility of interconnectivity between countries and cultures, which the world has seen more of nearly two decades after his book’s release. This highlights the importance of diversity from a pragmatic lense.

An article from UNC Pembroke, highlights a study done by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the growth of a business from diversity. Research from the study showed that companies that had higher averages for innovation also had higher diversity averages as opposed to companies with lower diversity averages. Gender diverse groups tend to out perform more gender homogenous groups by 50 percent. The article also cites a study by McKinsey and Company, showing that companies that scored in the to 25 percent for racial/culture diversity also were 25 – 36 percent more likely to bring in larger financial returns.

Ultimately what these studies are pointing to is that for a company wanting to play the long game, adapting to cultural shifts as opposed to getting locked into culture battles, is better for business.

Digitalizing Automation For the Future

A Brief History

For the longest time, automation has always been the end-goal process when it comes to industrialization. That is that the user can quickly and efficiently complete a process repeatedly. Whether that process involves production or maintenance, the last two decades have seen a monumental rise in digitalization across numerous industries. Of course, digitalization is not a stranger to the world of automation machinery (and it would be incorrect to conflate that one is the opposite of the other). As it stands, all of the major industrial companies have some form of proprietary software that they use to automate their machinery and it’s been that way for several decades. However, in research done by Forrester, 77% of businesses today still rely on a paper process, with only 63% still using spreadsheet programs. Ultimately, this makes it more difficult to keep up with customer demands, and really wanting for a more streamlined process.

Automation and Digitalization

What is Automation?

Automation physically performs a process without the constant need of a human operator. Its tasks are dedicated by a group of rules preset by an operator usually in the form of either script commands or more robust software pending on what the task is.

What is Digitalization?

Digitalization is basically the process of taking a hard copy of something and converting it into a digital format. This could be anything from a worded manual or even a photo. Digitalizing is crucial to automation because it is how an automated process interprets data to commit to a function. The last few decades have seen a progression in the control of industrial automation from manual to digital.

The Possibilities

One example of how digitalization can streamline automation is through the way tasks and functions are being given to a piece of industrial equipment. For the longest time, equipment like automoted robots in manufacturing have been relying on external devices like PLCs (Programmable Logic Controllers) to output individual commands. These are all multiple components linked together on a bus and then connected to the drive and other components. This is the current setup for a lot of industrial and manufacturing operations.

While this setup does get the job done, it does present a few issues.

For starters, communication is one of the most important things when automizing. When multiple components come into play, there is always the chance of communication issues between devices. This can be attributed to various issues, like conflicting software between the devices or even simply how something is connected. There is also the issue of troubleshooting and trying to figure out the cause of an existing issue. With digitalization, instead of having a bunch of devices trying to talk to one another, there can be just one fully-integrated device using a single software. Having instant diagnostics would also cut down on troubleshooting time.

A Little Thing Called BIM

One piece of digitalization that could potentially change the way automation works is actually a technology that is becoming more prominent in the field of architecture and engineering called BIM (Building Information Modeling). What is BIM? In short, BIM is a digitalized way to create and manage data in the design, construction, and operation of products. Often it is used by architects, engineers, and construction working on sophisticated buildings. It allows for multiple teams to collaborate in real-time as they are working on a project. The same technology could virtually model the layout of a factory and could share accurate data in real-time across multiple teams.

Imagine an entire manufacturing setup being represented by a virtual model that is constantly sharing diagnostics of the equipment. If something were to break down or get faulty, the diagnostic could alert the technician, and using the virtual model, they can get a better visual representation of what is causing the issue and where it can be found. Simultaneously an alert can be sent out across different departments so that different teams can quickly communicate and come up with solutions to the problem. This in turn saves time on labor and the cost of troubleshooting.

Final Thoughts

Automation has always been and continues to be the end goal for many companies across multiple industries. With digitalization allowing for the process to function more autonomous than ever, it seems we are moving further along into a world of unfettered interconnectivity. As the digitalization of automation continues to progress, the acknowledgment of anxiety over its effects on human employees cannot be ignored. If everything is fully automated and more streamlined, what place does the employee have?

One issue that we need to consider is how automation will affect socioeconomics. From an optimistic point of view, one could argue that the present automation has already done away with a lot of the ‘human element’, and the margins of laying off workers would be small, especially when a company could train up employees to learn the technology.

On the other hand, we’re talking about a situation where only a handful of positions are available. Often, a company would rather onboard someone who already has experience rather than train an existing employee. Automation could pessimistically mean that both low-skilled and specialized employees both have a hard time finding work. On one end when most of the general tasks can be automated why would a company need to hire humans? Not to mention that exists a ceiling with just how many specialized jobs exist versus how many specialized employees compete to fill those seats. This is an existing issue we can see across multiple tech sector positions today.

What the solution is, remains to be seen. While the advancement of automation is crucial to productivity, it is something that should be treated cautiously in regards to how it affects the working person.

title graphic of “Comparing Gas Prices to Minimum Wage in Cities Around the U.S.”

The US Minimum Wage vs Gas Price Inflation Compared

With no ceiling in sight for the climbing gas prices around the nation, many Americans are forced to adjust both their driving and spending habits to keep pace. Plus, with the holiday season in full swing, Americans need to account for higher airfare, food costs, and hotel prices as they plan their vacations, which may mean trips closer to home. Gone are the days of purchasing gas for under $2.00 per gallon. We now live in an era, where the price per gallon exceeds the federal minimum wage in certain locations––talk about pain at the pump. 

Minimum wage workers and low-income commuters are suffering the most as a large percentage of their paychecks are being ravaged by rising gas prices.  In California, a 12-gallon tank of gas costs minimum wage workers in some areas nearly 57% of a day’s pay. In some states like Pennsylvania and Utah, gas prices continue to rise, while minimum wage still sits at $7.25 an hour––where it’s sat for the last ten years, despite growing inflation rates. 

To uncover where soaring gas prices are taking the biggest bite out of workers’ paychecks, MRO compared the minimum wage to the mean gas price in 100 U.S. cities. We dug deeper, focusing on 18 cities where gas costs over 80% of a minimum wage employee’s paycheck, ushering in a dystopian-like society all over the U.S. Read on to see where your city and state stack up.

What Causes Gas Prices to Go Up?

Low prices at the pump in our pre-pandemic world weren’t just a fever dream. If you remember, the demand for oil drastically fell during the pandemic as the world shut down and people were forced to stay home, but as the U.S. slowly started to recover, the demand for oil rebounded once more. The only problem? Oil production came to a grinding halt and drilling new oil wells takes a lot longer than ordering a new outfit through Amazon Prime. Plus, inflated energy prices, transportation costs, and a U.S. ban on purchasing oil from Russia all factor into soaring oil costs. 

Why Is the Minimum Wage so Low?

The minimum wage was last raised thirteen years ago to $7.25 per hour on July 24, 2009, and it’s no secret that this amount has not kept up with inflation. Certain places like New York City have taken steps to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15.00 per hour, but not every state and city has followed suit, leaving many wondering how they can survive and stretch their paychecks. 

The minimum wage is indexed in 18 states and adjusts to keep up with inflation, but even this can vary depending on the individual counties within the same state. While President Biden did use executive order privileges to raise the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour for federal workers, republican and democratic lawmakers still can’t reach a resolution that satisfies either party’s agenda. With other pressing matters coming to a head, it’s not clear when or if a raised minimum wage that accounts for the rising cost of living will ever be ratified into law in the near future. 

Can Minimum Wage Workers Afford the Gas Prices for Their Commute?

a U.S. map displaying the cities with the largest difference between minimum wage and gas prices

According to study results, minimum wage workers who make $5.15 per hour in Atlanta, GA pay $3.80 on average for a gallon of gas, resulting in 110.6% of a day’s paycheck being eaten by a full tank of gas (12 gallons). If the average commute in the U.S. requires 1.28 gallons of gas, then these Atlanta workers would lose wages just by showing up to work. 

A full tank of gas consumes 93.1% of a day’s pay in cities like Boise City, ID, and it isn’t much better in places like Salt Lake City, UT, where 92.3% of a hard earned day’s wages is budgeted towards a full tank of gas. Those in Philadelphia, PA lose out on 85.9% of their paycheck towards a full tank. Minimum wage workers are stuck in a catch-22, but certain restaurant owners in Philadelphia are promising to raise their hourly wage to $15 per hour, creating light at the end of the tunnel. 

Some customers are willing to pay higher menu prices to accommodate a living wage, and with the City of Brotherly Love welcoming 36.2 million visitors in 2021 alone, let’s hope this hot spot tourist destination can back these restaurant owners’ selfless initiatives.

Out of the top 18 cities where gas costs over 80% of a minimum wage worker’s paycheck, Pennsylvania holds five of those seats in places like Scranton (87.3% of a day’s pay), Pittsburgh (86.9% of a day’s pay), Harrisburg (86.4% of a day’s pay), and Allentown (85.5% of a day’s pay). The oil refinery explosion that occurred in South Philly in 2019 has forced the state to rely on imports more than ever before, contributing to the rising cost of gas. 

Popular tourist destinations like New Orleans, LA, and Memphis, TN, are seeing skyrocketing gas prices at the pump. New Orleans minimum wage workers sacrifice 81.7% of a day’s pay to a gallon of gas while Memphis workers follow closely behind at 81.0%. Taking a trip to day drink at New Orleans’ historic bars? Avoid soaring gas prices and careen around the city on foot or with their bike share program.

The 5 States With the Largest Difference Between Minimum Wage and Average Gas Prices

Washington

an infographic showing how many gallons of gas minimum wage workers in Washington can afford with one hour of work

Next, we found the five states with the largest difference between minimum wage and average gas prices. Topping the list is Washington state. With a minimum wage of $14.49 and the average price per gallon of gas at $4.23, minimum wage workers in Spokane, WA can purchase 3.43 gallons of gas with one hour of work. Minimum wage workers in Seattle, WA can purchase 3.00 gallons of gas with one hour of work. What’s more, a full tank of gas (12 gallons) costs minimum wage workers in Seattle, WA 50.1% of their pay that day.

Massachusetts

an infographic showing how many gallons of gas minimum wage workers in Massachusetts can afford with one hour of work

With a minimum wage of $14.25 and the average price per gallon of gas at $4.12, minimum wage workers in Boston, MA can purchase 3.46 gallons of gas with one hour of work. Additionally, a full tank of gas costs minimum wage workers in Boston, MA over 43% of a day’s pay.

Connecticut

an infographic showing how many gallons of gas minimum wage workers in Connecticut can afford with one hour of work

In Connecticut’s capital, Hartford, minimum wage workers can purchase 3.40 gallons of gas with one hour of work. In New Haven, CT, home of Yale University, that number drops to 3.35 gallons. Therefore, a full tank of gas costs minimum wage workers in Hartford and New Haven nearly 45% of a day’s pay.

New York

an infographic showing how many gallons of gas minimum wage workers in New York can afford with one hour of work

With a minimum wage of $13.20 and the average price per gallon of gas at $4.27, minimum wage workers in Rochester, New York can purchase 3.09 gallons of gas with one hour of work. Minimum wage workers in Buffalo, NY, and Albany, NY could purchase 3.13 and 3.17 gallons of gas, respectively.

Maryland

an infographic showing how many gallons of gas minimum wage workers in Maryland can afford with one hour of work

In Baltimore, MD, minimum wage workers can purchase 3.41 gallons of gas with one hour of work. Additionally, a full tank of gas costs minimum wage workers in Baltimore almost 44% of their pay that day.

Are There Any Signs of Relief on the Horizon for Minimum Wage Employees?

While minimum wage workers protest all over the country to get their voices heard, they still face an upward battle in this ongoing fight, despite there being a majority of Americans who are in favor of raising the minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. Governors in certain places like Pennsylvania are putting pressure on the General Assembly for a living wage and relief for their constituents. One survey found that while Republicans do agree the minimum wage should be increased, most would prefer raising it to $11.00 per hour, instead of $15.00. As states, cities, and local counties possess the authority to raise the minimum wage, this fight may need to be taken to the lower levels of power, instead of advocating for a living wage on a national scale, where it may find less success.

Gas Prices and Stagnant Minimum Wages Continue to Affect Consumers

That wraps up our study, comparing gas prices to minimum wage amounts around the U.S. Gas prices continue to be a dire issue across the country in 2022, as well as a harrowing expense for lower-income Americans who are also struggling to keep up with rising food prices and housing costs. 


While MRO Electric can’t control the cost of gas, we can offer the parts and equipment you need to keep things getting from A to B. Get in touch with us today by emailing sales@mroelectric.com or calling us at 800-691-8511 for a quote.

Research Methodology

Using data from the U.S. Department of Labor and GasBuddy, we collected the minimum wage in each state and the mean gas price in 100 U.S. cities in April 2022. We divided the minimum wage in each state by the average gas price in each city to determine how much gas a minimum wage worker can purchase with one hour of work. For all minimum wage amounts by state, we collected the basic minimum rate per hour, as listed by the Department of Labor. Gas prices are always fluctuating, so prices may differ from the time frame the data was pulled.

Most Popular Movie Robot in Every U.S. State

The Most Popular Movie Robot in Every U.S. State

From dystopian stories of service companion androids trying to annihilate the human race, to friendly misunderstood cyborgs, robot movies allow us to catch a glimpse of an unknown universe. What does it mean to be human? Are we replaceable?

Each film takes you on a deep dive into the best and worst parts of technology. But with the exciting journey of each robot film, which bot is most popular?

Methodology

For this study, we analyzed Google Trends search volumes over the past 12 months for “The Greatest Movie Robots of All Time” in  January 2022. At MRO Electric, our goal was to determine which androids, cyborgs, AI, and bots are America’s favorite.

The Most Popular Movie Robot in the U.S.

Are your batteries charged? Because our results are calculated! Most states were split with their decision, with varying results. However, 6 states each agree R2-D2 and The Sentinels earned the number 1 spot for most beloved bot character. 5 states chose the Tin Man, making it second place, while Robby the Robot was picked by 3. Roy Batty, The Iron Giant, the Autobots, Mechagodzilla, and WALL-E tied for fourth.

The Most Popular Movie Robot Overall

Star Wars is filled with memorable iconic characters, but Second Generation Robotic Droid Series-2, also known as R2-D2, is the most lovable bot in the U.S. According to our research, 6 states think R2-D2 is a force to reckon with: Alabama, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. There’s just something captivating about his playful whistles, beeps, round eyes, and cylindrical body. 

Tied with R2-D2 are The Sentinels, also referred to as a “squiddy” by the Human Resistance in The Matrix. Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and South Carolina have the patrolling killing machines stuck on their minds. The terrifying patrollers of the sewers and caverns beneath the planet’s destroyed surface. Unlike R2-D2’s sweet demeanor, these giant squid-like bots tend to intimidatingly fly in swarms like insects and are set on eradicating humankind on behalf of the Machines. 

“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” The Wizard of Oz’s Tin Man, despite being without a heart, has captured the hearts of D.C., Idaho, Iowa, Missouri, and Tennessee. Not only did this sensitive bot meet Dorthy second on her journey following the yellow brick road, but also earned second place. Somewhere over a rainbow, his generous and compassionate spirit is still felt by many. 

From the classic Forbidden Planet, Robby the Robot has become one of the most popular bot icons in robot movie history—and 3 states agree. Arkansas, Kentucky, and Minnesota were enchanted by his charming gentleman manners, and maybe wouldn’t mind having their own Robby the Robot. Built by Dr. Morbius, Robby must obey the Law of Robotics: a bot may not injure a human, must obey human orders, and protect its own existence. 

6 bots tied for fourth: Lt. Commander Data, Roy Batty, The Iron Giant, Autobots, Mechagodzilla, and Disney Pixar’s WALL-E. 

Closing Thoughts

As you binge watch robot movies to see these loved characters in action, we’ll take care of your automation needs. Just like the Tin Man needed a new heart, at MRO Electric, we provide quality new parts with quality repairs—you won’t be hassled by an evil witch either. As an independent automation distributor, our specialty is to provide new surplus and remanufactured products and top-notch services. We took some service tips from Robby the Robot.

Get Paid $1,000 to Watch Space Movies!

Title image for space movie marathon job posting

WINNER UPDATE

We received and enjoyed reviewing over 1,100 submissions before making a tough decision on who should take up the mantle as couch potato/space explorer extraordinaire. We are thrilled to announce that we have selected the winner of our Get Paid to Watch Space Movies job posting: Katherine Fricks!

Katherine’s inquisitive nature and passion for space travel really shone through to us and her love of all things sci-fi runs deep. She explains it best herself:

I am the daughter of an aerospace engineer who grew up learning how to say the names of the constellations and how to identify them in the night sky before I was out of diapers. When we did industry reports in fourth grade, I chose to do mine on the aerospace Industry. I learned how to build a bottle rocket launcher in fifth grade for science fair project [and] I went to space camp in California and the space academy in Alabama. I have even taught astronomy as a professor in a Harry Potter RPG forum. 

Astronomy and an admiration for space is something that has been instilled in me since I was a very young girl, particularly because my [father] was also a HUGE Trekkie. “Space, the final frontier…to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!” became a sort of motto for which I live by.

For me, the appeal of space travel is exploration, and I remember watching the lunar landing as a little girl and thinking how amazing [it] would be to step foot on another planet. In fact, Captain Kathryn Janeway was my role model from 5th-7th grade as a strong female scientist and explorer, and those were SO rare and what draws me to Emily Calandrelli today—Emily’s Wonderlab is something I love to watch with my two sons.

I suppose were I able to go into space, I would like to assist with research on the International Space Station for a bit. I don’t know that I would want to spend months or years in space, but at least a week doing some sort of research regarding biology or astrobiology.

Good luck circling the stars from home, Katherine!

Update: Katherine zipped through the cinematic exploration of all 12 space stories and had a chance to tell us about it back here on Earth. Her analysis was deep and fascinating, cementing her as the right choice for her project. Here is what she had to say about stepping into the shoes of the main characters in The Right Stuff

The era depicted in the film is one in which astronauts and spaceflight are seen as flexes of power, where the humans riding in these capsules are seen more as tools and symbols rather than as people in a power struggle between countries. The men have to fight back against certain metaphorical manhandlings and there is immense pressure to be the perfect poster boys for the American space program. There is more concern with ‘beating the Russians’ and doing so quickly even if it means cutting a few corners. Of course, none of the men were forced to go and knew the risks associated with their particular flights and elected to go regardless, as is the case with Glenn.

I am not sure that I would be as trusting and willing in such a situation. However, Glenn’s ‘space fireflies’ (which we now know were illuminated frost flakes) was so beautifully captured in the film and seeing that view along with Earth in the background from space with its sunrises and sunsets is a sight I would very much like to see.

Summary

Think you got what it takes? Could you suit up, lock into the cockpit of a space shuttle, give your friends and family one last wave, and blast off into heavens unknown? No? Well, it’s not for everybody. At least not the everyday person. However, some of planet Earth’s ultra-rich billionaires are flaunting planet-sized wads of cash to take their shot at the stars.

Jeff Bezos and Richard Branson have now both gone to space. Even William Shatner (yes, Captain Kirk) did it. Maybe you have the stomach for it, too; maybe not. Either way, you probably won’t get the chance any time soon unless you’re a billionaire. But you can do the next best thing—and get paid for it in the process!

At MRO Electric, we’re fascinated by the automation processes and systems that make these incredible interstellar flights possible. That’s why we’re looking for someone to watch 12 space movies. And we’re offering $1,000 to the chosen applicant.

Who We’re Looking For

We’re looking for a seasoned space movie voyager willing to trade a cockpit for the couch, a space suit for pajamas, and dehydrated rations for popcorn and a Big Gulp. In addition to watching space movies, you’ll be asked to take notes and track specific details in each of the movies. 

The ideal applicant will have:

  • Overall enthusiasm for space travel
  • Love for movies, especially the science fiction genre
  • Strong attention to detail
  • The ability and availability to watch 12 movies within one month’s time

Additionally, applicants must be 18 years or older and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply.

What You’ll Need to Do

We’ve narrowed down the vast galaxy of classic space movies to a list of 12 that you’ll be asked to watch over 1 month’s time.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • The Martian
  • Interstellar
  • Moon
  • Proxima
  • Passengers
  • Hidden Figures
  • Apollo 13
  • First Man
  • The Right Stuff
  • Gravity
  • October Sky

We will provide you with a worksheet to complete for each movie as you watch. All movies will need to be watched and all worksheets will need to be completed by December 23, 2021. We will incorporate your responses from the worksheet into a blog article to be published on the MRO Electric website.

How to Enter

To enter the contest, contestants MUST FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW to the entry form, where you’ll be asked to tell us why you’re the perfect person for this mission. Applicants’ level of enthusiasm for space travel, movies, and science fiction will be a strong factor for consideration, so provide what you need to demonstrate how and why you love these subjects the most.

The deadline for contest entries is Friday, November 26, 2021. Contestants will need to submit their applications by that date in order to be considered.

We will select and notify the winner by December 2, 2021.

What You’ll Get

The winner will receive a $1,000 payment upon satisfactory completion of watching all aforementioned movies and submitting notes taken throughout.

Contest Terms and Conditions

  1. The promoter of this competition is MRO Electric whose principal office is located at 1652 Old Apex Road Cary, NC 27513.
  2. Employees of MRO Electric or their family members or anyone else connected in any way with the competition or helping to set up the competition shall not be permitted to enter the competition.
  3. Persons must be at least 18 years old, or otherwise have reached the age of majority under the laws of the state where they reside, in order to participate.
  4. Only residents of the United States are eligible to participate.
  5. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.
  6. There is NO ENTRY FEE AND NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER THIS COMPETITION. Any purchase or consideration otherwise given by entrants will not improve one’s chances of winning.
  7. The route to entry for the competition and details of how to enter are available via www.mroelectric.com. Individuals may enter to win by clicking on the participation link on MRO Electric’s website. Upon clicking the participation link, entrants will be asked to provide their name and contact information so that MRO Electric can notify the winner of the results.
  8. The closing date for entry will be November 26, 2021. After this date, no further entries to the competition will be permitted.
  9. Only one winner will be selected from the entire pool of eligible entries. The selection process will be at the discretion of MRO Electric. The winner will be required to complete certain tasks designated by MRO Electric. If the winner does not follow through with the tasks required of them, they will not receive the prize of $1,000.
  10. The winner will be notified by email and/or letter within 15 business days of the closing date. If the winner cannot be contacted or does not claim the prize within 2 days of notification, we reserve the right to withdraw the prize from the winner and pick a replacement winner.
  11. MRO Electric will notify the winner when and where the prize can be collected.
  12. The winner agrees to the use of his/her name, image, and video in any publicity material. Any personal data relating to the winner or any other entrants will be used solely in accordance with current federal and state data protection legislation and will not be disclosed to a third party without the entrant’s prior consent.
  13. The winner’s name will be available 28 days after the closing date by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address:
    • 1652 Old Apex Road Cary, NC 27513
  14. MRO Electric’s decision in respect of all matters to do with the competition will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

The U.S. States Where You’ll Save the Most Switching from Gas to Electric Vehicles

Main graphic for how much you’ll save driving electric vs gas in every state

Pollution from cars is one of the major causes of global warming. Internal combustion engines drink fossil fuels, which are damaging to mine and toxic to refine, and belch out a cocktail of toxins like carbon monoxide, which fill our lungs and deplete our ozone. However, giving up driving, which is woven deeply into American infrastructure and culture, is easier said than done.

Recognizing that the environmental impact of cars doesn’t start on the road but in the factory, where raw materials are made and assembled, we at MRO Electric are passionate about the exodus from gas to electric vehicles (EVs). Running on electricity alone, EVs eliminate the pollution associated with supplying fuel and burning it. Additionally, they’re much cheaper to own since electricity is far more abundant and accessible than fossil fuels. 

We hope to see consumers embrace a more sustainable product and believe they will be more likely to if they see the personal financial incentive. To that end, we decided to run a study to determine where eco-conscious drivers can save the most by trading in their gas guzzlers for environmentally friendly electric alternatives.

To do so, we determined the average lifetime miles driven in each state and calculated the lifetime cost of gas and electric vehicles using the cost per gallon of gas and the cost of an eGallon in August 2021. (The eGallon measurement describes the cost to drive a comparable electric vehicle the same distance you could cover on a gallon of gasoline.) With the total cost of running both gas and electric vehicles, we subtracted the two in each state to find out where savings are most pronounced.

The results were shocking! Read on to see what we found.

Key Findings

  • No matter where you live, switching to an electric vehicle saves money. While several variables do impact the amount of savings received in each state, all 50 states and the District of Columbia come out ahead after making the switch to electric vehicles.
  • You’ll save the most money in Wyoming at $111,167.00 across 1,480,243.5 miles over 62 years. To put that into perspective, that’s an average annual savings of $1,793.00.
  • You’ll save the least money in Hawaii at $13,624.00 across 753,876 miles over 65 years. Needless to say, Hawaiians are driving less on their island community, which resulted in an average savings of $209.60 per year.
  • The Northeast is where you save the least switching from gas to electric vehicles.
  • The American heartland and midwest regions offer top savings for switching from gas to electric vehicles.
  • Lifetime miles driven was a key factor in the amount saved from switching to electric cars. The top 10 states that saved the most drive anywhere from 861,984 (Nevada) to 1,480,243.5 (Wyoming) lifetime miles while the top 10 states that save the least drive 615,589.8 miles (Rhode Island) to 872,090.25 miles (Maine) over a lifetime.

The U.S. States Where You Can Save the Most with Electric Vehicles

Map showing the states where you can save the most switching from gas to electric vehicles

Wyoming drivers save $111,167 over a lifetime of driving electric vehicles instead of gas, which is more than enough to earn the number one ranking position. As residents of the least populous U.S. state, it’s not surprising that Wyoming drivers put more miles behind them than drivers from any other state—24,069 per year on average. Multiplying that by Wyoming’s 62 average years as a driver, Wyoming residents can expect to drive nearly 1.5 million miles in their lifetimes!

With the twelfth highest cost per gallon of gasoline ($2.84) and the thirteenth lowest eGallon cost ($0.97), it’s no wonder Wyoming was poised to all leave other states in the dust. Following Wyoming’s tracks, North Dakota, Missouri, and Oklahoma can save $84,853, $84,076, and $81,778, respectively, by switching to electric vehicles.

See how the top 10 that save the most by switching to EVs stack up below.

The Top 10 States with the Most Savings

  1. Wyoming
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,480,243.50
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.84
    • eGallon Cost: $0.97
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $111,167
  1. North Dakota
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,106,204.60
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $0.85
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $84,853
  1. Missouri
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,096,072.78
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $0.85
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $84,076
  1. Oklahoma
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,044,241.00
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $0.81
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $81,778
  1. Georgia
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,083,539.40
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.72
    • eGallon Cost: $0.98
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $75,717
  1. Utah
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 968,198.40
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.84
    • eGallon Cost: $0.93
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: ​​$74,267
  1. Mississippi
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,160,024.60
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.60
    • eGallon Cost: $1.02
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $73,608
  1. Minnesota
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 1,151,548.70
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.75
    • eGallon Cost: $1.17
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $73,070
  1. Nevada
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 861,984.00
    • Regular Gas Cost: $3.10
    • eGallon Cost: $1.02
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $72,005
  1. Montana
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 968,680.00
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.84
    • eGallon Cost: $1.00
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $71,581

The U.S. States Where You Can Save the Least with Electric Vehicles

Map displaying the states that save the least when driving electric vehicles instead of gas cars

The states that save the least from adopting clean, electric fuel also had one thing in common—they don’t drive as much as the states that save the most. For example, Hawaii, the number one state that saves the least, has an average of 11,598 miles driven per year. Wyoming, the state that saves the most, doubles Hawaii’s annual driving distance with an impressive 23,874.9 miles per year. Overall, Hawaii pockets just $13,624 across an average 65-year driving career.

This trend is seen throughout the rankings, making it clear why some states save more than others. Many of the states on the bottom end of the ranking are known for their dense, tightly packed metropolitan areas where residents have less distance to cover and therefore less saving potential when switching over to electric vehicles. They are perhaps the most important converts for the environment however, with cities being the least efficient environment for internal combustion engines.

In addition, the states on the low end of our ranking pay more per eGallon, further closing the cost gap between running gas and electric vehicles. Hawaii pays the most per eGallon at $2.65, which is more than the amount five states pay for regular gas. After Hawaii, Rhode Island ($2.05), Alaska ($1.99), and Massachusetts ($1.96) pay the highest cost per eGallon and are all in the top five states that save the least by switching to electric vehicles.

See how the top 10 states that save the least by switching to electric compare.

The Top 10 States with the Least Savings

  1. Hawaii
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 753,876.00
    • Regular Gas Cost: $3.10
    • eGallon Cost: $2.65
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $13,624
  1. Rhode Island
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 615,589.80
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $2.05
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $17,553
  1. Massachusetts
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 811,447.10
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.74
    • eGallon Cost: $1.96
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $17,553
  1. Connecticut
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 758,524.20
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $1.85
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $27,721
  1. Alaska
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 682,215.40
    • Regular Gas Cost: $3.10
    • eGallon Cost: $1.99
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $30,412
  1. New York
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 647,637.90
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.83
    • eGallon Cost: $1.66
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $30,431
  1. New Hampshire
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 724,282.00
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $1.70
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $30,833
  1. Vermont
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 824,453.60
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $1.73
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $34,104
  1. Michigan
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 867,004.20
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $1.50
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $43,873
  1. Maine
    • Lifetime Miles Driven: 872,090.25
    • Regular Gas Cost: $2.76
    • eGallon Cost: $1.50
    • Lifetime Fuel Cost Savings: $44,130

Follow the Money

The following interactive line chart animates the increase in savings over time for every state. How does your state stack up? Mouse over each line for more details and click “replay” to watch the race again.

Final Thoughts

A major trend percolating throughout the rankings is that driving more equates to saving more. This makes sense because the magnitude of savings from electricity as an alternative fuel is tied to each mile driven. The more you drive and don’t pay for gas, the more you save.

Savings are also affected by total years as a driver, cost of gasoline, and cost of electricity. But  of these three variables, the cost of electricity had the largest effect on potential savings. Interestingly, there was a roughly inverse relationship between the number of miles driven and the cost of an eGallon, meaning the states that drive less also pay more for electricity.

Notably, every state saved money by switching to electric vehicles. Whether saving $209.60 per year in Hawaii or $1,793.02 per year in Wyoming, electric vehicles are beneficial for the environment and lighter on consumer wallets. There isn’t anything we can do to completely reverse the effects of global warming, but we can correct our course by adopting cleaner fuel sources.

At MRO Electric, we know the environmental impact of each vehicle begins in the factory, and we are committed to increasing manufacturing efficiency through factory automation. Whether your factory contributes to the EV industry or not, we have the parts you need to automate outdated processes and the know-how to repair malfunctioning equipment fast.

Methodology

MRO Electric collected life expectancy and legal driving age from World Population Review and subtracted the two to determine average years as a driver in each state. 

The average miles driven in each state was collected from the Department of Transportation and the national average fuel efficiency was collected from the Environmental Protection Agency. Using these figures, MRO Electric determined the average number of gallons consumed over a lifetime of driving in each state.

This was multiplied by the average cost of gas and eGallon cost per state (collected from the Department of Energy) to determine the total cost of driving a gas and an electric vehicle in each state.  Finally, we subtracted these two cost numbers to arrive at the lifetime savings from switching from gas to electric vehicles in each state.

Because gas prices can fluctuate seasonally, it is important to note that all data was collected in July, 2021.

Determining Encoder Selection

What is the role of the encoder?

For any motion control process to work, a sensing device is needed to provide reliable feedback sensing. The encoder is the part of the machinery that furnishes feedback information. How does the encoder work? The encoder receives a motion signal and converts this signal into an electrical signal that can be read by some sort of motion control system, like a PLC. The motion control system then uses the signal to control conditions such as speed, direction, and position on your machinery.  This process is consistent in any application: The exchange of information between the machine and the controller through the encoder signaling generates the exact performance function.

“The core function of the encoder is to provide information about the motion of the moving parts in your system.”

Adam Gross, Lead Technician, MRO Electric

Selection requirements

What do you need to know when choosing an encoder that is right for your application? There are a couple of fundamental points when selecting which encoder is correct for the job. 

When selecting an encoder, one thing you will need to determine is the application control specifications. Applications can range from very simple machine applications to complicated machinery. Some applications are simple and require simple position or speed control with a low degree of accuracy needed, while more sophisticated machinery may need a higher level of feedback. Knowing the application of the encoder is vital in the selection process.

Another thing to consider is the encoder properties. Typically, this involves the number of rectangular pulses per motor revolution. A pulse number is delivered by two channels. The two channels have a phase shift of one-quarter of a pulse length, sometimes referred to as quadcounts. In this way, motor rotation direction can be detected using the four distinct states per single pulse. These four pulses represent the real resolution. For instance, if an encoder has 2,000 counts per pulse term; it gives 8,000 states per turn, which determines a nominal resolution of 360/8000=0.045°. Encoders detect motion encompassing a wide range of counts per turn. That means you must decide whether your application requires a simple encoder with fewer CPT or a more complex encoder that can detect an extremely accurate position or speed. 

Other factors can impact resolution. The mechanical layout is a consideration for encoder resolution as well as other influences like analog or digital signals. Underlying physical foundations like optical, magnetic, or inductive principles can also play a part in encoder resolution. 

Exposure to specific environmental elements factors into selection consideration as well. The encoder may require a shield if it is in an environment where it is likely to be exposed to conditions such as dust, moisture, or corrosive chemicals. Encoders are susceptible to environmental extremes such as temperature, shock, or vibration.

Encoder Types

A simple approach to guide your determination in encoder options is to characterize the type of movement the encoder is monitoring. There are three commonly used encoders: Linear, rotary, and angle encoders.

 The linear encoder is an encoder that senses the movement of linear objects to encode position.  A scale is determined that allows the sensor to convert the encoded position into a signal that could be analog or digital. The signal can then be decoded into a position by a motion control system. Machining tools use the linear encoder to coordinate measuring machines, such as a cut length application. In cut-length applications, the control device and encoder determine how much of a particular item, such as cloth material, is fed through the machinery, measuring where to cut. Sometimes a cable is run between an encoder and a moving object, using a transducer to produce an analog or digital output signal to establish the movement or position of the object.

For rotating objects, a rotary encoder is used. Providing feedback about the movement of a rotating object or device, a rotary encoder converts the angular position of the moving shaft into an analog or digital output signal. This signal is used to allow a control system to determine the position or speed of the shaft. Rotary encoders can be mounted directly to a motor or any machinery with a rotating shaft and are sometimes called shaft encoders. The two main types of rotary encoders are the absolute encoder and the incremental encoder.  What is the difference between the two? The difference is in the output.

The absolute encoder indicates the current shaft position, while the incremental encoder provides information about the motion of the shaft. The Absolute encoder is an angle transducer, whereas the incremental encoder typically processes information such as speed, position, and distance. Applications for the rotary encoder involve such things as robotics and industrial controls, which require monitoring and/or control.

Angle encoders are like rotary encoders; however, they are more apt to offer higher accuracy. It measures the angular position of a rotating shaft. A disc-shaped rotator uses an optical grating that operates with an optoelectric sensor on the stator. Because optical technology is dependent on the tightly constrained rotation of the rotor in relation to a stator, an angle encoder is used to keep the two parts concentric using bearings.

Encoders have the potential to elevate performance and increase productivity through their sensing technology. Selection consideration includes many aspects, some of which are presented above. For a closer look at the encoders offered at MRO Electric, please visit our website, or give us a call.