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5 entries from April 2010

Reliability … we rely on it

I recently took my car into the dealership for service. I needed to have my tires rotated, the oil changed, and I asked my service technician to check a noise I was hearing that sounded like my brakes. Having a reliable car is important to me (and I would argue it’s important to most of us) and I know that I need to make the time and plan ahead to do the required preventive maintenance to keep it running great. As a mom, too, I think about this because when I’m driving around with my children, I rely on the reliability of my car—I never want to be stranded or not have my car operate at its best, especially when I have my children with me.

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Getting what you pay for

Old pump numbers You may have heard about Industry Canada’s announcement yesterday on taking steps to ensure the accuracy of gasoline pumps in Canada.

Earning the trust of consumers is a good thing.  We are all for protecting the public (we are consumers too).  There hasn't been a lot of media attention so far on this, but I have found this.

When the government first discussed this in 2008, we outlined Petro-Canada’s maintenance and calibration programs here on Pumptalk, which are above and beyond government standards.  The bottom line is that we all want (and deserve) to get what we pay for.

This announcement did make me think, however.  Even though I once performed this task professionally, I have never really given much thought to how a gas pump works – I found this story that might help other technically-challenged people that are curious.

We would appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue, as well as any other Pumptalk story that has caught your attention.  It is certainly our intention to have a two-way dialogue, so please let us know what you think. 

I look forward to hearing about what is on your mind….

Petrol versus Gas

Recently I travelled to London, England for the wedding of a dear friend. At the reception an acquaintance of mine asked “Fuel prices here are about to reach an all time high - are petrol prices as crippling in Canada as they are here?” Though I’m not an expert in UK fuel prices by any stretch, I started to wonder – was it simply a case of supply and demand or are there any basic differences in the way we calculate the price at the pump?

So I did a little surfing and found a couple of interesting sites to explain it to me. One of the biggest differences is that the UK has a fuel duty on top of VAT (sales tax) which is set by the federal budget and is applied to the fuel before it’s sold.  The fuel duty in the UK was meant to rise by 3p here this year. So that, along with the rise in the price of crude and the weaker pound has resulted in fuel being almost 120p a litre. To put it in perspective, that’s about $2.50 a litre (depending on the conversion that day).  I’m a bit of a visual person, so here are a couple of sites showing the difference of price breakdown.

Putting the Air Back in the Balloon


Over the last few weeks, and especially since the nicer weather has arrived, I’ve seen and heard a number of conversations about the fact that Petro-Canada retail sites are now “charging” for air.  It is true that we have a nominal charge of $1 to use the equipment at most of our retail sites, but it has been this way since the Spring of 2008, and we were one of the last to come to this decision.  I thought it might be helpful if I clarified some of the reasons that influenced this decision to go outside of our company to engage a third party service provider for our air pumps.

In recent years, it was becoming an all too common experience to arrive at a Petro-Canada station hoping to get some air in your tires, only to discover an “Out of Order” sign hanging where the hose should be.   In fact, when I asked our service team they told me there were times when up to a third of the air pumps in our network weren’t working.  Obviously, that is not acceptable either.  The challenge of keeping up with routine maintenance and equipment upgrades was frustrating for everyone, especially when many sites were repeated victims of vandalism; as soon as the pump was repaired it was damaged again.

So, about two years ago, we engaged another company to take over the air service at virtually all of our retail sites.  Since then, we have seen a marked increase in reliability and quick response to various maintenance needs.  Along with improvements to this service, we do now ask for $1 to support the use and maintenance of equipment and a portion of the proceeds also goes to support our Canadian Paralympic athletes!

Photo Credit:  D Sharon Pruitt

Where’s the car wash around here?

Do you ever find yourself travelling, and want to know which of our sites has a car wash?  Or you’re in the mood for an A&W hamburger, but don’t know which locations to stop at?  Or want to know what the price of gas is at the Petro-Canada station down the street? 

Over the Easter weekend, I was at my parent’s house in the GTA visiting, and figured since it was such a nice day; I would get my car washed on the way home.  So, I hopped on to their computer and checked out our locations page.  I was able to find the closest location with a car wash, and found out the price of gas.  You can even add Petro-Canada stations to your GPS

Handy – yes.  Difficult – no. 

Now if only there was a site that could predict the next time we have such great weather on a long weekend…