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4 entries from August 2014

Myths vs. Realities of Fuel Efficiency

Fuel Efficiency Myths

We've written plenty of posts about fuel efficiency since we kicked off the PumpTalk blog seven years back. But something we haven't really addressed are some of the "fuel saving myths" that have found their way into popular culture over the years.

I thought we'd post a round up of our favourite fuel efficiency myths below, to set the record straight on how to achieve optimum fuel efficiency for your vehicle.

Myth: The smaller the vehicle, the better the fuel efficiency.

Reality: Size still matters but with recent advances in new car technologies and lighter manufacturing materials, some of today's larger vehicles do just as well as smaller ones when it comes to fuel economy

Myth: Over-inflating your tires will increase your car's fuel efficiency.

Reality: Tires do have a key role to play in fuel efficiency; in fact, every five pounds per square inch (psi) of tire pressure you lose can translate into a two per cent loss of gas mileage. But over-inflating the tires merely reduces the handling of your car and can make for a bumpier ride. Plus, with over-full tire, you could risk bursting your tires. Instead, check your tires montly to make sure they are always inflated to the recommended pressure.

Check our Tire Inflation post for tips on keeping tabs on your tire pressure.

Continue reading "Myths vs. Realities of Fuel Efficiency" »

Road Trippin' - With Kids!

Road Trip with Kids
Photo: iStock

Almost every summer, my parents would pack my brother and I into our 1984 Plymouth Reliant and drive from Edmonton to Kelowna to visit family. Our in-car entertainment system consisted of:

  • Sleeping (my brother)
  • Reading books (me)
  • Staring out the window
  • Complaining about the heat (the car had no air conditioning)
  • Begging to stop for cold drinks
  • Begging to stop to go to the bathroom after too many cold drinks

I always enjoyed plowing through a pile of books on our yearly road trips - and by my sullen teen years, I had my own Walkman to listen to emo songs. But still, I have to admit that I am a little jealous of kids today and the myriad entertainment options available to them. In-car DVD players, individual game systems, iPads; hours of fun!

Of course, none of this new technology does anything to actually shorten your road trip - and screen time can get old after 10 hours on the road. Here are a few basic tips to keep sane and safe while road tripping with littles.

1. Leave really early. Pack the car the night before and hit the road before the sun comes up. Sleepy time is quiet time. Plus, leaving early may help you beat traffic!

2. Bring a lot of Ziplock bags. These are great for storing half-eaten snacks, soiled clothes or anything else you want to keep off the floor of your vehicle.

3. Everyone gets a pillow. Pillows are great for encouraging snoozing, plus they can be used to create a barrier between fractious siblings.

4. Keep tummies happy. Snacks are one of the best things about road trips - there are hundreds of Pinterest boards dedicated to great road trip snack ideas! Be sure to bring gingerale, peppermints and saltines along - they're natural motion sickness remedies that might come in handy.

5. Get backseat organized. Set each child up with a backseat organizer so that they can access their toys, craft projects, books, DVDs, headphones, etc. You can buy these pre-made or make them yourself, if you're crafty!

6. Stop along the way! As we mentioned in our Fitness Tips for Road Trips post, you should stop for 15 minutes every 2 hours, minimum. If possible, plan to stop places where your little ones can stretch their legs; bring a ball or a frisbee to toss around.

Make sure to check out our Five Essential Items to Bring on your Summer Road Trip post for more tips on road tripping.

How do you keep your kids entertained on road trips? Share your ideas in the comments!

- Rose R.

Staying in Shape on the Road - Fitness Tips for Road Trips

Road Trip Fitness
Photo: iStock

When I was younger, I used to drive my parents crazy (like most kids) with the "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" litany. But as I've gotten older, I've learned the value in stopping along the way - not just to take in the interesting sites but also to stay alert and in shape.

Here are a few tips for staying in peak condition during those long road trips:

Stop at least every 2 hours for a minimum of 15 minutes. Now, 15 minutes is more than just a quick run to the rest room. Make sure you take the time to get out of the car, walk around, stretch, breathe deeply. If you have a pedometer or fitness tracker, use this time to get more steps! If there's nowhere to walk around, do some jumping jacks or running on the spot to wake up your muscles. You want to feel energized for the next leg of your trip.

Continue reading "Staying in Shape on the Road - Fitness Tips for Road Trips" »

On the Road Again: What's Your Ultimate Road Trip Playlist?

Road Trip
Photo: iStock

I remember a loooong drive from Banff to Vancouver when, two hours in, the unthinkable happened. The iPod died.

With a sketchy radio signal and no other forms of music available, we had no choice but to pull into a store and buy several CDs to get us through the trip.

The selection was limited so we pretty much cleared them out. Our purchases included:

  • Hits of the 1980s
  • Country Superstars
  • Alabama's Greatest Hits Vol. 3
  • Much Music's Dance Mix '95
  • Billy Joel Complete Hits Collection
  • I don't remember but Willie Nelson was on it

It was a pretty twangy ride.

These days, we NEVER leave on a road trip without some kind of playlist and a backup. Music makes the trip go faster and keeps the driver awake. Plus, it makes you feel like you're in a cool road trip movie. Winning!

Planning the road trip playlist is almost as fun as listening to it on the road - but if you're like me and you've heard Alabama a few too many times, it's good to do a little road trip playlist research for inspiration. Here are a few helpful links to get you going on your playlist:

Another way to find great new-to-you road trip music is through music streaming apps like 8tracks  or Songza; just remember that if you're streaming music through your phone in your car, you're using your cell data.

Over to you! Classic hits? New favourites? What songs would you include on your Ultimate Road Trip Playlist? Let us know in the comments!

- Rose R.