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4 entries from June 2018

Sweden Creates a 21st Century Electric Avenue

When I was young and we would descend on my grandparents for Thanksgiving, one of the main streets we traveled to get to their place was called "Electric Avenue." And we never failed to sing the Eddy Grant song chorus as we drove the last kilometre and pulled up to their door. The original "Electric Avenue" in the South London district of Brixton was a market street, the first such market street to be lit by electricity during the late 19th century.

Fast forward over a century later and Sweden has created their own Electric Avenue - but in this case, the road itself is electrified.

“Electric

Sweden, as part of their national innovation strategy, is testing the efficacy of electrified roads. eRoadArlanda, a commercial company working with the Swedish Transport Administration and several other partners, has embedded an electric rail in a public road. When an appropriately equipped electric vehicle drives along the rail, an arm is lowered from the vehicle and makes contact with the rail. This transfers energy to the vehicle and keeps it moving as well as charging the onboard battery of the vehicle, eliminating the need to stop at a charging station.

eRoadArlanda's test is part of an overall plan by the Swedish Transport Administration to support the Swedish government's target of creating a fossil-free transportation infrastructure by 2030. Electrified-road transport is estimated to cut fossil fuel emissions by 80 to 90 percent.

What do you think? Would you drive an electric car along an electrified road? Is this a good option for reducing our fossil fuel emissions? We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

- Rose R.


Start Your Engines - It's Time for the Annual EcoRun!

“AJAC

One of my favourite movies when I was a teen was The Cannonball Run. I loved a good road trip movie - still do. Combine that with dreamy Burt Reynolds and gutsy Adrienne Barbeau in a Lamborghini Countach and you've got a hit! I still dream about driving cross-country in that Lamborghini ...

Well, the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC) has got the next best thing to a Canadian Cannonball Run. It’s their annual EcoRun: an event that showcases several eco-friendly vehicles, including hybrids, highly-efficient gasoline powered options, diesel-fuelled powertrains and electrics. Each year, the AJAC selects a portion of Canada to drive over the 4 day EcoRun. AJAC members rotate between the vehicles in the EcoRun, testing them in real-world road conditions and reporting on which are the most efficient. At the end of the event, the vehicles are ranked by fuel economy and an individual journalist is awarded the coveted Green Jersey for overall best eco-driving.

This year's EcoRun event occurs June 20 - 23 across New Brunswick, with stops in Moncton, Saint John, Bay of Fundy and Fredericton. This video from last year's EcoRun gives a great overview of what happens on a tour, including how the journalists test themselves and the vehicles with eco-driving techniques.

At the end of last year's EcoRun, Chris Chase - freelance journalist and winner of the Green Jersey - shared a few of his eco-driving tips:

“In city driving, one of the keys is gentle acceleration: go easy on the throttle, because in most city situations, you’re only going to have to slow down or stop again shortly, making hard acceleration one of the most wasteful things you can do. Once at speed, look well ahead and try to anticipate what other drivers and traffic signals are going to do. The idea is to spend as little time as possible stopped: idling and accelerating are the two states in which a car is least efficient, so the less you have to do either of them, the more fuel you’ll save.

In highway driving, knowing when to decelerate is key. For example, allow the car to decelerate a bit on uphill stretches. If you tend to drive at, say, 110 km/h on the highway, then — ideally, when traffic is light — let the car slow down to 95 or 100 km/h going uphill, and then regain that speed on the next downhill.”

For more from Chase, see his two-part interview on the Canadian Fuels Blog: Part 1 - How eco-driving saves on fuel and Part 2 - Drive smoothly for better fuel efficiency.

Once this year's EcoRun is complete, we'll do a follow-up post on the results! What are your thoughts? Would you participate in the EcoRun?

- Rose R.


New “DRIVE” App Enhances the Vehicle Ownership Experience

RBC DRIVE App

Like many of you, I've slowly been adding bits and pieces of my life (and attendant documentation) to my smart phone. Sometimes that is facilitated by apps where I can store important docs or data. And sometimes I just take a picture of something like my passport or my driver's license and put it in a special photo album, so that I have a copy close at hand in case of an emergency.

One of the information sets I've been actively collecting on my phone has to do with my car. I have a photo of my license plate, plus images of my beloved Saturn from several angles; in case of accident or theft, it's good to have the "before" pics. And, of course, I have my insurance broker’s number in my contacts. But all of these car-related pieces of info are stored in different places on my phone and sometimes I can’t remember where I cleverly stashed them.

Fortunately, RBC has just released a new free platform (app and website) called DRIVE, which lets me collect all this car-related info in one handy place. With the DRIVE app, I can:

  • Store all of my car-related documents in one place, including insurance and warranty info
  • Receive recall notifications for my vehicle and schedule follow-up appointments
  • Book services at partner dealerships

And my two favourite features in DRIVE (yes, I'm a bit biased): I can store my Petro-Points card on the platform as well as locate a nearby Petro-Canada gas station.

Check out the video below for an overview of the DRIVE app and head on over to the DRIVE website to learn more.

Disclaimer: Suncor Energy has no ownership or involvement in the DRIVE app. The DRIVE app is operated by Royal Bank of Canada.

- Rose R.


On June 1st, Alberta's Pre-Pay Legislation for Retail Fuel Outlets Comes into Effect

Petro-Canada gas pump

It’s funny how we get set in our ways and have a hard time with change, even if that change is for the better. Recently, my local grocery store re-arranged their aisles and it took me a few weeks to adapt. Initially, I couldn’t find my usual items and I felt like I spent twice as much time shopping. But after the re-arrangement, they were able to add a lot of new products, an enhanced deli and a fancy smoothie bar. So short-term uncomfortable change for a longer-term benefit – and delicious smoothies.

Today, a change is coming for our guests in Alberta that has a big long-term benefit: the safety of our associates. Alberta’s pre-pay legislation for retail fuel outlets and convenience stores is taking effect, requiring customers to pre-pay for fuel purchases in one of the following ways:

  • paying at the pump
  • paying the attendant before fuelling

If you pre-pay by credit or debit, the sale will be adjusted automatically if you require less fuel. The final amount will be reflected on the printed receipt you receive at the pump.

Likewise, if you pre-pay the attendant with cash or a gift card, and don’t fill-up the entire amount, you will need to go back into the store for a refund, though you will receive a receipt for the final amount at the pump.

We’ve had this type of legislation in place for a while here in British Columbia. It took a bit to get used to, but now it’s become part of my fuel pumping routine: for days when I’m short on time, I pay at the pump; for days when I feel like a coffee and a bit of a chat, I head inside to say hello to Prashad, the GSA at the Petro-Canada closest to my house, and pre-pay there.

More information about this legislation can be found on the Government of Alberta website. We know that pre-payment is a change for some of our Alberta customers and we appreciate your support as we comply with this legislation.

- Rose R.