Blog: Winter Driving Sucks

in #winterlast month


Tried to drive to work today.

Roads were drifted and snow covered. Visibility was fair to poor. I got half way there and gave up. I have 1 day of "winter driving" experience since February 1, 2020.

I'll gain more but I'd like it to be in small doses. I don't want to push myself to work only to get stranded in Port or end up in a ditch. I was only driving about 70 and when I got cars lining up behind me I turned around and came home. A drive that usually takes 25 minutes but the "halfway" point I was at 30 minutes, and that was in the daytime.

I used our automated system to call off then called work and spoke to the Store Manager. About ten minutes later an Assistant Manager calls me to see why I haven't shown up to work. As I'm talking to them another Assistant Manager tells them about the email they received telling them I was calling off. Such a great system eh?

So here I am with an unscheduled day off. I just looked outside now and could barely see the cedar trees in the backyard, about fifty feet from the window, so staying home, while economically painful, was probably a wise decision.

I miss my SUV. I have a station wagon now, and while it offers some "bulkiness" in form it is not very heavy. I just looked it up, it weighs 1,256kg. My SUV weighed 2,259kg, that's 1,000kg difference which I can feel every time the wind blows. It is hard to believe there is such a weight difference between the two vehicles until you fill up the gas tank.

My SUV held 103 litres, my station wagon holds 53 litres of fuel. My SUV has a fuel rating of 14/18MPG (sorry it is too much of a pain in the azz to look up litres/100km). I think the digital display read, on average, 12.1-13. litres per 100kms. My station wagon has a fuel rating of 22/29MPG. I definitely feel the difference at the pumps when I have to drive 65kms a day to work.

Honestly, how bad does it have to be to rate something "per 100 kilometres" just to make it sound good? Metric is such a con game, you literally have to calculate a rating of 100 kilometres just to make the number make the least bit of sense. With the US miles per gallon it was easy. I can drive X amount of miles with 1 gallon of gas. Boom, done.

I have a 27 gallon tank and I can go 45MPG, so that's 1,215 miles. No conversion no fuss no muss. One quick answer.

Hey it's 1,300 miles from Point A to Point B, will I make it on a tank of gas? No.

But with metric, it's 2,340kms, will I make it? Well now first you need to take the distance and divide it by 100kms. Then ou calculate that for each 100kms you consume this amount of fuel. Next you need the fuel capacity of your vehicle. You divide this number by that and ... wait, what?

And how about fuel prices. It's $2.45 per gallon. Great! That works out of 64.8 cents per litre. Awesome, so cheap! Well, not really, because we can jack this up to 99 cents a litre and you still think you're getting a reasonable deal. Oil companies have been gouging us for years all because $0.999 per litre sounds better than $2.30 per gallon but both are a rip off.

If you've worked in the retail side of things you learn that brand name stations might be lucky to get about 3-5 per litre markup, in an independent station you might get 10-20 cents per litre markup but you have to fight local competition with better advertising to stay alive.

And then there's taxes. We hear some places (Alberta) bitch and moan about taxes, like carbon taxes. Yes, they are horrible taxes and do nothing to help the environment. But seriously? You guys don't even have Provincial Sales Tax. If I want a coffee there's a 13 cents per dollar tax here in Ontario, in Alberta it was 5 cents per dollar.

And fuel, in Kincardine, Ontario I'm paying $1.099 per litre while in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta (a town of comparable size) they are paying 95.9 per litre. The difference is taxes.

An we won't even get into a big discussion on the con of winter fuel versus summer fuel. I know that when the changeover happens my station wagon goes from getting 200kms on the first quarter tank of gas to as low as 150kms in winter. It is not all just to do with the weather. The argument is that winter fuel operates more efficiently in winter weather conditions. That's great, but what happens when those "winter conditions" don't materialize. Now you've got a thicker fuel trying to operate in mild weather.

Anyways, my blog today was on my lack of winter driving skills and being stuck at home again. Fifteen minutes on fuel ratings and I still can not see the cedar trees. It's time to go find something to eat. Enjoy your day.