Self-Refilling Gasoline Stations in the Philippines, Is It Feasible?

Self-refilling gasoline stations, otherwise known as self-service gasoline stations, have been in existence in the United States for quite some time already. The primary distinguishing characteristic of this type of pump station is that the customers do all the work. It is the customers themselves who fill up their gasoline tanks, wipe their windshields, check their motor oils and pump air into their tires. The role of attendants, on the other hand, is quite limited to certain functions like cashier work and sales of additional services including oil changes and checking of car parts.

With the advent of globalization, foreign brands and technological know-how of different industries have somehow made its presence felt in the country. With this in mind, this article would like to discuss the feasibility of having Self-Refilling Gasoline Stations in the Philippines.

The following are the three main factors to consider:

Self-Refilling Gasoline StationSAVINGS: Customers basically do all the work in a self-refilling gasoline station. Therefore, salaries and other labor-related benefits (SSS, Philhealth, Pag-ibig) of employees are greatly reduced in the process, bringing a lot of short-term savings for the company.

On the other hand, typical investment for a gasoline station typically ranges between P5-7 million. Allowing various individuals to operate these machineries (air gauge, pump stations), who are without any formal training, would result in rapid wear-and-tear. Breaking down of the machineries might become more frequent, racking up unnecessary maintenance and repair losses in the process. Keeping this in mind, labor-related savings might actually be wiped out just the same.

SAFETY: Safety basically consists of two parts: Internal and External. Internal safety brings to light the higher probability of customers spilling gasoline, which would increase the risk of fire and explosion hazards. On the other hand, external safety deals with the risk of theft not only of personal belongings but also the very automobile of customers as well. In times where crimes are rampant in nature, having a driver go down and do the entire process by himself/herself  becomes a risk in itself, unless of course if you have passengers waiting inside the car.

SURROUNDINGS: Two important things that gas stations must have and maintain are clean washrooms and petroleum-free flooring. With limited manpower for a self-service gasoline station, we can expect washrooms to be a whole lot filthier. If this becomes a problem, the depreciation of materials and properties might cause a lot of accidents, and nobody ever wants that.

All in all, a self-service gasoline station may initially look like a ton of savings, but a closer scrutiny at the three underlying factors reveal otherwise. So as for the question whether it’s feasible or not to bring it to the Philippines, the answer is a flat No.

5 Steps to Becoming a Green Driver

Environmentally Friendly CarGlobal warming is a phenomenon that can’t simply be ignored. Former United States Vice-President Al Gore has released a documentary called The Inconvenient Truth to raise awareness over the topic. The film received worldwide popularity, and yet, nothing much has changed over the years. The polar ice caps in the Arctic Region continue to melt, the hole in the Ozone layer continues to grow and the Earth’s temperature continues to rise. It’s been regarded that the major cause of all this is excessive carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere. This is a sad statistic knowing that millions and millions of vehicles plying the streets all over the world!

But the situation is not at all hopeless. We can do something about it by training ourselves to become a “Green Driver.”  Being a Green Driver entails reducing your carbon dioxide emissions, reducing your fuel costs and, at the same time, increasing your gas mileage. This article has list down the five steps that will help you become a Green Driver.

1.     Plan your Route

Planning one’s route allows an individual to accomplish a lot of tasks in the shortest amount of time. With this process, one can simply avoid traffic, save fuel costs and have more available time to accomplish other pressing concerns.

2.     Go for Fuel-Efficient Vehicles

Automobile manufacturers have come up with a lot of hybrid vehicles lately. But with the high cost of living, a lot of you may not be able to afford it. Fear not, these same manufacturers have come up with a lot of alternative compact cars (both hatchback and sedans) that has double-digit fuel mileage. What’s even more awesome is that they’re cheaper than SUVs and that they consume less fuel. In addition, carbon emissions have been reduced to that equivalent of the Euro-approved levels.

Become a Green Driver3.     Avoid Rapid Acceleration and Hard Breaking

Rapid acceleration and hard breaking does not only consume more fuel than the ordinary driving condition. It also tends to wear out vehicles at a faster rate. Moreover, driving like a snake won’t get you to your destination faster, so just drive carefully and avoid accidents.

4.     Avoid going Beyond the Optimum Speed

Any vehicle has Optimum Speed. (If you have no idea what Optimum Speed is, go get your essential car manual and read about it!) Anything beyond your automobile’s Optimum Speed will automatically result in a lower fuel mileage. As an additional tip, never drive beyond the 2,000 rpm limit. Remember that you are not just saving up fuel; you’re helping the environment as well!

5.     Check up One’s Vehicles

Checking up your vehicle involves maintaining the appropriate tire pressure, checking fuel filters and reducing the weight of your vehicles by removing all unnecessary cargoes. If your car’s required check-ups are done efficiently and regularly, you can save fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions at the same time.

So that’s it – the five steps towards becoming a green driver! What’s important is that this lesson should not stop with you. You should go out there and educate other drivers as well! One step on your part could go a long way.

Truth or Myth: Motorcycle Lanes Reduces Accidents Caused by Motorcycles

Motorcycle Lanes: Are They Effective?We are all witnesses to the sudden proliferation of motorcycles along the country’s vast road networks. Yes, drivers of those single-tracked, two-wheeled motor vehicles just can’t seem to control themselves from swerving in and out of lanes. What used to be solely utilized for deliveries and other errand-related purposes have suddenly transformed as an alternative to the public transport system. The heavy traffic, lack of systematic mass transport system. and the rising cost of fuel can be considered as contributing factors to this issue.

At the start of 2012, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, through Chairman Francis Tolentino, has begun designating motorcycle lanes along the major highways of Metro Manila like Commonwealth Avenue, Macapagal Boulevard and Epifanio Delos Santos Avenue (EDSA). Though this program aims to reduce car collisions, some groups nevertheless greet this program with protests, claiming that it’s quite discriminatory in nature. This article will then discuss whether there’s any truth if the implementation of motorcycle lanes can lessen road accidents that involve motorcycles.

If we took a careful look at recent statistics, the implementation of motorcycle lanes has reduced an average of 4-6 accidents per day along Commonwealth Avenue. The accident rate along Macapagal Avenue is even lower; there have been days where no accidents at all have occurred.

Motorcycle Lane in EDSA PhilippinesSince the project is quite effective in terms of numbers, let’s take a look at its qualitative side. First, it’s common knowledge that motorcycle riders do not have a driving education as comprehensive as that of four-wheeled vehicle drivers. Thereby, the same can be said regarding their overall awareness regarding basic traffic rules and regulations. Secondly, these riders usually have a notion that their slim motorcycles grant them an ability to evade all kinds of heavy traffic. This flawed and risky conviction results in some dangerous swerving and weaving along the crowded roads.

The third factor involves the fact that motorcycles usually travel faster than average automobiles, making them a lot more prone to accidents. Fourthly, weaving in and out of their lanes is not safe especially to the rider’s blind spots. This increases the possibility of getting sideswiped by heavier vehicles. Lastly, a lot of riders tend to have a shorter amount of patience; they neglect certain traffic rules which could result to vehicular accidents. Having a motorcycle lane greatly reduces this probability, making the roads much safer for motorcycle riders and other motorists alike. With these truths, we can say that motorcycle lanes are also effective qualitatively.

There you have it! In terms of both quantitative and qualitative considerations, motorcycle lanes prove to be quite effective in greatly reducing accidents caused by motorcycles. This is because such lanes prevent motorcycle riders from speeding and swerving in and out of their lanes. And that’s the truth!

Pros and Cons of Odd/Even Color Coding Scheme

Traffic has always been a perennial problem along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA). Day in and day out, commuters and motorists alike have to wake up extra early just to be able to have enough time to brave the heavy traffic. Year after year, new measures like mass transit systems, u-turn slots, bus lanes and motorcycle lanes have been instituted. And yet, despite all these changes, nothing seems to be consistently effective when it comes to reducing the agonizing traffic. Reports from the traffic command indicated that the average speed along EDSA is at 10-20kph. How very depressing.

In the last quarter of 2010, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) has announced a plan to create an odd-even color coding scheme along EDSA. The first version suggest that the scheme be implemented from 7am to 7pm, while the second version propose that the coding system would only be active during rush hours, which run between 7-10am and 5-7pm. In this odd-even scheme, vehicles (both private and public) with plate numbers ending in 1,3,5,7 and 9 will be barred from plying EDSA on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while plates that end with the even digits 2,4,6,8 and 0 will be prohibited from passing through EDSA on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. With this information in mind, this article will discuss the pros and cons of this proposed odd/even color coding scheme.

Traffic in EdsaLet’s take a look at the Pros first.

1.     Short-term Speed

With the institution of odd/even scheme, the volume of vehicles passing through EDSA will be slashed by almost 50%. As a result, travel velocity is likely to rise from a daily average of 10-20kph to almost 50kph. However, it would be noteworthy to remember that this could be short-term in nature. If people decide later on to circumvent this scheme with the addition of another vehicle, then any gains made will be lost in a jiffy.

2.     Increased Productivity

Less traffic along EDSA will grant people a slightly longer sleeping time, since they won’t need to wake up extra early. Also, people could accomplish more work knowing that they could leave the office little late than usual and still arrive home in time for supper.

3.     Increased Savings

We all know how the prices of gasoline have been steadily rising in the past couple of years; with each spike chunking up a larger pie of our budget. Less traffic along EDSA could mean higher gas mileage and with fewer visits to the pump station each week, increased savings could be the result we’re waiting for.

Now, let’s study the Cons.

1.     Long-term Dilemma

Odd/even color coding scheme is just a stop gap solution. The real problem along EDSA will continue to exist. The high number of colorum busses, half-empty busses, huge number of u-turn slots and illegal bus and jeepney terminals will still prove to be a nuisance along the busy roads.

2.     Increased Accidents

Bus drivers usually take home a little more than a thousand pesos daily, while conductors take a little less than that. With this in mind, lessening the working days of bus drivers could cause them to be more reckless in their driving, which in turn would increase the possibility of road accidents.

3.     Increased Social Inequality

This scheme would definitely favor the rich, because unlike the ordinary masses, they could add multiple vehicles to their garage. So while the less luxurious abide by the rules, the rich would find ways to avoid it. Definitely, social inequality will only continue to rise.

Pros and Cons of HID Headlamps

Car with HID HeadlampsIn recent years, a lot of innovations have been introduced by the automotive industry. Some of the notable developments include paddle shifters, rear view cameras, voice-activated radio controls, headlamp washers and HID headlamps. In this article, we’ll be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of HID headlamps.

HID (high-intensity discharge) headlamps, also known as xenon headlamps, were first introduced as an option for the BMW 7-series in 1991 Europe. Car models in the United States soon caught up with this invention in 1993. These metal halide lamps contain xenon gas, which causes the lamp to produce minimal adequate light upon power-up. Different from tungsten-filament halogen headlamps, the light from HID headlamps typically exhibits a bluish tint.

Some of their advantages include:

1) Increased Driving Safety: A typical HID headlamp illuminates about 3,000 lumens as opposed to 1,400 lumens for halogen bulbs. Because this results in more usable light, drivers can react faster to road obstacles, making it more possible for them to drive more safely.

2) Fuel Efficiency: Efficacy is the measure of how light produced in ratio of energy consumed. As opposed to halogen lamps which produce weak light at the cost of high energy, HID burners typically produce a massive 3,200 lumens at the cost of only 42 watts. This reduced power consumption will benefit the car owner in terms of increased fuel savings and lower carbon emissions.

3) Longevity: While the lifespan of halogen lamps range between a measly span of 450-1,000 hours, HID lamps will only wear out after its 2000th hour of service.

HID HeadlampsTheir disadvantages, on the other hand, are as follow:

1) Glare: Scientific studies have revealed that the light from HID headlamps is 40% more glaring than the light emitted by halogen headlamps. Due to its high intensity, the glare could then negatively impact the vision of oncoming traffic. This would increase the risk of a head-on collision between an HID-enabled vehicle and the vehicle of a blinded driver.

2)  Mercury content: HID headlamp bulb types D1R, D1S, D2S and 9500 contain heavy metal mercury. Newer bulb designs like D3R, D3S, D4R, and D4S, which are in production since 2004, contain no mercury. However, they are not electrically or physically compatible with headlamps designed for the earlier bulb types.

3) Cost: HID headlamps are significantly more costly to produce, install, purchase, and repair. The extra cost of the HID lights may exceed the fuel savings through their reduced power consumption. Although, it can be said that some of this cost disadvantage is offset by the long lifespan of the HID burners.

Elevated EDSA: Is it Feasible?

Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA), formerly known as Highway 54, is a 24-kilometer highway that comprises a major portion of the Circumferential Road 4 (C-4) in Metro Manila. It begins at Monumento and ends near the Mall of Asia in Manila; all the while passing through the various cities like Pasay, Mandaluyong, Makati, Caloocan and Quezon City. Estimations suggest that around 2.34 million vehicles pass through it every single day. And if there’s one thing that it is often associated with EDSA, it is traffic. Traffic jams along EDSA could be very taxing on motorists; the average travel speed during rush hours hover between 10-20kph. Despite the addition of the Metro Rail Transit, the heavy traffic continued to be a problem.

Highway Overpass

In the last quarter of 2011, Rogelio Singson, cabinet secretary of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), has announced a plan to build an “Elevated EDSA” atop the existing one. With an anticipated budget of around P50 billion, the project would consist of six-lanes with a combined length 22 kilometers. The question that begs us is this: With the staggering amount of money required, is the project actually feasible?

Looking at the current traffic situation along EDSA, one can’t help but mourn at the suffering of motorists who spend a portion of their daily lives inching their way through perennial roads. Close observations would hint that this hindrance is caused by the collective effects of: a) several u-turn slots along the center island, b) the overflow of public transportation vehicles, c) illegal bus and jeepney terminals, and d) the illegal crossing of pedestrians. Observing further, let us take a look at the South Luzon Expressway, which has a “Skyway” built on top of it.

The South Luzon Expressway is quite similar to EDSA in the sense that it consists of four lanes for fast-moving vehicles. However, the two can be distinguished by certain differences. First of all, SLEX contains two additional lanes as service lanes for jeepneys. Thereby, it is able to segregate jeepneys and other slow-moving vehicles. Second, it also contains exits for major intersections of each city. Here is a system we can apply to EDSA. If similar exits where constructed for Caloocan, Makati, Mandaluyong, Pasay and Quezon City, the need for u-turn slots will be nonexistent. In addition, if a metro rail system along EDSA is implemented, buses would no longer have to crowd the major routes.

All in all, the elevated EDSA does not look like a feasible solution to our current traffic woes. More and more, it seems to be just a short-term solution to our traffic concerns. Sure, it’ll probably reduce traffic in the first 3-5 years of its existence, but what about the years after that? However, if various government agencies would directly address the main culprits for the heavy traffic, then we might end up with a more productive and permanent solution.

5 Causes of a Stalled Engine

More often than not, the engine is considered as the most important component of every automobile. The different variations to this principle includes: 1) carbureted engines, 2) engines with distributors, 3) engines equipped with a direct-fire ignition system and 4) fuel-injected engines. Closely associated with automobile engines is the term “stalled engines”, which is in no way a good thing for any driver. With the help of this article, one should be able to identify and avoid the causes of a stalled engine.

Stalled Car EngineFirst things first. The term “stall” is defined as the stopping or slowing down of a process. So when a particular engine is said to be stalled, it simply refers to a situation in which the engine has suddenly ceased operating. For a manual transmission, the sudden take off by the driver from a clutch pedal, whilst in a stationary position, could cause an engine to stall temporarily. Meanwhile, for an automatic transmission, an engine would normally stall when a vehicle travels opposite the direction to which the gear is set. Listed below are the five causes that will cause an engine to stall.

1.     Incorrect Idle Speed

As the most common cause of stalled engine, Incorrect Idle Speed refers to a situation in which the throttle is completely closed while the automobile is idling. This would cause the idle air controller to wear out much faster than it normally should.

2.     Clogged Fuel Filter

Fuel filters should be replaced on a regular interval. For gasoline variants, replacements should occur every six months. On the other hand, diesel variants should have brand new fuel filters every three months or so. However, drivers who overwork their automobiles should perform this requirement more frequently.

3.     Worn Spark Plug

Spark plugs should be checked annually. If any signs of malfunctions should be detected, consider its replacement immediately. We can never accurately predict how a faulty car part could affect the overall performance of a car. In addition, spark plug wires should also be ascertained that wire resistance would not exceed 4,000 ohms per foot of wire.

4.     Vacuum Leak

Vacuum leaks could exist in a fuel-injected system. The process of spotting leaks could be quite tedious and elusive. Some of the tests conducted to discover leaks include smoke tests, drain tests and spray tests. During such tests, carburetor cleaners are sprayed around head-mating surfaces and other locations to determine the source of any possible leaks.

5.     Failure of torque converter

Torque converter is what couples the engine to the drive train. If at any moment it fails to unlock, the vehicle would die down and come to an unwanted halt even before you get the chance to hit the brakes. Extracting fluid out of the radiator would be the appropriate response to this misfortune.

So there you have it – the five causes of a stalled engine. These causes could be quite easy to prevent as long as you maintain your responsibilities as a driver. Have your car checked out at least twice a year. Don’t be a tightwad; replace essential car parts when needed. Never deviate from the instructions indicated in the manual. Happy Driving!

Top 5 Things/Places You shouldn’t Miss in Cleaning Your Car

Auto DetailingAuto Detailing is, in essence, similar to the household tradition of spring cleaning. It is the performance of an extremely thorough cleaning, which involves the washing, polishing, and waxing of both the interior and exterior of a particular automobile. A meticulous process like auto detailing is done to significantly improve a car’s overall appearance, function and durability. Any dedicated driver who desires a good-looking, long-lasting car should be aware of this useful practice. Here are the three basic components of auto detailing:

  • Interior detailing:  Common activities of interior detailing include the vacuuming and cleaning the inside of the car. This includes the seats, carpets, windows, and dashboard area. Discard any peculiar items that do not belong.  Most cars usually have junk food wrappers just waiting to be thrown away.
  • Engine detailing:  Steam, degreasers, high pressure waters and all-purpose cleaners are regularly utilized in cleaning the things under the hood of the vehicle.

Interior DetailingThese services are normally offered in neighborhood detail shops and gasoline stations. So because auto detailing is readily available in numerous places, why still delay your car from this necessary enhancement? To maximize the service you are about to receive, you must be informed that there are five places in your car that are often overlooked by these detailers. The following are points which you yourself can clean or inspect after your car has been detailed:

1.     Gas Tank Compartment: Here is one of the dirtiest components of the car. That its compartment door has a complicated location might explain why it is also one of the most neglected areas of your car. Dirt, rain and gasoline drops are often found in this area.

2.     Glove Box: This is basically the area where we store our personal effects; things like the owner’s manual, registration papers, and mobile chargers are found here. Not that it’s hard to find like the item above. Detailers reasonably refrain from touching the glove box to prevent themselves from losing/breaking the important stuff that’s in it.

3.     Headliners: We seldom pull it down, for we only use it to look at the mirror more often than not. Because of this, dust and other particles usually build up inside it.

4.     Pockets behind Seats: We often place magazines or newspapers in this area. Since the opening is narrow, we often tend to overlook cleaning up this place. This is an area that you should never disregard because it is here where you will find trash like candy wrappers and used tissue papers.

5.     Hideaway Cup Holders: It is here where we keep our drinks. But since it’s usually stowed, we often neglect to clean up this area. Not good. You don’t want bacteria and insects accumulating in the same area where we place our drinks.

Quick Checklist for Delivery Trucks

Delivery TruckHundreds and hundreds of different delivery trucks ply through Philippine roads every day of the week. Delivery trucks, a mode of land transport, are typically utilized to transfer materials from one place to another, usually in large quantity and with far destinations. Some of the more common types of delivery trucks are listed below.

Freightliners, which are more commonly known as Container Trucks, carry large loads of various cargos from ports to warehouses, and vice-versa. Mail Trucks, like those of DHL and LBC, often carry parcels and other “Balikbayan Boxes”. Refrigerator Trucks are the ones that are utilized when the items that are to be transferred are perishable. Tank Trucks, like those of Shell and Chevron, carries gasoline and other petroleum items, while Wide Loads are used for carrying construction materials, such as electrical posts, steel frames and many more.

Owners and drivers alike typically want a smooth and safe travel not only for their trucks, but also for other vehicles as well. One has to prioritize the welfare of each part of the vehicle, because any malfunction could lead to serious danger. To ensure a worry-free travel is to study this short but helpful checklist for delivery trucks.

1)    Fuel: As the basic lifeline of any automobile, drivers need to consistently check the fuel gauge to determine its current level. For trucks that are about to embark on a long trip, drivers are advised to fill the tank from the get-go.

Cool Delivery Truck2)    Fluids and oils: Fluids and oils – such as motor oils, brake fluids, clutch fluids and window washers – need to be accounted for before each trip. No one wants to run out of any of these things, especially the brake fluid.

3)    Tires: Checking and stabilizing tire pressure has three benefits: the avoidance of a bumpy ride, the saving up of fuel, and the indication of any punctured tires. If a driver does happen to notice a punctured tire, he or she must act immediately by having it vulcanized or replaced.

4)    Destination: Reaching the destination on time is the primary goal of each delivery. For that to happen, we have to verify the accuracy of the provided address, determine the routes to take, and ensure the safety of the chosen routes, for there exist certain roads that are quite notorious for carjackings.  As a precaution, prepare a list of alternative roads to take just in case there are ongoing maintenance works.

5)    Locks: We also want to ensure that the items are in perfect condition upon delivery. With this in mind, the driver might want to take a look at the locks, ensuring that the latches and doors of the truck are securely fastened and bolted properly. This is done to prevent any theft/pilferage from happening along the way. Always remember, better safe than sorry.

Top 3 Things to Do When your Car Gets Bumped

Car CollisionThe news is generally boring, especially if it doesn’t concern anyone you know. But what if one day you become the headline, where you will most likely be seen by everyone you know. What if this particular headline, starring you, has something to do with a car accident? Not good. No driver would ever want to face the agony of car accidents and the emotional stress that comes with them. That is why it is infinitely wise to formulate a plan that would keep us calm and secure if such mishaps should ever happen to us.

Let’s start with a scenario. You were weaving along a traffic gridlock, when suddenly, your car gets bumped from behind. At this time, unstable emotions could be building up within you, just waiting to be unleashed. That you have to deal with the damage to your car means that your schedule for the day has been ruined. The more you realize this, the more anxiety you feel. Now stop. This is usually the part where things get worse. So before you take another step, ponder upon these three pointers that should save you from further stress and conflict.

1. Presence of Mind

Presence of mind entails analyzing the current situation. Review the incidents that occurred prior to the untimely bump. Was the action intentional, or accidental? If it’s the former, then the smart thing to do would be to just step on the gas and speed away, because more likely than not, they are going after your vehicle. By avoiding the maniacal driver, you avoid additional damage that could have been inflicted on your vehicle. However, if it’s the later, then the first thing to do would be to check on your passengers for any injuries sustained. After everyone’s safety has been secured, then you can go right ahead and assess the state of your vehicle. It is necessary that you phone in the incident to the authorities. Wait for them to arrive at the scene. Don’t be a fool by immediately initiating a verbal war against the driver who hit your car.

2. Assess the DamageCar Bump

It will take some time before police authorities arrive at the scene. Before they do, make sure that you have already assessed the damage beforehand. Check if any major car parts have been harmed by the collision. If it’s just a slight scratch, then it’s advisable that you just keep on driving, because the insurance company definitely won’t pay you for that. If it’s a big one, make sure to have it sketched by the police official with the corresponding blotter and make sure, not to forget the other party’s contact details, like calling cards, which you will have to verify on the spot!

3. Call up the Insurance Company

A lot of owners usually forget to call up the insurance company after the incident. Don’t be one of them. Accept the fact that it might take some time for them to pay you the money, for they will have to go through essential stuff like ID’s, blotters, sketches and many more over and over again. Just be patient and do you part by providing them what they need.

Well, I guess that’s just about everything you need to know regarding scenarios that involves car collisions. It’s as simple as A-B-C. Remember, it’s better to be prepared now than later.