December 23, 2021

Would you lend your car to a stranger?

Realizing that car ownership is no longer a cost-effective means of transportation, more urban drivers are looking at car-sharing services that allow you to rent cars by the day, or even the hour.

RelayRides Car sharing usually involves joining an organization like Zipcar that owns a fleet of vehicles scattered throughout the city. Members pick up cars from various locations across town and return them to the same spot when they're done – all for a set hourly rate. 

Think ZipCar minus the communal cars, and you've got RelayRides, a new Google-backed start-up.

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December 20, 2021

McGuinty nixes tax credit for drivers who buy winter tires

Despite repeated requests from insurers, health groups and road safety agencies seeking tax breaks for consumers, the government of Ontario has decided to leave winter tire selection to motorists.

Tire The Winter Driving Safety Coalition — which includes the Ontario Safety League, Canadian Automobile Association, Ontario Trucking Association, Rubber Association of Canada and Canadian Tire — had been calling for $25 bonuses for each snow-and-ice tire purchased.

Encouraging more drivers to use snow tires this way would reduce the number of accidents and serious injuries, saving the province millions in health-care costs, the Coalition maintains. 

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October 26, 2021

Are red light cameras simply a hidden tax?

Across the country, more and more intersections are sporting cameras designed to catch vehicles running red lights and reduce traffic accidents.

Earlier this year, for instance, the City of Ottawa doubled – 33 intersections across the city are now being monitored for red light infractions, up from 18 sites – the number of intersections equipped with cameras to nab careless drivers who run red lights.

But are these robotic photographers really up to the task of prevention or are they simply municipal fund generators?

It's currently a $325-fine for running a red light in the nation’s capital – $490 if you blow through a school zone.

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October 20, 2021

The most, and least, ticketed cars on the road

You’ve heard cars referred to as “ticket magnets,” right?

166965_german_engineering Like, that red hot Corvette the guy with the thinning hair and lame Bluetooth earpiece drives. Boom: ticket magnet. Or, the Mercedes convertible cops just must get semi-aroused in pulling over. Bam: have you license and registration ready.

But for all these stereotypes, that’s what they’ve largely been. Stereotypes. Thanks to a new auto insurance study, though, we know now what vehicles are indeed ticket magnets. And the list is a bit more modest than you’d think.

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October 18, 2021

Canadians cutting back on car repairs: study

Holding off on that oil change for a few more weeks? Well, you’re not alone.

Whether it’s the economy or improved vehicle quality, Canadians are spending less to maintain and repair their cars, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates report.

We’re also visiting garages less often, and when we do take our vehicles in, the average price for repairs has been dropping for awhile now.

Per service spending has averaged $287 this year, compared to $352 in 2009 a trend that could end up costing vehicle owners more in the long term if they have to pay for emergency maintenance, J.D. Power suggests.

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July 19, 2021

Parking rates continue to climb across the country

Parking rates across Canada climbed over the past year with Calgary in the priciest spot at $453 a month, according to a recent survey by Colliers International.

Of the 12 major Canadian cities surveyed, Toronto was deemed the second-most expensive city to park in with a cost of $336 a month, on average – a $60 increase over 2009. Montreal ($281), Edmonton ($275) and Vancouver ($267) round out the top five most costly Canadian cities.

While Calgary prices are high by Canadian standards, they pale in comparison to other major centres around the world. London is the most expensive city in the world to park where the average $933 (in US dollars this time) monthly parking pass explains why the Tube continues to be so popular.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...