Great American
Road Trip

Auto Repair Red Flags Trash Truck Safety Ethanol Safety Tips on the Road Top Car Color Choices RV Travelers New Driver's Online Resource

Take A Great American Road Trip

(NAPSI)—The American highway system is now over a century old: In 1913, the Lincoln Highway became the first hard-topped, graded road across the continent.

Ways To Go

Ever since, that road and its sister highways—from the one that’s perhaps the most famous, Route 66, traversing the American west; to the “Blues Highway” that connects New Orleans and Minnesota; and from U.S. 1 that goes from Maine to Key West; to the Scenic Route 100 Byway along the edge of Vermont’s Green Mountains—have been calling to travelers.

You Can Take It With You

If the lure of the road has you agreeing with Jack Kerouac in “On the Road” that “We gotta go and never stop going till we get there,” you may be glad to know that getting all your gear to go with you may be easier than you think. As people are trending to drive smaller cars these days, they are having a harder time figuring out how to bring all their gear with them on their road trip. We are big fans of using a roof box for getting our skis to the mountains in the winter and are even bigger fans of using them for road trips in the summer. Modern roof boxes are aerodynamic, install/remove in a matter of minutes and look great on cars. The experts on safe, secure and stylish transportation at Thule have come up with a wide range of cargo boxes that can make your American road trip great. These boxes come in a wide range of sizes, finishes and colors that complement the looks of just about any car on the road.

Learn More

For further facts and information on roof boxes and how to install them, go to

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Top Three Auto Repair Red Flags

(NAPSI)—Finding an auto repair shop you can trust can be a challenge. Here are three warning signs to watch for on your next trip to the mechanic.

• While no one likes to be overcharged, beware of estimates that are well under market rate. This can be a sign the mechanic is using low-quality or even used parts. Some mechanics use lowball estimates to lure you in for additional repairs that they will tack on later.

• Automotive technology is rapidly evolving and some shops fail to keep up. Without up-to-date diagnostic tools, a mechanic could misdiagnose your problem, which means you’ll pay for unnecessary repairs that don’t even fix your original problem.

• If a mechanic employs scare tactics or treats you in a condescending way, move on. A reputable mechanic will take the time to explain your options just as a doctor guides you to make the right decision for your health.

Fortunately, there’s a free service called RepairPal that can help consumers find a trustworthy local mechanic. RepairPal independently certifies auto repair shops nationwide for superior training, quality tools, fair pricing standards and a minimum 12-month/12,000-mile warranty.

RepairPal also provides car owners with a tool that brings transparency to repair costs—the RepairPrice Estimator. Cited as a resource by Consumer Reports, AOL Autos and, this patented calculator generates fair price quotes based on the user’s automobile, location, and the service requested. All mechanics in the RepairPal Certified shop network honor these estimates to give consumers peace of mind that they’ll never be overcharged.

To learn more, visit

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Slow Down To Get Around Trash Trucks

(NAPSI)—Road accidents caused by distracted or speeding drivers are a huge risk for the more than 135,000 men and women of the waste and recycling industry who are out in force each day keeping our communities clean and healthy-but you can be part of the solution.

Just as most drivers tend to drive carefully when they see a school bus, in many places, it’s now required to give trash collection vehicles the courtesy of slowing down when trying to get around them.

The Problem

Some drivers try to speed up to avoid garbage trucks. Others don’t even realize one is nearby, since they’re such familiar presences. Because of such roadway dangers, trash collection is one of the country’s most dangerous professions.

What’s Being Done

To help, the National Waste & Recycling Association’s (NW&RA’s) “Slow Down to Get Around” campaign urges drivers to be more careful around solid waste collection vehicles.

“It’s critically important for everyone’s safety to slow down to get around garbage trucks,” said Sharon H. Kneiss, president and CEO of NW&RA, which represents the waste and recycling companies in the U.S. “It only takes one smart and cautious driver to set an example for the rest of the cars on the road.”

Many people are asking their community leaders about legislation and regulations aimed at keeping trash collectors and drivers safer on the roads. Several states have recently passed such laws.

Learn More

For more information, see

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Ethanol Is Good For America

(NAPSI)—How much you pay at the pump, how much we can avoid pollution and combat climate change, and how effectively we can stand up to other countries can all depend on whether the government continues a policy that’s been called an unmitigated success.

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has reduced the United States dependence on imported petroleum, lowered gasoline prices, created jobs and economic opportunity across America, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

A Stronger, More Energy Independent Nation

A recent surge in ethanol production has reduced gasoline imports from 600,000 barrels per day a decade ago to near zero today. Looked at another way, the ethanol produced in 2013 displaced an amount of gasoline refined from 462 million barrels of imported crude oil. That’s roughly equivalent to the amount of crude oil imported annually from Venezuela and Iraq combined.

Lower Gas Prices

Ethanol is the lowest cost transportation fuel in the world. Today, it is selling for approximately 90 cents less than gasoline wholesale. At the national level, that not only means ethanol is bringing down the cost of gas per gallon, it is stretching our national fuel supply. Philip K. Verleger, a renowned energy economist, found ethanol saved consumers $0.50 to $1.50 per gallon in 2012-2013. A savings of $1.00 on average which adds up to an annual savings of approximately $1,200 per family.

Helping the Economy

The Renewable Fuels Standard encourages investment and innovation in the biofuels industry. As the next generation of ethanol refineries is built, the industry will bring its job-creating, revenue-generating benefits to states across this nation, not just the traditional Midwestern Corn Belt. The ethanol industry currently supports:

• 86,504 direct jobs

• 300,277 indirect and induced jobs

• $44 billion contribution to GDP

• $30.7 billion in household income.

Cleaner Air

The use of ethanol in gasoline in 2013 reduced CO2-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions from transportation by 37.9 million metric tons—equivalent to removing 7.9 million cars from the road for an entire year.

What Others Are Doing

Many Americans are writing or calling their members of Congress to voice their support of the Renewable Fuels Standard.

How to Learn More

To learn about the many benefits of ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Standard, visit

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Summertime Safety Tips
For The Home And On The Road

(NAPSI)—Fun activities such as barbecues and road trips with family and friends can be more joyful if you heed a few helpful tips to keep yourself safe.

“Families across the nation will enjoy lots of opportunities to have outdoor fun and occasions to visit family and exciting destinations this summer,” says Paul Quinn, assistant vice president for Farmers Insurance. “Whatever their plans, staying safe, whether at home or on the road, will help keep the experiences and memories happy ones.”

For those planning to hit the road:

• Check belts, fluids and brakes—Before leaving your garage or driveway, be sure to check all the belts for wear and tear. These belts are crucial components of your vehicle, controlling your air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump, alternator and water pump. It is also important to make sure to check your vehicle’s fluids. These include coolant, oil and even the windshield washer fluid; you don’t want to be empty when you go through a swarm of bugs on the highway. Replacing any worn belts and replenishing fluids will help improve your chances of reaching your destination without unexpected problems. Also, make sure to check your car’s brakes as they are one of the most essential safety mechanisms on your vehicle. Grinding, pulling, brake dust and squeaking are just a few signs that your brakes and brake pads may need to be checked or replaced.

• Share the driving—You don’t have to do all the driving yourself. In fact, you may be lucky enough to be traveling with an eager teenager with a valid permit. Letting them drive along the open highway could be a great opportunity for adults to observe their driving habits firsthand and provide immediate feedback, if warranted. It could also be a great confidence builder for nervous teens. Remember that when it’s your turn to drive, they are observing you, so be a good mentor.

• Avoid potholes—No one likes driving over potholes, yet it happens quite often. Frequently, we notice them too late because we are driving close to the vehicle ahead of us. Leaving a bit more space between your car and the one ahead will help avoid those uncomfortable hops and bounces while keeping yourself and your passengers safe. If you hit a significantly large pothole, make sure to get your vehicle’s alignment checked as it can negatively affect steering and suspension.

• In case of a roadside emergency—Sometimes, in spite of all the planning and preparation, something will happen to cause you to pull to the side of the road. Whether it’s a flat tire or a flashing check engine light, getting off the road safely is just the first step. Once you’re off the road, make sure others know you’re not there just to take a nap—use your hazard lights, flares and other roadside indicators to alert other drivers you may need assistance. Lifting the hood of your car, whether there’s trouble with your engine or not, is a good idea to help gain attention from fellow motorists or roadside assistance technicians. A few important items to have in the car include, but are not limited to, a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, extra water and food, and a properly inflated spare tire.

Keeping safe at home:

• BBQs and other outdoor flames—Whether it’s the backyard BBQ or citronella candles to keep pesky bugs at bay, summer and controlled flames seem to go hand in hand. Yet few homeowners can remember where their fire extinguishers are or whether they are still in good working condition. Make it a habit to pull out the fire extinguisher every time you barbecue. If you still don’t have one, be sure to get one right away. It is recommended that fire extinguishers be checked at least once a month and undergo maintenance by a professional once a year.

• Prepare for severe weather—While we all look forward to enjoying summer weather, severe patterns can still arise during warmer weather months. Tornadoes, hurricanes, strong winds and flooding often occur during this time. It’s important to prepare now, in case these natural occurrences happen to you. Be sure to restock your emergency kit with fresh supplies (or start one if you don’t have one). Know where to go in an emergency—basement, storm shelter and so on. Before a storm hits, be sure to bring in or secure anything you keep outside; lawn chairs or umbrellas can become projectiles against your home.

• Take care of the “honey-dos”—There are always home projects, big and small, that need attention. An important outdoor project is to clean the rain gutters. Not only will it help during summer rains, it will also prevent any stray embers from igniting decaying foliage in your gutters. A helpful indoor project is to replace the hoses connected to your washing machine. Every year, thousands of hoses burst unexpectedly, cause for an unhappy family disruption. You can avoid these types of situations by proactively attending to household needs and upkeep.

As a national insurer that believes in helping consumers get smarter about insurance and risk management, Farmers wants consumers across the country to know there are many things they can do to keep their family and friends safe throughout the summer season. Additional tips and consumer-friendly insights are available at inner-circle.

For more information about Farmers, visit or

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Top Car Color Choices Of Men And Women

(NAPSI)—When it comes to car colors, men and women follow different roads.

Colorful Findings

A recent study by of more than 30 million cars revealed some illuminating information about just how the sexes diverge:

• Surprisingly, the favored car color of men is red, a hue they have a greater preference for, versus women, by 12.3 percent. Next is orange, which men prefer more by 11.8 percent, and black by 9.6 percent.

• Metallic colors are more popular with women. As opposed to men, women have a greater penchant for silver cars by 9.2 percent, brown by 9.1 percent and gold by 7.3 percent.

• Red and black, preferred car color picks of men, are also the top colors for sports cars. For pickup trucks, white is the most popular color.

• Orange, a less-common car color option but a favorite of men, is found on sports cars and coupés more than any other vehicle type.

The study was conducted by, a car search engine that helps consumers find the best deals on used cars.

What It All Means

"These study results could suggest that women are more practical in their choices. For the most part, they may just want to buy a reasonably priced car that safely drives them around," suggested Phong Ly, co-founder and CEO of "On the other hand, for men, perhaps they may be a bit more idealistic about cars, preferring something that has speed and is fun to drive."

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Five Tips For RV Travelers

(NAPSI)—Here’s a new look at an old pastime: Recreational vehicle (RV) travel has been a favorite with Americans for more than a century. The fuel of choice for RV travelers, propane, has also been around for more than 100 years. Propane is a clean, American-made fuel used for cooking, heating and cooling, and powering a variety of appliances in most towable, motorized and specialty RVs.

Before they get behind the wheel, however, there are a few steps that RV enthusiasts should take:

1. Get an inspection. RV owners should have their propane system inspected annually by a qualified service technician.

“Technicians, like any expert, get training that helps them to properly predict and address any issues with your system,” advises Roy Willis, president and CEO of the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC), an energy check-off program dedicated to safety and training for the propane industry. “Leave it to the experts and do not attempt to repair any propane-related component yourself.”

It’s also important to ensure that the RV has at least one Class B:C fire extinguisher and operational propane, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors.

2. Read the owner’s manuals. It’s always a good idea to read the RV owner’s manual and appliance manuals and carefully follow instructions. If there has been a recall notice on appliances—or anything in the RV—have the vehicle serviced before departure.

3. Check for wear and tear. Check the RV’s propane fuel gauge to make sure there’s enough propane in the tank before hitting the road. PERC also encourages travelers to visually inspect propane cylinders and holding mechanisms for any signs of rust, corrosion, fatigue or wear and tear.

“Propane systems should never leak or show visible damage,” Willis says. “If you detect a leak or sense a propane odor—which is similar to a rotten egg smell—have it checked out immediately by a professional. All refilling, repair or replacement must be done by qualified service technicians as well.”

4. Turn propane systems off while on the road. “Shut off propane supply valves, pilot lights, igniters and appliances,” Willis says. “The equipment should not be in use while operating the RV.”

5. Clear the cooking area. Propane is most often used to cook food and cool beverages at rest stops and campgrounds. Before cooking on an indoor RV stove, open a window and turn on exhaust fans.

If you’re cooking outdoors using portable fuel-burning equipment including wood, charcoal and outdoor propane grills and stoves, make sure you’re a safe distance from the RV and propane tanks. Never use outdoor cooking equipment inside.

“Travelers should also keep propane tanks and cylinders at least 10 feet away from heat sources,” Willis says. “Remember, propane is a safe fuel when handled properly.”

Following these simple safety checks can save travelers time and provide them added peace of mind.

Green-Trip Tips

Families that travel by RV generate less carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions than those traveling on a plane, renting a car and staying in a hotel. To further reduce their carbon footprint on the road, RV travelers can follow these suggestions from the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association:

• Keep RV and tow vehicle engines well tuned to conserve energy and reduce emissions.

• Always use marked RV campsites to avoid damage to natural habitats.

• Recycle as you travel.

• Minimize the use of disposable dishes, cups and utensils.

• Keep campfires small to minimize the amount of ash and pollution, and don’t put anything into the fire pit that will not burn.

Learn More

For more information, visit or

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Online Resource For New Drivers

(NAPSI)—Most young people look forward to the day they get their driver’s license, but they should know that with the newfound freedom also comes the responsibility of caring for their car.

To help new drivers become more comfortable with the auto service and repair process, the Car Care Council, the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” campaign promoting regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair, has a variety of online resources including a video entitled “Auto Service and Repair: What to Expect.” It provides valuable information on such topics as finding the right auto repair facility, what happens at the shop and what questions to ask. The video also covers consumer rights and the manufacturer’s warranty.

Also available at is a free 80-page booklet in English and in Spanish. The popular guide uses easy-to-understand language and includes descriptions of major vehicle systems, questions to ask a professional technician, and a checklist to remind drivers what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service or repair should be performed. Special sections on fuel economy and environmental awareness show new drivers how to get better gas mileage and make their vehicle more environmentally friendly.

The Council’s online custom service schedule and e-mail reminder service can also help young people remember to include car care in their busy schedules. This free, easy-to-use resource can be personalized to help make auto care more convenient and economical. There’s also a general service schedule that can be printed and followed. New drivers should be sure to consult their vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations by the carmaker.

“Before handing over the keys to new drivers, it’s a good idea to take some time to educate them on the importance of preventative maintenance and how proper vehicle care relates to the reliability and safety of their car,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council.

For a copy of the council’s “Car Care Guide” or for more information, visit

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