Can I fight GM over my intake manifold gasket repair?
Of course, but a telephone call won’t do it.
GM Canada’s lawyers and customer assistants are working out a strategy to pay off the “most dangerous” owners who say they will go to court and stonewall the rest, until GM USA ratifies the company’s decision to set up a retroactive 7-year refund program and extended 7-year warranty, similar to Ford’s. Here’s what you should do, in the meantime, to be first in line: LINK to autoblog and Star article when it comes out.

Will fuel prices hit $1.25 a litre?
It’s inevitable. They are already at $1.10 to $1.18 across Canada. In the fall, they will go back to about $1 a litre.
How high do you expect fuel prices to go?
About $1.25 a litre over summer and drop down to a buck in the fall.

Rising cost of crude
Fear of Iranian and Nigerian cutbacks
Increased demand (China, especially)
Reformulated fuel for lower emissions, etc. costs more
Price gouging (ever notice prices go up same day as crude, don’t go down for days or weeks when crude goes down). Summer is also the busiest driving season; prices always spike in summer months.
What can we do?
1. Don’t buy new. Keep old Betsy. She’s paid for. Depreciation costs you many times what fuel costs.
2. Buy a used car.
3. Buy at the cheapest gas stations (saves 10 to 15 cents a litre) using
4. Buy regular fuel (saves about 7 cents over premium).
5. Keep up car maintenance (saves about 10 percent in fuel costs)

What about hybrids, diesel and ethanol?
They are mostly hi-tech scams.

Hybrids’ fuel figures are 30-40 percent inflated and there’s a $8,000 battery pack replacement cost.
Diesel fuel is being reformulated and engines re-engineered to cost more, present additional reliability problems, and diesel fuel will continue spiking. Plus, diesel emissions are highly toxic to persons with respiratory diseases.
Ethanol costs more energy than it saves. Distribution is not assured. Ethanol plants are highly polluting and have been almost all cited by US EPA for illegal amounts of pollution emissions.

Be “green,” but don’t be stupid
Don’t get taken in by the fuel-savings and clean-air claims promoted by hybrids, ethanol, and diesel fuels.
First off, the hybrids can easily kill you from their electrical charge or toxic chemicals leaking from the battery pack, following an accident. Plus, the fuel economy is hyped by at least 30 percent. And, then there is the $8,000 battery pack for the Prius that some say will sell for “only” $5,000.
Ethanol and diesel fuel are two other scams: diesel is being reformulated and the engines redesigned to work more efficiently, with fewer polluting emissions. This will guarantee high maintenance costs in the repair bays (can you say UREA?), poor reliability, and mileage nowhere near what’s promised.
It takes more energy than it saves and has similar drawbacks to diesel. In fact, ethanol prices are surging and also pushing up the price of premium fuel. Additionally, increased corn production means more herbicides and pesticides to snack on, and more ethanol plants that are continually cited by the U. S. EPA for spewing forth unacceptable amounts of air pollutants.

Does Liberty Mutual owe you a repair refund?
It sure does, if your car was repaired, using used parts, during the past 16 years (gulp!).
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that insurers must replace damaged parts with original equipment parts sold by the auto manufacturer (Avery v. State Farm (1999) ) and an Ontario class action seeking similar relief was settled on January 31, 2006 in Albert Hague and Terrance O’Brien v. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Ontario Superior Court, Case No. 01-CV-204787CP, June 14, 2004.
If you wish to participate in the settlement, you may have to complete a Statutory Declaration stating that (1) you were insured by a vehicle casualty insurance policy by Liberty Mutual (which includes Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Liberty Insurance Company of Canada and Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company), and (2) filed a claim for repair of your vehicle for an accident occurring between January 1, 1990 and present in which a non-OEM crash part was specified by Liberty Mutual on the repair estimate. To obtain a copy of the Settlement Agreement and a form explaining how to participate in the Settlement, contact the Claims Administrator, Deloitte & Touche LLP, 79 Wellington Street, West, Suite 1900, P.O. Box 29, TD Centre, Toronto, Ontario, M5K 1B9.
This settlement isn’t just for Liberty Mutual policyholders. Lemon-Aid readers throughout Canada may use the Ontario class action settlement as a bargaining chip with any insurer to get OEM parts put in their vehicles, or to get a refund of the cost difference for non-OEM parts already installed, going back to 1990. Download form (PDF) .

Who did the Supreme Court call Canada’s insurer “from hell?”
You would be surprised. This is a biggie that got hit with a judgment for $1 million in punitive damages.
“The jury’s award of punitive damages, though high [$1 million], was within rational limits. The respondent insurer’s conduct towards the appellant was exceptionally reprehensible. It forced her to put at risk her only remaining asset (the $345,000 insurance claim) plus $320,000 in costs that she did not have. The denial of the claim was designed to force her to make an unfair settlement for less than she was entitled to. The conduct was planned and deliberate and continued for over two years, while the financial situation of the appellant grew increasingly desperate. The jury evidently believed that the respondent knew from the outset that its arson defence was contrived and unsustainable. Insurance contracts are sold by the insurance industry and purchased by members of the public for peace of mind. The more devastating the loss, the more the insured may be at the financial mercy of the insurer, and the more difficult it may be to challenge a wrongful refusal to pay the claim..”
Whiten. v. Pilot Insurance Co.
Supreme Court of Canada
February 22, 2002