How to save on gas; What to know about smart baby monitors: CBC's Marketplace cheat sheet

CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need from the week.

Consumer and health news you need from the week

The price of regular gasoline and diesel fuel is displayed at a gas station in Montreal on May 11, 2022. Drivers can follow some simple tips to optimize fuel efficiency and save a few dollars, according to the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA). (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press)

Miss something this week? Don't panic. CBC's Marketplace rounds up the consumer and health news you need.

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Gas isn't cheap. Here's how to get the most out of your tank

Many of us still aren't over the initial sticker shock we experienced at the tanks when gas prices rose earlier this year.

But as we continue to live with higher prices in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, some experts are offering tips on how to get better mileage and reduce your bills.

Here are some of them: 

1) Plan your trips

Mapping out your route and making sure to avoid slow-moving areas is one way to get better mileage, says Teresa Di Felice, an assistant vice-president at the Canadian Automobile Association's south central Ontario branch.

She also recommends grouping your trips, so that you can make sure you're not wasting valuable mileage going back and forth to the same area to run multiple errands that can be done in one go. 

2. Be strategic about air conditioning

As we try and escape the heat this summer, be wary of how much air conditioning you're using in your car.

"Your air conditioner is a really big drain on your gas tank, especially if you're choosing the automatic max function in your car," said Di Felice.

She recommends drivers roll down their windows before opting for air conditioning, avoid the maximum auto air conditioning features vehicles have and stop idling their cars in the warm months to cool them down before heading off.

3. Practise proper vehicle maintenance

Mileage is better when vehicles are running properly, said Di Felice. To keep your vehicle in good shape, she recommends ensuring engine filters are clean, brake fluids are topped up and tire pressure is optimal.

4. Try cruise control, avoid idling, hard breaking and "jack rabbit" starts

Di Felice said drivers should use cruise control when it's safe to do so, and avoid idling, hard braking and "jack rabbit" starts if possible.

She also recommends making avail of loyalty programs and keeping an eye on gas prices throughout the week to make sure you're always getting the best deal. Read more

WATCH | Canadians face record-high gas prices:

Canadians face sticker shock at gas pumps

3 months ago
Duration 3:50
Canadians continue to contend with record-high gas prices. Meanwhile, rising fuel costs are also driving up the price of everything else as transport costs get passed on to consumers.

How smart is the use of a smart baby monitor?

For parents with a newborn, there are more options available to keep tabs on the baby than perhaps ever before. 

Families can choose from simple audio monitors to those that track breathing, heart rate, oxygen, skin temperature and sleeping position and promise to notify parents if something goes awry, such as if the baby's nose and mouth are covered or if the baby rolls over.

Some can also measure air temperature and humidity, play lullabies, take photos and record data about how many hours a baby has slept.

But while smart baby monitors might give peace of mind to caregivers, some questions remain about their accuracy and safety. Read more

A baby wears a smart monitor that transmits data about vital signs to a caregiver's mobile device. (Shutterstock/Viktor Osipenko)

Will the Rogers-Shaw merger be bad for consumers? The Competition Bureau thinks so

A planned merger between the two telecommunication giants hit a snag this week with the Competition Bureau's application to stop the sale of Shaw to Rogers over fears it will lead to "higher prices, poorer service quality and fewer choices" for Canadians.

The Bureau's investigation into the $26-billion deal determined the proposed acquisition will eliminate "an established, independent and low-priced" competitor in Shaw-owned Freedom Mobile. It would also prevent existing competition in wireless services in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia and suppress further competition in areas like 5G.

The federal regulator is asking the Competition Tribunal to prevent the deal from proceeding and seeks an injunction to stop the two companies from closing the deal until the Bureau's application can be heard.

"Eliminating Shaw would remove a strong, independent competitor in Canada's wireless market — one that has driven down prices, made data more accessible, and offered innovative services to its customers," said Matthew Boswell, the commissioner of competition, in a statement.

Rogers and Shaw, which revealed the bureau's intentions over the weekend, have already announced they plan to press ahead with the deal and fight the commissioner's efforts to block it. Read more

The Rogers and Shaw applications are pictured on a cellphone in Ottawa on May 9, 2022. The Competition Bureau says it's seeking to block Rogers Communications Inc.'s proposed $26-billion acquisition of Shaw Communications Inc. (The Canadian Press)

This family was denied a rescue dog because the son has autism. Now they're filing a human rights complaint

You may recall Erin Doan and her family's attempt to adopt a rescue dog back in March.

The family wanted to adopt a dog from Kismutt Rescue near St. Mary's, Ont., and was shocked to learn the shelter has a blanket policy that bans families with autism from adopting dogs.

Doan's son Henry is non-verbal and recently started communicating with the help of special software installed on an iPad. One of the first things he asked for was a dog, she said.

Back in March, Kismutt Rescue wrote a lengthy Facebook post about its policy, detailing the reason for its blanket ban, including two separate occasions where the organization said it adopted a dog out to families with children who have autism that ended poorly.

The post went on to suggest 99 per cent of students with autism "have outbursts and can be aggressive and violent," — a statement Michael Cnudde of Autism Ontario said simply isn't true.

"The reality of the situation is that the risk of violent behaviour of folks on the spectrum is no different than the general population," said Cnudde.

On Wednesday, Doan and her family filed a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario complaint against the non-profit. 

"It's not just a complaint on my son's behalf, but it's a complaint on behalf of the entire autism community as well as their families," said Doan. Read more

Henry Doan with his parents, Erin and Mike (Submitted by Erin Doan)

What else is going on?

Efforts to unionize Amazon workers in Canada ramp up in Ontario as Teamsters target Hamilton
Amazon says it doesn't think 'unions are the best answer for our employees.'

After a 5-year fight to lower drug prices, Ottawa's pledge quietly falls apart
What began with a promise to protect Canadians ended with a commitment to support pharmaceutical companies.

Why naturalists are encouraging homeowners to keep their lawns 'messy' this spring
The No Mow May campaign started in the U.K. to help protect plants, pollinators.

Mistake by e-commerce platform Shopify nearly costs B.C. business $18K
Company reimburses merchant, admits it failed to submit evidence for bank investigation.

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