RE/MAX 440
Cheryl Goedeke
701 W. Market Street
Perkasie, PA   18944
Phone: 267-664-2288
Office Phone: 215-453-7653
Fax: 267-354-6833
email: cheryl@remax440.com
Cheryl Goedeke

My Blog

New Study Finds U.S. Diesel Vehicles Have Lower Total Cost of Ownership than Gasoline Vehicles

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

A new study released found that diesel vehicles saved owners between $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs during a three- to five-year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

"Overall, the results of our analyses show that diesel vehicles provide owners with a TCO (total cost of ownership) that is less than that of the gas versions of the same vehicles," according to the study. "The estimates of savings for three and five years of ownership vary from a low of $67 in three years to a high of $15,619 in five years, but most of the savings are in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, which also include the extra cost that is usually added to the diesel version of a vehicle."

Fuel efficiency has always been a major attraction of clean diesel vehicles. Because diesels are 20 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than gas cars, drivers save money with diesels even when diesel fuel prices are slightly higher than gas prices.

The findings in this study will also be helpful to car buyers as they research their next vehicle purchase. This is an exciting time for diesel vehicles as the number of diesels is expected to more than double in the next two years. This will give drivers a broad selection of vehicles to fit their individual driving needs.

Highlights from the diesel-gasoline comparisons include:

• Total Cost of Ownership: In the three year timeframe comparison, diesel vehicles in the mass market passenger car segment are estimated to save owners significant money, with the VW Jetta owner saving $3,128, the VW Jetta Sportwagen owner saving $3,389, and the VW Golf owner saving an estimated $5,013. In the luxury segment, all the diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz E Class ($4,175), Mercedes-Benz GL Class ($13,514), Mercedes-Benz M Class ($3,063), Mercedes-Benz R Class ($5,951) and VW Touareg ($7,819) save owners money in the three year timeframe.

• Fuel Efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions with the diesels having between 8 to 44 percent higher miles per gallon.

• Fuel Costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than all the gas versions of comparable vehicles, with 11 of the 12 vehicles showing double digit reductions in fuel costs, ranging from 10 to 29 percent. Similar to the three-year comparisons, five-year estimated fuel costs for diesel vehicles are less than those of comparable gas versions. The percentage difference in terms of the reduction from gas to diesel costs decreased for some diesel-gas comparisons as diesel prices began to increase around the 2005 timeframe.

• Depreciation: Eleven of the 12 diesel vehicles held their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the three-year timeframe with eight vehicles showing double digit percentage savings ranging from 17 percent up to 46 percent.

• Nine of the 10 diesel vehicles hold their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the five-year timeframe, with five vehicles showing double digit percentage savings ranging from 10 percent up to 39 percent.

The report analyzed the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for clean diesel vehicles and comparing their TCO to their gas vehicle counterparts. The study developed three- and five-year cost estimates of depreciation by modeling used vehicle auction data and fuel costs by modeling government data. The study also combined these estimates with three- and five-year estimates for repairs, fees and taxes, insurance, and maintenance from an outside data source.

Source: Diesel Technology Forum

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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The White House Beats Out A-List Celebrity Pads as the Home Most Americans Want To See

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

Despite the insatiable fascination with the lives of Hollywood celebrities, if given the opportunity to view only one famous home, one in three Americans (31 percent) would choose to see The White House instead of the luxury home hideaways of known stars such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (14 percent), Jennifer Lopez (10 percent) and Jay-Z and Beyonce (6 percent) -- proving that First Families are always en vogue.

The inaugural "HGTV HomePulse Survey," the first in a series commissioned by Scripps Networks Interactive and Vision Critical to monitor consumer perspectives on home-related topics such as real estate, renovation, decoration and budgeting, also uncovers that Americans' true obsession is with improving or enhancing their own homes.

Home Improvement Spending Trumps Vacation
The survey of approximately 1,000 randomly selected respondents ages 18+ finds that more than 81 percent believe that "money spent on improving my home will show a good return," while 66 percent agree that "now is a good time to invest in my home." In fact, Americans love their homes so much that 61 percent indicate that they would "choose to spend on their homes rather than on something else like a vacation or the latest electronics."

"We expected the 'HGTV HomePulse Survey' to confirm that people love their homes and are willing to spend money to improve them, but we didn't expect that they would be willing to give up something as important as a vacation to do it," said Denise Conroy, senior vice president, marketing, HGTV. "The appetite that Americans have for where they live transcends other popular interests and indicates a much deeper relationship between consumers and their homes."

When it comes to the preferred home improvements, men and women tend to agree on the need to expand the overall square footage of their home. However, 31 percent of women vs. 17 percent of men would opt to update the decor while 19 percent of men vs. three percent of women would choose technological enhancements. Interestingly, while many people want to create a comfortable home on the inside, 1 in 3 respondents tagged "a beautiful outdoor space" as extremely important to them.

Sending Out an SOS
Americans are passionate about home improvement, but in need of advice and information when working with professionals. Only 1 out of 5, about 22 percent, is confident that they are knowledgeable enough to keep a contractor honest.

Pursuing the American Dream
The "HGTV HomePulse Survey" also reveals that 76 percent of all non-homeowners are optimistic that they will eventually own a home, undoubtedly underscoring an improving housing market. Also worth noting is that a whopping 64 percent of non-home owning Millennials believe they will be ready to own their own home in their 30s.

Source: HGTV

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Home Remodeling More Popular Than Ever as New Home Prices Rise

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

According to the Census Bureau, a 28.9 percent rise in new home sales since last year -- coupled with a lack of premium existing properties on the market -- is causing home renovation spending to hit a six-year high. Power Home Remodeling Group cautions homeowners to spend smartly on remodeling projects by investing in fundamental improvements such as roofing, siding and window replacement that will earn the biggest return on investment in this time of cautious optimism as the housing industry continues to slowly improve from the recession. According to Remodeling Magazine, homeowners who invest in an upgrade to vinyl siding will recoup around 72 percent of the renovation's costs in added value to the home.

"Homeowners are investing money in their homes again as the cost of renovations is less than the cost of buying a new property and selling their existing property. Though it may be tempting for homeowners to make personalized improvements, it is important to spend money wisely when renovating and focus on upgrading basic home functionality to get the biggest bang for their home improvement buck," says Corey Schiller, Power's chief executive officer.

Power offers the following tips for exterior home improvements that update a home's style and curb appeal while also making it more valuable:

• Vinyl Siding – Updating the exterior of your home with vinyl siding will help increase your home's curb appeal while boosting its energy efficiency. Replacing the exterior of your home with vinyl siding will cut down on the maintenance of your home's facade and the project can recoup up to 72 percent in added home value.

• Energy Efficient Windows & Doors – New, energy efficient windows are ideal for insulating a home from extreme temperatures that change with the seasons. If a window overhaul is unrealistic, replacing windows in key rooms of the home where the sun rises and sets can make a huge impact. Old or improperly sealed doors can also significantly affect a home's energy efficiency by allowing air to easily escape. Installing a new door can provide more effective insulation than older ones. Window and door replacement can recoup up to 74 percent in added home value.

• Roofing – Though roofing typically lasts between 20 to 30 years before needing a full replacement, weather can loosen or damage shingles, putting a home at risk for water damage and air leaks. Fixing small issues before they turn into a huge headache can help save you time and money in the future. However, if your roofing needs to be replaced, the project can recoup up to 62 percent in added home value.

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Housing-Cost Burdens Rise for Renters

June 25, 2013 12:20 am

The most recent edition of the Center for Housing Policy (CHP)’s annual Housing Landscape report finds that severe housing-cost burdens among working renter households have risen for the third consecutive year. Housing Landscape 2013 explores the latest American Community Survey data from 2011, showing that 26.4 percent of working renters spent more than half of household income on housing costs. While severe housing-cost burdens stayed relatively stable for working homeowners between 2008 and 2011, roughly one in five working homeowners experienced severe housing affordability challenges throughout this period – despite falling home prices and mortgage interest rates.

The Housing Landscape report defines a working household as one with an income less than 120 percent of the median for its area, and with members working at least 20 hours per week on average.

The share of working renter households with a severe housing-cost burden grew over the three-year period due primarily to falling incomes and rising rental housing costs. Nationally, working renters saw their housing costs rise by 6 percent from 2008 to 2011, while their household incomes fell more than 3 percent. Lead report author Janet Viveiros says renters are stretched so thin by growing housing costs that many face impossible choices.

“The growing rate of severe housing-cost burdens among renters is not a new trend, but it is clearly an unsustainable one,” says Viveiros. “While rental costs have steadily risen over the last few years, wages for these working families have not fully recovered from the hit they took between 2008 and 2009. Spending most of your paycheck on rent means cutting back on other necessities, including healthcare and even food.”

Co-author Maya Brennan noted that the causes of rising housing-cost burdens among working renters include a difficult economy and an increased demand for rental housing, partly due to the crisis on the homeownership side of the market.

“While the economy pushed both owners’ and renters’ incomes down, the shift away from homeownership is pushing rents up due to increased demand. What we’re seeing with the rental market is not explainable by population trends alone—it clearly reflects the movement of former homeowners into rentals as well as delays in home purchases by current renters,” Brennan explains. “But this increase in rental demand has not been matched by an increase in supply. This imbalance leads to rising rents in markets across the country.”

Working homeowners may have dodged the upswing in housing costs that hit renters, but they have not avoided the effects of falling incomes. In fact, while housing costs among homeowners fell some 3 percent over the study period, household incomes among these homeowners fell even more than they did for renters, down more than 4 percent over the three-year span. However, NHC President and CEO Chris Estes cautioned that a high and growing proportion of all working households—renters and homeowners combined—cannot afford their housing, and that little is being done to help.

"The challenge we face is that despite the range of successful tools to help offset this crisis, we are still in a long trend of flat—and even slashed—funding for these important programs,” says Estes.

Estes notes that a recent report from the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission highlighted the success of federal housing programs like HOME, the housing voucher and the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and encouraged expanded funding for these programs to help respond to the housing affordability crisis.

Key national findings from the Housing Landscape 2013 report include:

  • Nearly one in four working households spends more than half of its income on housing. The share of working households with a severe housing cost burden increased significantly between 2008 and 2011, rising from 21.8 percent to 23.6 percent.
  • Declining incomes have exacerbated housing affordability problems for working renters. The median housing costs of working renters rose nearly six percent between 2008 and 2011 while their median incomes fell more than three percent.
  • Severe housing-cost burden was most prevalent among working households earning less than 30 percent of area median income (AMI). Eight in 10 working households earning less than 30 percent of AMI (but working an average of at least 20 hours per week) were severely burdened in 2011, a much higher share than for other income groups. Increases in housing-cost burdens occurred primarily among working households with incomes at or below 50 percent of AMI, but even some working households earning between 51 and 120 percent of AMI are faced with severe housing-cost burdens.

State and local findings include:

  • Between 2008 and 2011, the share of working households with a severe housing-cost burden increased significantly in 24 states and decreased significantly in only one state: South Dakota.
  • Among the 50 states and the District of Columbia, the following five had the highest share of working households with a severe housing-cost burden in 2011:
    • California 34%
    • Florida 32%
    • New Jersey 32%
    • Hawaii 30%
    •  New York 30%
  • Among the 50 largest metropolitan areas, the following five metropolitan areas had the highest share of working households with a severe housing cost-burden in 2011:
    • Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL  41%
    • Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA 39%
    • New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA 35%
    • Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 35%
    • San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA 34%

A closer look at the data reveals that the share of working households with a severe housing-cost burden increased significantly over the three years studied in 18 of the 50 largest metropolitan areas, yet decreased significantly only in the Washington, D.C. and Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif., area. Of the 18 metro areas with rising cost burdens, nine are located in the South. Overall, the level of severe housing-cost burden among working households displayed a high level of variation at the metropolitan level. Levels ranged from a high of 41 percent in the Miami area to a low of 14 percent in Pittsburgh.

Notes: For purposes of this report, “working households” are defined as those with a household income of no more than 120 percent of the area median income in which the household members worked an average of at least 20 hours per week for the preceding 12 months. “Severe housing cost-burden” is defined as monthly housing costs (including utilities) exceeding 50 percent of household income.


Source: Center for Housing Policy

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How to Keep Your Backyard Pool Safe

June 25, 2013 12:20 am

As temperatures rise this summer, a day at the pool becomes one of the top things to do. However, more than 237,500 swimming-related and 25,522 diving injuries were treated in 2012 in emergency rooms, doctors' offices and clinics, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) offer the following safety tips to avoid swimming and diving injuries:

Diving tips:

  • Don't ever dive into shallow water. Before diving, inspect the depth of the water to make sure it is deep enough for diving.  If diving from a high point, make sure the bottom of the body of water is double the distance from which you're diving.  For example, if you plan to dive from eight feet above the water, make sure the bottom of the body of water, or any rocks, boulders or other impediments are at least 16 feet under water. 
  • Never dive into above-ground pools
  • Only one person at a time should stand on a diving board.  Dive only off the end of the board and do not run on the board.  Do not try to dive far out or bounce more than once.  Swim away from the board immediately afterward to make room for the next diver.

Swimming tips:

  • Do not swim alone or allow others to swim alone. 
  • Make sure children are supervised at all times. Backyard pools should have a 5-foot minimum high fence that completely surrounds it.  
  • Don't attempt to swim if tired, cold or overheated. 
  • An inexperienced swimmer should wear a life jacket in the water. 
  • Carefully monitor weather conditions before and while swimming.  Avoid being in the water during storms, fog or high winds. 
  • Develop a plan for reaching medical personnel who can treat swimming-related injuries.  Anyone watching swimmers near the water should learn CPR and be able to rescue them. 
  • Never swim or dive under the influence.

Source: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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American Households Driving Economic Growth

June 25, 2013 12:20 am

Buoyed by rising home prices, American households will drive U.S. economic growth forward according to a report released recently by TD Economics, an affiliate of TD Bank.

"The outlook for the economy is characterized by the increasing resiliency and confidence of the private sector up against ongoing fiscal restraint," says TD Chief Economist Craig Alexander.

"In the first quarter, the headwind on the economy was tax hikes. In the second and third quarters, it will be spending cuts from sequestration. As these drags lift, a sturdier foundation for economic growth will be revealed."

TD Economics forecasts the economy will grow 1.9% in 2013. Economic activity should accelerate thereafter, with 2014 chalking up growth of 2.8%.

American households gaining confidence despite fiscal drag

The resiliency of the American consumer was on full display in the first quarter of this year. Despite a hefty increase in taxes that cut nearly 4 percentage points from income growth, consumer spending rose by an impressive 3.4 percent.

"The strength in consumer spending is evidence that the negative impact of deleveraging is waning and improved balance sheets are providing an offset to fiscal drag," says Alexander.

Fiscal cutbacks will continue over the next several quarters. Automatic spending cuts went into effect in March and will lead to the furlough (unpaid days off) of millions of federal employees over the next several months. This is likely to weigh on economic growth. However, the underlying recovery in the private sector will continue.

Housing rebound continuing but lots of room to grow

The improvement in household net worth has much to do with the turnaround in the housing market. Home prices have turned positive across the vast majority of the country.

"The housing market has done much of the hard work of clearing the overhang of unsold homes. It is now beginning to pay off in terms of rebounding prices," notes Alexander.

In many parts of the country, the challenge now facing the housing market is too little supply. "The next phase of the recovery will be a stronger rebound in construction," says Alexander.

Housing starts are still well below the level required to keep pace with household growth and depreciation. From their current pace of just under a million units, housing starts are likely to rise to 1.3 million units by the end of next year. The rebounding housing market will go a long way to supporting economic growth and offsetting the drag from fiscal policy.

The Federal Reserve will begin to slow asset purchases later this year

With increased confidence in the pace of economic growth, attention in financial markets has turned to when the Federal Reserve will begin to slow their support for the recovery.

The Federal Reserve has committed to continue its asset purchase program until the outlook for the labor market has improved substantially. "This sets a pretty high bar. While we are getting closer, with the ongoing drag from fiscal policy, we're not quite there yet," notes Alexander.

"We anticipate that by September, the worst of sequestration will have passed and the Fed will have sufficient positive economic news to begin tapering their asset purchases, with the goal to end purchases outright in the first quarter of 2014."

TD Economics provides analysis of global economic performance and forecasting, and is an affiliate of TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank.

Source: TD Bank

Published with permission from RISMedia.

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Five Tips to Take before Hitting the Road

June 24, 2013 12:18 am

(Family Features)—Millions of Americans are expected to take a summer vacation this year. If you're one of those hitting the road to reach your final destination, here are a few reminders to help ensure you're road-trip-ready.

1. Check under the hood. 
Even if you properly care for your vehicle year round by keeping up with regularly scheduled maintenance, it is wise to check your vehicle's oil, coolant and wiper fluid levels before heading out on the road. Hot summer temperatures can cause your engine to overheat, so keep an eye on all of the warning lights on your dashboard -- from the engine light to the gas gauge.

2. Inspect your vehicle. To help avoid any unfortunate surprises, do a thorough check of your vehicle, paying special attention to the only part that actually touches the road -- your tires. Be sure to properly check all four tires with a tire pressure gauge. The optimum tire pressure required for your car can be found on a sticker in the door jamb, on the inside of the glove compartment door or in the owner's manual.
"The proper inflation is essential for the performance and longevity of a tire," says Ron Margadonna of Michelin. "In fact, keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level can boost fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon."

3. Check the weather.
Unexpected storms are common during the summer months and the first few minutes of a rain shower can be a dangerous time for drivers. Oil and grease trapped on roadways rises to the surface and can create slippery driving conditions that can impact the traction and grip of your car. In fact, stopping on a wet road can take up to four times the normal distance as a dry road. It's best to slow down and increase the space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

4. Prep friends, family and your home. Remember to tell neighbors, friends and family that you'll be out of town. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the house and have someone pick up your mail and newspaper. It's also a good idea to set up timers on lamps and lights in various rooms throughout your home so it looks occupied.

5. Review the route. No matter how well you plan your journey, you can never predict what obstacles you might encounter along the way. Road construction, traffic detours or bad weather can be troublesome if you don't have a backup plan. It's best to review your route and understand the alternate roads that can help you arrive at your destination safely, stress free and ready to enjoy your vacation.

Source: www.MichelinMan.com

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Existing-Home Sales Rise in May with Strong Price Increases

June 24, 2013 12:18 am

Existing-home sales improved in May and remain solidly above a year ago, while the median price continued to rise by double-digit rates from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 4.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million in May from 4.97 million in April, and is 12.9 percent above the 4.59 million-unit pace in May 2012.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the recovery is strengthening and to expect limited housing supplies for the balance of the year in much of the country. “The housing numbers are overwhelmingly positive. However, the number of available homes is unlikely to grow, despite a nice gain in May, unless new home construction ramps up quickly by an additional 50 percent,” he said. “The home price growth is too fast, and only additional supply from new homebuilding can moderate future price growth.”

Existing-home sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the market jumped to 5.44 million as buyers took advantage of tax stimulus. Sales have stayed above year-ago levels for 23 months, while the national median price shows 15 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

Total housing inventory at the end of May rose 3.3 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April. Listed inventory is 10.1 percent below a year ago, when there was a 6.5-month supply.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $208,000 in May, up 15.4 percent from May 2012. This marks six straight months of double-digit increases and is the strongest price gain since October 2005, which jumped a record 16.6 percent from a year earlier. The last time there were 15 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases was from March 2005 to May 2006.

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Speed Bumps Remain for Electric Cars; Incentives Could Recharge Interest

June 24, 2013 12:18 am

Electric cars are beginning to post all sorts of impressive numbers. Recently, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold. And last year, roughly 440,000 cars deriving some degree of "go" from a battery – including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and cars running on electricity alone – were sold in this country, with approximately 50,000 of them being pure electrics.

Those are big numbers, but it's important to look at them with an equally big dose of perspective. With roughly 14.5 new million cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year, combined hybrid sales of roughly 390,000 vehicles represent 3 percent of total sales; those 50,000 pure electrics? About 0.3 percent. But with more and more manufacturers producing battery-propelled vehicles of one kind or another, and fuel prices showing no sign of falling, many anticipate continued growth for the sector.

"Consideration has been on the rise over recent years for traditional hybrids, while other electric car segments – though showing points of growth – have been more sporadic in their gains," explains Mike Chadsey, vice president, Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive.

When asked which of several improved-efficiency vehicle types they would consider the next time they are in the market for a new vehicles, nearly half of American car owners (or anticipated owners) indicated that they would consider a traditional hybrid (48 percent), while nearly four in ten (38 percent) would consider a smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle. Just over one-fourth (27 percent) would consider a plug-in hybrid, two in ten (19 percent) an electric vehicle and 16 percent would consider a diesel vehicle. Roughly four in ten (41 percent) indicate that they would only get a vehicle with lower operating costs if they could do so without changing their driving habits or expectations.

Current and prospective drivers were also asked how their likelihood to consider several types of vehicles has changed within the past two years.

• Over four in ten (43 percent) indicate being more likely to consider a traditional hybrid (43 percent) – roughly twice the percentage saying they're less likely to do so (21 percent).
• Adding an electrical plug appears to put the brakes on consideration growth, with current or prospective drivers reporting being more (30 percent) and less (30 percent) likely to consider them in equal percentages.
• Taking away the gas tank entirely seems to stall things out further still, with the 23 percent more likely to consider them overpowered by the 38 percent less likely to do so.

Challenges and opportunities for pure electrics

When asked to select their top concerns related to pure electric vehicles, price (65 percent) and range (63 percent) were the top issues, followed by repair/maintenance costs (55 percent), reliability (53 percent), performance/power (48 percent) and the fact that it is still new technology (44 percent).

But the electric vehicles industry still has some juice left; in addition to being in a state of constant advancement, the study indicates that several incentives – including some already being tried out by current manufacturers – show the potential to impact Americans' likelihood to consider such vehicles:

• The majority of Americans (56 percent) would be more likely to consider such a vehicle if it were incentivized with a free fast-charge station installed in their home.
• Nearly half (47 percent) would be more likely to consider one if it cost the same as a similar gas-powered vehicle.
• Over four in ten (42 percent) indicated that having charging stations at or near their workplace would provide such an incentive.
• Smaller, but still notable, percentages indicate that a free gas-powered loaner for a set number of days per year (20 percent), reduced costs on toll roads (17 percent), collision insurance provided with their lease (15 percent) and HOV or "carpool" lane access (14 percent) would make them more likely to consider an electric car.

Source: Harris Interactive

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Why Taking Pets to Work Enhances Productivity and Improves Mood

June 23, 2013 6:18 pm

According to the American Institute of Stress, the major source of tension in American adults is job related. Luckily, there may be a silver lining to workplace stress and it has four legs, fur and a wagging tail. A recent study from Virginia Commonwealth University shows that interaction with animals can help lower levels of cortisol, the hormone related to stress. It also notes that people who bring their pets to work saw an 11 percent reduction of stress. Walking pets during work breaks can also increase productivity because it encourages more breaks that help jumpstart employee creativity and interaction. The following are four tips for inviting animals on the job.

Tip #1: Start Slow for First-Timers
Pet parents taking dogs to work for the first time can bet on their four-legged friend becoming distracted. To ensure good behavior, start pets out with short time increments in the office. If possible, start by taking Fido to work for half days while he gets used to the environment. Reward pets for good behavior such as laying at your feet quietly and resisting the urge to jump excitedly on coworkers. For anxious or overly excited dogs, pet parents can soothe Fido with the Thudershirt Dog Anxiety Solution - a breathable, lightweight vest that wraps around pets and provides gentle comfort.

Tip #2: Simple Commands to Ensure a Peaceful Workday
"Place" and "Stay" cues will help pets understand what their pet parents expect from them while at the office and provide a recognizable area for the dog to go when a break is needed. To begin, select a rug with non-slip grip (like a bathroom rug or yoga mat) and place it by your feet. Reward Fido when he stands or lies down on the rug. From there, add the command "place" so he associates this area with the word. Once the pet understands "place," add the command "stay." Soon, pets will begin to understand that the rug, or "place," is somewhere to go to sit and "stay". Don't forget to bring your rug to work! This not only works with a rug, but also with your dog's bed. Plus, bringing it to the office can calm dogs because it smells like home and helps make the new surroundings more familiar.

Tip #3: Expel Excess Energy Before Heading to the Office
It's normal for younger or easily excitable dogs to be very distracted at the office, but teaching pets manners and keeping them entertained can be easy. A half hour before heading in to the office, take him or her for a walk to burn off any excess energy. During work hours, bring a toy that can be filled with treats and provide hours of entertainment.

Tip #4: Arrive at the Office Safely
A key component of taking pets to work is their safety traveling to and from the office each day. Contrary to popular belief, some pets don't enjoy car rides. If this is the case, start pets out by only going a few miles and then gradually work up to the length of the commute. In addition, 61 percent of owners surveyed by the American Pet Products Associations admitted they do not secure or restrain their dog in the car. An unrestrained pet can cause distracted driving, which can harm themselves and the driver in an accident. Use a dog seatbelt or barrier to help keep pets contained and comfortable. Also, keep pets out of the front seat unless they are secured in a booster seat that won't trigger the front airbag in an accident.

Source: Petco

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