Regular, Premium and Diesel Prices Fall

The good news for motorists on gas prices keeps rolling in as pump prices continue to fall and analysts predict that oil prices should remain low for the next two years. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded fell 10 cents the past week to $2.08 on Thursday, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report. AAA said more than half of U.S. gas stations are selling regular unleaded for less than $2 a gallon, and it looks increasingly likely that the national average could soon fall below $2 for the first time in nearly six years.

Related: Trucks Take Center Stage at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show

Twenty-one states were already under that threshold, with Missouri having the lowest statewide average at $1.73. GasBuddy.com listed two stations in the St. Louis area Thursday morning that were selling regular unleaded for less than $1.50 a gallon. AAA said the national average for premium gas was down to $2.50, and this week diesel fuel slipped below $3 to a national average of $2.96 a gallon. Hawaii remained the only state to average more than $3 for regular unleaded at $3.37 per gallon. California, New York and the District of Columbia were the only others with prices over $2.50 a gallon.

By Rick Popely | January 16, 2015 | Comments (6)

How Low Will Gas Prices Go?

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Fifteen weeks and counting. That's how long gas prices have fallen in the longest consecutive decline on record — 105 straight days — and pump prices could fall even lower.

U.S. crude oil was trading below $49 per barrel early Thursday, the lowest price in nearly six years and less than half of what it was in June. Analysts were predicting oil prices could drop more in the near term, pushing gas prices further down as well.

Related: Video: How Long Will Low Gas Prices Last?

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said Thursday that the national average for regular unleaded was $2.18 per gallon, the lowest since May 2009 and $1.13 less than a year ago.

Six states were averaging less than $2 per gallon, led by Kansas, $1.89; Oklahoma, $1.87; and Missouri, $1.81. Five more states were within a penny of slipping below the $2 threshold. Regular unleaded could be found for less than $2 at stations in at least 40 states, AAA said.

By Rick Popely | January 9, 2015 | Comments (3)

2015 Audi A8 L TDI: Real-World Fuel Economy

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Big luxury cars are great. If you haven't actually had the chance to drive one, go try that 5-year-old Mercedes-Benz S-Class in the dealership's used-car section the next time you're there to buy a new Camry. But big luxury cars often come with other big things — big weight, big engines and quite a thirst for fuel. This is starting to change, however, as more of these large luxury cars start to feature alternative-fuel powertrains like the long-wheelbase 2015 Audi A8 L TDI and its turbocharged diesel V-6 engine.

Related: Research the 2015 Audi A8

German automakers have been at the forefront of diesel technology in passenger cars with all of them offering some form of it, and the fuel economy gains are significant. A standard Audi A8 L with the supercharged 3.0-liter V-6 engine is rated at 19/29/22 mpg city/highway/combined. Not bad for such a big car. Move up to the turbocharged 4.0-liter V-8 and your mileage drops to 18/29/22 mpg, a nearly identical rating. Splurge for the slick W-12 engine and you'll get only 14/22/17 mpg. But tick the diesel box and your big, comfy A8 L could return 24/36/28 mpg. The combined city/highway rating is 27 percent higher than that of the base engine.

Those are some impressive numbers for a vehicle this big and heavy, but are they realistic in real-world driving? We loaded an A8 L TDI with three people and some weekend luggage for a fall-color tour of southern Ontario earlier this year.

By Aaron Bragman | December 23, 2014 | Comments (14)

Don't Be Swayed By Cheap Premium Gas

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With gas prices at a five-year low and regular unleaded gasoline selling for less than $2 a gallon in some areas, it might be tempting to treat your car's engine to a tankful of premium gas — even though it's designed to run on regular — to get the benefits of higher octane and additional additives.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

Save your money and don't do it, said Mike Calkins, technical services manager of AAA, a travel services organization.

"Use what the manufacturer says to use because there's not enough benefit, if any, to moving up to a higher grade of gasoline. You're just spending money unnecessarily," Calkins said.

Burning premium gas in a car that only needs regular will not increase gas mileage, boost acceleration, reduce emissions or do more to remove those troublesome "engine deposits" that the oil companies warn about in their commercials.

The main difference between premium and regular is that premium has a higher octane rating, 91 or higher instead of 87.

By Rick Popely | December 19, 2014 | Comments (4)

Low Gas Prices Could Save Families $550 in 2015

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A government report released Tuesday predicts that the current drop in gas prices could save the average U.S. household $550 in 2015 versus this year. The $1,962 spent in 2015 will be the least spent on gas since 2004 when fuel cost families $1,598 a year.

Related: What's the Most Affordable Car in 2014?

U.S. oil prices closed Tuesday up just 2 cents to close at $55.93 a barrel but is down 50 percent since June. Read more here.

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | December 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Gas Prices Drop 11 Cents in a Week

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As oil prices keep falling, gasoline prices continue to tumble as well, and the forecasts for how low they can go keep changing.

AAA predicted on Monday, when U.S. oil was trading at just less than $66 a barrel, that the national average for regular unleaded gas "could test $2.50 by Christmas." But after oil prices sank to a five-year low of $60 Wednesday, AAA said on Twitter, "Gas prices may drop even faster than we expected."

Related: What's The Most Affordable Car in 2014? 

The national average for regular was down to $2.62 Thursday, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, and closing in on the lowest level since 2009. The average dropped 11 cents in the past week and 31 cents during the past month and has fallen $1.08 from the 2014 peak of $3.70 set on April 28.

By Rick Popely | December 12, 2014 | Comments (2)

What Mileage Does the 2014 Jeep Cherokee Get After 13,000 miles?

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After climbing to its maximum average of 23.67 mpg, our long-term 2014 Jeep Cherokee test car just dipped below 23 mpg after 13,000 miles. A 16.8 mpg refuel marks the lowest recorded tank since our purchase of the four-cylinder all-wheel-drive Cherokee in March and was one of four fill-ups below 23 mpg since our last update 982 miles ago: 16.8 mpg, 19 mpg, 21.9 mpg and 22.8 mpg.

Related: More Long-Term Fleet News

By Joe Bruzek | November 26, 2014 | Comments (6)

New Ford F-150 Fuel Economy Released

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Ford just released its fuel economy estimates for the much-anticipated F-150 pickup. Our site PickupTrucks.com has a full rundown on all the numbers but the highest rating of 26 mpg highway – while best in the class – might not wow out of the gate. Combined numbers however are more significantly improved.

Read the full report here: Ford Releases 2015 F-150 Fuel-Economy Numbers (PickupTrucks.com)

Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

By David Thomas | November 21, 2014 | Comments (0)

Gas Price Free Fall Continues

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Gas prices have declined for eight weeks in a row, giving motorists a savings bonus just in time for the holiday shopping season and reaching the lowest level for this time of year in nearly five years. The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report pegged the national average for regular unleaded at $2.85 a gallon Thursday and said the price was below $3 at more than three-fourths of U.S. gas stations.

Related: Gas Price Decline Is Longest Since Recession Hit

AAA said the national average is poised to be the lowest for the Thanksgiving holiday since 2009, when it was $2.63 a gallon as a result of reduced demand due to the recession. The average price for regular unleaded has fallen 49 cents a gallon since the 56-day slide began on Sept. 25. AAA said the consecutive-day slide is the longest since 2008.

By Rick Popely | November 21, 2014 | Comments (1)

2016 Toyota Mirai: First Look

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Competes with: Honda FCX Clarity fuel-cell, Hyundai Tucson fuel-cell

Looks like: A Toyota Corolla viewed through a fun-house mirror

Drivetrain: 153-horsepower hydrogen fuel-cell electric drivetrain

Hits dealerships: Fall 2015; California only

With the 2016 Mirai, Toyota finalizes a plan officially announced way back in 2010: to have a hydrogen fuel-cell electric sedan in the Toyota lineup by 2015 for a sticker price around $50,000. Mission accomplished. The 2016 Mirai goes on sale in fall 2015 with a $57,000 starting price, not including available state or federal tax incentives. A leasing option of $499 per month for 36 months with $3,649 due at lease signing is also available.

Related: Toyota Previews Production Fuel-Cell Sedan

The fuel-cell-powered Mirai combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity that drives the electric motor, unlike a typical electric car's primary power source, a large battery. The main emission of a fuel-cell vehicle is simply water vapor. Toyota says the Mirai has a range of up to 300 miles on a full tank of hydrogen, and the carbon-fiber tanks can be refueled in about five minutes. As an added bonus, Toyota will cover hydrogen-fuel costs for up to three years as part of an extensive list of ownership perks.

By Joe Bruzek | November 19, 2014 | Comments (3)

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