New Ford F-150 Fuel Economy Released


Ford just released its fuel economy estimates for the much-anticipated F-150 pickup. Our site 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 ( photo by Evan Sears

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

Gas Price Free Fall Continues


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


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)

What Midsize Sedan Gets the Best Mileage?


Part of the scoring in our big 10-car $27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge comes from observed mileage over a drive route that consisted of close to 180 miles of both city and highway driving in and around Baltimore. The winner, the Nissan Altima, reported 32.4 mpg.

$27,000 Midsize Sedan Challenge
Index | ResultsWhat the Judges Said

We made no effort to mirror the EPA test cycle, but more highway driving should benefit all the cars, and it didn't do so, at least not equally. One sedan hit its EPA-estimated combined mpg figure exactly, two fell short and seven exceeded their ratings.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | November 17, 2014 | Comments (1)

Gas Price Decline Is Longest Since Recession Hit


Gas prices fell for the 49th day in a row on Thursday, pushing the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded to $2.92 in what has become the longest consecutive decline since 2008, when the economic recession curtailed driving and demand for gasoline. The average price for regular unleaded is 42 cents lower than on Sept. 25, when the seven-week decline began, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report.

Related: After Dip, New Vehicle Fuel Economy Holds Steady in October

At that time, the lowest statewide average price was $3.10, in South Carolina and Tennessee. Today, South Carolina has the lowest statewide average at $2.67, and 28 other states average less than $3. The average is less than $2.75 in seven states. AAA likened the drop in pump prices to a tax cut because it gives motorists billions of dollars to spend on other things. The travel-services giant said major indicators such as oil prices and an ample supply point to continued low prices for the near future.

By Rick Popely | November 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

2015 Volkswagen GTI Real-World Mileage With the Manual Transmission


We already put a redesigned Volkswagen GTI through a mileage challenge as part of our recent $30,000 Cheap Speed Challenge. It bested the field with its optional six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission during that contest. When a six-speed manual transmission model arrived at's Chicago office right around the time of a road trip to Milwaukee it seemed like it would be a good opportunity to see how it compared.

Related: 2014 Mini Cooper S Versus 2015 Volkswagen GTI

EPA ratings for the two transmissions are almost identical. Both are rated at 25 mpg city and 28 mpg combined, but the manual gets slightly better highway ratings at 34 mpg versus 33 mpg highway for the automatic.

By David Thomas | November 13, 2014 | Comments (1)

After Dip, New Vehicle Fuel Economy Holds Steady in October


The average fuel economy for all new cars sold in the U.S. in October held fast at 25.3 mpg following a 0.5 mpg dip the previous month, the biggest for that period in nearly three years. The study, conducted by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, calculates the sales-weighted fuel economy through monthly sales of individual new models of light-duty vehicles, including cars, SUVs, vans and pickup trucks, and is based on "window-sticker value" as opposed to real-world mileage.

Related: Gas Prices Dip Below $3 a Gallon

While the nation's fuel economy did stabilize last month, it's also the first time mileage failed to make a month-to-month improvement between September and October in at least seven years. The October trend from 2008 to 2013 was for fuel economy to go up by an average of 0.63 mpg, with the greatest improvement by a full 1 mpg coming in 2009, and the smallest upward increment of 0.4 in 2008 and 2010; those rebounds followed an average August-to-September decline of 0.33 mpg during the six-year period.

By Matt Schmitz | November 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

Gas Prices Dip Below $3 a Gallon


By Rick Popely

Gas prices fell for the 42nd straight day on Thursday, pushing the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded to a four-year low of $2.95 as motorists across the country spent less at the pump every time they filled up. Even as motorists shell out fewer dollars per gallon, though, with winter approaching they are likely to get fewer miles per gallon in return because they are burning winter gasoline blends and driving in cold winter weather, two factors that hurt fuel economy.

Study: Mileage Improvements Save Nation a Month's Worth of Gas

The EPA says mileage in city driving for a gas-powered car is about 12 percent lower at 20 degrees than at 77 degrees, and as much as 22 percent lower for short trips of less than 4 miles. Fuel economy for hybrids can drop even more, 31 to 34 percent, at that temperature. Cold weather takes a toll on fuel economy in a number of ways: It takes longer for the engine to reach normal operating temperature, when it achieves its best fuel economy. If you let your car run at idle for a while to warm the engine before you drive, you're getting zero miles per gallon.

By Matt Schmitz | November 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

Department of Justice Fines Hyundai-Kia $100 Million


Two years ago, after an EPA investigation spurred by consumer complaints, Hyundai and Kia announced they would reimburse owners of about 900,000 vehicles for misstated fuel economy ratings; today the Department of Justice is leveling a related $100 million civil penalty against the Korean automakers. They have also agreed to spend approximately $50 million on programs to prevent future violations as well as forfeit 4.75 million greenhouse gas emission credits that the companies previously claimed. The EPA estimates the credits, which can be used to offset emissions from less fuel-efficient vehicle models, to be worth more than $200 million. 

Related: Hyundai, Kia to Pay 900,000 Owners for Bad MPG Estimates

According to the EPA, the fine is the largest in Clean Air Act history, which the automakers violated when they sold close to 1.2 million vehicles that will emit approximately 4.75 million metric tons of greenhouse gases in excess of what they certified to the EPA.

The discrepancy stems from the erroneous coastdown procedures that resulted in the automaker's adjustment of the fuel economy ratings of around a quarter of its model-year 2011-2013 vehicles; combined city/highway ratings were reduced by 1-2 miles per gallon, bringing them in line with the EPA's numbers. 

By Jennifer Geiger | November 3, 2014 | Comments (3)

Study: Just One-Third of Hybrids Save Money Versus Non-Hybrid Counterparts


Onetime tax incentives for hybrid-electric vehicles expired nearly four years ago, leaving consumers to wonder which hybrids actually save money versus their non-hybrid counterparts. Vincentric, a Michigan-based data provider, ran its latest cost-of-ownership model on dozens of hybrids. The result? A third of them save you money over five years' ownership, but most end up costing more.

Related: Study: Despite Recent Relief, Americans Spend More on Gas Overall

Vincentric analyzed cost-of-ownership data on 30 hybrids for the 2014 model year. The company found the average price premium for a hybrid versus its non-hybrid counterpart is $4,325, but five years' ownership and 75,000 total miles trim the hybrid premium to just $1,339. Over that same timespan, 10 of the 30 hybrids studied save money versus their non-hybrid counterparts. The thriftiest car, the 2014 Lexus CT 200h, saves $7,632 over five years. Still, Lexus also makes the worst value in the group — the 2014 GS 450h, which Vincentric says costs $8,155 more than its GS 350 counterpart.

Which hybrids come out on top? And which will cost you more? Read on to find out.

By Kelsey Mays | November 3, 2014 | Comments (5)

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