Video: These Over-the-Top Features Will Make You Drool

With car options, there are luxury features that make your driving experience more pleasurable in a tasteful, elegant manner. And then there are over-the-top features that exist in large part so you can boast to whomever will listen. Watch the video above as Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays introduces some of these show-offy features, from self-parking to hot-stone massage seats.

By Matt Schmitz | October 17, 2014 | Comments (1)

Could National Average for Gas Prices Fall Below $3?

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Gas prices fell for the 21st straight day Thursday as the AAA travel services organization estimated that at least a third of gas stations across the country were selling regular unleaded for less than $3. The national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas was $3.16, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report, 9 cents less than a week ago and 22 cents less than a month ago.

Related: Gas Prices Reach Lowest of the Year

Regular unleaded averaged less than $3 in 13 states, with Missouri posting the lowest average at $2.84. Most of the under-$3 states were in the South, where low state gas taxes help keep prices down, but the list included Delaware, where the average price was $2.99; New Jersey, $2.98; and Minnesota, $2.95. Motorists in St. Louis were paying even less than the Missouri statewide average, at $2.79 a gallon, according to AAA, among the lowest for major U.S. cities.

By Rick Popely | October 17, 2014 | Comments (1)

Poll: What Should the Highest Speed Limit Be?

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You might resent speed limits when on a road trip or otherwise with few other travelers around and a desire to be at your destination as soon as possible. Surely driving 5 or 10 mph faster can't hurt. But you might not want to rush to judgment about speed limits. While they might seem arbitrary at times, public officials must consider a number of factors when determining an appropriate speed limit — from traffic volume to the presence of pedestrians and bicyclists to roadway design and conditions to crash frequency and severity, and even political influences.

Related: Speediest and Slowest States: Where Does Yours Rank?

A common thread usually running through any criteria for a speed limit is safety. Centuries before cars even existed, according to the Federal Highway Administration, the first American "speed limits" were set by the cities of Newport, R.I., and Boston for how fast horses and horse-drawn carriages could go in order to protect pedestrians.

By Matt Schmitz | October 15, 2014 | Comments (15)

Video: These In-Car Apps Aren't Worth Your Cash

When shopping for a new car, buyers are bombarded now more than ever with optional tech upgrades, from backup cameras to Wi-Fi hotspots and from social-media feeds to internet radio. Which of these features will enhance your driving experience and which should you kick to the curb? Cars.com reviewer Kelsey Mays will help you decide in the video above.

By Matt Schmitz | October 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

'Price Is Right' Contestants to Bid on 'Dream Cars'

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OK, playing "The Price is Right" rules, as close as you can without going over: How much would you expect to pay for a Porsche Cayenne? How about a Range Rover Sport SE? A Maserati Quattroporte S Q4, Tesla Model S or Aston Martin V8 Vantage Roadster? All next week contestants on the iconic game show will be making bids on that half-million-dollar quintet of luxury vehicles in hopes of hearing Bob Barker … er … we mean, Drew Carey, announce that they've won "A NEW CARRR!!!"

What Car Would You Buy if You Won Mega Millions?

"Dream Car Week" runs Oct. 13-17 on the four-decade-old-plus shopping-themed game show that asks contestants to wager on the retail price of merchandise in hopes of winning extravagant prizes presented by comely models. The show was famously hosted by Barker from its inception until 2007, when bespectacled comedian and sitcom star Carey succeeded him. The show runs 11 a.m. to noon Eastern Standard Time weekdays on CBS.

By Matt Schmitz | October 10, 2014 | Comments (5)

Gas Prices Reach Lowest of the Year

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More motorists were paying less at the pump as the average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas fell 8 cents the past week to $3.25, according to Thursday's AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report — the lowest national average in 2014. The previous low for the year was $3.27, set on Feb. 7, and AAA predicted prices could fall another 5 to 15 cents by the end of the year if current conditions continue.

Related: New-Car Fuel Economy Sees Uncommonly Big Drop

The average price in Missouri dropped 14 cents the past week to $2.97, the first time any state has averaged less than $3 since Jan. 23. Missouri's average back then was $2.99 a gallon. Some gas stations in more than two-dozen other states were posting pump prices below $3.

By Rick Popely | October 10, 2014 | Comments (3)

New-Car Fuel Economy Sees Uncommonly Big Drop

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The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. experienced its biggest dip in nearly three years in September. That's according to the latest figures from the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute, which show last month's fuel economy to be 25.3 mpg compared with 25.8 in August.

Related: Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: September 2014

While small drops are not uncommon, the last time the average fuel economy fell that sharply was in December 2011, when it dipped to 22.6 mpg from 23.1 mpg in November of that year, also a decrease of 0.5 mpg. The biggest month-to-month decline since the institute began tracking average fuel economy seven years ago came in 2009, when it plummeted from a then-record 22.4 mpg in August to 21.1 mpg in September, a 1.3 mpg drop that followed a year of steady increases. However, fuel economy quickly rebounded in October of that year, jumping a full 1 mpg to 22.1.

By Matt Schmitz | October 8, 2014 | Comments (1)

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Hits the Stock Market on Monday

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Having cleared all regulatory hurdles, the merger between Fiat and Chrysler will become fully effective on Sunday, The Detroit News reports. The recently formed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will issue common shares Monday on the New York Stock Exchange and Italian stock market.

It's the final step in a process that began more than five years ago. Fiat took a stake in then-teetering Chrysler in June 2009 as part of the U.S. government's $85 billion bailout of Chrysler, GM and their financing arms. The Italian automaker completed its acquisition of Chrysler in January 2014, and the FCA name was born. Trading of existing Fiat stock ends this Friday. Current owners will receive one share of FCA for every Fiat share they owned, Fiat said in January.

Read the full story from our friends at The Detroit News here.

By Kelsey Mays | October 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

AAA: Hands-Free Voice Recognition Systems Still Distracting

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Ever felt like the voice recognition from your car or smartphone garbled more than it understood? You're not alone. In J.D. Power's 2014 Initial Quality Study, voice-recognition systems added significantly to the headaches in new or redesigned cars, which often pack more of the technology than models unchanged from the previous year. Now a new study from AAA finds that voice recognition isn't just annoying; it can be dangerous.

Related: Distracted Driving Campaign Targets 'Big Fat Myth' of Hands-Free Safety

And it's not just in-car systems; Apple's Siri personal assistant proved even more distracting. AAA and the University of Utah conducted the multiyear study, which coded distraction categories from 1 (least distracting) to 5 (most distracting) through driving simulators and real-world test cars rigged with measurements for driver reaction times, plus dozens of real drivers.

By Kelsey Mays | October 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

AAA: Winter Could Bring Widespread Gas Prices Under $3

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The trend downward trend of gas prices should continue at least into December, and pump prices could fall below $3 a gallon in many areas by the end of the year, travel services organization AAA said in its monthly report. AAA estimated that nearly 4 percent of gas stations across the nation, scattered among 26 states, were selling gas for less than $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded, and that "this number should increase significantly over the next couple of months."

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

The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Thursday put the national average for regular unleaded at $3.33 a gallon, the lowest on this date in four years. AAA predicted that the national average could fall to between $3.10 and $3.20 by the end of the year, with several states slipping below $3. "If everything goes smoothly, buying gas for less than $3 per gallon should be refreshingly common in many parts of the country this winter," AAA spokesman Avery Ash said in a statement.

By Rick Popely | October 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

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