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)

Toyota Social Safety Campaign Aims to Keep Kids Safe

Toyota #Buckleupforlife

Despite my desire for a more meaningful Christmas, my family usually goes down to the wire frantically trying to fill shopping carts and stockings. I'm probably not alone with this hectic holiday hullabaloo, but even with all the activity there should be enough time to take part in Toyota's child safety campaign.

Related: How to Transport Your Christmas Tree

Toyota's #BUCKLEUPFORLIFE campaign uses social media to buckle up many children who otherwise would be without child safety seats this holiday season.

By Kristin Varela | December 16, 2014 | Comments (0)

Report: Vehicle Thefts Down 58 Percent Since 1991

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It's the sort of threat most people don't think about until it actually happens: stolen cars. But car theft is on a steep decline, according to new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Citing recent data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the NICB says 699,594 cars were stolen in 2013. That's down 58 percent from 1991, when vehicle theft hit a record 1,661,738.

Related: Heat Map Shows Auto-Theft Hot Spots

More impressively, the decline occurred while registered vehicles and the general population rose. In 1991, thieves purloined 659 cars for every 100,000 Americans. In 2013, the rate fell to just 221.3 cars per 100,000 people.

In historical terms, today's rate isn't the lowest. NICB notes that in 1960, thieves made off with just 182 cars for every 100,000 people. But a lot of that stems from lower ownership rates. Back then, every 10 Americans accounted for just 4.1 registered vehicles. By 2012, that density ballooned to 8.1 registered vehicles for every 10 Americans. The federal data referenced by NICB includes buses, motorcycles and heavy-duty trucks — all classified as motor vehicles by the Federal Highway Administration — but if you look at auto thefts as a percentage of all registered vehicles, not people, recent years present the lowest overall rate.

By Kelsey Mays | December 10, 2014 | Comments (0)

Video: How Long Will Low Gas Prices Last?

Gas prices averaging well under $3 a gallon seem too good to be true; how long will they stay this low? Cars.com's Kelsey Mays weighs in on this trend. Watch the video for more.

By Jennifer Geiger | December 5, 2014 | Comments (1)

Holidays Could Bring $2 Gas for Some

Gas prices

Forget visions of sugar plums this holiday season. The bigger expectation is that gas could be cheaper than $2 a gallon in some areas by Christmas.

The national average for regular unleaded stood at a four-year low of $2.73 Thursday, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report — not even close to $2. But the statewide average was $2.50 or less in Missouri ($2.41), Mississippi ($2.49) and South Carolina ($2.50). Cities such as St. Louis ($2.32) and Amarillo, Texas ($2.38), were even lower, and dozens of gas stations were beating those prices.

Related: Top 10 Best-Selling Cars: November 2014

For example, spotters on GasBuddy.com Thursday reported prices as low as $2.13 in the St. Louis area, and several stations were selling regular at $2.14. AAA estimated that more than 15 percent of stations around the country were selling regular for less than $2.50.

Gas prices have declined for 70 straight days. That 10-week skid, the longest consecutive daily decline since fall 2008, has many wondering how low they can go.

By Rick Popely | December 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

How to Find Free Air for Your Tires

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Improperly inflated tires can have all sorts of undesirable effects on your vehicle, including lengthened braking distances, reduced fuel economy, increased treadwear, ride and handling problems — and even tire failure. So when we say it's important to regularly ensure that your tires are at the proper pressure, we're not just blowing hot air. Many places that have air pumps, however, charge money to use them, and, let's face it: It sort of sucks to pay for air. So how can you take care of your tires without incurring the cost of inflation?

Related: How To Properly Check and Fill Tires

FreeAirPump.com may be just the breath of fresh air you need. The site has a searchable map of locations across the U.S. and Canada that offer free air for cars and bicycles. The data is user-generated, so the site notes that the map isn't definitive, but it still can be a useful guide for finding free air wherever you happen to be. States like Connecticut and California have laws requiring tire air to be provided for free, at least during business hours or for paying customers, so only bicycle sites are listed for those states.

By Matt Schmitz | December 2, 2014 | Comments (3)

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)

NHTSA: Not Enough Evidence to Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall

Takata

A high-ranking official at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was defending federal safety regulators' decision not to mandate a national recall of all cars affected by defective airbags manufactured by Japan’s Takata. According to The Detroit News, Deputy NHTSA Administrator David Friedman was preparing to tell a U.S. Senate committee that the agency doesn't have sufficient data to force a nationwide recall, and that such a broad action could divert limited replacement parts from targeted high-humidity regions of the country where affected cars are already known to be high-risk. Friedman's written testimony mirrored language used by Takata early this week in opposing a national recall.

Related: What Cars Are Included in the Takata Airbag Recall?

This follows news Wednesday that NHTSA was urging the 10 automakers affected by the potentially deadly airbag issue to recall all involved cars across the U.S. Due to defective airbag inflators, front passenger airbags could rupture upon deployment and spray vehicle occupants with shrapnel; the problem already has resulted in 7.8 million recalls.

Get the full story from The Detroit News.

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By Matt Schmitz | November 20, 2014 | Comments (3)

Dude, Where's My Self-Driving Car? Experts Discuss Viability

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The U.S. Department of Transportation classifies self-driving cars across five grades, from Level Zero to Level 4. Most new cars have Level 1 or 2 capabilities, meaning they have anything from electronic stability control (Level 1) to adaptive cruise control with active steering to keep you between your lane markings (Level 2). Various automakers' self-driving test fleets represent Level 3, while cars that can drive without anyone inside represent Level 4.

Related: More 2014 Los Angeles Auto Show Coverage

How long will it take to reach that final stage in meaningful numbers? Google's Snoopy-faced, self-puttering runabout is essentially there, and automakers insist the capabilities are closer than you think. But complications exist. At the Los Angeles Auto Show’s Connected Car Expo Tuesday, panelists and other experts held forth on the possibilities and obstacles to come.

By Kelsey Mays | November 19, 2014 | Comments (3)

What Are the Most Damage-Prone Cars?

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In August, we reported Allstate's ranking of America's worst and best drivers by city, which concluded that Worcester, Mass., had the most dangerous drivers while Fort Collins, Colo., drivers were the safest behind the wheel. That got us to thinking: If certain drivers get in more crashes, which cars tend to incur the most damage?

Related: City Drivers Versus Country Drivers: Who's More Dangerous?

According to a 2014 report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration comparing different categories of cars and individual models by their relative "damage susceptibility," some cars are indeed more likely to incur damage or, at least, costly damage — some way more costly — while others are far less so. The report uses data compiled by the Highway Loss Data Institute in its December 2013 Insurance Collision Report, and it "reflects the collision loss experience of passenger cars, station wagons, passenger vans, pickups and utility vehicles sold in the United States in terms of the average loss payment per insured vehicle year for model years 2011-2013," NHTSA stated.

By Matt Schmitz | November 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

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