Ford Releases Info on 2015 F-150 Engines


Champing at the bit for new revelations among the stingily kept secrets of the 2015 Ford F-150's powertrains? Well, the automaker has mercifully thrown you a couple of new morsels, releasing some specs on two (though not all) of the pickup truck's engines — the standard 3.5-liter V-6 and the all-new 2.7-liter EcoBoost motor — and is serving them both up on a silver platter. Get the full story by following the link below. Ford Reveals Two Powertrains photo by Steven Pham

By Matt Schmitz | July 23, 2014 | Comments (2)

Gas Prices See Sustained Slide


If it seems like you're shelling out less for gasoline than in the recent past, it probably isn't just wishful thinking. Steady, widespread declines in pump prices during July have lowered the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded gas to $3.59, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Thursday. That's 5 cents less than a week ago and 7 cents less than a month ago. Moreover, the national average is 7 cents lower than a year ago, and motorists in many parts of the country are now paying less or about the same as they did on July 17, 2013.

Consumer, Environmental Groups Call for MPG Regulation in Car Ads

In the Los Angeles area, for example, the $4.10 average price is the same as a year ago. The same goes for the $3.57 average in the Atlanta area. Steep declines in the Great Lakes area in recent weeks might have some motorists doing a double take when they check pump prices. In Illinois, the average price has fallen 27 cents during the past month to $3.67, 29 cents lower than at this time last year. The price drop is more dramatic in the Chicago area, falling 33 cents in the past month to $3.79, 38 cents less than a year ago. Statewide averages dropped 12 cents in the past week alone in Indiana and Michigan to $3.45 and $3.60, respectively. Indiana's average is 42 cents lower than a month ago and 37 cents less than a year ago, and Michigan prices have dipped 34 cents in the past month and 32 cents year-over-year. In Ohio, prices have fallen 42 cents in a month, and the current $3.42 average is 21 cents less than a year ago.

By Rick Popely | July 18, 2014 | Comments (0)

Bad-Driving Habits That Drive Us Mad


Driving would be awesome — if it weren't for all the other drivers, am I right?

For example: Traffic on a major thoroughfare is heavy and moving slowly; only a handful of cars creep through the intersection during each light cycle. Impatience grows and more and more motorists try to sneak through on yellow. Eventually, they get so desperate they start stacking up mid-intersection and remain there after the light turns red.

Does the Zipper Merge Fly With You? (Poll)

Now the cars trying to turn left into that lane can't, and they start stacking up, blocking traffic in the other direction, too. Pedestrians can't cross in the crosswalk. Order breaks down. And I become Bill Bixby, angered beyond control (despite my polite admonition that you wouldn't like me if this happened), complete with tortured expression and preternaturally enraged eyes. Now something else is turning green — and it ain't the traffic signal. These degenerates, these sociopaths, these ... these ... fellow passengers to the grave, as Dickens put it, have committed one of the driving don'ts that torques me off the most. DON'T BLOCK THE $*%&@ INTERSECTION!

What say we vent together? Let's just get it all out there on the table for some therapeutic car-related catharsis (car-tharsis?). The following is a list of annoying driving behaviors that get the editorial department revved into the red (and by all means, let your own frustrations fly in the comments section below):

By Matt Schmitz | July 18, 2014 | Comments (67)

Infographic: Sobering Stats on Summer Driving Dangers


With a population of nearly 13 million people, Illinois is the fifth-largest state in the U.S., but according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, if those who admitted in surveys to driving drunk — all 17 million of them — were to form their own state, it would bump the Land of Lincoln to No. 6. Considering 10,322 people in 2012 lost their lives in crashes involving someone driving under the influence, that's not a state anyone should be in. Moreover, NHTSA says nearly twice as many people die in car crashes overall during the summer months than the rest of the months of the year combined.

Poll: Drugged Driving Versus Drunken Driving

To draw awareness to increased driving dangers during these warm-weather months, NHTSA and the Ad Council have partnered on a safety campaign. The following infographic shows some frightening statistics, particularly pertaining to drunken driving, that should remind motorists of the vital importance of staying sober behind the wheel.

By Matt Schmitz | July 15, 2014 | Comments (7)

AAA: Gas-Price Relief Likely Short-Lived


As oil prices fell, so did the cost of gasoline in many parts of the country the past week, with the national average for a gallon of regular unleaded dropping 3 cents to $3.64, according to the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Thursday. AAA noted that, although conflict in Iraq continues to impact oil prices, it hasn't disrupted the supply of crude oil from OPEC's second-largest oil-producing country, reducing fears of shortages. Oil was trading at around $102 per barrel Thursday, some $5 less than the 52-week high of $107.50 set on June 25.'s Top 10 Fun-to-Drive Fuel Sippers

If recent history is a guide, however, prices could start to rise again later this month or in August, when summer driving and demand for gas peak. That was the pattern the previous three years: Pump prices fell in early July and rose in the second half of the month.

By Rick Popely | July 11, 2014 | Comments (0)

Put Safety First on the Fourth: Don't Drink and Drive


The Fourth of July is a holiday traditionally observed by launching aerial explosives into the sky, but being struck by a stray bottle rocket isn't the greatest danger many of us face. That dishonorable designation instead goes to a high-risk activity that mars several of our national holidays: drunken driving. And statistically, the holiday period that runs from 6 p.m. July 3 to 5:59 a.m. July 5 is one of the deadliest in terms of people killed by intoxicated drivers.

Poll: Drugged Driving Versus Drunken Driving

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, during the 2012 holiday weekend alone, 179 people died and 44 percent of those crashes involved a motorist with a blood alcohol content level of .08 or higher. Over the combined holiday periods from 2008 to 2012, there were 765 impaired-driving-related fatalities. In 2012, nearly 15 percent of the drivers had a BAC level of .15 (nearly twice the legal limit) or higher.

"Alcohol not only impairs your ability to drive, it impairs your judgment about whether you can or should drive," NHTSA said in a statement promoting its "Buzzed Driving Is Drunk Driving" campaign. "The reality is you don't have to be wasted to be a menace to everyone around you on the highways."

Here are some other sobering stats from NHTSA on drunken driving:

By Matt Schmitz | July 3, 2014 | Comments (0)

Gas Prices Hit Six-Year High Headed into Holiday


As millions of Americans prepare to hit the road for Fourth of July weekend, pump prices are the highest they've been since 2008, AAA said in its monthly gas price report. The travel service organization said it doubts that the national average of $3.67 for regular unleaded — 19 cents higher than a year ago — will deter holiday travel, predicting that nearly 35 million Americans will travel 50 miles or more by car over the long weekend. That would be the highest level of Independence Day car travel since 2007, despite higher gas prices. The July 4 national average for a gallon of regular unleaded was $3.48 last year, $3.34 in 2012, $3.57 in 2011 and — brace yourselves — just $2.74 in 2010 and $2.62 in 2009. In comparison, motorists were digging much deeper on July 4, 2008, paying an average of $4.10 for regular unleaded.

Tips to Stay Safe on Fourth of July Road Trips

Over the previous three years, pump prices declined an average of 21 cents a gallon during June as refineries resumed full production following annual spring maintenance and a switch to summer gas blends. This year, prices are unchanged from a month ago. AAA cited the continued unrest in Iraq that threatens oil production there, but expects gas prices to remain "relatively flat in the near future and could even decline a few cents as the situation stabilizes."

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

GM: No Cap on Compensation for Ignition-Switch Defect Victims


The administrator of GM's compensation fund for victims of its massive ignition-switch-defect debacle vowed that the automaker will pay "whatever it takes" to resolve all related claims, the Detroit News reported today. That includes placing no overall cap on the fund, which could be open to thousands of victims and their families affected by crashes in which airbags failed to deploy in nearly 2.6 million vehicles. Backseat passengers, as well as pedestrians and occupants of other vehicles involved in the crashes, could be eligible for payments, which will be at least $1 million for all deaths and $300,000 for surviving spouses and children, the newspaper reported. The offer extends to all crashes involving unrepaired recalled vehicles through Dec. 31 of this year, which means some incidents covered by the fund may not even have occurred yet.

Get the full story from the Detroit News, here.

Manufacturer image

By Matt Schmitz | June 30, 2014 | Comments (1)

Gas Prices Continue Upward Climb


Gas prices continued to rise in most parts of the country the past week to a national average of $3.68 for a gallon of regular unleaded, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report said Thursday. That's just 2 cents off of 2014's previous peak price.

In its weekly assessment of price trends, AAA said concerns over the ongoing violence in Iraq were keeping oil prices hovering around $106 a barrel, making it more expensive to produce gasoline.

Gas Prices Up Pennies as Iraq Turmoil Threatens Big Spike

Previously, AAA predicted gas prices would fall 10 to 15 cents per gallon during June, following a typical pattern for lower pump prices in early summer, but in a statement the organization said "that now appears unlikely due to higher oil costs. This means that even though the national average has only increased a few cents per gallon since the Iraq violence intensified, drivers are likely to pay substantially higher gas prices than they would have otherwise."

Indeed, the national average for regular unleaded gasoline is 14 cents higher than a year ago, and AAA pegs it as the highest early summer average since 2008.

By Rick Popely | June 27, 2014 | Comments (0)

California Is the Golden State...for Car Thieves


While vehicle theft is on track to reach its lowest levels in nearly a half-century, the state of California now lays claim to more "hot spots" for the crime than ever. Golden State metropolitan areas occupy a record nine of the top 10 spots on the Des Plaines, Ill.,-based National Insurance Crime Bureau's annual top 10 list, which examines data from the National Crime Information Center.

Led by the Bakersfield, Calif., metro area — unseating last year's unfortunate victor, Modesto, Calif. — the only spot on the top 10 not occupied by the most populous state in the U.S. is No. 7, where the Spokane-Spokane Valley, Wash., area ranks on this year’s all-West Coast-all-the-time roster.

California Residents Ask, 'Dude, Where's My Car?'

NICB notes that its population-based survey yields per capita theft rates for broad metropolitan statistical areas, so one area won't necessarily rank higher than another just because it has more residents. That's cold comfort for California, as its share of the car-theft pie continues to grow each year.

"Although California tends to place high in this report, this is the first time that California has held nine of the top 10 spots for MSAs with the highest per capita vehicle theft rates," NICB said in its report. "In 2012, it held eight and in 2011, seven."

By Matt Schmitz | June 26, 2014 | Comments (3)

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