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)

NHTSA: Not Enough Evidence to Force Nationwide Takata Airbag Recall


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.


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

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


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?


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)

Video: Top 10 Worst Car Redesigns Since 2000

An automaker may spend years and millions of dollars working to perfect a car's performance and design to ensure buyers take note — but not every redesign is a success. Watch the video above as reviewer Kelsey Mays discusses some of the worst car redesigns of the past decade and a half.

By Matt Schmitz | November 14, 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)

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)

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


In Aesop's Fable "The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse," the rural rodent after visiting his urban-dwelling friend's hustling-and-bustling home returns to the simple life and says of the big city: "It is surrounded by too many dangers to please me." Most of us can relate on some level to the calming allure of open spaces versus the imposing shadow of the downtown skyline, and city drivers in particular have a reputation for being wild behind the wheel (think cabbies) — but are they really more dangerous?

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

On the whole, the numbers show, they are not — not even close. According to a 2014 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, despite only 19 percent of the U.S. population living in rural areas, rural fatalities accounted for 54 percent of all traffic deaths in 2012. And that's after a decade of steep declines in highway deaths, by 27 percent in rural areas compared with just 14 percent in urban areas. Even with the gap narrowing, rural crashes still kill many more people each year, statistically, than urban accidents.

By Matt Schmitz | November 10, 2014 | Comments (2)

Video: Ugh! Why Do My Car Windows Keep Fogging Up?

Having the windows of your car fog up and obstruct your visibility when you need to get somewhere can be annoying — and, more importantly, dangerous. If you're foggy on why this happens and the best way to deal with it when it does, watch the video above;'s Joe Wiesenfelder makes things nice and clear.

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

Report: Takata Covered Up Dangerous Airbag Defect


Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata has been accused of covering up an internal investigation of airbag defects, defects that since have been implicated in two deaths and resulted in nearly 7.8 million recalls from 10 automakers.

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

USA Today cited the New York Times in reporting that Takata had allegedly conducted tests a decade ago on airbags recovered from a junkyard and determined the devices had the potential to crack in a way that could lead to a rupture that could harm passengers. The report alleges that the company did not report its discovery — made in 2004 after an Alabama driver was sprayed with metal debris — to regulators and that executives ordered lab techs to dispose of the evidence. Get the full story from USA Today.


By Matt Schmitz | November 7, 2014 | Comments (1)

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