Here's the Thing

Pump prices ease as oil market digests economic news

(February 7, 2023) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The national average for a gallon of gas barely budged over the past week, drifting lower by three cents to $3.47. Last week’s decision by OPEC+ to maintain current production levels and not make any cuts led to lower oil prices. But Friday’s blockbuster U.S. report of 517,000 jobs added in January, dropping the unemployment rate to a 54-year low of 3.4%, may have the opposite effect. Are recession fears fading, and could a healthier global economy lead to more demand for oil and higher prices?

Parking lot revenue recovery indicates people are driving more

(February 7, 2023) WASHINGTON — The National Parking Association (NPA), an authority on parking research, released findings from its fourth Road to Recovery Index that indicates a very strong rebound nationally. Americans are driving at levels greater than in 2019, in turn, parking operator revenue is projected to recover fully between August and December of 2023.

Auto Trader — New EV demand at 3-year low in United Kingdom

(February 6, 2023) LONDON — “Six consecutive months of year-on-year sales growth is a reassuring sign for the industry and highlights that despite the current political and economic turbulence, the new car market is running counter cyclical to the wider economy," said Ian Plummer, commercial director at Auto Trader in the UK, said about December sales performance in the UK.

2023 VW Jetta SEL — An impressive 'big' small car that’s notably refined

By Jim Prueter

(February 6, 2023) Volkswagen refreshed the entire Jetta line-up for the 2022 model year, and the Jetta SEL tested here retains everything that was new for last year with 2023 bringing only minor cosmetic changes. Starting with the exterior the Jetta received a new front grille design as well as new front and rear bumpers.

Kia Soul gets good marks, but sales numbers are declining

Photos by Paul Borden

By Paul Borden

(February 5, 2023) The Kia Soul generally gets good marks from reviewers — U.S. News & World Report places it No. 2 in its class in its analysis/ratings of subcompact SUVs — but you have to wonder if boxy little hatchback-stye vehicle has jumped the shark. Sales reports show a decline of nearly 25 percent in 2022 numbers, the third straight year of under 100,000 in sales after a solid seven-year, six-figure run that hit a high of 154,768 in 2016.

Three minivans come up short on seat belt reminders; Sienna stands out

(February 2, 2023) When it comes to seat belt reminders, the 2023 Toyota Sienna sets a high bar for the family-oriented minivan segment. Among the four minivans tested, the Sienna is the only vehicle to earn a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s seat belt reminder evaluation. Three other 2023 minivans, the Kia Carnival, Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey, earn acceptable, marginal and poor ratings, respectively.

Steady gasoline price hikes slow as week begins

(January 31, 2023) WASHINGTON, D.C. —The recent run of daily one- to four-cent price increases slowed heading into the weekend, with prices now dipping slightly to start the week. However, increased demand and higher global oil prices pushed the national average for a gallon of gas up eight cents since last week to $3.50, according to AAA in its weekly assessment.

Edmunds — Tesla consideration spikes in response to price cuts

(January 30, 2023) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — More American car shoppers are researching Tesla vehicles in response to the automaker's price cut announcement on Jan. 13, according to the experts at Edmunds, an online car shopping resource that generates more than 20 million visits every month. 

With the end near, Dodge Challenger SRT raises bar with 807 HP

By Paul Borden

(January 29, 2023) With electric cars the wave of the future, it comes as no surprise that the Muscle Car era that hit its peak in the 1960s and early 1970s and was revived in the early 2000s seems to be coming to a close. Dodge last August announced production of its gas-powered Challenger coupes and Charger sedans will cease after the 2023 models and though there has been few other formal announcements, other manufacturers are likely to begin following suit. GM, of course, already has pledged to be all-electric by 2035.

The Washington Auto Show — Rusting in place

By David Boldt

(January 27, 2023) It’s been eight years since first walking into the Washington, DC Auto Show. Prior to 2015 I hadn’t seen the show, but had always assumed it was, you know, an auto show; no ifs, ands or buts about that. However, the organizers of the show, the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association, insist it’s more than an auto show — it’s the Public Policy Show. With that positioning the association believes it to be more than an auto show, while I’d argue it’s notably less.