Here's the Thing

Pump prices continue to fall as demand for gas drops to two-year low

(January 8, 2019) The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) data registers gasoline demand at 8.6 million barrels a day for the week ending December 28 — the lowest level on record since February 2017. Despite record motor vehicle travel for the holiday, demand was down nearly 900,000 barrels, suggesting that demand this winter could be lower than expected.

Toyota 86 GT — Agile, zesty, best-in-class driving entertainment

By Jim Prueter

(January 8, 2019) Back in 2016 the Scion brand said, “Sayonara.” Well, not exactly, as several models just removed the Scion label off the trunk lid and replaced it with the Toyota emblem. Take the revered FR-S, for example. It’s a sporty rear-wheel drive coupe that sells below $30,000 and is now called the Toyota 86.

Rising interest rates to be factor for car buyers in 2019

(January 7, 2019) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Interest rates for new vehicles dipped slightly for a second consecutive month in December, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. The annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles averaged 5.9 percent in December, compared to 6.0 percent in November and 6.2 percent in October.

2019 Chevy Cruze proves bad things can happen to good cars

By Casey Williams

(January 7, 2019) General Motors recently announced the Chevy Cruze would be among six vehicles getting the axe and taking down their respective assembly plants with them.  For the Cruze, that means thousands of employees in Lordstown, Ohio.  But, before you think the Cruze was a piece of crud deserving of execution, my recent drive in a very base model proves bad things sometimes happen to good cars.

The truth behind General Motors' shrinking product line

By Casey Williams

(January 3, 2019) On Nov. 26, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced her company would be shuttering five plants, laying off 14,000 workers (about 15% of the company’s workforce), and ceasing production of six cars that include two Cadillacs. These moves are projected to save GM $6 billion by 2020.  Those are dramatic announcements, with impending political fall-out, but they were made for good reason.

Average new-car price up 1.3 percent year-over-year

(January 3, 2019) IRVINE, Calif. — The analysts at Kelley Blue Book today reported the estimated average transaction price for light vehicles in the United States was $37,577 in December. New-vehicle prices increased (up 1.3 percent) from December 2017, while decreasing $93 (down 0.2 percent) from last month.  

"December closed out a very strong year for new-car prices, as they rose to more than $36,000 on average in 2018, a 3 percent increase," said Tim Fleming, analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

GasBuddy warns gas prices could hit $3 a gallon by spring

(January 3, 2019) BOSTON — GasBuddy, a tech company based in Boston that operates apps and websites dedicated to finding real-time fuel prices at more than 140,000 gas stations in the United States and Canada, predicts that 2019 will feature a yearly national average of $2.70 per gallon, representing a 3 cent drop versus 2018, but warns that the national average could surge to over $3 per gallon as soon as May.

2019 QX80 Limited: Keep moving, nothing to see here

By Jim Prueter

(December 30, 2018) Last year, we did a thorough review of the QX80, Infiniti’s flagship SUV. It had just received a complete refresh that included, among other things, improved interior materials, a modestly upgraded infotainment system, and new safety systems. We concluded, based on our impressions, that QX80 still fell short of newer and thoroughly upgraded competitors like Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS and Range Rover.

Gas prices fall below $2 per gallon in nine states

(December 28, 2018) Nearly 20 percent of states are currently enjoying prices below $2 per gallon. Nationally, retail averages have dropped 83 of the past 90 days. The national average for regular unleaded gasoline currently sits at $2.30 per gallon, which is six cents less than one week ago, 24 cents less than one month ago and 16 cents less than at the same time last year.

December expected to be second-best sales month of year

(December 27, 2018) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Edmunds forecasts that 1,607,724 new cars and trucks will be sold in the U.S. in December for an estimated seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 17.4 million. This reflects a 16 percent increase in sales from November 2018 and a 0.3 percent increase from December 2017.

Edmunds experts note that December is expected to be the second-best auto sales month of the year, pushing full-year auto sales for 2018 to 17.3 million, exceeding 2017's 17.2 million vehicles.