Here's the Thing

IIHS study — Curves pose a bump in the road for driving automation

(August 9, 2021) Curves in the road are posing a challenge to advanced driver assistance features like adaptive cruise control (ACC) and more sophisticated partial automation systems, limiting their potential safety benefits, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found. ACC and more advanced partial automation that combines ACC with lane centering are often disabled on some of the sharper curves present on limited-access roadways, either because drivers switch the features off or they deactivate automatically.

Ford F-250 Super Duty Tremor makes heavy loads, tough jobs easy

By Jim Prueter

(August 8, 2021) After Ram and GM introduced all-new heavy-duty pickups, Ford followed last year with a refreshed Super Duty lineup adding the most powerful engines and highest tow ratings its ever offered. As with most things when it comes to a pickup truck the F-250 continues to offer an infinite array of configurations and options for every need when it comes to brawny work needing towing muscle and massive payloads. Ford says 90 percent of Super Duty buyers tow, so this stuff matters — a lot.

Study finds EV maintenance costs are higher than traditional vehicles

(August 5, 2021)  It costs more to service electric vehicles than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but the gap narrows over time, according to new data from analytics firm We Predict. The company, which released data this year saying EVs were 2.3 times more expensive to service than ICE vehicles after three months of ownership, said Wednesday that there is a caveat: After one year, EVs are just 1.6 times more expensive to service.

Autotrader names most searched — and most available — cars this summer

2021 Chevrolet Tahoe

(August 4, 2021) ATLANTA — Autotrader has named its "Hottest Cars of Summer 2021,"  but with a timely twist. The editors typically define "hottest" as the cars most in demand — specifically the vehicles shoppers most frequently search on Autotrader — but like many things over the last year, for 2021 things are a bit different.

Americans paying, on average, 15 cents more to fill up since May

(August 3, 2021) WASHINGTON, D.C.  — Americans are paying a pretty penny to hit the road this summer. The monthly national gas price average has increased from $3 in May to $3.07 in June to $3.15 in July. The beginning of August will likely be as expensive as July, especially as crude oil prices remain over $70 per barrel. An increase in global crude production is expected this month. However, even with the additional supply, global demand could outpace global supply and keep prices high.

KBB names best cars for teens, college students for back-to-school 2021

(August 2, 2021) IRVINE, Calif. — As the 2021–2022 school year launches nationwide in a much different fashion than last year's at-home pandemic-induced virtual learning, student drivers once again will need the right vehicle to get them to and from school and activities. Whether parents are shopping for their newly minted teen driver or getting ready to send their student off to college, the experts at Kelley Blue Book recently created helpful lists of their top recommendations for new and used vehicles with the Best Cars for Teens and the Best Cars for College Students.

Kia K5 bucks trend, gives life to shrinking sedan segment

By Paul Borden

(August 2, 2021) If the family sedan is a shrinking segment, at least the Kia K5 is evidence that reports of its impending doom may be premature. Through June, the 2021 K5 five-passenger sedan remains the South Korean’s third-biggest seller behind only the less expensive Kia Forte economy car and its compact Sportage SUV, and the margin between the K5 and the Sportage for the first six months of the year is just a little over 2,000 vehicles.

Covid resurgence, high gas prices affecting summer travel

(August 2, 2021) BOSTON — Summer travel has hit a roadblock this year, but not in the amount of people driving. It’s in the distance people are willing to go. GasBuddy has released the results of its first ever Midsummer Travel Survey, revealing that 10 percent fewer Americans are now planning to take a road trip this summer than were in May. Yet, demand for gasoline last week hit the highest level of 2021, according to Pay with GasBuddy transaction data.

J.D. Power — Inventory shortages cause July sales pace to weaken

(July 29, 2021) New-vehicle retail sales for the month of July are expected to grow from July 2020 but decline from July 2019, according to a joint forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive. Retail sales of new vehicles this month are expected to reach 1,187,300 units, a 3.7% increase compared with July 2020, but an 8.7% decrease compared with July 2019 when adjusted for selling days.

Research — Drivers should not rely too heavily on fuel economy displays

AAA photo

(July 29, 2021) In-dash fuel economy displays estimate the number of miles a vehicle gets per gallon, including how many “miles to empty.” AAA tested the accuracy of these systems and found their estimates vary significantly over shorter trips or are dependent on the consistency of things that affect gas mileage like speed and acceleration. This means drivers could be taking an unnecessary risk if they over rely on these displays.