December 2011

Sporty Honda Civic Si version earns Consumer Reports' recommendation

(December 22, 2011) YONKERS, N.Y. — While earlier tests of the more-popular basic versions of the Honda Civic scored too low to be recommended, the sportier Si version has earned a notably higher rating from Consumer Reports.

As a result of these latest tests, Consumer Reports now recommends the Si version of the Civic because it scores high enough and its reliability rating is likely to be above average.

No surprise — Poll finds people dislike gas tax hikes

(December 22, 2011) LOS ANGELES — A majority of Americans believe new transportation projects should be paid for with user-fees instead of tax increases, according to a new national Reason-Rupe poll of 1,200 adults on cell phones and land lines.

The Reason-Rupe poll found that 77 percent of Americans oppose increasing the federal gas tax, while just 19 percent favor raising the tax, which is currently 18.4 cents a gallon.

Scrooged: Car rental rates in Miami almost quadruple for Christmas

(December 21, 2011) MIAMI — Out-of-towners who call Miami home will find getting there for Christmas this year an extra strain on the wallet. According to a new survey compiled by, renting a car in Florida's southern tip over the Christmas period will cost visitors close to quadruple what they are used to paying.

Study finds more drivers putting off automotive maintenance

(December 21, 2011) YONKERS, N.Y. — Cash-strapped consumers are delaying automotive maintenance at the potential cost of their safety. Forty percent of respondents to a recent Consumer Reports poll who are involved in repair decisions stated that they are postponing car maintenance or repairs on their primary vehicle.

This delay in servicing items such as brakes, tires, light bulbs, or other internal mechanical parts has consumers running the risk of larger, more costly problems down the road.

Bold forecast: 13.6 million new car sales in 2012

(December 20, 2011) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — An estimated 13.6 million new cars and trucks will be sold in 2012, according to a new auto sales forecast released Monday by The forecast anticipates a solid increase over 2011 new car sales, which could come in as high as 12.8 million vehicles when December comes to a close.

Saab owners have reason to be concerned

(December 19, 2011) CHICAGO — As Swedish automaker Saab nears liquidation, American Saab owners have good reason to be concerned, according to Joe Wiesenfelder, executive editor and senior analyst.

Vehicle value is expected to take a hit, said Wiesenfelder. "Cars from a dead brand are perceived as less valuable, and perception becomes reality. 

Old myths about drinking and then driving dispelled

(December 19, 2011) BETHESDA, Md. — Some holiday predictions are, tragically, very predictable. For example, more people are likely to die in alcohol-related traffic crashes during the holidays than at other times of the year.

Statistics show that during Christmas and New Year's, two to three times more people die in alcohol-related crashes than during comparable periods the rest of the year. And 40 percent of traffic fatalities during these holidays involve a driver who is alcohol-impaired, compared to 28 percent for the rest of December.

Edmunds comments on finalists for North American Car and Truck of the Year

(December 18, 2011) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — This afternoon, the jury for the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY) announced the finalists for its prestigious awards: the 2012 Ford Focus, 2012 Hyundai Elantra and the 2012 Volkswagen Passat in the car category and the 2012 BMW X3, 2012 Honda CR-V and the 2012 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque in the truck category.

Improvement seen in overall motorcycle customer satisfaction

(December 17, 2011) WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — Overall motorcycle customer satisfaction has increased notably from 2010, driven by marked improvements in the sales experience, the products, and cost of ownership, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Motorcycle Competitive Information Study released this week.

The highway is the great equalizer

(December 16, 2011) Russ Heaps, purveyor of the Clanging Bell blog, came to the conclusion on a 160-mile journey from Greenville, S.C., to Atlanta this week that the highway is indeed the great equalizer. 

His thoughts were manifested by a left-lane hog in an old, worn out Corolla who maintained his right to occupy the left lane at five miles an hour below the posted speed limit as dozens of cars piled up behind him.