October 2019

More states approve new protections for purchasers of service contracts

(October 17, 2019) TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A trio of industry groups hailed state legislatures across the nation for continued progress in passing new protections for consumers who purchase service contracts or GAP waivers for their vehicles. The Service Contract Industry Council (SCIC), Motor Vehicle Protection Products Association (MVPPA), and Guaranteed Asset Protection Alliance (GAPA) successfully promoted new regulations and guidelines to help owners protect their vehicles.

History lesson — How plaid became part of Volkswagen Golf GTI

(October 17, 2019) No car has a claim to fame to celebrate all things plaid quite like the Volkswagen Golf GTI – thanks to one woman’s pioneering choices that over the past four decades have become a symbol of driving enthusiasts worldwide.

The Volkswagen Golf GTI’s debut in 1976 caused a sensation. Even though only a few details distinguished it visually from the original Golf, Volkswagen — influenced by one of the company’s first female designers — succeeded in transforming the compact car into an affordable sports car for the masses and capturing the mood of the era.

Buc-ee's gets highest rating in GasBuddy's third-quarter report card

(October 16, 2019) BOSTON – GasBuddy has revealed consumer rankings for the fuel retailing and convenience industry in the third quarter report card based on nearly 2 million ratings submitted by GasBuddy users between July 1 -  Sept. 30. The rankings examine fuel and c-store retailers across five different number-of-location segments in the six categories including cleanliness, coffee, customer service, outdoor lighting, restrooms, and overall experience.

National gas price average slowly declines

(October 15, 2019) Despite an unseasonal spike in demand, according to the Energy Information Admiration’s (EIA) latest data sets, gas prices are decreasing for the majority of motorists across the country as crude oil prices remain under $54 a barrel. Today, the national average gas price is $2.63, which is two cents less than last week and 26 cents cheaper than last year, but six-cents more expensive than last month, according to AAA.

BMW kicks power up a notch for 2020 3 Series M340i

By Paul Borden

(October 14, 2019) BMW’s 3-Series has been around for over four decades, and now the German automaker has taken its so-called “entry” level luxury sedan to a new level. The 2020 M340i and M340i xDrive now in showrooms are the most powerful non-M 3 Series yet. With a 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine (382 horsepower, 369 pound-feet of torque), the M340i xDrive moves from zero-to-60 in 4.2 seconds.

Pulling the plug on the future

By Christopher A. Sawyer
The Virtual Driver

(October 13, 2019) Whenever someone gets wistful about the past, or wants to show that the present hasn’t lived up to the future we were promised, they ask a question along the lines of: “Where are the flying cars we were promised?” After all, futurists past wowed us with cities on the moon, colonies on Mars, driverless vehicles and other science fiction staples as examples of the world in which we would live by the turn of the 21st Century. Yet none of these things have happened.

Estimated costs of the 2019 UAW-GM strike are staggering

(October 12, 2019) Many estimates of the cost of the UAW strike focus on how much the work stoppage is costing General Motors, but few have estimated the broader costs of the strike to the U.S. economy or individual states. The Center for Automotive Research’s (CAR’s) estimates put the cost of the UAW-GM strike to the company at roughly $450 million a week and the strike pay costs to the UAW strike fund at as much as $12 million a week.

Recognizing slippery roads sooner with mobile networking

(October 10, 2019) STUTTGART, Germany — In the coming winter, in cooperation with the district of Zollernalb, Mercedes-Benz will test how safety on wintry roads and the efficiency of municipal winter services can be improved with car-to-X communication. Car-to-X is the term used to describe communication between vehicles and the transport infrastructure.

BMW goes big with introduction of new X7 'Activity' vehicle for 2019

By Paul Borden

(October 9, 2019) If you are a believer in bigger is always better, than BMW has the SUV (excuse me, in BMW's terminology it's a Sports Activity, not Sports Utility, Vehicle) you have been looking for.

The BMW X7 launched for 2019 is the company's largest utility, er, activity, vehicle yet with standard three-row seating for seven (or six when equipped with second-row captain's chairs) and towing capacity of up to 7,500 pounds when equipped with the factory hitch.

Gas price average continues to hold steady with exception of California

(October 8, 2019) The national gas price average continues to hold steady on the week at $2.65, which is nine cents more expensive than last month, but 26 cents cheaper than a year ago. Most motorists around the country are seeing prices decline or stabilize, with the majority of states seeing gas prices decrease by as much as a nickel since last Monday, according to weekly statistics by AAA.

But significant price jumps in California (+16 cents on the week) have pushed prices higher for motorists in the region, as gasoline stocks tighten along the West Coast.