Here's the Thing

Storm clouds abroad have gas prices on edge

(April 5, 2024) Despite ominous overseas news, a pop in domestic gasoline demand, and oil prices rising to the mid-$80s per barrel, the national average for a gallon of gas climbed just three pennies to $3.56 since last week.  

Elevated auto loan rates hinder car shoppers in Q1 2024

Analysts say return of incentives not
enough to combat high interest rates

(April 3, 2024) SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Affordability challenges highlighted by stubbornly high interest rates are impeding growth in the new and used car markets, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Tied to wider hurdles from the current high inflationary environment (such as the near-extinction of the $20,000 new vehicle), auto financing is hampered even with the return of new-vehicle incentives.

Depictions of dangerous speeds in auto ads undermine progress on safety

Insurance Institute for Highway
Safety decries TV ad messages

By Chuck Farmer
Vice President
Research and Statistical Services, IIHS

(April 2, 2024) A sleek, silver sedan races through the aisles of a shipping container storage yard, pursued by a menacing motorcycle. The sedan windows are tinted just enough that you can imagine yourself as the driver. The motorcycle is gaining ground, so you turn down an aisle currently being worked by a crane. As you blow past the crane, it lowers a shipping container, blocking the motorcycle. You’re safe. Or are you?

Agency says U.S. traffic deaths down 3.6% in 2023

But NHTSA says highway deaths
remain above pre-pandemic levels

(April 2, 2024) WASHINGTON — U.S. auto safety regulators on Monday said traffic deaths fell by 3.6 percent in 2023 to 40,990 — the second straight yearly decline — but are still significantly above pre-pandemic levels. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the 2023 results compared with 42,514 deaths in 2022.

BMW 7 Series gets fully electric drive capability in i7 sedan

By Paul Borden
(April 1, 2024) BMW began getting serious about electrifying its fleet of luxury vehicles a decade ago introducing the i3 hatchback as its first mass-produced zero-emission model. Last year the German automaker topped out its portfolio of sedan-configured EVs with the 2023 BMW i7. A big, powerful brute packed with a multitude of tech features and creature comforts (massage anyone?), the BMW i7 came in only one trim level for 2023.

2024 Mercedes-Benz CLA250 4Matic

Entry-level Benz gets modest
refreshing; 13 more horsepower

By Jim Prueter

(March 31, 2024) The Mercedes CLA is the smallest Mercedes offering and the second-most affordable in their lineup next to the GLA crossover utility vehicle. Mimicking the expensive facade looks of the S-class luxury sedan in a scaled down form. Its styling is handsome and the interior is reasonably upscale and modern.

Hyundai hits the sweet spot with Ioniq 6 EV

By Paul Borden

(March 29, 2024) Hyundai brought its Ioniq 6 all-electric sedan to market as a 2023 model and has made no significant changes to the 2024 version, which to me is an indication designers and engineers did it right the first time. Extended range, a long list of standard features, user-friendly tech features, and distinctive but not overly funky looks are just some of the things working in the 2024 Hyundai Ioniq 6’s favor.

Don’t get April fooled by wobbling gas prices

(March 29, 2024) WASHINGTON, D.C. — After an early spring surge, the national average for a gallon of gas spent the past week drifting up and down by a fraction of a cent before settling a penny higher at $3.53. But the break may be temporary, as gas pump prices will likely resume a spring increase.

Kelley Blue Book announces winners of 2024 Consumer Choice Awards

Honda scores most wins
from new-car shoppers for 2024

(March 28, 2024) ATLANTA — After several years of car-buying challenges due to production complications from the pandemic, 2024 is finally a great time for consumers to buy a new car, with supply evening out and more deals becoming available. Yet while some of the challenges have eased up, buying a new car is still a huge purchase decision where shoppers devote hours to researching which brand and model is best for them, and consumer perception weighs heavily into this process.

Study finds EV owners concerned over durability of their tires

(March 27, 2024) Electric vehicle owners are noticing vehicle tires wearing faster than those on gasoline-powered vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Original Equipment Tire Customer Satisfaction Study. Findings from the study highlight EV owners having less satisfaction with the durability of their tires, expecting them to wear similar to gasoline-powered vehicle tires. However, EV tires naturally wear quicker because of greater vehicle weight and higher torque.