Here's the Thing

2024 Toyota Grand Highlander Hybrid — Toyota's new, roomier family hauler

By Jim Prueter

(February 23, 2024) Ply urban and suburban America and if you pay any attention you'll immediately discover the roads are full of the ubiquitous Toyota Highlander. Thoughtful packaging, obligatory safety systems, non-offensive styling, and affordably priced, the Highlander is a quality built three-row family favorite that's easy to drive, comfortable with a sterling reputation for reliability and a decent resale value. While not flattering, I tend to classify the Highlander as an appliance, much like a refrigerator.

Grand National Roadster Show — For the love of cars

By David Boldt

(February 20, 2024) PAMONA, Calif. — If using Google, driving from the center of Los Angeles to Pomona via I-10 is about 30 miles. But if relying on historical perspective, and your destination is the Grand National Roadster Show at the Pomona Fairgrounds, the journey is closer to 60 years. The distance isn’t mileage and time; rather, it’s memories and time travel. Once you land, park and grab your ticket or pass, you’re leaving 2024 and strolling into 1964. 

National gas prices surge 12 cents in a week

(February 16, 2024) WASHINGTON, D.C. — After months of barely budging more than a few cents, the national average for pump prices moved into the fast lane, surging 12 cents since last week to $3.27.  A significant contributor is a shutdown at the large BP-Whiting refinery in Indiana, which has been offline for more than two weeks due to a power outage.  The refinery processes 435,000 barrels of crude per day, and the shutdown has caused prices throughout the Midwest to climb, pushing the national average higher as well.   

New-vehicle transaction prices continue to fall

Kelley Blue Book reports car prices
have fallen 3.5% since January 2023

(February 15, 2024) ATLANTA — The U.S. new-vehicle market sales pace slowed in January, despite lower prices and higher incentives. According to an analysis by Kelley Blue Book, a Cox Automotive company, the U.S. new-vehicle average transaction price (ATP) last month in the U.S. was $47,401, down 2.6% from December 2023 and down a remarkable 3.5% compared to January 2023.

Alfa Romeo Giulia a sports sedan for those who think outside the box

By Paul Borden

(February 11, 2024) Looking for a small luxury sport sedan that stands out from the crowd? The Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan may be just what you are seeking. Introduced as a 2017 model when the company revived a nameplate from the 1960s and ’70s, the Alfa Romeo Giulia delivers captivating performance in an attractive, distinctive package and at a competitive price.

Lexus ranks highest in 2024 J.D. Power dependability study

2024 Lexus RX

Annual vehicle study finds
deterioration in dependability

(February 10, 2024) TROY, Mich. — Vehicle owners are experiencing lower levels of vehicle dependability after three years of ownership, according to the J.D. Power 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), released this week. The high number of problems owners encounter indicates a decline in long-term vehicle dependability, with increased levels of problems reported for nearly two-thirds of brands included in the study.

Oil costs likely to tick up pushing pump prices higher

(February 9, 2024) WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sticking to the slow lane since last week, the national average for a gallon of gas dipped slightly for a few days before rising a fraction of a cent higher to $3.15. However, seasonal demand trends, higher costs for oil, and routine refinery maintenance will likely push pump prices slowly higher soon.

Maverick fanbase grows; sales double as Ford expands production

(February 6, 2024) In 32 years of driving, Jay Whitehurst has never owned a truck. He’s also never owned a Ford. But after moving from New Orleans to a hay farm in rural Mississippi, lugging cans of diesel for farm equipment and animal food in the back of his Kia Soul just wasn’t going to cut it. That’s when someone told him about the Ford Maverick.

Study examines characteristics of fatal roadside worker crashes

AAA Foundation study
reveals disturbing picture

(February 3, 2024) Struck and killed — nearly four times more than reported.  It’s the chilling reality for roadside assistance providers, including tow truck drivers, mobile mechanics, emergency roadside technicians, and safety service patrols who put themselves at risk every day to help others.  A new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reveals a disturbing picture of the dangers faced by those working on the side of the road, and the numbers may be getting worse.

Gas prices slowly edge up as oil costs rise

(February 2, 2024) WASHINGTON, D.C. — The national average for a gallon of gas rose by a nickel since last week to $3.15. The upward trend is likely a combination of oil costs edging into the upper $70s per barrel and normal seasonal increases as winter eases and demand for gas creeps higher.