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Who Should Pay When Filling Up Goes Terribly Wrong?

June 12th, 2013
Uh-oh...

Uh-oh…

A few nights ago a tired drive home nearly ended in catastrophe. Not for me, but for the fuel system of my car.

I pulled into the station, popped my fuel door, swiped my card and picked up the handle before I realized it was green. That realization woke me up very quickly, as I uttered a mild profanity and then proceeded to move to another pump, one with the 92 octane my car requires, not the diesel I almost filled it with.

Despite being clearly labeled, and the fact that diesel nozzles are typically larger than those dispensing unleaded gas, people mistakenly fill their cars with the wrong fuel occasionally. Doing so won’t necessarily cause serious damage to the fuel system or engine, but the car won’t start, and the fix could cost a lot of money.

When a moron like me makes that mistake on his own, the cost is an obvious consequence of a bone-headed mistake. But when the mistake is made by a fuel company, who should pay?

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2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel or 2010 Volkswagen Jetta TDI?

May 28th, 2013

2014 Chevrolet Cruze diesel

It’s taken way more years than it should’ve, but Chevy has finally put an oil burner in a small sedan.

Diesel has been Europe’s choice for propulsion since, well, probably the time of King Charles. Because of a history of cheap gasoline prices and a public disdain for dirty diesel, it never caught on in the USA. With gas inching up in cost here every day, alternative fuels are seeing more demand. Electricity has been the focus for the last decade or so, but a new round of clean, efficient diesel engines is on the way.

Chevrolet has offered a small diesel in Europe for years and has finally adapted the engine to meet U.S. standards and put in on the options sheet for the 2014 Cruze. With this new American diesel in showrooms, does it make sense to add it to your shopping list, or are you better off looking for a used Jetta?

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10 Cars and Trucks That Should Go Diesel

April 19th, 2013

2012 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara

If you’re like any other car buyer in America, you’ve probably noticed the wider availability of diesel models in recent months. It seems like everybody is starting to get in on the diesel game, with Volkswagen adding more diesel models after the huge success of its Jetta TDI, Porsche introducing a diesel version of the Cayenne and Ram recently announcing a diesel 1500.

Attracted by higher fuel-mileage ratings, greater reliability and longer-lasting engines, consumers are becoming more and more receptive to the engines that were despised just a few short years ago, when diesel was synonymous with noise, pollution and foul odor. Driven by advances in diesel technology, the new engines have largely wiped away consumers’ bad memories and are now finding their ways under the hoods of sports cars, family cars, trucks and SUVs.

While there is already a large selection of diesels that will appear in the 2014 lineup from the likes of Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, BMW, Chevrolet, Audi, Jeep, Porsche and Ram, there are still many holes in that line-up that we here at CarGurus would like to see filled. In order help fix this, we’ve brought together the 10 cars we’d most like to see offered with a diesel option in the U.S.

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Ford, GM Team Up on Development of New Transmissions

April 16th, 2013

Ford & GM logos

It can be hard to sit here and write about cars on a day when so many humans were hurt in a senseless act of violence. I am not in Boston. I’ve never been to Boston. But that doesn’t take the pain away. This wasn’t just about Boston, but about the running community, the families of runners, the volunteers for the race, the citizens of the city and the people across the world watching live footage of the response and the tremendous outpouring of support that came immediately.

I know this is a car blog, and I’ll get back on topic, but I can’t let this event go unnoticed here, especially with so many fellow CarGurus, family and friends in the Boston area. I truly hope everyone is well, and that, if there is a positive to be taken away, it’s that the darkness of evil is replaced just a little more by the light of all those who choose to love instead of hate.

Part of recovery, of course, is moving on and finding stories of cooperation and getting back to the things that make us happy. With that in mind, I want to talk about two adversaries coming together for the better good of the automotive industry.

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The Mysterious Air Car: Is It Real?

April 8th, 2013

MDI air car

There’s always some kind of magical new solution to power our cars being passed around the Internet. I’ve read about ways to convert your car to run on water, listened to pitches on computer chips that claim to increase fuel efficiency, even wondered if someone would try to remove the floor to achieve a Fintstones effect. Rumors fly, and the idea of a cheap but effective way to save on gas is a huge draw for just about every person living in the developed world.

So when I saw a video making the rounds on Facebook about a new air-powered car, my suspicions got the best of me. I watched the video.

The concept makes sense and, according to the video, there are working prototypes built. The car could sell for $15,000 and run on nothing but compressed air while emitting perfectly clean air. Is this another case of too-good-to-be-true wishful thinking?

Probably.

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Cars Coming Soon: Diesel-Powered Chrysler 200 and 300?

April 4th, 2013

2013 Chrysler 300

I’ve been a card-carrying member of the diesel fan club for many years. The benefits of longevity and fuel economy speak for themselves, but the advancement of gasoline engines has significantly narrowed the gap in recent years.

The average cost of diesel fuel remains well above that of regular unleaded, and diesel cars typically cost much more than the same model powered by a gasoline engine. So have oil burners lost their edge? Chrysler doesn’t think so, as its turbodiesel V6 could start showing up in more models.

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Range Anxiety? BMW Has i3 Buyers Covered

March 13th, 2013

BMW i3

Buying a car that can go only about 50 miles from home is a scary thing. In typical day-to-day driving, the range of an electric car is more than adequate, but there is still the fear of running out of juice somewhere far from home.

Mobile charging trucks, public charging stations and other ideas can help ease some of that worry, but buyers of the coming BMW i3 will have another option:

Free access to a traditional gas-powered loaner vehicle.

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Cars Coming Soon: Jeep Wrangler Diesel… Eventually

March 1st, 2013
2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

Imagine that trail and a diesel under the hood

Chrysler has begun the slow march of introducing diesel power into some of its brands, but it’s an introduction that will take a bit more time before reaching the iconic Jeep Wrangler.

Rumors of an oil-burning Wrangler have swirled for a long time, and now we know for sure that there are plans for it to happen, but not for about two or three more years.

Before diesel reaches the Wrangler, Chrysler wants to test the waters with another iconic vehicle.

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Will the 270-MPG Car Become Reality?

February 22nd, 2013

Volkswagen XL1

Remember back in 2008, when General Motors said the coming Chevy Volt would be certified as a 100-mpg vehicle? It was big news back in the day. Now, though, we can all look back and laugh at the ridiculousness of such a claim. The EPA says the Volt gets a combined 37-mpg rating, though on all-electric power it’s rated at 94-mpge (miles per gallon equivalent).

So when an automaker makes grandiose claims that a new car can get unheard of gas mileage numbers, you’ll forgive the skepticism.

Volkswagen, though, has been working on such a vehicle for more than a decade. If the latest news is true, expect a 270-mpg V-Dub to debut very soon.

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Americans Drive More Miles, Use Less Gas. Turbos Responsible?

February 6th, 2013
2013 Ford Fusion SE EcoBoost

Is the turbo worth the extra cost?

There are some odd stats out of the fossil-fuel world these last couple of days:

  • Fuel prices are up across the country, which is disturbing but not particularly odd.
  • Families paid an average of nearly $3,000 for fuel in 2012, or about 4% of the average household annual income. That’s the highest percentage in about 30 years. Again, sad, but not surprising or odd.
  • The amount of miles traveled by each household has increased significantly over the last 30 years, which seems to be in line with all these other trends.

So what’s the odd part about this latest news?

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