Should Gas Engines Be Banned?


That headline might have served as a teaser to get people to click just a few short years ago. In today’s world, though, technology advances at the speed of light, and a ban on internal combustion engines is a very real possibility.

Granted, it won’t happen overnight, and any such ban would be phased in over many years, but the wheels could already be in motion thanks to the speed at which electric vehicles are being developed.

For proof, all we have to do is look across the Atlantic toward the homeland of Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz.

Yes, Germany may become the first country to ban the sale of cars with gas-powered engines.

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Will Former VW Diesel Owners Flock to Chevrolet?


General Motors thinks it can save diesel.

Volkswagen’s collapse has left a large segment of diesel refugees without a home. Now that VW is switching its focus to electric cars, it may find that many diesel customers would rather stay with their tried-and-true oil burners than migrate to electric vehicles.

Those people might find a loving new home in the General’s open arms.

Volkswagen singlehandedly created the “clean diesel” market here so it’s more than a little ironic that all of its efforts could now benefit a competing automaker.

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Looks Like the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Will Have an Aluminum Body

2017 Jeep Wrangler

2017 Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is an unlikely success story. For all intents and purposes, the lumbering fuel-thirsty behemoth shouldn’t have lived through the economic crisis and automotive bankruptcies of 2008 and 2009.

The Wrangler shouldn’t have lasted through the takeover by Fiat or made it through the transition to FCA. During a time when heavy road hogs were getting slashed left and right, the Wrangler powered through thanks to loyal followers who continued to open their pocketbooks.

The Wrangler has proven that neither stumps, rocks, creeks, nor economic recessions can stop the infamous utilitarian 4×4. Its future should be secured for another few decades with the introduction of an all-new generation, which will include a diesel version and the switch to aluminum.

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Could 95 Become the New 87? EPA Considers Octane Increase

Gas Pump Octane Buttons at Station

“Premium fuel only.”

I saw the sticker inside the fuel door on my first fill-up after purchasing a used ‘99 Toyota Land Cruiser. It caught me off guard.

I’ve driven Porsches, Jaguars, and Audis that only drink the premium stuff, but figured a Toyota would be safe to fill with the more economical 87 octane.

Not so much.

I’m now in a long-term relationship with a 13-mpg SUV that demands 92 octane. That’s certainly not an ideal situation.

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The Automotive Revolution Has Begun


We are in the midst of a technological revolution in the auto industry. The amount of change in the last five years has probably outpaced what we’ve seen in the last 50. The next five years could change it all again.

Remember when seat belts and air conditioning were considered big developments in the car world? Then came cruise control and heated seats. I, for one, lost my marbles when I finally owned a car that could unlock with the push of a button.

Now I don’t even need keys to unlock, or start, my car. Heck, I don’t even need gasoline any more. My Nissan Leaf, though, hasn’t even begun to crack the surface of what’s coming.

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Does the U.S. Have the World’s Best Car Selection?


There was a time when Europe got all the cool cars.

A decade ago, Europe had the small, fast, and efficient cars that folks in the U.S. could only envy from across the Atlantic. Even the domestic Big 3 automakers seemed to send their best metal to Europe while leaving the clunky, fuel-thirsty cars stateside.

Americans became especially jealous in 2008, because the price of gas climbed well above $4 per gallon and Europe’s fuel-sipping diesels and small-displacement motors seemed to taunt our oversized V8 SUVs.

Today it’s a different story. Some of the best cars in the world are available for sale here, including some that people in Europe can only dream of someday owning.

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Can Mazda Become the Next Volkswagen?


Volkswagen has left a gaping hole in the U.S. auto market.

The German automaker’s line of affordable turbodiesel vehicles is mostly non-existent as the fallout from last year’s emission scandal continues to unfold.

Volkswagen’s small and midsize vehicles are no longer certified for sale in the United States, and the company has, thus far, made no effort to attempt recertification. That means buyers will be hard-pressed to find a VW with a diesel engine on dealer lots across the country.

That’s in stark contrast to earlier in 2015, when Volkswagen diesels accounted for about 20 percent of the company’s sales.

Volkswagen proved that a demand for diesel exists in this country and has left an opportunity for another automaker to take the reins and attempt to satisfy whatever hunger might be left for fuel-efficient diesels.

Mazda appears ready to try its hand at becoming that automaker.

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Learning From New Jersey’s Gas Tax Disaster


New Jersey has the second-lowest gas tax in the country. Residents of the state enjoy their cheap gas and neighboring New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians routinely jump across the border to take advantage of a cheap fill-up.

The average price per gallon in the state is about $2.10, with some locations showing prices between $1.80 and $1.90.

While that’s great news for commuters and road-trippers, it’s not so great for the state’s government. A low gas tax means less money for the state coffers, which has effectively bankrupted the state’s transportation department.

In fact, road construction projects state-wide were halted last week due to a lack of funds (and a hefty dose of political maneuvering). Drivers may enjoy cheap gas, but they’ve been left to navigate New Jersey’s deteriorating and unfinished roads until a solution is found.

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What the New CAFE Standards Mean for Auto Buyers

White House Infographic, fuel economy standards

There has been a lot of news this week regarding the Environmental Protection Agency and National Highway Transportation Safety Administration issuing new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The reports seem to suggest the government has gone lax on the issue of fuel economy because most Americans don’t seem to care about it.

One analyst, however, suggests the opposite may be true. Stephanie Brinley, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive, read the entire 1217-page midterm report that discussed the standards (something probably 99 percent of journalists didn’t do, including me).

She wrote in Forbes, “The (CAFE) standard and NHTSA projected figures for the 2025 model year targets, however, have now been revealed as a projection rather than a legal requirement. The report is supportive of the progress and direction of the existing standards. The agencies believe automakers can meet the challenge, and that consumers want it.”

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Stan Hatoff said, “Gas is Gas,” but Stan Hatoff was Wrong


Down in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood, there’s a little outpost of late 20th-century automotive culture. Accepting only cash, Hatoff’s gas and service station is known around the city for consistently providing some of the cheapest gasoline you can find. It’s hard to imagine impatient New Englanders willing to walk away from their car, ask the man behind bulletproof glass for “$20 on pump 4,” and watch as the numbers on an ancient pump slowly climb—but without fail, Stan Hatoff’s station is one of the busiest in Boston.

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