Posts Tagged ‘AAA’

Price Of Gasoline Reaches New 44-Month Low

October 20th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, October 20, 2014) With oil prices sharply lower over the last several weeks, the national average pump price has followed suit and has now dropped on 25 consecutive days. This tumble has sent the national average to a low not seen since early 2011 and increased the likelihood that the national price at the pump could test the $3.00 per gallon mark for the first time since 2010.

Today’s national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.10 per gallon, representing the lowest price since February 1, 2011. The national average has fallen by a dime since one week ago and is 25 cents less than both one month and one year ago. This year-over-year gap has reached its widest mark since March.

Drivers are savings an average of 60 cents per gallon compared to the 2014 high of $3.70 (April 28), and pump prices have tumbled 10 percent since Labor Day when the national average registered $3.44 per gallon. For every penny that the national average falls (were the lower price sustained over the course of a year) more than one billion dollars per year in additional consumer spending is estimated to be freed up.

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Motorists in 17 states now pay an average price below $3.00 per gallon. The nation’s 10 most expensive markets are composed primarily of states on the West Coast and in the Northeast led by: Hawaii ($4.08), Alaska ($3.80), California ($3.50) and New York ($3.45). On the other end of the spectrum, consumers in Missouri are paying $2.77 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline, a low unseen in the state since 2010.

Compared to one week ago, the average price at the pump is down in 48 states and Washington, D.C. Motorists in 23 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon week-over-week with the largest discounts in Kentucky (-17 cents), Indiana (-16 cents) and Georgia (-14 cents). There are two states where the price has ticked upward over this same period: Ohio (+3 cents) and Michigan (fractions of a penny).

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The average price paid by drivers to refuel their vehicles is down in every state and Washington, D.C. both month-over-month and year-over-year. In comparison to this same date last month, consumers in every state and Washington, D.C. are saving 15 cents per gallon or more at the pump, and of this total there are 24 states where the price has fallen by a quarter or more per gallon. The Western states of Washington and Oregon (both down 40 cents) are registering the largest discounts over this period, followed by Kentucky and Colorado (down 39 cents). Year-over-year, 47 states and Washington D.C. are saving a dime or more per gallon at the pump and 25 states are registering discounts of a quarter or more led by Kentucky (-42 cents), Indiana (-40 cents) and Delaware (-36 cents).

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Geopolitical tensions in Iraq continue to be viewed by market watchers as posing a minimal threat to the region’s oil production. Sentiment for crude oil prices has remained bearish and it is speculated that the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will continue to protect its market share by sustaining current levels of production rather than cutting output to increase the global price of oil. OPEC member countries are responsible for 40 percent of the world’s oil production and are scheduled to convene on November 27 in Vienna to discuss whether to sustain or reduce production. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed out last week by settling up a nickel at $82.75 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. WTI was trading slightly lower to open the day today.

Michael Green Contact Tile

AAA Foundation Research Suggests States Could Reduce Crashes by Extending GDL Requirements

WASHINGTON (Oct. 20, 2014) – Experience behind the wheel may matter more than age when it comes to the safety of young-adult drivers, according to two new studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. These results suggest that states could reduce road crashes, fatalities and injuries by extending graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws to novice drivers beyond age 17. AAA is promoting this research as part of National Teen Driver Safety Week, which takes place from Oct. 19-25.

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Graduated driver licensing laws are designed to help new drivers gain practical experience in a relatively safe environment by initially restricting their exposure to risky situations, such as driving at night or with young passengers. The law then gradually phases in more privileges as new drivers gain more experience.

“Turning 18 does not instantly make someone a safer driver,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “This new research clearly demonstrates how important experience is to safe driving and suggests that graduated driver licensing laws may be beneficial for people that begin driving at an older age.”

The findings are based on two studies that examined crash rates of new drivers. The first study looked at crash rates in both California and North Carolina, which are two states that allow driving at age 16 and have no GDL requirements for new drivers ages 18 or older. While new drivers licensed at older ages tended to be less likely to crash during their first months and years of driving than younger beginners, the research revealed an important exception: new drivers licensed at age 18 were more likely to be involved in a crash resulting in injuries during their first year of solo driving than new drivers licensed at any other age.

The second study examined crash rates in New Jersey, which has a minimum age of 17 for unsupervised driving and is the only state in the country to have a comprehensive GDL program for all new drivers up to age 21. In New Jersey, while crash rates of new drivers licensed at different ages largely converged after six months of solo driving experience, older beginners had lower crash rates overall and lower rates of injury crashes than younger beginners.

Although the data did not allow researchers to directly investigate whether these differences were caused by GDL provisions, collectively, the results of the two studies suggest that applying GDL to all new drivers, or at least to some new drivers older than 17, might have a protective effect and improve safety.

“Graduated driver licensing can greatly reduce crashes, injuries and deaths for everyone on the road,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of state relations. “These laws set the parameters to help ease the transition behind the wheel during the learning to drive process.”

Graduated driver licensing programs have reduced 16- and 17-year-old driver crashes, but generally do not apply to new drivers ages 18 and older. Prior AAA Foundation research found that an estimated 36 percent of new drivers miss out on the protections of GDL by delaying licensure until age 18 or older. AAA is not calling for states to extend GDL provisions just yet, but does believe the research results are very promising in terms of pinpointing a way to keep these drivers safe. The AAA Foundation is planning to dive deeper into this area of research in the coming year.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, and drivers ages 18-20 were involved in more than 800,000 crashes in the United States in 2012. Parents and teens can learn more about teen driver issues and GDL requirements in their state by visiting AAA’s Keys2Drive website.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Heather HunterAAA suggests motorists mark November 2 for key winter car care checks

ORLANDO, Fla., (October 20, 2014) – Consumers have leveraged the changing of the clocks to remember important but infrequent tasks like replacing smoke alarm batteries. AAA suggests motorists also use this event as a reminder to check their vehicle for winter readiness.

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“The end of daylight savings time means that winter weather is on the way, which can be rough on your car,” says AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering, Greg Brannon. “This is a good time to have vehicle systems checked and perform important maintenance to ensure your car is in peak condition.”

Harsh winter conditions make your vehicle work harder, particularly the charging and starting system, headlights, tires and windshield wipers. AAA recommends that motorists:

  • Clean any corrosion from battery posts and cable connections and wash all surfaces with battery terminal cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water. Have the battery checked by a professional to ensure it is strong enough to face cold weather.
  • Have any engine drivability problems corrected at a good repair shop. Symptoms like hard starts, rough idling, stalling or diminished power could signal a problem that would be exacerbated by cold weather.
  • Replace worn windshield-wiper blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase one-piece beam-type or rubber-clad “winter” blades to fight snow and ice build-up. Use cold-weather windshield washer solvent and carry an ice-scraper.
  • Inspect all lights and bulbs and replace burned out bulbs. Clean road grime or clouding from all lenses.
  • Have your mechanic check the exhaust system for leaks and look for any holes in the trunk and floorboards.
  • Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wearing and cupping. Check tire pressures once a month when tires are cold, before driving for any distance. In extreme climates, a set of winter snow tires may be a wise investment.

Additional information regarding AAA’s recommendations for proper vehicle maintenance is available on the AAA Newsroom and AAA’s YouTube channel. AAA’s network of more than 7,000 Approved Auto Repair providers is listed on AAA.com.  AAA members can receive a free maintenance inspection anytime they have work performed at any of these locations.

AAA continually conducts proprietary research to better understand consumer implications of automotive technology, design and functionality.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Heather Hunter

 

 

 

 

 

  • Service intervals for oil changes, brake, transmission and power steering fluids and coolant have increased with advances in technology.
  • Monthly safety checks are critical for detecting issues that could lead to a hazardous situation or major repair.

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ORLANDO, Fla., (October 14, 2014) – New fluid technologies and engine designs have combined to reduce the burden of properly maintaining today’s vehicles. Fewer trips to the repair facility, however, may put motorists at risk of missing clues that could head off safety issues or expensive repairs.

“Every vehicle has a unique maintenance schedule, but many automakers are extending service intervals for vehicle fluids,” says John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Less maintenance improves the cost of vehicle ownership, but fewer visits to the repair facility means the technician will have fewer opportunities to check your vehicle for signs of wear. It’s important for motorists to conduct monthly safety inspections to identify issues before they escalate.”

Examples of new fluid service intervals include:

  • Oil: Cars today are designed to travel at least 5,000 miles between oil changes, and many newer models can be driven up to 7,500 miles or more before an oil change is necessary. Some vehicles that use full-synthetic engine oils have service intervals approaching 15,000 miles.  Be sure to check your oil level, either under the hood or through the vehicle’s onboard computer system.
  • Coolant: Requirements for flushing the coolant can vary from every two years to more than 100,000 miles, depending on the coolant type used. However, be sure coolant levels are correct as leaks in the system could cause major issues.
  • Brake fluid:  Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that brake fluid be replaced periodically to flush moisture and contaminants from the system. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for specific recommendations. If not specified, AAA recommends flushing the brake system and replacing with new fluid every two years.
  • Transmission fluid: Modern automatic transmissions are increasingly being filled with “lifetime” fluids that do not need to be changed until the vehicle has traveled 100,000 miles or more. The owner’s manual or maintenance booklet is the definitive source for specific transmission fluid requirements.

A monthly, 10-minute vehicle inspection can highlight issues that need attention. Motorists should check the level of the engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, washer fluid and power steering fluid.  In addition, a check of the tire pressure and tread depth will help ensure safety on the road.

Additional information regarding AAA’s recommendations for proper vehicle maintenance is available on the AAA Newsroom and AAA’s YouTube channel. AAA’s network of more than 7,000 Approved Auto Repair providers is listed on AAA.com. AAA members can receive a free maintenance inspection anytime they have work performed at any of these locations.

AAA continually conducts proprietary research to better understand consumer implications of automotive technology, design and functionality.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Gas Prices Fall Nine Cents in One Week

October 13th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, October 13, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline has fallen for 18 straight days, reaching today’s price of $3.20 per gallon. This price represents a new 2014 low and is the lowest average for the Columbus Day holiday since 2010 when gas averaged $2.81 per gallon. Today’s average price is nine cents less than one week ago, 20 cents less than one month ago and 15 cents less than one year ago.

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Drivers in six states are paying an average price below three dollars per gallon to refuel their vehicles with eight additional states posting prices within a nickel of this mark. Motorists in Missouri saw the average price fall below the $3.00 threshold this past Tuesday, and for the second week in a row are paying the nation’s lowest average price per gallon ($2.90).  Although the average price in Hawaii has fallen by four cents over the past seven days, it continues to lead the market with an average retail price above $4.00 per gallon ($4.13). Californians still pay the highest average ($3.60) in the continental U.S. followed by New Yorkers and Oregonians who are both paying $3.52 per gallon.

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The average price is down in every state and Washington, D.C. in both week-over-week and month-over-month comparisons. Week-over-week the retail price has dropped by a dime or more in 13 states with drivers in the Midwestern states of Minnesota (-16 cents), Michigan (-15 cents) and Kentucky (-14 cents) saving the most per gallon. Motorists in 46 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a nickel or more over this same period.  Even larger drops in the price at the pump are reflected over the past month. Michigan (-40 cents), Delaware (-35 cents), Washington (-33 cents) and Oregon (-32 cents) are registering the largest discounts in price over this period, followed by 10 other states where the average price is down by a quarter or more. State averages have fallen by a dime or more in every state but Florida, where prices have fallen only nine cents.

Year-over-year the average price for retail gas is lower in every state but Alaska (where prices are up less than a penny), and consumers in 48 states and Washington, D.C. are saving a nickel or more per gallon. The price has dropped by a dime or more in 38 states with consumers in Michigan (-30 cents), Minnesota (-30), Ohio (-27 cents) and Delaware (-25) saving a quarter or more per gallon to refuel their vehicles.

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Low demand combined with abundant supply has kept downward pressure on global oil prices. The impact of falling prices is currently front of mind for many in the market, and attention is now focused on whether the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) will alter production in order to influence prices higher. OPEC members are scheduled to meet at the end of November and will reportedly not hold an emergency meeting before then based on current prices, which has supported the bearish sentiment for crude oil. Additionally, while violence continues in Iraq, market watchers still assess the threat to oil production to be relatively limited. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil settled eight cents lower at $85.74 per barrel at the close of formal trading on the NYMEX. This is fifth consecutive settlement below $90 per barrel and the lowest price since December 2012.

Nancy WhiteAAA Urges Manufacturers to Focus on Accuracy and Usability to Reduce Cognitive Distraction

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 7, 2014) – With three out of four drivers believing that hands-free technology is safe to use, Americans may be surprised to learn that these popular new vehicle features may actually increase mental distraction, according to new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This research can serve as guidance to manufacturers who increasingly market hands-free systems as safety features. The good news for consumers is that it is possible to design hands-free technologies that are less cognitively distracting, according to the research.

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The results, which build on the first phase of the Foundation’s research conducted last year, suggest that developers can improve the safety of their products by making them less complicated, more accurate and generally easier to use – a point AAA hopes to use in working with manufacturers to make hands-free technologies as safe as possible for consumers. While manufacturers continue their efforts to develop and refine systems that reduce distractions, AAA encourages drivers to minimize cognitive distraction by limiting the use of most voice-based technologies.

“We already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies because their minds are not fully focused on the road ahead,” said Bob Darbelnet, chief executive officer of AAA. “We now understand that current shortcomings in these products, intended as safety features, may unintentionally cause greater levels of cognitive distraction.”

Using instrumented test vehicles, heart-rate monitors and other equipment designed to measure reaction times, Dr. David Strayer and researchers from the University of Utah evaluated and ranked common voice-activated interactions based on the level of cognitive distraction generated. The team used a five-category rating system, which they created in 2013, similar to that used for hurricanes. The results show:

      • The accuracy of voice recognition software significantly influences the rate of distraction. Systems with low accuracy and reliability generated a high level (category 3) of distraction.
      • Composing text messages and emails using in-vehicle technologies (category 3) was more distracting than using these systems to listen to messages (category 2).
      • The quality of the systems’ voice had no impact on distraction levels – listening to a natural or synthetic voice both rated as a category 2 level of distraction.

The study also separately assessed Apple’s Siri (version iOS 7) using insight obtained from Apple about Siri’s functionality at the time the research was conducted.  Researchers used the same metrics to measure a broader range of tasks including using social media, sending texts and updating calendars. The research uncovered that hands- and eyes-free use of Apple’s Siri generated a relatively high category 4 level of mental distraction.  

To put all of this year’s findings in context, last year’s research revealed that listening to the radio rated as a category 1 distraction; talking on a hand-held or hands-free cell phone resulted in a category 2 distraction; and using an error-free speech-to-text system to listen to and compose emails or texts was a category 3 distraction.

“Technologies used in the car that rely on voice communications may have unintended consequences that adversely affect road safety,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The level of distraction and the impact on safety can vary tremendously based on the task or the system the driver is using.”

To assess “real-world” impact, Dr. Joel Cooper with Precision Driving Research evaluated the two most common voice-based interactions in which drivers engage – changing radio stations and voice dialing – with the actual voice-activated systems found in six different automakers’ vehicles. On the five point scale, Toyota’s Entune® system garnered the lowest cognitive distraction ranking (at 1.7), which is similar to listening to an audio book. In comparison, the Chevrolet MyLink® resulted in a high level of cognitive distraction (rating of 3.7). Other systems tested included the Hyundai Blue Link (rating 2.2), the Chrysler Uconnect™ (rating 2.7), Ford SYNC with MyFord Touch® (rating 3.0) and the Mercedes COMAND® (rating 3.1).

“It is clear that not all voice systems are created equal, and today’s imperfect systems can lead to driver distraction,” continued Darbelnet. “AAA is confident that it will be possible to make safer systems in the future.”

This phase of the research highlights the variability in demands across all the systems tested.

AAA is calling for developers to address key contributing factors to mental distraction including complexity, accuracy and time on task with the goal of making systems that are no more demanding than listening to the radio or an audiobook. AAA also plans to use the findings to continue a dialogue with policy makers, safety advocates and manufacturers.

To view the full report, “Measuring Cognitive Distraction in the Vehicle II: Assessing In-Vehicle Voice-based Interactive Technologies,” and other materials on distracted driving, visit NewsRoom.AAA.com. This study builds upon groundbreaking research conducted last year, which found that drivers can be dangerously distracted even if their eyes are on the road and their hands are on the wheel. AAA promoted the study in the release:  Think You Know All About Distracted Driving? Think Again, Says AAA.

Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.  Visit www.aaafoundation.org for more information on this and other research.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Gas Prices Near 2014 Low

October 6th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green Contact Tile(WASHINGTON, October 6, 2014) The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.29 per gallon. This price is the least expensive daily average since February 9, it is just two cents above the low for 2014 ($3.27 on February 7), and it is the lowest price for this calendar day since 2010 ($2.75). Today’s average is a nickel less than one week ago, 15 cents less than one month ago, and six cents less than one year ago. The national average has fallen for each of the past 11 days and could drop as low as $3.10-$3.20 per gallon before the end of the year.

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For the fourth consecutive week, Hawaii ($4.17) remains the only state with an average price above four dollars per gallon. The western United States continues to lead the market posting the highest prices per gallon, with Alaska ($3.89), California ($3.68), Oregon ($3.63), and Washington ($3.62) following Hawaii as the nation’s most expensive markets. As the national average continues to decline, a few states are registering averages approaching the three dollar mark. Drivers in Missouri are paying the lowest average per gallon ($3.01), followed by South Carolina ($3.06) and Mississippi ($3.07).  No state has registered a daily average of less than $3.00 per gallon since January 23 when Missouri was last below this threshold. Given relatively inexpensive crude prices, adequate supplies and cheaper winter-blend fuel, and barring any unexpected market-moving news, drivers in as many as 20 states could enjoy an average price of less than three dollars per gallon before the end of the year.

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After operating at reduced rates for two weeks, ExxonMobil successfully restarted a crude distillation unit over the weekend at its Torrance, California refinery. The unit was initially down due to an issue with the heater, and earlier attempts to restart the unit were delayed due to a leak on process equipment. Refinery issues were also resolved in the Gulf Coast where two refineries returned to service, after the combination of planned and unplanned maintenance to the fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit challenged operations. This caused motor gasoline production in the region to slow to its lowest level in over a year, however with supply returning to normal levels motorists near the Gulf Coast should see pump prices point lower again.

Week-over-week, the average price for retail gasoline is down in 48 states and Washington, D.C. Drivers in 19 states are saving a nickel or more per gallon over this same period, with consumers in the Midwest experiencing the largest savings: Michigan (-14 cents), Ohio (-12 cents) and Indiana (-12 cents). On the other side of this trend, the retail average is up in Louisiana (+2 cents) and Florida (fractions of a penny) over the past seven days.

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On the whole, motorists continue to pay less per gallon to refuel their vehicles. Month-over-month the average price has fallen in every state and Washington, D.C., led by the Midwestern states of Indiana (-37 cents), Michigan (-37 cents) and Ohio (-28 cents). Although the magnitude of monthly savings per gallon does vary from state to state, consumers in 41 states are saving a dime or more per gallon at the pump.

Year-over-year the average price is down in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Eighteen states are registering savings of a dime or more per gallon, with motorists in California  (-18 cents), Rhode Island (-17 cents) and Connecticut (-17 cents) experiencing the largest savings at the pump. Of the five states where the price has increased in comparison to this date last year, Georgia (+5 cents) is the only state where the increment is more than fractions of a penny.

Global oil prices have continued to slide as supplies have outpaced demand and markets remain relatively unmoved by geopolitical tensions in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. WTI did settle 60 cents higher at $90.34 per barrel at the close of today’s formal trading on the NYMEX, but remains near the low-price for the year. On Friday, for the first time in 17 months, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled below $90 per barrel, breaking a streak of 365 consecutive settlements above this threshold.

Heather Hunter

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  • AAA surveyed its network of AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities to identify the maintenance items frequently missed by motorists.
  • Eighty-eight percent of repair shops find that drivers miss brake fluid maintenance, but only 35 percent find vehicles are behind on their oil changes.

ORLANDO, Fla., (October 2, 2014) – Changes in maintenance schedules due to advanced vehicle and fluid technology have changed vehicle service needs. Most motorists manage oil-change services appropriately but miss other critical maintenance items, according to a survey of AAA’s nationwide network of Approved Auto Repair shops.

Eighty-eight percent of repair shops find that motorists frequently skip brake fluid service. Other commonly missed items noted by repair providers include proper battery checks (82 percent), transmission fluid maintenance (81 percent), tire maintenance (78 percent) and engine coolant (77 percent).

“The expansion of onboard maintenance reminder systems – which often cover oil-change services – appears to help consumers stay on track with oil maintenance,” John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “Many important services that are not typically detailed by those systems are often missed by consumers.”

In the past, vehicle maintenance needs were relatively simple and consistent across automakers. Today’s engineering advancements require less maintenance at less frequent intervals. Examples include oil-change intervals now recommended at 5,000 to 10,000 or more miles, transmission fluids designed to last 100,000 miles and sealed batteries that never need to have fluid added. Even with these advancements, vehicles still require routine services that are important to maintaining the performance and safety of the vehicle.

“Poor maintenance of brake fluid is a critical safety concern. All brake fluid attracts moisture, which can cause the fluid to perform poorly. Lack of maintenance can lead to contaminated fluid, corroded parts and increased stopping distance,” says Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of Automotive Engineering. “Motorists may not be aware of maintenance requirements for brake fluid, or their vehicle’s manufacturer may not recommend a specific interval for replacing the fluid.”

To ensure your vehicle is properly maintained, AAA recommends that motorists:

  • Read the maintenance requirements set by your car’s manufacturer in the owner’s manual. There is no longer a “standard” maintenance schedule for vehicle services – including brake fluid. Each automaker has different requirements, making your owner’s manual the most accurate resource.
  • Inspect brakes as recommended in your owner’s manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, pulling, noises while braking or longer stopping distance. Correct minor brake problems promptly. Check your owner’s manual to see if the brake fluid should be changed at a specific interval. If no interval is specified for brake fluid service, AAA suggests flushing the system every two years or anytime the brake system is serviced.
  • Follow the recommendations of in-vehicle maintenance reminders, as they have the best information to determine maintenance needs for your vehicle because they account for how you actually drive. However, many reminder systems do not specifically cover maintenance operations that need to be performed on a time or mileage basis – such as brake fluid and coolant flushes or timing-belt replacement.
  • Enlist the help of a trusted repair provider to keep vehicle maintenance on track. Quality repair shops will help motorists schedule and budget for necessary maintenance services. Find a quality repair provider through AAA’s Approved repair network by visiting AAA.com.

Additional information on AAA’s recommendations for proper vehicle maintenance is available on the AAA Newsroom and AAA’s YouTube channel. AAA’s network of more than 7,000 Approved Auto Repair providers is listed on AAA.com.  AAA members can receive a free maintenance inspection anytime they have work performed at any of these locations.

AAA continually conducts proprietary research to better understand implications of automotive technology, design and functionality for consumers.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Gas Prices to Keep Dropping in October

September 30th, 2014 by admin

Michael Green

 

 

 

 

 

Consumers Paid the Cheapest September Gas Prices in Four Years

  • Drivers paid the lowest September gas prices since 2010 with the monthly average at $3.39 per gallon, which was about 13 cents less than last year and 44 cents less expensive than 2012.
  • “American drivers will have a bit more money to spend or use on savings as gas prices continue to fall,” said Avery Ash, AAA spokesman. “It is a nice relief for most of us to pay a little less than in recent years to fill up at the gas station.”
  • Gas prices have declined about ten cents per gallon since the beginning of the month with the daily average falling 24 out of 30 days in September. This is the fourth consecutive year that gas prices have fallen in September. Gas prices have dropped 35 cents per gallon since June 28 despite a busy travel season and conflict in the Middle East.
  • Gas prices generally have been less expensive than in recent years due to the dramatic boom in North American petroleum production. U.S. refineries have taken advantage of increased crude oil supplies to make more gasoline. In addition, increased domestic production has helped insulate U.S. consumers from conflicts and instability overseas.
  • Gas prices typically decline in September as the busy driving season ends and because many stations begin selling less costly winter-blend gasoline on September 16. As the weather grows cooler, summer-blend gasoline is no longer required in most areas to prevent gasoline evaporation and air-quality issues.
  • For the second year in a row, consumers caught a break in September with no Atlantic hurricanes striking the U.S. coastline. September is the peak period for the Atlantic hurricane season, and hurricanes can cause gas prices to rise significantly by disrupting refineries, pipelines and oil production.

 

U.S. Gas Stations Increasingly Selling Gas for Less than $3.00 Per Gallon

  • Gas stations selling gas for less than $3.00 per gallon are growing increasingly common in some parts of the country. Already, consumers can find at least one station selling gas for $3.00 or less in 26 states. Nearly four percent of U.S. stations are selling gas for $3.00 or less today, and this number should increase significantly over the next couple of months.
  • “Gas prices could fall another 20 cents per gallon by the time families load up the car for Thanksgiving,” continued Ash.  “If everything goes smoothly, buying gas for less than $3.00 per gallon should be refreshingly common in many parts of the country this winter.”
  • AAA expects the national average price of gas could drop to $3.10 – $3.20 per gallon before the year ends, which could be the closest that the national average has come to $3.00 since 2010. Last year, the national average reached a low of $3.18 per gallon on Nov. 12.
  • Fifteen states have average gas prices below $3.25 per gallon today, and many of these states could see average gas prices drop below $3.00 per gallon before the year ends. The lowest gas prices today are primarily in the Southeast and Central United States, which are regions that typically have lower gas taxes, access to domestic crude oil and abundant refinery capacity.
  • Oklahoma has the most stations with gas prices under $3.00 today with nearly 3 in 10 stations statewide selling gas for under that price. In fact, the most common price in Oklahoma today is $2.989 per gallon. The next two states with the most stations below $3.00 per gallon are South Carolina and Missouri where nearly 1 in 5 stations are below that price.
  • Gas prices typically decline from September through early winter due to declining demand as people drive less during colder months. While gas prices will not fall every day over that period, drivers should pay significantly lower prices in December than they are paying today.
  • It is possible that gas prices may remain relatively flat over the next week or two due to relatively heavy refinery maintenance. Seasonal maintenance can reduce refinery production and lead to tighter gasoline supplies. Refineries should complete most of this seasonal maintenance by the middle of October.
  • The average price of gas in October has declined three consecutive years by an average of 13 cents per gallon. Gas prices averaged $3.49 per gallon in October during the previous three years.
  • The peak period for Atlantic hurricanes has passed, but it is still possible for a late-season hurricane to disrupt production before the year is over. In late October 2012 for example, Hurricane Sandy struck the Northeast, which caused gas prices to rise significantly in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. In New York City and Long Island, average gas prices climbed above $4.15 per gallon.

 

Daily Average Price of Gas Drops to a Seven-Month Low

  • The national average price of gas has fallen to $3.33 per gallon, which is the least expensive daily average since February 13, 2014.
  • Today’s average is the lowest for the final day of September in four years and about seven cents per gallon less expensive than a year ago.
  • The five states with the highest average prices today include: Hawaii ($4.20), Alaska ($3.92), California ($3.70), Washington ($3.69) and Oregon ($3.69). The five states with the lowest gas prices today include: Missouri ($3.09), South Carolina ($3.09), Mississippi ($3.10), Tennessee ($3.12) and Virginia ($3.13).

AAA updates fuel price averages daily at www.FuelGaugeReport.AAA.com. Every day up to 120,000 stations are surveyed based on credit card swipes and direct feeds in cooperation with the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS) and Wright Express for unmatched statistical reliability. All average retail prices in this report are for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline. For more information, contact Michael Green at 202-942-2082, mgreen@national.aaa.com

JulieHallSurvey shows Americans appreciate the knowledge, expertise and value travel agents offer

ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 23, 2014) – According to a recent survey by AAA, a majority of Americans see value in using a travel agent. Eighty-five percent of Americans find travel agents provide cost-effective, trouble-free, personalized vacation planning.

“Travelers see great value in working with an agent,” said Bill Sutherland, vice president, AAA Travel Services. “They enjoy working with travel agents, who can save them time, money and the frustration of navigating the many complex travel offerings that are available today.”

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The most frequent benefits travelers cited when using the services of an agent were:

Travel agents are a knowledgeable resource, providing a great vacation experience

Planning a vacation that is fun for all can be daunting. An experienced and knowledgeable travel agent can provide recommendations to clients based on their interests and expectations, whether that’s a family-friendly vacation, a stay at an all-inclusive resort, a memorable honeymoon, or a first-time cruise. Travelers who work with the same agent repeatedly also enjoy a familiarity that makes it even easier to select a destination or cruise to match their travel tastes.

Travel agents know the best deals, saving their clients money

Travel agents work with cruise lines, hotels and tour operators every day and often have access to special rates and added benefits that are not available elsewhere. They can provide clients information on values and savings during certain times of the year—for example when a cruise line is offering extra incentives to sail to a destination, special offers for residents or military personnel, or special promotions for kids to travel, eat or stay free.

Travel agents make reservations and bookings, saving time

Selecting the right destination, hotel, cruise line or theme park is a time-consuming task. A qualified travel agent can take care of all the arrangements and stay on top of every detail, saving travelers time to focus on other priorities.

Travel agents can help if something goes wrong, providing peace of mind

Perhaps one of the greatest values in working with a travel agent is the peace of mind they offer when something goes wrong on a vacation. If flights are suddenly cancelled, a hotel doesn’t meet travelers’ standards, or a hurricane hits a key tourist destination, travelers who booked their trip through a travel agent can make a call to their agent, who can make alternate arrangements immediately.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 54 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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