The Truth About Cars » Studies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 25 May 2015 14:29:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Studies http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Study: Virtual Drivers Possible Key Toward Autonomous Vehicle Acceptance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-virtual-drivers-possible-key-toward-autonomous-vehicle-acceptance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-virtual-drivers-possible-key-toward-autonomous-vehicle-acceptance/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 17:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1073074 Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency. A study published in the Human Factors journal posits public concern regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles could be mitigated with a humanoid robot behind the controls, […]

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Johnny Cab

Virtual drivers may be the key to developing trust in autonomous vehicles, so long as those drivers are quicker on the draw than Johnny Cab in an emergency.

A study published in the Human Factors journal posits public concern regarding the safety of autonomous vehicles could be mitigated with a humanoid robot behind the controls, Edmunds reports.

The study by Eindhoven University of Technology in Eindhoven, Netherlands introduced over 100 volunteers to such a driver, named “Bob.” The virtual driver’s appearance, movements and driving style were programmed to match those belonging to each participant, who allowed Bob to do the driving in a simulator on a route pre-selected by said test subjects.

The goal was to assess trustworthiness levels in the virtual driver, finding the more Bob looked and drove like a given subject, the more trust the subject would bestow in regard to their safety. Said strategy is in place with other forms of technology already, such as Siri and Cortana in Apple’s and Microsoft’s smartphones, where if the tech in question has a slight bit of humanity — human voices, sociability et al — end users would respond as if the tech actually was human.

Whether there will be a Johnny Cab in the future to help one escape from baddies because they’re actually a spy who may or may not know too much about Mars, or a Hatsune Miku recolor to drive you to her next performance is up in the air for now. Not even Google has placed a Nexus 6 behind the non-existent wheel of its autonomous bubble pod in its testing thus far.

[Source: mrbillyt/Photobucket]

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Study: 2025 54.5 MPG CAFE Target Within Reach http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-2025-54-5-mpg-cafe-target-within-reach/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/study-2025-54-5-mpg-cafe-target-within-reach/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 19:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071722 Per a new study by the Consumer Federation of America, U.S. average new-car fuel efficiency is well on its way to hitting the 54.5-mpg target set for 2025. The study looked over 1,163 new models, finding those rated at 23 mpg and above by the EPA gained a couple of percentage points between 2014 and […]

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White House 2025 54.5 MPG Graphic

Per a new study by the Consumer Federation of America, U.S. average new-car fuel efficiency is well on its way to hitting the 54.5-mpg target set for 2025.

The study looked over 1,163 new models, finding those rated at 23 mpg and above by the EPA gained a couple of percentage points between 2014 and 2015, rising from 50.5 percent to 52 percent of overall new-car sales, Edmunds reports. Meanwhile, those averaging 16 mpg and below declined from 8.5 percent of sales last year, to 6.1 percent this year.

Taking the 2015 podium for complying with the fuel economy standards among their fleets, Honda held onto its gold with 57 percent over 2014’s 51 percent, while Volvo jumped from having no models in compliance to 29 percent. Mercedes took home the bronze by increasing fleet compliance to 18 percent of its models, compared to 12 percent last year.

On the other end, the CFA found a few automakers lost their footing in compliance, with Kia and Subaru making the biggest drops (18 percent and 48 percent respectively in 2015, 40 percent and 75 percent in 2014), and General Motors falling eight percentage points to 19 percent.

The group notes this is due to a boom in new truck and SUV sales, which made up half of all new-vehicle sales for the 2015 model year. Overall compliance remained stable (53 percent this year compared to 58 percent last year), while compliance rates among trucks and SUVs fell from 80 percent to 35 percent.

Despite the few stumbling blocks, CFA’s automotive expert, Jack Gillis, says the industry can achieve the 2025 CAFE target, a standards representing “a historic consensus that brought together automakers, labor unions, consumer organizations and environmental groups to benefit our national and economic security, the environment and consumers through reduced fuel consumption and more vehicle choices.”

[Image credit: WhiteHouse.gov]

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Study: Millennials Love Cars, Not So Much EVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-millennials-love-cars-not-much-evs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-millennials-love-cars-not-much-evs/#comments Wed, 29 Apr 2015 16:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1056274 Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified. The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving […]

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Kia Soul with Lyftstache Circa September 2013

Per a new study by Continental AG, millennials love cars as much as they love iPhones, so long as their rides aren’t electrified.

The biennial Continental Mobility Study found in 2015 that 84 percent of those between ages 16 and 25 state that driving matters greatly to them, with 76 percent of the group driving their vehicles every day, AutoGuide reports.

Regarding the aforementioned iPhones, consumer electronics still rule over the group, as 91 percent placed a high importance on their smartphones, tablets et al. When it comes to automakers bringing that experience to their offerings, 73 percent stated they would like a connected vehicle. However, Continental AG board member Helmut Matschi cautions automakers to take a shotgun approach to implementing said tech, with data security being at the top of the list.

Ownership matters to all who were surveyed: 94 percent said they owned their vehicles, while only 1 percent preferred to use car-sharing services. The figure follows a similar trend in Europe, where 83 percent surveyed also stated that they own their cars. Matschi said he was “a bit surprised” at the outcome, thinking behavioral changes should have occurred by now, but that both young and older drivers alike “see driving as sustainable and fun.” Industry experts add that 65 million millennials will buy a vehicle over the next five years, fueling technological advancements in connectivity and autonomy in so doing.

One of those behaviors – going for greener, electrified motoring solutions – isn’t highly regarded among the group, let alone among all those who were surveyed by the supplier. While 71 percent of all Americans surveyed found EVs did wonders for the environment, only 31 percent said EVs were a joy to drive, 38 percent loved their designs, and 27 percent believed they were sporty.

Going from bad to worse for EV proponents, 21 percent of 31- to 59-year-olds said they thought EVs were a viable solution for transportation, while 24 percent of 16- to 30-year-olds stated they would use an EV to get around over the next decade.

The 2015 edition of the Continental Mobility Study contacted 2,300 non-drivers and 400 drivers in the U.S. for representative and qualitative sampling respectively during the second half of 2014.

[Photo credit: Raido/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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AAA: Average Annual Driving Costs Fall 2 Percent In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055737 According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015. The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per […]

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AAA Your Driving Costs 2015 Infographic

According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015.

The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per mile, while finance charges came down 21 percent to just $669 per year. The former is due to a combination of falling gas prices at the pump and improved fuel economy, the latter due to low finance rates amid rising sales and heavy dealer competition.

However, vehicle depreciation climbed 4.1 percent to $3,654 as new-car sales help push used and off-lease models back onto the lot. Insurance trickled up nearly 9 percent to $1,115/year for an average policy, mainly because of higher-cost modern features linked to safety, use of lightweight materials, and newer connected-vehicle systems.

Maintenance costs barely rose to just over 5 cents/mile in 2015 – though owners are behind on routine maintenance – while licensing, registration and taxes totaled $665 a year on average, thanks to slightly higher prices on the showroom floor. Tires held their ground as a result of the dynamics and competitiveness of the market, with costs rising to just 0.98 cents/mile.

Among the vehicle types factored into the annual average, owners of minivans and SUVs will continue to fare well at the pump and in financing their vehicles, as those vehicles average 0.625 cents and 0.708 cents per mile in 2015. Owners of large sedans face the highest average cost at 0.710 cents/mile, while midsize and small sedan owners pay 0.581 cents and 0.449 cents for every mile driven, respectively.

[Image credit: AAA]

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Study: Battery Pack Costs Fell 14 Percent Annually Over Seven Years http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-battery-pack-costs-fell-14-percent-annually-seven-years/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/study-battery-pack-costs-fell-14-percent-annually-seven-years/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045226 Though the most expensive part of an EV or PHEV is its battery pack, a new study shows those costs are falling at a hefty clip. According to Green Car Reports, a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that the cost of a battery pack fell 14 percent per year between […]

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2016 Chevrolet Volt battery

Though the most expensive part of an EV or PHEV is its battery pack, a new study shows those costs are falling at a hefty clip.

According to Green Car Reports, a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute in Stockholm, Sweden found that the cost of a battery pack fell 14 percent per year between 2007 and 2014, coming down from over $1,000 USD per kWh, to around $410/kWh; market-leading EV makers saw their costs decline 8 percent annually to $300/kWh over the same period.

The study’s findings are the result of data from 85 cost estimates found in peer-reviewed academic journals, as well as reports from automakers, analysts and the media. However, the authors note that since battery producers and automakers almost never disclose the actual costs for those cells, the study is incomplete at best.

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Support For Automated Enforcement Only So-So Among Americans http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/support-automated-enforcement-among-americans/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/support-automated-enforcement-among-americans/#comments Tue, 31 Mar 2015 10:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1033377 While use of red-light and speed cameras are on the wane, support for automated enforcement depends upon where and who the constituent is. According to Autoblog, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 70 municipalities have dropped red-light camera programs in their jurisdictions over the past 30 months. Said programs peaked at […]

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red stop light camera

While use of red-light and speed cameras are on the wane, support for automated enforcement depends upon where and who the constituent is.

According to Autoblog, a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found 70 municipalities have dropped red-light camera programs in their jurisdictions over the past 30 months. Said programs peaked at 540 communities in October 2012, now since fallen to 461, and while 112 to 140 programs speed camera programs were initiated in the same 30 months, those are now beginning to stumble.

While critics — and the studies that back their statements — have found red-light and speed cameras marginally improve safety at best and are thought to be nothing more than revenue generators, a survey by FindLaw.com found that 61 percent of women and 51 percent of men support red-light cameras, while 53 percent of women and 43 percent of men would support speed cameras, as well.

Geography plays into support as well: 62 percent of residents in the Northeastern United States support speed cameras, while 65 percent support red-light cameras. In comparison, only 33 percent of residents in the Midwest — where opposition to automated enforcement is highest — support the former, 49 percent support the latter.

That said, the voting booth may be the best indicator of support for the cameras: 31 out of 34 referendums in 25 years have shot down automated enforcement, including four ballot measures last November whose disapproval/approval ratio came to approximately 3:1 opposed.

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Edmunds: Millennials Savvier Car Shoppers Via Mobile Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/edmunds-millennials-savvier-car-shoppers-via-mobile-technology/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 13:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032593 According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership. Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their […]

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Millennials In The Back Of A Subaru BRAT

According to a study, Millennials not only prefer to shop for cars via mobile devices, but also at the dealership.

Per Edmunds, who commissioned the study earlier this year, 73 percent of Millennials aged 18 to 34 proclaim to be more knowledgeable about the car-buying process than their parents, while over half “actively advise their friends and family” on the process, compared to 37 percent of older Americans.

The study says this is due to the generation’s profieciency with mobile devices in researching the vehicles of their choice prior to purchase, from reading reviews and researching prices, to tracking down models for sale. Eighty percent of Millennials were found to have used such tactics for at least one shopping task.

Meanwhile, 64 percent stated they “valued the in-dealership experience” of face-to-face interaction with dealers, and 96 percent said that it was important to test-drive a vehicle before purchase. Purchases skew towards the used market, where 78 percent of Millennials go for their purchases, 72 percent have considered EVs or hybrids, and 66 percent hope to one day own a car that does all the driving for them.

Regarding technology, while smartphone integration and Wi-Fi are important, such features rank behind price, fuel economy and performance.

The study consisted of two surveys conducted in January and March of 2015, with 1,500 and 1,000 adults between 18 and 34 years of age who made a vehicle purchase within the previous three months polled.

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Study: Mercedes Holds Highest Average Labor Costs Among US Manufacturers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-mercedes-holds-highest-average-labor-costs-among-us-manufacturers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-mercedes-holds-highest-average-labor-costs-among-us-manufacturers/#comments Wed, 25 Mar 2015 10:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1028817 Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz. According to Reuters, a study of 2014 labor costs by the Center for Automotive Research found that the automaker’s sole U.S. plant in Vance, Ala. averages $65/hour, while Volkswagen and BMW held the lowest averages overall and […]

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2015-mercedes-benz-c63-amg-11

Who among all automakers has the highest labor costs in the United States? A study points to Mercedes-Benz.

According to Reuters, a study of 2014 labor costs by the Center for Automotive Research found that the automaker’s sole U.S. plant in Vance, Ala. averages $65/hour, while Volkswagen and BMW held the lowest averages overall and among the transplants, coming out to $38 and $39 per hour, respectively.

As mentioned previously, General Motors and Ford have the highest costs among the Detroit Three, averaging $58 and $57 per hour compared to FCA US’ $48. The three automakers are also the only ones whose employees are represented by the United Auto Workers, whose 2007 contract created the two-tier wage system meant to help the trio remain competitive against the transplants, as well as to stay afloat during the darkest days of the Great Recession.

Other automakers with business in the U.S. include Honda ($49/hr.), Toyota ($48/hr.), Nissan ($42/hr.), and Hyundai/Kia ($41/hr.).

The averages in the study were based on pay for both direct-hire and temporary employees working full-time. The research group also found that Japanese transplants had the highest percentages of temporary employees, helping to cut down on labor costs.

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Study: Samsung Rivals Apple Among Auto-Related Patent Holdings http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-samsung-rivals-apple-among-auto-related-patent-holdings/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-samsung-rivals-apple-among-auto-related-patent-holdings/#comments Thu, 12 Mar 2015 10:00:30 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1020385 Just like the ongoing fight between the two titans in the smartphone space, Samsung is Apple’s main rival in the auto industry. According to Autoblog, a study by Thomson Reuters looked over 4,761 auto-related patents filed among Google, Samsung, Tesla and Uber between 1990 and 2014 to compare where Apple stands among them in the […]

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2014 Samsung-Exide BMW M3 DTM at Brands Hatch

Just like the ongoing fight between the two titans in the smartphone space, Samsung is Apple’s main rival in the auto industry.

According to Autoblog, a study by Thomson Reuters looked over 4,761 auto-related patents filed among Google, Samsung, Tesla and Uber between 1990 and 2014 to compare where Apple stands among them in the patent wars. While all have rapidly increased those filings as of late, Samsung is firing full batteries of patents; 600 patents alone were filed in 2014.

Between Samsung and Apple, the differences were stark: the former filed 3,094 over the quarter-century, with more recent patents focused on battery and fuel-cell technology, while Apple held just 275, most of which relate to connected-vehicle technology. That said, the company spent the 1990s rebuilding itself from the clone wars through candy-colored computers, followed by the iPhone-led silver future of the mid-2000s through the present; the auto industry was likely not a primary focus for the late Steve Jobs or his successor Tim Cook.

Thomson Reuters suggests in its study that one way for Apple to better compete in the auto industry — whether it builds a car or not — is to buy Tesla, whose collection of battery patents would compliment the tech giant’s device integration and connected-vehicle patents. The group adds that such a merger would put the duo on par with Google in the patent wars.

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Study: Millennial Fastest-Growing Auto Lending Segment http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-millennial-fastest-growing-auto-lending-segment/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/study-millennial-fastest-growing-auto-lending-segment/#comments Thu, 05 Mar 2015 15:00:01 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1015978 Alleged to not be interested in cars or driving them, millennials are the fastest-growing segment of car buyers as far as lending goes, per a new study. According to Automotive News, credit-reporting company TransUnion found the group represented 27 percent of overall auto loans and lease originations made in 2014, up from just 16 percent […]

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hipster lyft millennials

Alleged to not be interested in cars or driving them, millennials are the fastest-growing segment of car buyers as far as lending goes, per a new study.

According to Automotive News, credit-reporting company TransUnion found the group represented 27 percent of overall auto loans and lease originations made in 2014, up from just 16 percent in 2009. Senior vice president and automotive business leader Jason Laky says this is due to both an improving economy and millennials’ entering into the next phase of their lives:

They’re maturing into their adulthood. They’re getting to the point where they’re employed, they’re having families, they’re moving to a place where they’re financing just like previous generations.

Meanwhile, Gen Xers were the largest segment in auto lending, accounting for 34 percent of loans and originations in 2014. Boomers followed close behind with 32 percent, down from 34 percent in 2013. Average balances per generation are $21,779 for Gen X, $21,055 for boomers, and $18,678 for millennials, the last group experiencing the largest jump in average outstanding balances at 4.1 percent.

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Study: US Auto Sales To Rise Through 2017, Modestly Decline Through 2020 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-auto-sales-rise-2017-modestly-decline-2020/#comments Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:00:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1006458 Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020. According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales […]

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Bill Colwell Ford Dealership

Happy days are back again for automakers selling to the United States, with auto sales projected to rise through 2017 before dipping slightly through 2020.

According to The Detroit Bureau, a study by AutoPacific found that consumers bought 16.4 million vehicles in 2014, a 6 percent increase over 2013. Further, the group predicts 2015 sales will hit 17 million, peaking at 17.24 million in 2017.

Per AutoPacific industry analysis vice president Ed Kim, the boom is fueled by both “continued increases in truck and SUV sales,” and the rapid growth of compact crossover sales among mainstream and premium brands. Combined, such sales would make up 55 percent of the overall U.S. market this year.

As for the aforementioned downturn beginning in 2018 and going forward through 2020, Kim cites rises in interest rates, Millennials waiting to purchase their first vehicle, and extended loan terms as factors in the upcoming decline. He adds that despite this, sales are likely to bottom-out at 16.8 million by the start of the next decade, 60 percent better than the 10.4 million vehicles sold in 2009 during the early days of the Great Recession.

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NHTSA: Marijuana Use Not Likely To Increase Accident Risk http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-marijuana-use-not-likely-increase-accident-risk/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nhtsa-marijuana-use-not-likely-increase-accident-risk/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995362 Planning to light one up before visiting the local drive-thru taquería? The NHTSA says marijuana use might not increase the risk of an accident after all. According to AutoGuide, the agency’s study on the matter — the “most precisely controlled” study of its kind to date — says that while marijuana users may end up […]

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Jeff Spicoli et al Tumble Out of Volkswagen Type II

Planning to light one up before visiting the local drive-thru taquería? The NHTSA says marijuana use might not increase the risk of an accident after all.

According to AutoGuide, the agency’s study on the matter — the “most precisely controlled” study of its kind to date — says that while marijuana users may end up in accidents more often, but that said increase is coincidental:

Analyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs. This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender ethnicity and alcohol use) were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.

Despite the findings, NHTSA associate administrator for research and program development Jeff Michael cautions that marijuana users shouldn’t drive while impaired, especially as the drug does bring on impairment.

The study took place in Virginia Beach, Va. for 20 months with a sample of 9,000, two-thirds of whom had never been in an accident.

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Study: US Better Off Funding EV Charging Infrastructure Over Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994010 According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now. The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now.

The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the subsidies gone towards such things; the figure is equal to half of all gas stations in the United States. In turn, an additional 60,000 stations would boost adoption rates to five times the current rate.

Another part of the study focused how EV and PHEV owners charged their vehicles, looking at ways to bring low-cost, more efficient charging to the home. Most owners use a standard 120-volt outlet for overnight charging, while direct-current charging boosts recharge rates four to six times above alternating-current charging, but at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for the equipment.

As for outside of the home, the NSF developed an intelligent charging system that would optimize charging costs at malls or parking garages, while managing the charging itself to reduce strain on the electric grid.

The study comes as the U.S. will likely fall short of the 1-million EV goal set by President Barack Obama for the end of 2015; just over 250,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S. since 2010.

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Study: Only Five Countries Sold Over 10K PEVs In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/study-five-countries-sold-10k-pevs-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/study-five-countries-sold-10k-pevs-2014/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961801 Plug-in vehicles may be doing well as of late in the sales game, but a study by The Research Capsule says their gameplay needs more work. According to AutoblogGreen, the group says only five countries have sold over 10,000 PEVs in 2014, which are likely the United States, China, Japan, Norway and France, respectively; the […]

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BMW_i3_–_Frontansicht,_14._September_2013,_Frankfurt

Plug-in vehicles may be doing well as of late in the sales game, but a study by The Research Capsule says their gameplay needs more work.

According to AutoblogGreen, the group says only five countries have sold over 10,000 PEVs in 2014, which are likely the United States, China, Japan, Norway and France, respectively; the report costs $7,000 for a site license, so AutoblogGreen relied on sales blog EV Sales for its information regarding those countries.

The one useful (free) information from the press release focuses on geographic distribution of overall PEV sales. For example, 50 percent of the 100,000-plus plug-ins sold through November in the United States are in California. Meanwhile, Norway adopts technology left and right, while Sweden is still trying to figure out how to flat-pack a PEV for sale at IKEA, with an appropriate all-caps Viking name to match.

As for when things may improve, The Research Capsule forecasts it would take 10 years or more for PEVs to go mainstream, and that only one country “will break 10 percent of all vehicle sales during the coming five years.” The forecast is an extrapolation of one made by the group regarding sales through 2017.

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Sandia Labs: Underground Geologic Formations Hold Future Of Hydrogen Storage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/sandia-labs-underground-geologic-formations-hold-future-hydrogen-storage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/sandia-labs-underground-geologic-formations-hold-future-hydrogen-storage/#comments Thu, 11 Dec 2014 11:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=958345 Part of hydrogen becoming a viable energy option in the United States is infrastructure, which isn’t much at present. Should business pick up, however, hydrogen would need to be stored as cheaply as possible to facilitate greater adoption. Sandia Labs suggests storing hydrogen in salt and other underground geologic formations over above-ground tanks, as the […]

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salt mine

Part of hydrogen becoming a viable energy option in the United States is infrastructure, which isn’t much at present. Should business pick up, however, hydrogen would need to be stored as cheaply as possible to facilitate greater adoption.

Sandia Labs suggests storing hydrogen in salt and other underground geologic formations over above-ground tanks, as the latter costs three to five times more than simply tossing the gas down a cavern. Volume also plays a role, as underground structures are quite roomy over a pressurized tank near a fueling station, and such structures can be linked to electrical grids through electrolyzer systems, as well.

For this idea to be a success, the laboratory looked at salt caverns in four locations to determine permeability amid peak summer demand. It found that 10 percent above average demand over 120 days would be best. Further, salt was chosen over other geological formations in the first place, as the mineral is best at keeping hydrogen molecules from leaking out.

The main limitation is quantity: there are few salt formations in the U.S. to store the fuel. Thus, other options will need to be considered for a comprehensive national hydrogen reserve to happen.

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UC Berkeley Study: Lane-Splitting Safety, Acceptance Increase In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/uc-berkeley-study-lane-splitting-safety-acceptance-increase-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/10/uc-berkeley-study-lane-splitting-safety-acceptance-increase-2014/#comments Mon, 27 Oct 2014 10:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=935970 Motorcycles passing through slow traffic on either side of the rider is a rarity in the United States, where only California officially gives it the thumbs-up when conditions are safe to do so. A recent study of lane-splitting further confirms the safety and acceptance of the practice. According to Autoblog, the study — conducted every […]

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la-fi-mo-autos-lanesplitting-controversy-safet-001

Motorcycles passing through slow traffic on either side of the rider is a rarity in the United States, where only California officially gives it the thumbs-up when conditions are safe to do so. A recent study of lane-splitting further confirms the safety and acceptance of the practice.

According to Autoblog, the study — conducted every year since 2012 by the Safe Transportation Research and Education Center at the University of California, Berkeley — reports 80.6 percent of riders split lanes on freeways, 70.4 percent on non-freeways, and 62.1 percent on both.

As far as safety goes, 4.7 percent of riders told UC Berkeley they were hit by a vehicle on the freeway, down from 8.6 percent in 2012. Non-freeway riders saw the biggest drop in lane-splitting accidents, falling from 8.3 percent in 201 and 7.4 percent in 2013, to just 2 percent this year.

Finally, the rate of acceptance has gone up among drivers, with 46.3 percent believing lane-splitting to be legal on both freeways and non-freeways, up 9.7 percent from last year’s 36.6 percent.

This year’s study surveyed 1,660 — 951 drivers and 709 riders — from 35 cities in 12 counties in around the Bay Area and Southern California.

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California Planning EV Charging-Friendly Building Codes For 2015 – 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/california-planning-ev-charging-friendly-building-codes-2015-2016/#comments Mon, 29 Sep 2014 11:00:27 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=921193 Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port. The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 […]

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home-charger-leviton-620

Should you one day find yourself heading off to make a new life in California, and you own a plug-in vehicle, your home or apartment will already have the minimum infrastructure needed to install a charging port.

The Long Tail Pipe reports the California Building Code is set to receive an update sometime between 2015 and 2016, mandating new housing and parking lots must at least have “the conduit and electrical system calculations required to prepare for charging stations.” This would not only knock down installation costs — current installations require extensive work as far as wiring and upgrades are concerned, with a price tag to match — but could help spur greater adoption of electric cars and motorcycles.

Though installation would be made easier with the standards in consideration, charging could still be a pain. In a study b the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, grid operator California ISO proclaimed the grid could handle the increase in load so long as the ports are limited to 40 amp charging capacity. The fear is that were the amps to be doubled without upgrades to local transformers, the grid could overload.

The trade-off in limiting amps to maintain grid integrity is longer charging times, which could be made longer when longer-range EVs and their 60-plus kWh packs arrive sometime in 2017. The Long Tail Pipe says 40 amp would deliver times of 10 hours or greater to bring the packs to full. Though the study suggests 120-volt charging, the draft building code makes no mention of using that particular method.

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Supplier Believes Lightweight Steel Has A Place In Light-Duty Pickups http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/supplier-believes-lightweight-steel-place-light-duty-pickups/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/supplier-believes-lightweight-steel-place-light-duty-pickups/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=914322 Though Ford is going all in on aluminum for its upcoming F-150, with General Motors following suit soon after, one supplier believes lightweight steel can be just as effective as the alloy best known for holding beer and keeping turkeys juicy in the oven. Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal is offering two such solutions for helping light-duty pickups […]

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2015-ford-f-150

Though Ford is going all in on aluminum for its upcoming F-150, with General Motors following suit soon after, one supplier believes lightweight steel can be just as effective as the alloy best known for holding beer and keeping turkeys juicy in the oven.

Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal is offering two such solutions for helping light-duty pickups meet ever-tightening CAFE mandates, going so far as to rebuild a 2009 model using newer steel components for a 23 percent reduction of 384 pounds in comparison to a similar 2014 model.

In contrast, the 2015 F-150 gains a 732-pound loss over the outgoing 2014 version on the truck scale, a result of extensive use of aluminum in the body panels throughout the new truck.

No matter the solution, both offerings would likely find a place at the table as every automaker fights to hit a CAFE-mandated fleet average of 54.5 mpg by 2025. That said, aluminum may be going up to bat more times than lightweight steel alloys in order to meet the target.

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Honda Tops Most Stolen List, Overall Figure Lowest Since 1967 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-tops-stolen-list-overall-figure-lowest-since-1967/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/honda-tops-stolen-list-overall-figure-lowest-since-1967/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 10:00:07 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=897202 The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its newest list of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen, with Honda and pickups leading the pack in a year that has seen the lowest number of vehicles stolen since 1967. Autoblog reports the following made the top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be […]

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1996 Honda Accord

The National Insurance Crime Bureau released its newest list of the top 10 vehicles most likely to be stolen, with Honda and pickups leading the pack in a year that has seen the lowest number of vehicles stolen since 1967.

Autoblog reports the following made the top 10 list of vehicles most likely to be stolen in 2013 as noted by the NICB:

  • Honda Accord: 53,995
  • Honda Civic: 45,001
  • Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size): 27,809
  • Ford Pickup (Full Size): 26,494
  • Toyota Camry: 14,420
  • Dodge Pickup (Full Size): 11,347
  • Dodge Caravan: 10,911
  • Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee: 9,272
  • Toyota Corolla: 9,010
  • Nissan Altima: 8,892

That said, according to Autoblog, owners of newer Hondas can sleep more soundly than those whose vehicles were made during the start of President Bill Clinton’s final term in office. In 2013, 8,166 1996 Honda Accords were stolen, compared to only 276 2013 Accords.

Meanwhile, 2013 will likely be the first year since 1967 that auto thefts fell below 700,000 stolen, based on preliminary results from the FBI. That number also represents a 50 percent drop in thefts since cresting at 1,661,738 in 1991.

NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle tempered the good news, however, with a reminder that while this year’s figures are a good sign, “it still amounts to a vehicle being stolen every 45 seconds and losses of over $4 billion a year.”

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Study: Nine Brands Suffer Loyalty Issues Among Their Customers http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/study-nine-brands-suffer-loyalty-issues-among-customers/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/study-nine-brands-suffer-loyalty-issues-among-customers/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=896834 Honda, Ford and Toyota all have one thing in common as far as Kelley Blue Book knows: All three inspire brand loyalty among over half of its customer base. Alas, nine other brands wish they could be just as inspirational. In its study of KBB data from 33 brands regarding customer loyalty, 24/7 Wall St. […]

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2014 Scion tC Exterior, Picture Courtesy of Alex L. Dykes

Honda, Ford and Toyota all have one thing in common as far as Kelley Blue Book knows: All three inspire brand loyalty among over half of its customer base. Alas, nine other brands wish they could be just as inspirational.

In its study of KBB data from 33 brands regarding customer loyalty, 24/7 Wall St. says the following nine brands are likely to see their customers jump ship to another brand come trade-in or lease time:

  • Mitsubishi: 21.77 percent average
  • Chrysler: 22.72 percent average
  • Dodge: 22.88 percent average
  • Jaguar: 25.45 percent average
  • Scion: 25.79 percent average
  • Lincoln: 27.49 percent average
  • Infiniti: 28.25 percent average
  • Volvo: 29.41 percent average
  • Buick: 29.45 percent average

The study notes the brands with the highest loyalty averages also move the most units off the lot, while low-loyalty brands have sales to match; six of the nine listed sold less than 100,000 units during H1 2014.

As for what inspires loyalty in the first place, KBB senior manager of marketing intelligence Arthur Henry says price and reliability play the most important roles in whether a customer will stick with a brand. However, luxury makes like Jaguar, Infiniti and Buick suffer not from perceptions of poor reliability, but fierce competition from within the U.S. luxury market.

That said, Arthur notes customers can switch loyalties no matter how a brand is perceived, citing economic conditions and changing consumer preferences as factors in switching.

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Recalled GM Cars See Bigger Price Drop Over Other Used Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/recalled-gm-cars-see-bigger-price-drop-used-vehicles/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/08/recalled-gm-cars-see-bigger-price-drop-used-vehicles/#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 13:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=882106 Are your children about to start college? Maybe it’s their senior year in high school? Looking for a cheap vehicle and don’t mind if it’s been recalled to death by its automaker? Then a vehicle caught up in the General Motors recall parade might be the one, as prices have fallen hard as of late. […]

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2009 Chevrolet Cobalt Kia Store

Are your children about to start college? Maybe it’s their senior year in high school? Looking for a cheap vehicle and don’t mind if it’s been recalled to death by its automaker? Then a vehicle caught up in the General Motors recall parade might be the one, as prices have fallen hard as of late.

Jalopnik reports a study by iSeeCars.com says the six vehicles that kicked off the parade — Chevrolet Cobalt, Saturn Ion, Saturn Sky, Pontiac Solstice, Pontiac G5 and Chevrolet HHR — saw their used car prices drop 14 percent between March and June 2014, compared with 6.7 percent for other used vehicles in the same period.

The biggest loss leaders were, of course, the Cobalt and its sister G5, with a 13.7 percent drop in price. That said, if you ever wanted a Cobalt SS coupe or sedan (or XFE for that Prius-esque fuel economy without the hipster connotations), or a Saturn Sky Redline, this might the time to pick one up.

iSeeCars GM Recall Price Drop Average Chart

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Cell Phone Bans Failing To Curb Accident Rates http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cell-phone-bans-failing-to-curb-accident-rates/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/cell-phone-bans-failing-to-curb-accident-rates/#comments Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:00:54 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=872738 If any legislators were hoping banning cell phone use behind the wheel would cut down on accidents and fatalities linked to distracted driving, it may have been all for naught according to a handful of studies on the matter. Autoblog reports the most recent study, published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, looked […]

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texting behind the wheel of death

If any legislators were hoping banning cell phone use behind the wheel would cut down on accidents and fatalities linked to distracted driving, it may have been all for naught according to a handful of studies on the matter.

Autoblog reports the most recent study, published in Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, looked over the before and after regarding California’s 2008 ban in the year it went into effect. The findings? After six months, cell phone-linked accidents fell from 66.7 per day to 65.2. Another study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute looked over claim rates in 2009 and 2010, finding that ban or no ban, the song remained the same.

As for why this is so, associate professor of economics Daniel Kaffine of the University of Colorado posits drivers are either ignoring the bans outright, using hands-free technology that still distracts drivers, drivers are distracted by other things — ranging from the radio to the kids fighting in the back — and/or cell phone use isn’t as bad as once perceived.

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AlixPartners: 2014 May Be The Peak Of U.S. Auto Sales http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/alixpartners-2014-may-be-the-peak-of-u-s-auto-sales/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/07/alixpartners-2014-may-be-the-peak-of-u-s-auto-sales/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 10:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=862905 The good news? Automakers are enjoying a sales boom in the United States the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Recession brought the hammer down, with June 2014 sales alone surpassing those in July of 2006. Should the boom continue, 2014 will close as the industry’s best year in a long time, […]

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Toyota Sales Lot

The good news? Automakers are enjoying a sales boom in the United States the likes of which haven’t been seen since the Great Recession brought the hammer down, with June 2014 sales alone surpassing those in July of 2006. Should the boom continue, 2014 will close as the industry’s best year in a long time, with over 16 million vehicles sold when the calendar ticks over to 2015.

The bad news? This year may be the last year U.S. sales ever climb this high.

Autoblog reports a study by AlixPartners suggests sales will peak later this year, then head back down the mountain on the beaten path of rising interest rates — diminishing purchasing power in the process — then veer toward the long trail built upon the Millennials’ alleged preference of Uber and Car2Go over individual ownership.

In the near-term, director Dan Hearsch warns the lines of cheap credit today will dry up over the next two to three years:

The biggest factor would be this credit bubble, and without making an exact projection of when that will happen, that, to use is the window when you’ll see an impact on car sales. The other side of it is cyclical and predictable. … We’re a little more pessimistic because of these other factors.

Further up the path, rising fuel prices will temporarily give hybrids and EVs a boost in sales, but improvements in the ICE and the ongoing issues with EVs — range, higher upfront costs and production of battery packs — will mitigate whatever gains are made unless the technology comes into parity with the ICE.

Finally, AlixPartners expects 80 percent of all vehicles sold in North America by 2017 will be connected vehicles, and advises governments and OEMs to prepare for the day autonomous vehicles take their first outings beyond Google’s research facility, as such vehicles will be key to future sales.

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Average Vehicle Age To Remain Around 11 Years Through 2019 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/average-vehicle-age-to-remain-around-11-years-through-2019/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/average-vehicle-age-to-remain-around-11-years-through-2019/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=841538 If the highways appear to be filled with vehicles built during the middle years of Bush II’s first term, your eyes are not deceiving you: IHS Automotive says the average age of a given vehicle on the road has remained at 11.4 years at the end of 2013. Automotive News reports the average age figure […]

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2003 Mazda Protege5

If the highways appear to be filled with vehicles built during the middle years of Bush II’s first term, your eyes are not deceiving you: IHS Automotive says the average age of a given vehicle on the road has remained at 11.4 years at the end of 2013.

Automotive News reports the average age figure will hold through 2015, then climb to 11.7 years by 2019. Though high at the moment, the firm’s director aftermarket solutions and global aftermarket practice leader Mark Seng states the figure is entering a plateau “without a major change in either direction” through the rest of the decade. He adds this is based upon “a number of factors, including the economy and increasing quality of today’s automobiles.”

As for new cars, IHS expects vehicles five years and younger will increase their presence by 32 percent in 2019, with vehicles 12 years and above to 15 percent and those in-between the two extremes to actually decrease in visibility by 21 percent in the same period.

Finally, the highways saw a record 252.7 million units travel upon them in 2013, up from 2 percent in 2012.

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AAA Study: Cost Of Ownership Falls In 2014 Due To Lower Fuel Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/aaa-study-cost-of-ownership-falls-in-2014-due-to-lower-fuel-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/05/aaa-study-cost-of-ownership-falls-in-2014-due-to-lower-fuel-prices/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 10:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=820770 In its annual Your Driving Costs study, AAA says the cost of owning and operating a vehicle has fallen on the back of lower fuel prices, though its findings leave a little to be desired with current fuel costs. USA Today reports the methodology behind AAA’s study uses fuel prices from the final three months […]

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Salesman With Customer

In its annual Your Driving Costs study, AAA says the cost of owning and operating a vehicle has fallen on the back of lower fuel prices, though its findings leave a little to be desired with current fuel costs.

USA Today reports the methodology behind AAA’s study uses fuel prices from the final three months of the outgoing year. In 2013, prices were beginning to peak during the collection period, peaking earlier this year before falling to current levels. The club’s manager of technical services, Michael Calkins, acknowleged as much during this year’s announcement, but stated that AAA uses its preferred methodology “for consistency in the results.”

Other factors in lowered O&O costs in this year’s study include the increased fuel efficiency in newer vehicles — a result of increasing CAFE targets — as well as lower tire costs. Also noted: Insurance costs remained stable while depreciation fell 1.71 percent to $3,510 per year for the first five years, and maintenance costs climbed 2 percent to 5.06 cents per mile.

As for the cost of ownership for 2014, sedan owners will see a 2.7 percent decrease overall, with an average cost of 59.2 cents per mile and $8,876 per year based upon 15,000 miles driven annually.

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