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Latest News From Bumper to Bumper Radio

2021 Ram 1500 Named to Car and Driver's 10Best Vehicles for Third Consecutive Year

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Nov. 18, 2020 --

Ram 1500 lineup earns the award and is the only pickup on this year's list

Car and Driver evaluates each contender versus its peers using a 100-point scale, basing each score on intended purpose, value and vehicle operation

Car and Driver has named the 2021 Ram 1500 to its "10Best vehicles for 2021" list for the third consecutive year. Previous winners were invited to defend their crown and the new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX was also submitted for evaluation. The award applies to the entire Ram 1500 lineup, the only pickup truck to secure a spot on this year's list.

Car and Driver evaluates each contender versus its peers using a 100-point scale, basing each score on how well it meets its intended purpose, how good a value it is and how compelling it is to operate. This award recognizes the smartest, most entertaining cars, trucks, SUVs and vans on sale today. Vehicles are judged with an emphasis on value, mission fulfillment and if they're fun to drive.

"We are incredibly humbled that Ram 1500 has earned a spot on Car and Driver's 10Best vehicle list for the third consecutive year and feel validated that we continue to build the best trucks available," said Mike Koval Jr., Head of Ram Brand. "We are honored that Car and Driver's recognition includes the all-new 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, which sets the benchmark for extreme performance pickup trucks and clearly telegraphs the Ram Truck brand's leadership in the segment."

This is the third year in a row Ram 1500 – the most awarded light-duty truck in America – has been named to Car and Driver's 10Best.

Increase in Demand Pushes State Averages More Expensive

Motorists are paying more to fill up than last Monday in nearly 30 states with the vast majority paying just a few pennies more. On the week, South Carolina (+8 cents) saw the largest increase followed by these states who each had a six cent increase: Michigan, New Mexico, Indiana, Delaware, and Minnesota.

With the majority of states seeing increases, the national gas price average pushed a penny more expensive. The overall weekly increases seen across the country are likely a reaction to the latest Energy Information Administration’s report showing increased demand (from 8.3 million b/d to 8.7 million b/d) while supply dwindled by 2.3 million bbl.

“Following a jump in demand, we’ve seen a number of state gas price averages increase on the week. However, the majority of these increases were just a few pennies,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson. “With many states seeing rising COVID-19 case numbers and a number of officials warning against holiday travel, demand is likely to see a dip in coming weeks.”

Smart Cruise Control Steers Drivers Toward Better Decisions

Vehicle manufacturers offer smart features such as lane and braking assist to aid drivers in hazardous situations when human reflexes may not be fast enough. But most options only provide immediate benefits to a single vehicle.

What if, like a murmuration of starlings, our cars and trucks moved cooperatively on the road in response to each vehicle's environmental sensors, reacting as a group to lessen traffic jams and protect the humans inside?

This question forms the basis of Kuilin Zhang's National Science Foundation CAREER Award research. Zhang, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Technological University, has published "A distributionally robust stochastic optimization-based model predictive control with distributionally robust chance constraints for cooperative adaptive cruise control under uncertain traffic conditions" in the journal Transportation Research Part B: Methodological.

The paper is coauthored with Shuaidong Zhao, now a senior quantitative analyst at National Grid, where he continues to conduct research on the interdependency between smart grid and electric vehicle transportation systems.

Creating vehicle systems adept at avoiding traffic accidents is an exercise in proving Newton's First Law: An object in motion remains so unless acted on by an external force. Without much warning of what's ahead, car accidents are more likely because drivers don't have enough time to react. So what stops the car? A collision with another car or obstacle -- causing injuries, damage and in the worst case, fatalities.

Should You Use an A/C Recharging Kit? | Good Works Auto Repair

Savvy consumers are always looking for ways to save money. After all, you work hard for your money … why spend more than you have to?

When it comes to auto repairs, however, spending wisely often looks a little different. In our experience, the best way to save money on auto repairs is by following a preventative maintenance schedule that catches small problems before they become big ones.

In contrast, some vehicle owners wonder if they can save money by doing their own repairs. Take your A/C system, for example … is it wise to use a DIY A/C recharging kit to get your system running properly again? We don’t think so, and here’s why.

Why NOT to use an A/C recharging kit

When your A/C system stops blowing cool air, you’re typically frustrated and want to get it fixed as soon as possible. Before you head to the local auto parts store for an A/C recharging kit, however, consider this:

A/C recharging kits aren’t compatible with every car. If you have an older make and model, or a very new one, the refrigerant in these kits may not be compatible with what’s in your vehicle. Mixing the two is not a good idea and many auto repair shops won’t want to service your vehicle if you’ve put in the wrong refrigerant.

Crude Oil Drops to Lowest Price in Five Months

Mounting concerns about the increase in global coronavirus cases and the reinstatement of lockdown policies in some countries has driven crude oil prices down to the lowest closing price – $35/bbl – since June. In comparison, last year at this time crude was pricing at about $20/bbl more expensive.

As crude prices decreased last week, the U.S. saw fluctuation in gasoline demand and supply. Demand increased from 8.2 million b/d to 8.5 million b/d while supply decreased 90,000 b/d to 226 million bbl. Despite the jump in demand, motorists are paying less to fill up. The national average pushed four cents cheaper to $2.12, while every state except South Dakota (+1 cent) saw gas prices hold steady or decrease.

“The national gas price average at the start of November has not been this cheap since 2004. If crude oil continues to push cheaper, we could see the national average drop below $2/gallon before the end of the year,” said Jeanette Casselano McGee, AAA spokesperson.

Across the country, state gas price averages are cheaper on the month and the week. Today, motorists can find gas for $2/gallon or less at 52% of gas stations.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases: Ohio (-9 cents), Indiana (-8 cents), Washington, D.C. (-8 cents), Michigan (-7 cents), Kentucky (-6 cents), Texas (-4 cents), North Carolina (-4 cents), South Carolina (-4 cents), Tennessee (-4 cents) and Minnesota (-4 cents).

Bumper Audio Clip of the Week

Bumper to Bumper Radio helps a listener who suspects there is a fuel blockage issue with her Kia.