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RICHMOND, Va., Sept. 18, 2018 -- Less than half of Americans (43 percent) are interested in utilizing self-driving cars, down from 53 percent last year, according to the fourth annual Sharing Economy Index* released by Allianz Global Assistance. The lack of interest is primarily attributed to safety concerns (71 percent in 2018, compared to 65 percent in 2017), while other reasons include cost/budget, lack of familiarity and bad publicity. Recent high-profile crashes involving self-driving cars have dampened America's confidence and excitement over auto-piloted vehicles. In March, two self-driving vehicles were involved in fatal accidents.

Even more indicative of Americans' sentiment on self-driving vehicles, only 52 percent of Americans (down 12 points from 2017) say they are confident that the technology will develop safely enough to consider trading their conventional vehicles for self-driving ones.

Companies continue to invest billions of dollars into autonomous vehicle technology, despite the recent fatal crashes. Supporting these findings by Ipsos and Allianz Global Assistance is a Pew Research Center survey which found that 39 percent said they were not sure whether the vehicles would make roads safer or more dangerous, and 87 percent favored requiring that a human always be behind the wheel to take control if something goes awry.

"Based on consumer perceptions, our survey reveals an uncertain future for self-driving cars," says Daniel Durazo, director of communications, Allianz Global Assistance USA. "Many Americans are far from being convinced that self-driving cars can be operated safely on our streets. As our Future of Travel survey last year indicated, more travelers would feel safer on a rocket to space than being a passenger in a self-driving vehicle." View the Future of Travel survey results here.


Gas Prices Remain Stable Amid the Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

While Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas over the weekend with life-threating storm-surge, rain and flooding, it has had little to no impact on gas prices, with the national average, holding steady at $2.85 on the week.

Gas prices have not seen much movement because unlike the Gulf Coast, which is home to dozens of refineries, the Carolinas house only pipelines and terminals. This means U.S. crude processing is not impacted and therefore neither are gas prices nationally.

Prior to Florence’s arrival, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported the Lower Atlantic Region’s total gasoline stocks — which includes West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida — measured at 27.9 million bbl. That is 10 percent higher than the 5-year average for this time of year.

“Gasoline stocks in the hurricane-impacted area are healthy, but delivery of gasoline will be an impediment to meeting demand in coastal areas this week,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “As power is restored, water recedes and roads open-up, we will have a better idea of how quickly fuel deliveries can be made to gas stations in the area. And while fuel availability at stations is a concern, AAA expects station outages to be short-lived.”

According to the Department of Energy, states are working closely with industry to expedite resupply shipments to impacted areas. AAA will continue to monitor hurricane recovery efforts and fuel resupply.

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Alabama ($2.52), Mississippi ($2.54), Arkansas ($2.57), Louisiana ($2.58), Tennessee ($2.59), South Carolina ($2.60), Missouri ($2.60), Texas ($2.60), Virginia ($2.62) and Oklahoma ($2.64).
The nation’s top 10 largest monthly changes are: Colorado (+10 cents), Indiana (-6 cents), Delaware (+6 cents), Florida (-5 cents), South Carolina (+5 cents), Louisiana (-4 cents), Alaska (-4 cents), Utah (-4 cents), Iowa (+4 cents) and California (+4 cents).

Nissan and EVgo open 'I-95 Fast Charging ARC' connecting EV Drivers between Boston and Washington D.C.

EV owners can now make the 500 mile journey from Boston to Washington D.C. with ease as a series of EVgo Fast Charging stations, known as the 'I-95 Fast Charging ARC' is now open.

The ARC consists of nine EVgo Fast Charging stations equipped with 52 fast chargers in total, each with two charging connector options.

Most of the fast charging stations are located within close proximity to I-95 providing convenient access

These sites will be among the largest public fast charging stations* available to the public

NEW YORK, Sept. 6, 2018 -- Nissan and EVgo have completed their plan to connect the cities of Boston and Washington D.C. with a series of nine electric vehicle fast charging stations. The completion of the Northeast fast charging corridor provides a comprehensive charging infrastructure, giving electric vehicle (EV) owners peace of mind and convenience when travelling the 500 miles between the two cities.

Each fast charging station can charge up to four or more EVs simultaneously at a power output of 50kW. The stations have also been designed and constructed to adapt to future advances in EV technology, including pre-wiring for higher charging outputs to allow easy upgrading to 150kW fast chargers.

"We're excited to continue pioneering the development of electric vehicle infrastructure with the opening of our second charging 'corridor' project in the U.S.," said Brian Maragno, director, EV sales and marketing, Nissan North America, Inc. "This charging route along one of the most heavily populated areas of the country further demonstrates our commitment to the mass implementation and future development of easily accessible EV technology and will foster EV travel up and down the Northeastern coast of the United States."

"EVgo and Nissan's I-95 Fast Charging ARC is designed to make fast charging easy and convenient for EV drivers from Boston to Washington D.C.," said Cathy Zoi, EVgo CEO. "Because we own our fast charging stations, EVgo drivers can rely on us to offer exceptional service from coast to coast. We applaud Nissan's historic leadership in infrastructure investment in partnership with EVgo, affording drivers the opportunity to rely on the I95 Fast Charging ARC today."

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At $2.83, the national gas price average is trending toward lower gas prices that motorists haven’t seen since early May. Today’s national gas price average is one-cent less on the week, four-cents cheaper than last month, but 19-cents more than a year ago.

Motorists took advantage of these stable and lower prices by driving gasoline demand to its highest level ever on record at 9.899 bbl for the week ending August 24, according to the Energy Information Administration. But that spike is not expected to continue.

“With summer in the rearview mirror, demand is expected to significantly drop off in the coming weeks which means motorists can expect to see gas prices steadily decline,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “AAA expects the national average to hit $2.70 or less this fall.”

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Hawaii($3.78), California ($3.62), Washington ($3.38), Alaska ($3.31), Oregon ($3.26), Idaho ($3.25), Nevada ($3.19), Utah ($3.18), Pennsylvania ($3.05), and Connecticut ($3.04).
The nation’s top 10 largest monthly changes are: Indiana (-16 cents), Kentucky (-12 cents), Illinois (-11 cents), Delaware (-10 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Idaho (+10 cents), Utah (+10 cents), Alaska (-9 cents), South Dakota (-8 cents) and Michigan (-8 cents).

West Coast

The West Coast remains the nation’s most expensive region for retail gasoline, and most of the states represented in the nation’s top ten most expensive are located west of the Rockies. Hawaii ($3.78) is the nation’s most expensive market, followed by California ($3.62), Washington ($3.38), Alaska ($3.31), Oregon ($3.26), Nevada ($3.19) and Arizona ($2.86). Prices in the region are mostly flat compared to last week, except for a two-cent jump in both California and Oregon.

Last week’s, Energy Information Administration report showed West Coast gasoline supplies dropped by 1.2million bbl, their largest one-week draw in five months. The region’s supplies now sit at 28.9 million bbl, which is still 2.7 million bbl higher than the same week last year.

Porsche Experience Centers Prove Immersive Retail Works for Sports Cars, Too

ATLANTA, Aug. 30, 2018 -- In a digital age, physical experiences are rare and valuable. Consumers can have a hard time getting the touch and feel of a product when everything is online or automated. Porsche is bucking those trends with a large-scale commitment to consumer immersion at its two Porsche Experience Centers (PECs), where anybody can touch rubber to the track instead of just touching a screen. And it's working. Less than three years after the biggest investment by Porsche outside of Germany, the two U.S. Experience Centers have now topped a combined 250,000 visitors who come to drive, shop and dine in a Porsche environment.

The model works as a way to connect with new audiences, a goal for every premium automaker. About 60 percent of PEC visitors do not currently own a Porsche, but after driving the centers' tracks, 30 percent of non-owners say they are very likely to buy one. For others, Porsche becomes more memorable and aspirational once they've driven one. The average visitor is seven years younger than the average Porsche customer. And about one-quarter of visitors are under age 35.

"A quarter of a million guests so far is a testament to the power of experience and to the fascination of Porsche sports cars," said Klaus Zellmer, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America, Inc. "Porsche stands for superb design and engineering, but also for a superb experience. Getting people behind the wheel in a place where they can really test the performance is the best way to connect them with the Porsche brand."

Porsche's commitment to its Experience Centers comes as the retail landscape is being redefined by younger consumers. A recent Harris Group poll revealed that 72 percent of Millennials would rather invest in experiences than things. Since 1987, spending on experiences and events relative to total U.S. consumer spending increased 70 percent, according to the same study.

What is a Porsche Experience Center? The destinations serve as track-based brand embassies where visitors can indulge in everything Porsche. They are different than drive experiences offered by other carmakers because they were purpose-designed and built to be immersive retail experiences for the public. Experience Centers do not sell cars, but they work closely with the 190 independent U.S. Porsche dealers, for example hosting customer groups sent by dealers.

Jeep® Introduces New 2018 Wrangler Moab Edition

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 28, 2018 - Jeep® Wrangler Moab Edition builds on Sahara model, adding special content to the exterior and interior, including aggressive 32-inch mud-terrain tires

The Jeep® brand is introducing the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition. The first limited-edition model based on the all-new Jeep Wrangler, the Wrangler Moab Edition honors the long and storied history the brand shares with the annual Easter Jeep Safari event in Moab, Utah, and the unique role it plays in offering valuable customer insight.

Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition

The Jeep Wrangler Moab Edition is based on the Wrangler Sahara model and features Rubicon hood and steel bumpers with removable end caps, aggressive 32-inch mud-terrain tires, LED headlights and tail lights, a Moab decal on the hood and 17-inch Rubicon wheels painted in Low-Gloss Black. The headlight surrounds, grille throats and tow hooks are also painted Low-Gloss Black. Wrangler Rubicon rock rails are standard on the Wrangler Moab Edition, but Sahara side steps are available at no additional charge. A body-color hard top is standard, but the Dual Top Group or Sky One-Touch power top are also available.

Wrangler Moab Edition is available in nine colors: Granite Crystal, Billet Silver, Punk'n Metallic, Mojito!, Black, Bright White, Sting Gray, Ocean Blue Metallic and Firecracker Red.

Inside, Wrangler Moab Edition features the Leather Interior Group, which includes leather-trimmed seats and a leather-wrapped dashboard with contrast stitching, and Safety Group, which includes Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection, ParkSense park assist with reverse stop and ParkView rear backup camera with dynamic grid lines. Other standard features include Selec-Trac full-time two-speed transfer case, Passive Keyless Entry, Trac-Lok limited-slip rear differential, 8.4-inch Uconnect touchscreen with navigation, a nine-speaker premium Alpine sound system and all-weather slush mats.

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Motorists across the country continue to see their local pump prices dropping. On the week, state gas price averages declined as much as four cents while the national gas price average held steady at $2.84, which is two-cents cheaper than a month ago, but 48-cents more than a year ago.

“With Labor Day approaching, motorists could see a small swing towards higher gas prices, but any jump should not last past the holiday weekend,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson.

Last year’s Labor Day weekend saw gas prices spike, but that was due to Hurricane Harvey. As it battered the Southeast, it shut down refineries and pipelines driving gas prices toward their highest point of 2017 ($2.67). Despite no hurricane activity this Labor Day weekend, gas prices will be at their highest point for the holiday since 2014.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 most expensive markets are: Hawaii($3.76), California ($3.60), Washington ($3.37), Alaska ($3.32), Idaho ($3.26), Oregon ($3.25), Utah ($3.20), Nevada ($3.19), Connecticut ($3.04) and Pennsylvania ($3.03).
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Ohio (+10 cents), Michigan (+5 cents), Wyoming (+4 cents), Florida (-4 cents), Colorado (+3 cents), South Dakota (-3 cents), Georgia (-3 cents), Kansas (-3 cents), Missouri (-3 cents) and Utah (+2 cents).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the highest in the country: Hawaii ($3.76), California ($3.60), Washington ($3.37), Alaska ($3.32), Oregon ($3.25), Nevada ($3.19) and Arizona ($2.86). When compared to last week, most pump prices in the region are flat. Alaska and Arizona had the biggest changes, dropping by a penny each.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) petroleum status report for the week ending on August 10, inventories of gasoline in the region decreased by 200,000 bbl. They now sit at 30.1 million bbl, which is four million bbl higher than total levels at this time last year. Higher supplies will help offset potential price spikes in the region if demand increases in the run-up to Labor Day.

Additionally, the impact of Hurricane Lane on Hawaii’s gasoline refining and delivery systems has been minimal. Par Pacific, Hawaii’s largest refinery, closed as a safety precaution over the weekend, but it has since restarted.

Ride-Hailing Twice the Cost of Car Ownership

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 21, 2018) – Ride-hailing services are a popular and convenient transportation option, but a new AAA analysis shows they are not a cost-effective replacement for vehicle ownership. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the average driver in an urban area – the only setting in which using these services are a practical full-time transportation option – drives 10,841 miles per year. While urban drivers travel fewer miles than those living in smaller towns or rural areas, relying on ride-hailing services as a primary mode of transportation would cost $20,118 annually. This equates to more than twice the cost of owning a personal vehicle, even when factoring in the expense of fuel, insurance, parking and the vehicle itself.

“Whether you own a vehicle or not, ride-hailing services are a convenient transportation option,” said John Nielsen, managing director, Automotive Engineering and Repair. “However, with the average American city-dweller driving nearly 11,000 miles per year, a personal vehicle is still the more cost-effective choice.”

For the study, AAA analyzed the costs of ride-hailing services (including the use of an occasional rental car) in 20 major urban areas. Based on the average number of miles traveled by city-dwellers, annual ride-hailing costs are as follows:

Desert Care Care of Chandler's 7th Annual Back to School Teacher's Appreciation Event

Complimentary Oil Change & 15 Point Car Safety Inspection

In appreciation of your efforts in preparing for another school year, Desert Car Care wants to provide you some auto service TLC!

Arizona teachers can present their school ID for these services plus the opportunity to win great prizes and car service gift cards up to $100 off!

Enjoy music and refreshments while you wait!

Saturday, August 18, 2018
8 AM - Noon

More than 80 Percent of Older Drivers Aren’t Talking About Driving Safety

Most families and physicians wait too long to talk with older drivers about their safe driving ability

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 14, 2018) –Nearly 83 percent of older drivers report never speaking to a family member or physician about their safe driving ability, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Of the small percentage of families who do have the often difficult conversation, 15 percent do so after a crash or traffic infraction has occurred- which could be too late. Due to their fragility, older drivers are at greater risk of death and injury if involved in a crash.

In 2016, more than 200,000 drivers ages 65 and older were injured in a traffic crash and more than 3,500 were killed. With seniors outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of seven to 10 years, families should not wait to talk about safety. AAA urges seniors to begin planning for “driving retirement” at the same time they begin planning for retirement from work.

“The right time to stop driving varies for everyone,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety. “This research shows that older drivers can be hesitant to initiate conversations about their driving capabilities, so it is important that families encourage them to talk early and often about their future behind the wheel. With early discussion and proper planning, elderly drivers may extend their time on the road.”

The report is the latest research released in the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. Researchers found that only 17 percent of older drivers report ever speaking with a family member or physician about driving safety. The most commonly cited reasons for having the discussion include:

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