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Kia Wins Trifecta Of 2021

Three Popular Kia Models - the Forte Sedan, Soul Compact SUV and the All-New Sorento SUV Take Top Honors in Their Respective Categories

- Sorento and Soul named "Best Car for the Money" for the fifth consecutive year.

- Awards based on overall vehicle quality and value based on five-year cost of ownership.

IRVINE, Calif., Feb. 9, 2021 - Three of the world-class vehicles from Kia Motors America were named "Best Cars for the Money" in their respective categories by U.S. News & World Report. Taking top honors this year are the 2021 Forte, Sorento and Soul models.

"Kia has outperformed the industry with a world-class lineup of sporty sedans and undeniably capable SUVs, and these Best Cars for the Money awards from U.S. News & World Report speak to the strength and appeal of our entire product line," said Russell Wager, vice president, marketing, Kia Motors America. "It is not enough to offer stylish, functional and technologically-advanced vehicles that meet and exceed the wants and needs of our customers. There also must be an exceptional value proposition. Our goal is to consistently deliver on that promise."

No Love at the Pump this February; AAA Forecasts Gas Prices to Continue Climbing

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 8, 2021) — At $2.46, the national gas price average is more expensive on the week (+4 cents), the month (+16 cents) and the year (+2 cents). This past Saturday, February 6, was the first time in 340 days the national average was more expensive than a year ago. Today, nearly two-thirds of all state gas price averages are more expensive year-over-year. Pump prices continue to climb, in part due to expensive crude oil and the market’s growing optimism that demand will increase amid the vaccination roll-out.

Up to $56/bbl, crude oil increased last week following Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to keep their production cuts unchanged—a decision influenced by the ongoing impact of the pandemic on gasoline demand. Crude has not been priced this high since January 2020. Typically, it can take a few weeks before pump prices see the impact of more expensive crude, and with crude accounting for more than 50% of the retail price, increases are no doubt going to continue.

America Is Parked: Car Insurance Rates Fall For the First Time Since 2013

AUSTIN, Texas, Feb. 3, 2021 -- The Zebra, the nation's leading insurance comparison site, released its 2021 State of Auto Insurance Report revealing the national average annual cost for car insurance to be $1,483, down 3.9% since 2020.

The Zebra's 5th annual State of Auto Insurance Report details an under-the-hood look at what dictates car insurance rates across all 34,500 U.S. ZIP codes and examines a decade's worth of data to reveal trends in pricing across the nation.

"Throughout 2020 drivers have consistently asked, 'Why aren't my car insurance rates affected now that I'm barely driving?'," says Nicole Beck, Head of Communications and licensed insurance agent at The Zebra. "On the whole, rates have decreased 4% nationwide and many drivers received additional rebates in 2020 from their insurer. However, reduced mileage is only a small part of how insurance costs are calculated, which heavily weighs more static factors like where you live, your accident history and your age."

Ram 1500 TRX Named FOUR WHEELER '2021 Pickup Truck of the Year'

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 28, 2021 --

   • 2021 Ram 1500 TRX earns award in its debut year from leading off-road publication
   • FOUR WHEELER judges evaluated new models from several manufacturers to determine the Ram 1500 TRX as "2021 Pickup Truck of the Year"
   • Ram 1500 TRX is designed bolt by bolt to significantly outperform every other truck and rigorously tested to handle the most punishing conditions with extreme capability and durability

Ram 1500 TRX Named FOUR WHEELER “2021 Pickup Truck of the Year”
The 2021 Ram 1500 TRX – the quickest, fastest and most powerful mass-produced truck in the world – has been named FOUR WHEELER "2021 Pickup of the Year." The award is given annually by the editors of the opinion-leading, off-road enthusiast publication.

"We're incredibly proud to earn this award from the respected experts at FOUR WHEELER and feel validated that we continue to build the best trucks available," said Mike Koval Jr., Ram Brand Chief Executive Officer - Stellantis. "Our new Ram 1500 TRX sets the benchmark for extreme performance pickup trucks and clearly telegraphs the Ram Truck brand's leadership in the segment." Over the course of a week, FOUR WHEELER's judges conducted a variety of tests spanning more than 1,000 miles of varied terrain that included pavement, gravel, dirt, sand, rocks, mud and snow. A loose-dirt hillclimb and water crossings were included in testing as well. Night driving was also integrated into the competition to gauge each vehicle's lighting equipment. Judges included staff from various 4x4 media brands, including FOUR WHEELER, 4-WHEEL & OFF-ROAD, and JP MAGAZINE.

AI Trained to Read Electric Vehicle Charging Station Reviews to Find Infrastructure Gaps

Although electric vehicles that reduce greenhouse gas emissions attract many drivers, the lack of confidence in charging services deters others. Building a reliable network of charging stations is difficult in part because it's challenging to aggregate data from independent station operators. But now, researchers reporting January 22 in the journal Patterns have developed an AI that can analyze user reviews of these stations, allowing it to accurately identify places where there are insufficient or out-of-service stations.

"We're spending billions of both public and private dollars on electric vehicle infrastructure," says Omar Asensio (@AsensioResearch), principal investigator and assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. "But we really don't have a good understanding of how well these investments are serving the public and public interest."

Electric vehicle drivers have started to solve the problem of uncertain charging infrastructure by forming communities on charge station locator apps, leaving reviews. The researchers sought to analyze these reviews to better understand the problems facing users.

Do You REALLY Need an Extended Car Warranty? | Good Works Auto Repair

Buying an extended car warranty when you purchase a new or used vehicle is an extra expense. Sometimes, it adds thousands of dollars to your purchase, especially if you’re financing your car. So, the question arises … is it really necessary?

The bottom line is … it depends. What does it depend on? We’re glad you asked! Before you decide whether or not an extended warranty is in your best interest, it’s time to ask yourself some questions.

How long will you keep your vehicle?
An extended car warranty typically comes into effect after the manufacturer’s warranty has expired. That means that if you’re only planning on keeping your vehicle a couple of years, the original warranty may be good enough and an extension could be a waste of money. On the other hand, if you like to buy a new vehicle and then run it until it dies, an extended warranty could save you money in the long run.

If you haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in the automotive world this week it’s OK, we’ve got you covered. CES just wrapped up and here are the biggest automotive news stories to come out of this year’s all-digital show.

Is Raising the Speed Limit Worth the Risk?

New AAA and IIHS crash tests reveal that modest speed increases can have deadly consequences

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 28, 2021) Drivers want to save time, and local transportation agencies want to improve traffic flow, but at what cost? With posted speed limits increasing on roadways around the country, a vehicle’s ability to protect drivers in crashes is in doubt.

Small speed increases can have huge effects on crash outcomes, as shown in new crash tests by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Humanetics. The safety organizations conducted crashes at three different impact speeds (40, 50 and 56 mph). They found the slightly higher speeds were enough to increase the driver’s risk of severe injury or death.

Drivers often travel faster than posted speed limits, but when officials raise limits to match travel speeds, people still go faster. Today, 41 states allow 70 mph or higher speeds on some roadways, including eight states that have maximum speeds of 80 mph or more. A 2019 IIHS study found that rising speed limits have cost nearly 37,000 lives over 25 years. AAA and IIHS urge policymakers to factor in this danger from higher speeds when considering speed limit changes.

A Smartphone Will Become a Car Key | LG Innotek Develops a

• Ultra-wideband technology applied

• Industry's top-level location detection precision with improved security

• "Accelerating inroads into the digital key module market"

LG Innotek (CEO Cheol-dong Jeong) revealed on the 25th that it had succeeded in developing a digital car key module with improved location detection precision and security.

A digital car key module is a communication component that is installed in a car and allows wireless data transmission between a car and a smartphone. A digital key is a next-generation car key that allows users to open or lock the car door or start the engine using a smartphone. A driver can use his/her smartphone to oversee the vehicle conditions, including driving distance, fuel efficiency, tire pressure, etc., at a glance as well as control the vehicle.

Users can lend the digital key to another person or allow only specific functions, such as opening or closing the trunk, using a smartphone app. Users don't need to carry a physical key, reducing the risk of losing the key. Also, the smartphone must be inside the car to drive it, reducing the risk of car theft.

Driver Behavior Influences Traffic Patterns As Much As Roadway Design

Urban planners may soon have a new way to measure traffic congestion. By capturing the different routes by which vehicles can travel between locations, researchers have developed a new computer algorithm that helps quantify regions of congestion in urban areas and suggests ways around them.

The study, published in the Journal of Physics: Complexity, used traffic speeds from taxis in New York City to demonstrate how road infrastructure and driver behavior can create complex road networks that differ among cities.

"Ride-hailing and ride-sharing services, and eventually autonomous vehicles, are disrupting traffic patterns in cities," said Richard Sowers, a professor of mathematics and of industrial and enterprise systems engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lead author of the study. "We identified a need for a tool that could help urban planners understand how and why this happens."

Clip of the Week

Bumper to Bumper helps a listener who has been noticing a knocking sound coming from their 2013 Nissan Altima.