With a majority of vehicle owners living in areas of the country that have stay-at-home orders, many vehicles may be sitting idle for days or weeks at a time. The non-profit Car Care Council recommends starting your car at least once a week and keeping up with routine auto care to help prevent potential maintenance issues.
“Just as it is recommended that people stay active during this time of social distancing, your car should get some activity as well,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “If your vehicle sits idle for too long, the battery could die, the tires can develop flat spots and the engine oil may start to deteriorate. Just a short solo drive once a week and a little car care will keep your car running efficiently and safely.”
When starting your car weekly, let it run for at least five minutes. If the vehicle is started in a garage, make sure the garage door is open and there is plenty of ventilation. In addition, the Car Care Council suggests monitoring the following areas of your vehicle if it sits idle for long periods of time.
Battery – Today’s vehicles have several computers that are always in operation, so if a car sits too long without recharging, the battery could die within a couple of weeks.
Tires – Maintain proper tire pressure to improve vehicle performance and gas mileage. Doing so is also important for vehicle safety. Checking the tire pressure frequently is more important if the car is parked for long periods of time. Vehicles that sit idle too long can develop flat spots, so taking a brief drive every once in a while will help prevent bald spots, and recharge the battery, too.
In times like these when many of us are in quarantine and cities are in lock-down, you would think that our vehicles are naturally not the first thing on our minds. CTEK, a leading global brand in the care and maintenance of vehicle batteries, is however reporting an unprecedented number of inquiries from people all over the world, asking for advice on how best to look after their battery when their vehicle is parked for a long period of time.
Tony Zeal, Global Training Manager at CTEK said "We have taken so many questions from people wanting to make sure that they protect against a flat battery – a hassle they could do without – so that when they are able to use their vehicle again the battery is charged and the vehicle is ready to go."
Tony shares information and tips on what you need to consider and how best to look after your vehicle battery when your vehicle is not being used for longer periods of time.
A CTEK study has identified that as many as 51% of vehicles on the road today has a battery that requires attention – by that we mean it needs charging or replacing
Modern vehicles have lots of on-board computers and security systems such as alarms, immobilizers and trackers which means the battery can quickly die – by simply sitting on a shelf, a standard 12 V lead-acid battery will be unable to start a battery after just 6 months*, so imagine how much more quickly this will happen with all of those additional vehicle electronics!
Today’s national gas price average is $1.92. That is nine cents cheaper than last Monday, 48 cents less than a month ago and 81 cents less expensive than a year ago. On the week, pump prices continued to push less expensive with gasoline demand registering at its lowest point since 1993. The latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) weekly report puts demand at 6.7 million b/d – a nearly 30 year low – and it’s likely to push lower as Americans are urged to stay at home at least until the beginning of May.
“This week, market analysts are watching crude oil prices, which started to increase at the end of last week,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “However, given the low demand readings, increases in crude aren’t likely to have an impact on gas prices in the near-term.”
In addition to crude oil, market analysts are also watching refinery rates. The U.S. refinery utilization average is down to 82%, a low not seen since September 2017. Given the drop in crude oil and gasoline demand, which is expected to push even lower, refineries are reducing production in hopes this could help to balance the amount of gasoline supply in the country.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Wisconsin (-16 cents), Vermont (-15 cents), Idaho (-14 cents), Alaska (-12 cents), Iowa (-12 cents), Kentucky (-11 cents), Arkansas (-10 cents), Ohio (-10 cents), Michigan (-10 cents) and Arizona (-10 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Wisconsin ($1.43), Oklahoma ($1.47), Ohio ($1.55), Kentucky ($1.58), Michigan ($1.61), Indiana ($1.62), Mississippi ($1.63), Arkansas ($1.64), Texas ($1.65) and Iowa ($1.66).
Although the West Coast region continues to have the most expensive state averages in the country, it is also seeing significant decreases, as crude prices remain low and demand for gasoline and crude oil decline. When compared to a week ago, Alaska (-12 cents) saw the largest decline. Hawaii ($3.30) and California ($2.96) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.68), Oregon ($2.63), Nevada ($2.55), Alaska ($2.40) and Arizona ($2.37) follow.
According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region increased from 30.97 million bbl to 34.06 million bbl last week. The significant increase in supply, alongside low crude prices and demand, will likely help to push pump prices lower in the region this week.
Car Buyers Are Embracing More Online Shopping Activities and Increasingly Putting the Brakes on Ride Sharing, Dealers Are Willing to Meet Car Buyer Needs Virtually
CHICAGO, March 30, 2020 -- Leading automotive digital solutions provider CARS Inc. (NYSE: CARS) announced today new insights from its research to determine the impact of COVID-19 on the U.S. automotive industry. The company found that while many dealerships are experiencing historically low foot traffic and many have closed showrooms completely, tens of millions of people are still actively engaged in car purchases online. Data demonstrates that nearly 80 percent of Cars.com's visitors are searching and viewing inventory with high intent to purchase1. However, these car shoppers are looking for alternative ways to connect with local dealerships in the current environment as America observes restrictions in order to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
"Our data shows continued engagement online with the car-purchase process as more Americans stay-at-home," said Alex Vetter, CEO of CARS Inc. "Though showroom visits are declining nationwide, the auto industry has the technology and digital tools available to meet shoppers where they are. Digital retailing, home-delivery options, increased comfort and reliance on chat tools to connect with shoppers in real-time and enhanced engagement with social channels are very valuable mediums for dealers to generate sales during this challenging period. Our automotive industry has always proven to be an incredibly resilient and resourceful industry. We are committed to helping car shoppers and dealerships navigate these unprecedented times with an array of dealer tools that are well suited to connect with the at-home shopper."
The research revealed three key trends impacting the automotive sector driven by the COVID-19 outbreak:
With the national average at $2.12, pump prices are, on average, 50-cents less than this time last year. Crude oil is the biggest driver of the less expensive gas prices. In the last week, crude oil prices dropped to $22/bbl – a low not seen since 2002. Crude oil accounts for nearly 60% of the retail pump price. When crude is cheap, gas prices follow suit.
“Typically gas prices start to trend more expensive at the beginning of spring, especially as motorists get out to enjoy the warmer weather and travel for spring break. That is not the case this year,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “With Americans urged to stay at home and practice social distancing to slow the spread of coronavirus, we are seeing less traffic on the roadways which will ultimately drive down demand, increase gasoline supply and push pump prices less expensive for the foreseeable future.”
Motorists do not need to rush to the pumps to fill-up. Currently, there is ample U.S. gasoline supply and no disruption to distribution at gas stations.
Across the country, state averages are less than $3/gallon except in Hawaii ($3.47) and California ($3.21). Twenty-nine states have gas price averages at $2.10 or less with Oklahoma ($1.71) carrying the cheapest in the country.
Today’s national average ($2.12) is cheaper on the week (-13 cents), month (-35 cents) and year (-50 cents).
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Wisconsin (-24 cents), Oklahoma (-21 cents), North Dakota (-20 cents), Ohio (-19 cents), Michigan (-18 cents), Kentucky (-17 cents), Minnesota (-15 cents), Maine (-15 cents), South Dakota (-15 cents) and California (-14 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.71), Ohio ($1.78), Wisconsin ($1.81), Kentucky ($1.82), Indiana ($1.83), Mississippi ($1.84), Michigan ($1.84), Texas ($1.85), South Carolina ($1.86) and Missouri ($1.86).
We would like to extend our sincere wishes that you all stay healthy and safe as we all work to get through this unprecedented time period together.
All of our Bumper to Bumper Radio Member Shops are taking all the necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The health and safety of our customers and employees are our top priority. We know that you depend on us to provide the service that you can rely on to keep your vehicles dependable and on the road.
Please check with any of our individual member shops as to their specific safety measures, policies and services they are providing, but know that virtually all of our Member shops are proactively providing additional safety measures to protect your health.
As crude oil prices trend close to $30/bbl, Americans are seeing pump prices plummet across the country. On the week, gas price averages in 35 states decreased by double-digits, pushing the national average to $2.25, the cheapest price point of the year.
“The national gas price average is 13 cents cheaper on the week and nearly 20 cents less than the beginning of the month. These are significant decreases in just 7 and 16 days,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “AAA expects gas prices to continue trending cheaper, with the high likelihood of the national average hitting $2/gallon before the end of March.”
During this uncertain time of COVID-19, gas prices are declining despite increasing gasoline demand and decreasing U.S. stock levels.
The nation’s top 10 largest weekly decreases are: Ohio (-27 cents), Kentucky (-21 cents), Michigan (-21 cents), Wisconsin (-21 cents), Indiana (-19 cents), Illinois (-19 cents), Oklahoma (-15 cents), Iowa (-15 cents), Maine (-15 cents) and Minnesota (-15 cents).
The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.92), Texas ($1.96), Mississippi ($1.96), South Carolina ($1.97), Ohio ($1.97), Indiana ($1.97), Missouri ($1.98), Kentucky ($1.99), Louisiana ($2.00) and Alabama ($2.00).
Great Lakes and Central States
Some of the largest weekly pump price savings in the country can be found in the Great Lakes and Central states. Eight out of the top 10 largest weekly decreases are states from the region: Ohio (-27 cents), Kentucky (-21 cents), Michigan (-21 cents), Wisconsin (-21 cents), Indiana (-19 cents), Illinois (-19 cents), Iowa (-15 cents) and Minnesota (-15 cents). All states in the region saw double-digit decreases, with South Dakota (-10 cents) seeing the smallest decrease on the week.
With the substantial drops at the pump, state gas prices in the region are relatively cheap, ranging from as low as $1.98 in Missouri to a high of $2.30 in Illinois.
With a draw of 1.8 million bbl, the Great Lakes and Central states region saw its first substantial drop in gasoline stocks in two months, according to the Energy Information Administration’s latest report. At 58 million bbl, stock levels remain healthy and in line with levels this time last year. If stocks were to decrease again in the coming week that would traditionally mean a pump price increase, but given current trends it’s more likely gas prices would decrease.
Drivers who live in cold and wet climates are all too familiar with what happens to roadways when the ice begins to thaw or flooding occurs. Potholes appear and they are a major pitfall of springtime driving. While hitting one can give you a jolt, it can also seriously damage your vehicle.
The non-profit Car Care Council urges motorists who have hit a pothole to watch out for the following warning signs that key safety-related systems may have been damaged:
Steering and suspension: Loss of control, including swaying when making routine turns, bottoming out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads
Alignment: Pulling in one direction, instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear
Tires: Low tire pressure, bulges, blisters on the sidewalls or dents in the wheel rim
“We recently surveyed drivers throughout the country and found that nearly all have hit a pothole at some point, but only one-third of those motorists had their vehicle checked after doing so,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Potholes can pack a powerful punch, adversely affecting a vehicle’s handling and performance. If you hit one, be sure to look for the warning signs of damage and have your vehicle inspected to ensure safe, dependable operation.”
- Boston (149 hours lost due to congestion, which equates to more than six days) ranked as the most congested city in the U.S. for the second consecutive year, followed by Chicago (145 hours), Philadelphia (142 hours), New York City (140 hours) and Washington D.C. (124 hours)
- Bogota, Columbia topped the list of most congested cities in the world, with drivers losing 191 hours a year
- Los Angeles holds the two worst corridors in the U.S., where drivers on the US-101 and I-5 waste 80 and 76 hours per year at peak hours in congestion, respectively
- Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and San Francisco have the three slowest last mile speeds of 10 MPH in the U.S., meaning it is faster to bike than drive or taking the bus
- Congestion delays have decreased in four of the five most congested cities in the U.S., led by Washington D.C.'s 11 percent reduction
KIRKLAND, Wash., March 9, 2020 -- INRIX, Inc., a world leader in transportation analytics and connected car services, today published the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard that identified and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 900 cities, across 43 countries. The report found that on average, Americans lost 99 hours a year due to congestion, costing them nearly $88 billion in 2019, an average of $1,377 per year. From 2017 to 2019 the average time lost by American drivers has increased by two hours as economic and urban growth continue nationally.
In the U.S., the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard analyzed congestion and the severity of it in the top 66 urban areas. For the second consecutive year, Boston ranked as the most congested city in the U.S. with the average commuter in the metro area losing 149 hours per year to congestion, costing $2,205 per driver in time lost. Chicago (145 hours, $2,059 lost), Philadelphia (142 hours, $2,016 lost), New York City (140 hours, $1,988 lost) and Washington D.C. (124 hours, $1,761 lost) rounded out the Top 5. While known historically for its congestion, Los Angeles' (ranked sixth in congestion; 103 hours lost in 2019) constant gridlock does not have the severity as the other top-ranked cities due to its sprawling geography and massive road network. On the other hand, Wichita, Kansas, for the second year in a row, had the lowest congestion levels in the U.S. with drivers losing less than two hours a year.
"Congestion costs Americans billions of dollars each year. However, it appears to be stabilizing in some of the country's most congested metros – with delays raising roughly three percent nationwide since 2017," said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX. "The continued innovation and investment in smarter roadway management is showing early signs of progress. To reflect an increasingly diverse mobility landscape, the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard includes both public transport and biking metrics for the first time."
The Most Congested Corridors in the U.S.
Los Angeles holds the top two worst corridors in the U.S., where drivers on the US-101 and I-5 waste 80 and 76 hours per year at peak hours in congestion, respectively. In each case, the corridor uniquely serves a large geographic area with limited alternatives. In the case of US-101, it cuts through the Hollywood Hills, while I-5 runs diagonally into the downtown core across numerous other highways.
Deane Wilson still recalls the time the idea first struck him. “My wife Robin and I were at the 2018 Goodguys Colorado Nationals having dinner with friends, including Ed Capen from Goodguys and his wife Maggi,” Deane said. “We were discussing the possibility of Goodguys having two Hall of Fame Road Tours in 2019 when I suddenly had a wild hair: Could I do a road trip to all 18 shows in one year?”
“Crazy, right? Everyone at the table fell silent, and then it felt like the entire restaurant broke out in laughter. Frankly, I didn’t see what was so funny.”
The function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time. – Credo by Jack London
Deane put the ambitious road trip idea in the back of his mind as one of those “someday” things, but it continued to rise to the surface as he and Robin drove on the 2018 Hall of Fame Road Tour and attended several more Goodguys events to finish off the season. “As we thought more about it, it started to seem possible,” Deane said.
The notion continued to percolate during the off-season. Deane was confident his ’61 Impala was up to the task. It had more than 70,000 road trip miles on it since being rebuilt in 2011 with an LS1 engine, overdrive transmission, disc brakes, comfy Cadillac seats, and air conditioning. The question was, could Deane and Robin endure the challenge?
Easing Into Spring
The thoughts became more serious as the spring of 2019 rolled around. At the very least, Deane and Robin, who live in the Northern California town of Grass Valley, figured they could start by attending the first four events of the year – in Fort Worth, Scottsdale, Pleasanton, and Del Mar – since they often attend those anyway. “We always attend both Texas shows because my best friend Rod moved to Texas back in 1986,” Deane said. “We really enjoy Scottsdale, too. I mean, what’s not to like about the weather there in March! Not to mention, our youngest son went to college there and still lives in Phoenix.”
From Scottsdale, it was off to the All American Get-Together in Pleasanton, just a couple hours from the couple’s home. “It was the first Goodguys show I ever attended, and the first time the Impala got an award: Coolest ’60s!” Deane said of the event. “That was way back in 2011 when there were only about 3,000 miles on the odometer.” The following weekend was the Del Mar Nationals. “What we really like about going to Del Mar is the road trip put on by Goodguys called the ‘Cruise to Del Mar,’” Deane said. “There are stops at rod shops, private collections along the way, and great camaraderie. What a great little cruise.”
Bumper to Bumper Radio helps a listener with an electrical question regarding her Kia Sedona.