Latest News From Bumper to Bumper Radio

National Average Back to $2 Per Gallon

For 66 days, the national gas price average held below the $2/gallon mark, pushing as cheap as $1.76. In the past week, the average has inched up to $2.03. Despite the consistent increases at the pump, prices are still significantly cheaper year-over-year. In fact, during the first week of June the past five years, gas prices have typically averaged $2.81.

“The beginning of June has not seen gas prices this low since 2004,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “As crude oil prices trend higher and gasoline demand increases, Americans will see gas prices push more expensive, but this summer will be cheaper than last.”

U.S. gasoline demand continues to show increasing strength. The Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest reading shows a 4% weekly increase at 7.5 million b/d. That is the highest demand level since states began issuing stay-at-home orders in mid-March.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases: Colorado (+13 cents), Indiana (+12 cents), Missouri (+11 cents), Montana (+10 cents), Kentucky (+10 cents), Michigan (+9 cents), Kansas (+9 cents), Alabama (+8 cents), Tennessee (+8 cents) and Alaska (+8 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets: Mississippi ($1.66), Texas ($1.69), Louisiana ($1.70), Arkansas ($1.71), Alabama ($1.72), Oklahoma ($1.73), South Carolina ($1.73), Missouri ($1.76), Kansas ($1.77) and Virginia ($1.79).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region also continue to increase, which contributes to those state averages remaining the most expensive in the country. Alaska (+8 cents) saw the largest increases in the region and is last on today’s top 10 largest weekly increases list. Hawaii ($3.17) and California ($2.95) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.58), Nevada ($2.50), Oregon ($2.49), Alaska ($2.33) and Arizona ($2.21) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region increased from 29.2 million bbl to 29.8 million bbl last week. Increasing stocks, alongside increasing demand, may help to slow pump price increases this week in the region.

6 Helpful Questions to Ask Your Mechanic | Good Works Auto Repair

Whether you have a trusted repair shop that you always do business with, or you’re looking for a new one, it’s important to know the right questions to ask your mechanic. After all, car repairs can be expensive. And, you likely want to keep your vehicle for a few years. Asking the right questions when it’s time for auto repairs can help you get the best price, ensure quality service, and help you make informed decisions.

Price-Related Auto Repair Questions

Like most other things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to auto repairs. Cheap is not always best. That’s not to say that you can’t get a fair price for auto repairs, however. And, learning about prices and fees before your mechanic gets started will help prevent surprises later. Here are a few cost-related questions to ask your mechanic:

Do you charge a fee for diagnostic testing or repair estimates?

Not every auto repair shop offers free diagnosis and estimates, and that’s okay. But, you want to know up front exactly what those fees are and how they’re structured. If there is a fee, is it flat rate or per hour? On the other hand, if it’s free, what exactly is included and are there any conditions?

Are your auto repair estimates in writing?

When possible, it’s always a good idea to get a quote in writing – for auto repairs, or for anything else. This eliminates issues of “but, he said it would be this much…” when different staff members are involved in your service experience.

What kind of warranty do you offer?

Ideally, you want to choose a mechanic and auto repair shop that stands behind their work. The national average warranty is 24 months or 24,000 miles on services. At Good Works Auto Repair, we are so confident in the quality of our work that we offer an industry leading warranty of 60 months/60,000 miles on parts and labor for major repairs. That’s just one way we guarantee you get quality service at a great price!

A Perfect Storm? COVID-19 Restrictions Ease As “100 Deadliest Days” Begin for Nation’s Teens

WASHINGTON (May 27, 2020) – Nationwide, more than 8,300 people died in crashes involving teen drivers from 2008 to 2018 during the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s more than seven people a day each summer. The combination of schools closed, activities curtailed, summer jobs canceled, and COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, could prove deadly as teens take to the road this summer. AAA recommends that now is a good time for parents to both model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them too.

“The last decade of crash data show shows that teens continue to be over-represented in crashes and summertime marks an increase of fatal crashes for this age group,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our data analysis has found that for every mile driven, new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults.”

Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. According to the new AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72% of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:

Pretected Reveals the Most Popular Cars in America for 2020

NEW YORK, May 26, 2020 -- According to Pretected.com, one of the largest insurance comparison websites in the US, the most popular car in America for the first half of 2020 is the Toyota Camry, followed by the Honda Accord in second place. In third place is the good old Ford F-150.

In the last decade, the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA), that includes a lot of well-known brands (including: Toyota, Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, Suzuki, Mazda, Subaru, Yamaha, Kawasaki and more) has invested billions of dollars in convincing US drivers to drive Japanese cars. As well as opening many local manufacturing plants. And it seems like it's paying off.

Although the two most popular models come from overseas, Pretected also names the top 10 most popular car makers overall in America for 2020, With the American manufacturers leading the list:

Car Shoppers Can Expect Bigger Discounts than Usual this Memorial Day Weekend

As shelter-in-place orders are eased and dealerships across the country begin to reopen, experts say Memorial Day presents an opportunity for the auto industry to capture some deferred demand

SANTA MONICA, Calif., May 20, 2020 -- Consumers in a position to purchase a new car can look forward to bigger bargains than usual this Memorial Day weekend, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Edmunds' experts say that prior model year selldown efforts were severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic: Edmunds data shows that 1 out of 10 new vehicles on dealer lots in May were 2019 model year vehicles, which means that shoppers can find more clearance vehicles to choose from this holiday weekend compared to years past.

Edmunds analysts also note that since this is the first big holiday shopping event since the outbreak of coronavirus, and it's happening as states begin to ease up on shelter-in-place restrictions, Memorial Day weekend presents a good opportunity for automakers and dealers to attract buyers after bleak sales numbers for the industry in April.

"We're seeing far more generous incentives and deals out there than we typically would for Memorial Day weekend, and since more consumers might be looking at vehicles for summer road trips instead of airline travel, things might look up a bit for the industry," said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds' executive director of insights. "We're optimistic that sales could improve after the record lows we saw in April, but there's still a layer of uncertainty around whether consumers will really show up en masse to shop given the severe effect that the pandemic has had on personal finances and the economy."

All’s Fair In Love, War, and Auto Repairs – Or Is It? | Good Works Auto Repair

Sadly, not everyone has an honest mechanic that they can trust with their auto repairs. And, not everyone has a trustworthy auto repair shop servicing their vehicle. That brings us to this question: how do you know if you’re getting a fair price for auto repairs?

The short answer is … sometimes, you DON’T know. But, by asking some questions and doing a little research, you can certainly find out.

Tips for getting the best price on auto repairs

There’s no question that vehicle maintenance and repairs can be expensive. That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead and ask the right questions. Here are some great tips to follow:

Avoid surprise auto repairs when possible.

Often, the most expensive auto repairs are the ones that catch you by surprise and become an emergency. You know, when you get stuck beside the road because something breaks and you just can’t drive your vehicle any further. In addition to a potentially large repair bill, you’re also hit with a towing bill to get your vehicle to the repair shop. Or, you only have one vehicle and need it repaired ASAP.

But, how do you prevent surprise repairs? The truth is, they can’t always be prevented. However, if you pay attention to how your vehicle looks and sounds, you may be able to detect small problems before they become big ones. Solving the problem before your car breaks down means no tow truck bill. And, you can choose which auto repair shop you use instead of having to settle for one that’s simply nearby.

Practice preventative maintenance.

There are some vehicle parts that are meant to be maintained and/or replaced on a regular basis, even if they’re not broken. This is part of a regular or preventative maintenance schedule. When your vehicle is in the shop, your mechanic may notice something that is starting to wear or hear a sound that you never noticed. These can be clues that further investigation and/or repair may be warranted. By taking heed to these warnings, you can plan for upcoming repairs.

How does this help you get the best price? Well, you can budget for repairs if you know about them … and that means that you can potentially pay cash and not have to finance the repairs or put them on a credit card with high interest rates. Also, it means you have the chance to …

Your Nose Knows: Six Vehicle Warning Signs You Can Smell

Most vehicles start out with a “new car smell,” but there are other specific odors that motorists should never ignore. Identifying these suspect smells early on can help car owners be car care aware and avoid the hassle and expense of an unexpected breakdown, says the Car Care Council.

“Unusual smells can be the sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle. By acting quickly and making necessary repairs, you’ll be able to breathe easy knowing there is no harmful damage to your car,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council recommends a sniff test of your vehicle to identify any unusual smells, including the following six warning signs:

1. The smell of burnt rubber could be slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not reach in if the engine compartment is hot.

2. The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area.

3. The smell of gasoline is likely the sign of a gas leak in some area of the vehicle such as a fuel injector line or the fuel tank. Any smell of fuel can result in a possible fire hazard, so immediate attention should be given.

Motorists to see Cheapest Memorial Day Pump Prices in Nearly Two Decades

Pump prices continue to increase across the country with nearly every state’s average pushing more expensive on the week, on average by four cents. At the start of the Memorial Day work week, the national gas price average is $1.87.

The last time the national gas price average leading into the holiday was under $2/gallon was 17 years ago in 2003. That year motorists paid, on average, $1.50 to fill-up. Gas prices this year won’t be as cheap as 2003, but today’s national average is a dollar cheaper than one year ago.

“Gas prices around Memorial Day have not been this cheap in nearly 20 years. However, as the country continues to practice social distancing, this year’s unofficial kick-off to summer is not going to drive the typical millions of Americans to travel,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Despite inexpensive gas prices, AAA anticipates this year’s holiday will likely set a record low for travel volume.”

For the first time in 20 years, AAA will not issue a Memorial Day travel forecast due to COVID-19 impacts on the underlying economic data used to create the forecast.

Americans can expect gas prices to continue to push more expensive, possibly hitting $2/gallon in the next few weeks. This is mostly due to demand increasing as states re-open. This week will also bring the Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver on the sale of winter-blend gasoline to an end. Stations will switch over to summer-blend gasoline, which has a lower Reid Vapor Pressure to prevent excessive evaporation when outside temperatures rise. Reducing the volatility of summer gas decreases emissions that contribute to unhealthy ozone and smog levels. Typically, the switchover to summer-blend can cause gas prices to spike during the summer driving season, but that will likely not be the case this year due to the impact of COVID-19 on demand and crude oil prices.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly increases are: Idaho (+17 cents), Pennsylvania (+8 cents), Wisconsin (+7 cents), Iowa (+7 cents), Colorado (+7 cents), Kansas (+7 cents), Maryland (+6 cents), Utah (+6 cents), Nebraska (+5 cents) and Minnesota (+5 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Mississippi ($1.51), Arkansas ($1.52), Oklahoma ($1.52), Missouri ($1.54), Texas ($1.56), Alabama ($1.57), Kansas ($1.57), South Carolina ($1.60), Louisiana ($1.60) and Tennessee ($1.62).

West Coast

Pump prices in the West Coast region are among the most expensive in the country, with more increases expected as states in the region ease restrictions this week. When compared to a week ago, California (+4 cents) and Nevada (+4 cents) saw the largest increases in the region. Arizona (-1 cent) saw the only decline. Hawaii ($3.17) and California ($2.80) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.45), Oregon ($2.38), Nevada ($2.35), Arizona ($2.07) and Alaska ($2.05) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased from 31.2 million bbl to 30.8 million bbl last week. As more motorists take to the roads in the region this week, gas demand is expected to continue to grow. Higher gas demand, amid falling gas stocks, will likely lead pump prices to increase this week.

Check Engine Light On? Could Be A Faulty O2 Sensor

According to the annual CarMD® Vehicle Health Index™ one of the most common check engine light repairs is replacing the oxygen sensor. This relatively minor repair can be costly if neglected, leading to as much as 40 percent lower fuel efficiency, causing further damage to your vehicle’s exhaust system and adversely impacting the environment.

“Vehicles with faulty oxygen sensors typically seem to drive and handle well, but the malfunction can dramatically decrease fuel efficiency and lead to costlier repairs if ignored,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “A faulty oxygen sensor means your vehicle is emitting more pollutants and if the check engine light is illuminated, it may not pass vehicle emissions testing in those states requiring it for vehicle registration.”

A vehicle’s oxygen sensors are mounted in the exhaust system; they monitor the catalytic convertor’s operation and the level of oxygen in exhaust gases to maintain efficient engine operation. The best way to prevent an oxygen sensor failure is to follow a regular service schedule, including routine oil changes.

Unlike the past nine years of the annual CarMD report, costly catalytic converter replacement edged out O2 sensor replacement as the most common check engine light repair. Catalytic converters do not typically fail unless maintenance and other repairs are ignored or the vehicle is older. Average vehicle age has increased from 10.6 years to 11.7 years over the past decade, contributing to this outcome.

As States Re-open, Motorists See Pump Price Increases

State gas price averages increased for less than a dozen states in the last week, but they were large enough jumps to push an increase to the national average. At $1.78, today’s average is a penny more expensive than last week, 16 cents less than a month ago and $1.11 cheaper than last year at this time.

“As some states begin to re-open businesses, those states will likely see demand increase and pump prices will likely follow suit,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “Although U.S. gasoline demand has incrementally increased, it remains below 6 million b/d.”

On the week, the Great Lakes and Central region saw double-digit increases in a few states, but the bulk of the country saw decreases of a nickel or less. Pump price fluctuation will continue across the country in coming weeks, especially as more states re-open and motorists begin driving more.

Quick Stats

The nation’s top 10 largest weekly changes are: Wisconsin (+27 cents), Ohio (+19 cents), Indiana (+16 cents), Michigan (+13 cents), Iowa (+7 cents), Illinois (+6 cents), Kentucky (+6 cents), Utah (-6 cents), Montana (-6 cents) and Wyoming (-5 cents).

The nation’s top 10 least expensive markets are: Oklahoma ($1.37), Arkansas ($1.39), Missouri ($1.44), Kansas ($1.46), Wisconsin ($1.46), Mississippi ($1.48), Kentucky ($1.49), Texas ($1.49), Michigan ($1.53) and Tennessee ($1.54).

West Coast

As some regions are seeing prices increase, all states in the West Coast region continue to see pump prices decline, albeit slower than a month ago. On the week, Oregon (-4 cents) and Arizona (-4 cents) saw the largest declines in the region. Hawaii ($3.15) and California ($2.74) remain the most expensive markets in the country. Washington ($2.44), Oregon ($2.38), Nevada ($2.31), Arizona ($2.10) and Alaska ($2.00) follow.

According to EIA’s latest weekly report, total gas stocks in the region decreased from 34.7 million bbl to 32.7 million bbl last week. Refinery utilization also dropped in the region to 59 percent, which contributed to the decline in gas stocks and is the lowest rate in the region since 2010, according to EIA’s data. Although stocks have decreased, low gas demand in the region is expected to bring continued lower pump prices.

Clip of the Week

Bumper to Bumper answers some important questions regarding the warranty and lifespan of hybrid car batteries.