These days, it seems like everyone is all about going green and saving the environment. Driving around, you are constantly seeing more and more solar panels on roofs of houses, ads promoting the benefits of carpooling and public transportation, people bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, etc. It seems like most of us in modern times want to do our small part in saving our planet and preserving our resources. Recent vehicle technology is no different. Car companies are devoting more and more energy into creating the most efficiently green rides possible: that is, vehicles that consume less fuel and reduce emissions into the environment. So whether you’re looking for a greener ride to contribute to saving the environment or simply looking to save money on fuel costs, here is a list of the 12 “greenest” cars for the year 2014 as rated by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE).
*Miles per gallon are given in the following format: highway/city. Green Scores are assigned according to a combination of factors including fuel economy, tailpipe emissions, emission estimates for the vehicle’s manufacturing process, disposal impact, and the sources of energy used to generate the power on which electric cars run.
1. SmartForTwo electric drive. This vehicle gets the electric equivalent of 122/93 miles per gallon and has a green score of 59.
2. Toyota Prius C. This vehicle gets 51/48 miles per gallon and got a green score of 57.
3. The Nissan Leaf. This is an all electric car that gets the electric equivalent of 126/101 miles per gallon. The Leaf received a green score of 55.
4. The Toyota Prius. This vehicle gets 51/48 mpg and has a greens score of 55.
5. The Honda Civic Hybrid. The hybrid Civic gets 44/47 miles per gallon and got a green score of 55.
6. The Lexus CT 200h. This luxury vehicle gets 51/48 miles per gallon and also got a green score of 55.
7. The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid. This vehicle gets 95 miles per gallon between the electric equivalent and gasoline. This Prius got a green score of 55.
8. The Mitsubishi Mirage. This vehicle gets 37/44 mpg and got a green score of 54.
9. The Honda Civic Natural Gas. This car gets 27/38 mpg and got a green score of 54.
10. The Honda Insight. This car gets 41/44 mpg and got a green score of 53.
11. The Smart ForTwo. This Smart Car gets 34/38 miles per gallon and got a green score of 53.
12. The Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid. This car gets 42/48 miles per gallon and got a green score of 53.
Click here to view 2014′s LEAST environmentally friendly rides.
Maybe this time around you’ll ditch the over-sized truck or SUV and reconsider an electric car or a hybrid that will save both money and the planet! You can’t go wrong with that!
A vehicle is a huge investment, as we all know. Regular maintenance work is, by far, the best way to protect your investment and help to avoid costly repairs down the road (see what I did there?)
Unfortunately, most people tend not to know how to properly maintain their car to keep it at its top performance power. In fact, most of us fail to address any small issues or warning signs until something has gone terribly wrong. Most of this vehicle-specific information maintenance information can be found in the owner’s manual, but here are five of the most important maintenance aspects that people tend to put off. To keep your car performing and looking its best, ultimately keeping its value as high as possible, avoid these costly mistakes:
1. Not checking or changing the vehicle’s oil can be the most potentially expensive maintenance issue. Think of oil as your car’s blood. Without it, it simply cannot function and things can go terribly wrong. Checking the oil levels every few weeks can be the fastest way to identify if there is a problem with the vehicle. If these levels are low, you will immediately know that your vehicle is leaking or burning up too much oil, indicating an issue. In addition to the oil level, the condition of the oil is also important. As oil continuously circulates through your engine, it wears down. Each vehicle has different guidelines on exactly how many miles they can go between oil changes, and this information can be found in the owner’s manual. Bankrate puts the estimated cost of an oil change around $39.99.
2. Not changing the air filter is also a common problem with vehicle maintenance. A dirty air filter does not allow your car to breathe properly. Expecting your vehicle to perform properly without proper airflow is like expecting to win a marathon with your airway constricted—it’s not going to happen. According to Bankrate, the estimated cost of having a shop replace your air filter is about $35.
3. Braking with worn brake pads. The first indication that this category includes you is that shrill, terrible squealing sound your brakes make when they are applied. When brake pads are low and worn out, not only is the brake less effective, but the rotor can be damaged. Usually brake pads need to be changed every 20,000-25,000 miles, but this is dependent on how crazy or aggressive your driving behavior is. Usually replacing brake pads for all four wheels, according to Bankrate, will cost around $250.
4. Riding on worn shocks. Not only are shocks incredibly important to maintaining the health of the vehicle’s suspension, but they also affect how the vehicle rides and handles. Worn out shocks cause all other elements of your suspension to wear out at a faster rate. The regularity with which you should change your shocks depends on the quality of the roads you tend to drive on, but around 50,000 miles is average. According to Bankrate, replacing your shocks will cost around $820 for all four.
5. Exposing your vehicle to extreme temperatures can take a serious toll on your vehicle—a fact we are very aware of here in Phoenix. Our extreme summers make vehicle maintenance much more important as the sun and heat damage the vehicles finish, cause interior vinyl to crack, and increase the amount of work the cooling system has to do creating more stress on many of the car’s components. Waxing your vehicle’s exterior can help eliminate problems with the exterior finish, while applying window tint or using a sunshade across the windshield regularly can help combat interior damage. It is also recommended that you change your engine’s coolant every 24-36 months, flushing and refilling the system. Bankrate estimates that this will cost around $90 in a shop.
Extreme cold can also cause various problems with your vehicle’s operation and vanity. Not allowing a car to warm up before driving can prevent oil from flowing to the engine properly. For this, Bankrate suggests purchasing an engine block heater for around $175. Luckily, we don’t have to worry about this too much around here!
So there you have it, the 5 things NOT TO DO to keep your vehicle looking and running great, and we are here to help, and for much less than the aforementioned “average prices!” Don’t be responsible for killing your own car!
So come in today! Get your oil and air filters changed, your coolant flushed, your windows tinted, your car washed and waxed, and buy a sunshade for your windshield!
Sorry, but you’re on your own for the brake pads and shocks!
In the greater Phoenix area, the average commute time is 29 minutes each way. Here in Phoenix, our daily drive is almost on par with infamously grid-locked cities such as New York (averaging 39 minutes), Los Angeles (averaging 32 minutes), and Chicago (averaging 34 minutes). Anyone who has sat on the I-10 through downtown Phoenix at 4:30 in the afternoon knows how painfully frustrating “stop and go” traffic in a big city can be. Urban planners are constantly looking for new innovative ways to promote traffic flow through the city at peak hours. However, it’s new in-car technology that is actually making strides in unlocking our highways through infrastructure-to-car communication.
Last year, the average American driver spent 38 hours of their life sitting in traffic.
We have all heard of real-time traffic navigation systems. In fact, most of us can easily access real-time traffic information through our smart phones. However, most of the first-generation traffic apps prominently focus on highway traffic. Next-generation traffic information systems, on the other hand, provide information about traffic on highways and side streets, as well as weather information as reported through communication with drivers that are already on the road. These systems also include immediate rerouting mechanisms. Thus, if an accident occurs on your current route, you will instantly be directed to a route on which you can avoid the congestion that builds up through “curiosity slowing.”
Another new piece of technology allows drivers to pace their driving as to avoid frequent stopping on side streets. As Audi continues to innovate their fully customizable in-dash information system, they have come up with a “traffic light assist” feature that claims to enable users to never stop at a red light again. Not only does this feature provide a countdown indicating how much longer you will be stopped at a light, but upon continuing the system will inform you of the speed you need to drive at to avoid the following light, and the one after that, etc. Additionally, the traffic light assist will warn you if you are about to run a red light, and will even kill your engine to ensure that you don’t. This technology will allow for greater fuel economy and reduced emissions, not to mention less wear on your vehicle’s brakes.
However, the biggest piece of traffic-reducing technology is the autonomous (self-driving) car. Even though this technology may be difficult to fathom, almost every car maker around the world is currently working on developing a car that can drive and park itself. Some companies already have functional prototypes. This scientific wonder has been achieved through radar, sonar, and camera detection systems. These features, mixed with inter-car communication systems, could potentially eliminate gridlock as we know it. But hey, even if it doesn’t, at least you can still take a nap on your way to work instead of cursing out the window at other drivers for cutting you off!
Self-park features will even allow you to have your car drop you off (say out front of a movie theater or shopping mall) while the car searches the lot for a parking spot and parks itself. It will even send you an alert on your smart phone letting you know where and when it parked. When you are done, the car will even pick you back up. This will be perfect for us, uh, lazier individuals…
It looks like this incredible new technology might be putting old-fashioned valets out of service!
There are a lot of obvious benefits to driving a small vehicle, especially in a heavily populated urban area such as Phoenix: these vehicles get higher gas mileage, they are more easy to maneuver and park, and some of them are just aesthetically adorable. However, new crash test demonstrations done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety demonstrate that, for the most part, these small vehicles double as death traps.
Their version of the crash test involved the various vehicles hitting a barrier on the driver’s side at only 40 miles per hour. They call this the “small front overlap test.” The results were terrifying, especially to a small-car-driver like myself.
The worst overall performer in the crash test was the Honda Fit, followed by the Fiat 500, the Hyundai Accent, the Toyota Prius C, the Nissan Versa, and the Mitsubishi Mirage. Moderate performers (labeled by testers as “marginal”) included the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, Kia Rio, and Mazda2.
The only small vehicle to receive a passing grade on this mild crash test was the Chevy Spark, thus earning in the IIHS Top Safety Pick designation.
Although the Honda Fit finished last, Honda has been improving on crash test ratings on other Honda models. They have also recently unveiled a 2015 Honda Fit they predict to earn the IIHS Top Safety Pick designation in the future.
For now, I guess my Mazda and I will just have to be that more careful on the road!
Barrett-Jackson 2014 has drawn to a close, netting cumulative sales of almost $115 million. As they do every year, a good portion of these sales profits went directly to benefit non-profit organizations.
In Barrett-Jackson’s 43 years, they have raised more than $60 million for various charitable causes.
Some of this year’s beneficiaries include The Achilles Team of Wounded Veterans, who received $700,000 for a 2014 drag-racing-only Chevy Camaro, The Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan who reaped the benefits of Gene Simmons’ (of the band KISS) custom 1956 Ford truck that sold for $450,000, as well as The Cancer Research Fund at TGen obtaining a donation of $270,000 for Barrett Jackson Chairman and CEO Craig Jackson’s Hurst Oldsmobile. All of the donations made by celebrities, local and national auto companies, and generous bidders raised a total of $4.4 million for charities this year.
In addition to the charitable donations, Barrett-Jackson sold nearly 1400 other collectible vehicles during the six-day-long auto auction. The most expensive purchase of the week, beating the previous Barrett-Jackson bidding record on a car of its type, was a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette that sold for more than $3.8 million—you know, just some extra packet change the mystery buyer probably found in his cup holder after we washed his car for him!
This 1967 Chevrolet Corvette L88 Coupe sold for $3,850,000 at last week’s Barrett-Jackson auto auction.
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