Auto News for Sept. 21
Motorists have not been worried about the price of a fill up for their trucks and SUV’s of late. But they have wasted more than $2.1 billion by using premium grade gasoline in vehicles that are designed to run on regular fuel, according to AAA. And this adds up. Yours truly saw a sign the other day that indicated premium was selling for 50 cents a gallon more than regular unleaded.
“Drivers see the ‘premium’ name at the pump and may assume the fuel is better for their vehicle,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “AAA cautions drivers that premium gasoline is higher octane, not higher quality, and urges drivers to follow the owner’s manual recommendations for their vehicle’s fuel.”
“AAA’s tests reveal that there is no benefit to using premium gasoline in a vehicle that requires regular fuel,” said Megan McKernan, manager of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center. “Premium gasoline is specifically formulated to be compatible with specific types of engine designs and most vehicles cannot take advantage of the higher octane rating.”
The Paris Auto Show begins Sept. 29 but there will be no Mazdas, Bentleys, or Lamborghinis on display. They have joined Volvo and Rolls-Royce in sitting out this year’s extravaganza opting instead for less expensive ways to show off their wares and methods that they feel are more effective in reaching target audiences.
The Department of Transportation is issuing guidelines for automated vehicles, laying a path for safe testing and deployment. The move is designed to build a consistent national framework of laws governing self-driving vehicles, instead of rules that vary from state to state. “There are huge upsides and significant challenges that come with automated vehicle technology, and we will continue the conversation with the public over the coming months and years as this technology develops,” said Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. DOT wants automakers to meet 15 guidelines before they test fully autonomous vehicles on public roads and share safety data.
The new Chrysler Pacifica has earned a rating of Top Safety Pick + from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It achieved the highest possible score in each of five tests by the IIHS to evaluate crashworthiness.
Dodge has signed an agreement to become the title rights sponsor of the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series event at Maple Grove Raceway in Pennsylvania. The 32nd annual Dodge NHRA Nationals will be held Sept. 29-Oct. 3.
For those of us who drove the old VW beetle with a rather, shall we say, lack of any kind of acceleration, this story came as surprise. A specially tuned Beetle has set a new speed record at Bonneville flats of 205.1 miles per hour. That, VW says, makes it the “fastest speed ever documented for a Beetle …” And yes, they did a lot of work on the engine. With new turbochargers, pistons, camshafts, connecting rods, and head modifications, it produced 543 horsepower and 421 pound-feet of torque at the wheels: at the flywheel, that would be more than 600 hp and nearly 500 lb-ft.
That is a few more ponies than my ’69 black bug. But it did have whitewalls.