RepairPal Blog:

 General Interest

Gas prices? The future of hybrids? Find out what's in the news today!

The number of traffic-related deaths has dropped to a record-breaking low, according to U.S. Department of Transportation report, released today. In 2009, highway deaths fell to 33,808, the lowest number since 1950, when the government began keeping track of traffic fatalities. The drop occurred even though travel increased in 2009 by 0.2 percent over 2008. Additionally, 2009 saw 1.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles—the lowest rate ever recorded.

Now that everyone in my social circle knows that I spend far too much of my life thinking about auto repair, I get a lot of car-related email and news--which is great!  There's a lot of it. I was just sent this auto repair shop advertisement from a 1928 newspaper, and while I can't verify that it is authentic, but for fun, let's just assume that it is.

For years I have taken it for granted that there had to be different grades of gasoline at the pump in order for your vehicle to run properly.  I used to drive a very high performance Camaro that required the highest octane fuel available because this vehicle had over 300 horsepower after it had been modified and Dynamometer tuned by a well known speed shop.  It was one of the original 1967 Z28 Camaros with the famous 302 cubic inch engine.  For years I have been filling up my vehicles with middle-grade, 89 octane fuel, even though it costs more than the basic 87 octane gasoline.  No more, and I will tell you why. I began following work from Bill Wattenburg, a well-known radio personality and scientist who has worked at the Lawrence Livermore Research Labs and at UC Berkeley teaching both Physics and Electrical Engineering.  He began speaking about the fact that the modern vehicles, especially the ones with Direct Ignition Systems and without Distributors, are required to pass a very stringent EPA-conducted test in order to be sold in the US.

According to the AAA, the depressed economy is keeping more people closer to home this holiday season. The number of Americans who plan to travel this season dropped 2.1% over last year. In fact, the U.S. hasn’t seen a drop in holiday travel plans since 2002.What’s interesting is that the average price of gas in the U.S. is $1.81 – that’s $1.39 LESS than this time last year.  Wouldn’t one assume that such a significant drop in gas prices would actually encourage more folks to travel?