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One step forward, two steps back. General Motors is now recalling more than 220,000 Cadillac XTS and Chevrolet Impala vehicles whose brake pads can stay partially engaged when not braking, which could ignite fires.

GM has already recalled several vehicles this year, including seven models, 15 million vehicles worldwide, for ignition switch issues and a massive recall of more than 700,000 vehicles linked to two crashes.

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When leaders in the automotive industry start talking about improving global mobility --and not just selling more cars this year than last year-- that should get your attention.
That's exactly what Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said recently at the 2014 ITS World Congress in Detroit.

As rising incomes in China and India pave most of the industry’s growth, emerging markets’ largest cities can’t build roads fast enough, said Ford, one of the speakers at the five-day conference devoted to intelligent transportation technology.

“If we sell millions of vehicles where do we put them and where do we drive them and how do they interact?” he asked. “You cannot shove two vehicles in every garage in Mumbai. Any business only exists to make peoples’ lives better. At a certain point, shoving more vehicles into urban environments doesn’t do that.”

Congrats New Yorkers, you've just become the first city in the world to actively manage more than 10,000 traffic signal intersections from a single management center in one integrated system! I sure as heck wouldn't want to be in charge of managing such a room with such chaos (okay, since computers are doing a lot of it, maybe it's not too bad.

In 2006, the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) engaged TransCore as its system manager to design and install a central traffic control system that included modernization of intersection control equipment, implementation of a central traffic control system and support of the City’s wireless communications network, the largest of its kind supporting traffic control. 
Motorists in the South will be getting more options for ethanol fuels over the next few months, as ethanol distributor Protec Fuels increases availability of E85 and seeks to bring newcomer E15 to select areas.
Boca Raton, FL based Protec Fuel already supplies E100 and E85 fuels to retailers, fleets, and distributors through its channels in the Southeast and South. It's bringing the new options to pumps via partnerships with retailers in these markets, building 28 ethanol fuel blending locations that will have E15 and E85.

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Because computer software is now as critical to your car as its engine and tires, automakers must figure out how to protect all that data from hackers and others with criminal intentions, the nation’s top auto safety regulator says. 

“The time is now: We need to make sure we move forward aggressively on cybersecurity,” said David Friedman, acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Friedman appeared at the Intelligent Transportation Systems World Congress. 

In July, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of Global Automakers notified NHTSA that they want to share information to improve cybersecurity and Friedman has asked the CEOs of every automaker to develop such a plan by the end of 2015.

Have a car? Want to know how to best care for it? Well the Car Care Council recently updated its free guide for motorists. The 80-page guide, in color, offers 20 more pages of new information to help motorists be care care aware by better understanding the when, why, and how of caring for their vehicles.

Available in English and Spanish, individual copies of the new Car Care Guide can be ordered free of charge by visiting the Car Care Council website at The 80-page guide uses easy-to-understand everyday language rather than technical automotive jargon, fits easily in a glove box and covers the most common preventive maintenance occasions and procedures that should be performed to keep cars safe, dependable and efficient. It also includes descriptions of major vehicle systems and parts, and a list of questions to ask about maintenance or repair procedures. A car care checklist reminds motorists what vehicle systems need to be maintained and when service should be performed.

California wants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020.  And in order to do that, it passed a law (AB 32) that will be the first of its kind in the U.S.  Beginning January 1, 2015, the penalty on carbon emissions will also apply to transportation fuels; to oil and gas.  That means if your car runs on gas or diesel, you’ll pay more.

Exactly how much more?  Nobody knows.  Apparently state legislators felt compelled to approve the law first and do the math later.  They don’t believe they need to share the pesky details with the folks who elected them.  Based on input from various industry organizations and consumer groups, it’s estimated that the cap & trade ‘tax’ on carbon emissions has the potential to increase California’s retail gasoline prices from 16 cents to 76 cents per gallon.  Most expect at least a 15-cent increase beginning in 2015.

California sped past a major mile-marker recently – selling more than 100,000 plug-in cars since the market started in 2010, according to the California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative.

Electric vehicle sales have risen steadily over the last several years – and this new milestone drives California closer to achieving Gov. Brown's goal of 1.5 million electric cars on the road by 2025.

"California's plug-in electric vehicle market is ramping up, and we expect to see significant growth over the next ten years as customers realize how economical and convenient they are," said California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Collaborative Executive Director Christine Kehoe.

Don't put off the small stuff because it almost always becomes a big problem later. 

Automotive News advises that if you think there's a problem, you need to get it checked.  NOW. Many service stations such as Midas will perform a basic brake check to determine the extent of any problems. If you hear any brake noise such as screeching, squeaking or grinding, you should immediately have your brakes checked.

Worn out brake pads, calipers and drums might be the issue, but it could also be a problem with your master cylinder, individual wheel cylinders or simply a lack of fluid. Here's a rundown from the minor problems to the major ones, and their costs:

For those senior citizens looking at a new car, AutoTrader recently released a list of the most recommended in-vehicle features that could make your next drive easier.

Car culture was huge when the Baby Boomers were growing up, so it makes sense that as they get older, they're going to want to stay behind the wheel as long as possible," Brian Moody, site editor for said. "The technology and features available in vehicles now can do a lot to make sure older drivers are comfortable and safe."

While stereotypes may persist that these older drivers may not be as interested in the latest in-car tech features as their tech-savv children, AutoTrader research says otherwise. In a recent study, 62 percent of Baby Boomers (aged 48-66) say technology is an important consideration when shopping for a new car, compared to 61 percent of Millennials. Some tech features AutoTrader editors say older drivers should consider include backup camera, keyless entry, push-button start, power lift gate and an infotainment system that's easy to use.

The Energy Information Administration released its weekly report on the status of petroleum inventories in the United States Wednesday.  An error reported yesterday has been corrected.

Here are some highlights:

Crude oil inventories increased by 3.7. million barrels to a total of 362.3 million barrels. At 362.3 million barrels, inventories are 1.4 million barrels below last year (0.4%) and are near the upper half of the average range for this time of year.

Gasoline inventories decreased by 1.6 million barrels to 212.4 million barrels. At 212.4 million barrels, inventories are up 6.6 million barrels, or 1.9% higher than one year ago. Here's how individual regions and their gasoline inventory fared last week: East Coast (-2.5mb); Midwest (-.2mb); Gulf Coast (+0.5mb); Rockies (+0.1mb); and West Coast (+0.5mb). It is important to note which regions saw increases/decreases as this information likely drives prices up (in the case of falling inventories), or down (in the case of rising inventories).

DISTILLATE (diesel, heating oil) INVENTORIES:
Distillate inventories increased by 0.3 million barrels to a total of 127.8 million barrels. At 127.8 million barrels, inventories are now down 3.3 million barrels, or 2.5% lower vs. a year ago.
Today marks the first day that many states and cities across the United States begin switching back to "winter gasoline". Many times you may have heard us here at GasBuddy talking about summer gasoline being a reason for prices to rise, but as we switch away from the more expensive summer blend, prices do the opposite- they drop.
Why? Due to EPA regulations in warmer months to limit ozone and pollution, there are stricter requirements for gasoline everywhere, and requirements in bigger cities where tens of thousands of vehicles drive everyday are even more stringent. Even smaller communities switch to summer gasoline, but a version that isn't quite the same as what's used in larger cities.
Effective today- September 16- those rules and requirements from the EPA have eased.  Summer gasoline contains blending components that cost more. With the switch back to winter gasoline, cheaper butane is again blended in to reduce the price of gasoline, but adds to volatility of gasoline.

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The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel climbed to the top of Consumer Reports’ full-size pickup truck ratings with an impressive performance in the organization’s fuel economy tests.

The EcoDiesel (82 point overall road test score) turned in a best-in-class fuel economy of 20 mpg overall and 27 mpg on the highway, to help it score better than the previously tested Ram 1500 V8 (81) regular gas version and Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (80). 

“These are about the same fuel-economy numbers that we typically see in a mid-sized SUV. The Ram is currently the only truck to offer turbo-diesel technology. It will be interesting to see what impact it will have on the half-ton truck market,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

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General Motors is preparing to introduce a Cadillac model in two years that can travel on the highway without the driver holding the steering wheel or putting a foot on a pedal.

The 2017 Cadillac model will feature “Super Cruise” technology that takes control of steering, acceleration and braking at highway speeds of 70 miles per hour or in stop-and-go congested traffic, Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra said in a speech at the Intelligent Transport System World Congress in Detroit. Specifics on the exact model remain under wraps.

Barra said GM will become the first automaker to equip a model with so-called vehicle-to-vehicle technology that enables the car to communicate with other autos with similar abilities to warn of traffic hazards and improve road safety.

After a brief pause that led the national average to rise slightly, prices have resumed their decline across all of the nation. In the last week, not a single state saw its average rise, a marked difference versus what occurred during the last week of August. The national average stood at $3.38/gal this morning, down 5.4c/gal from last week's $3.436/gallon.

States that saw the largest decline: Indiana, down 14.5c/gal, Michigan, down 13.8c/gal, Ohio, down 12.2c/gal, Missouri, down 10.3c/gal, and Kentucky, down 7.3c/gal. On the bottom, states that saw the smallest declines were  Vermont, down just 0.003c/gal, Montana, down 0.007c/gal, Pennsylvania, down 1c/gal, Hawaii, down 1.1c/gal, and Idaho, down 1.2c/gal.
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