• President Donald Trump (Photo courtesy DoD)

    The federal gas tax, which was supposed to pay for repairs and expansion to roads maintained or funded by the national government, now does nothing of the kind. Congress last raised the U.S. federal gas tax a quarter of a century ago in 1993, to the 18.5-cents-per-gallon level it remains at today. Diesel fuel is taxed at 24.4 cents per gallon. Every state in the U.S. now receives more road funding from the federal government than it sends to D.C. in gasoline taxes, but the cumulative deficit in road-repair funds has risen to several hundred billion dollars. DON'T MISS: Gas tax should rise 25...

  • 2013 Tesla Model S owned by David Noland, Catskill Mountains, NY, Oct 2015
    Life with Tesla Model S: replacing the drive unit (aka 'the funny noise')

    Back in 2014, Tesla had a spate of problems with the drive units in early-production versions of its Model S electric sedan. (The drive unit is essentially the car’s power train: electric motor, inverter, and gear box.) High-profile multiple failures occurred in long-term test cars driven by...

  • 2005 Toyota Prius
    Hybrid Car Repairs Getting Cheaper, But Not For Regular Cars

    Hybrid repair costs have dropped over the past five years, a survey of costs finds.

  • Toyota Camry Hybrid battery pack repair by Imgur user scoodidabop
    Toyota Camry Hybrid Battery: Electrician Spent $10, Not $4,000, To Fix

    A Toyota Camry Hybrid owner repairs the car's battery pack.

  • Tesla Model S 85D, 2015 Detroit Auto Show
    Consumer Reports Rates Tesla Service Tops Among Carmakers

    Tesla service was ranked top among carmakers in Consumer Reports' annual survey.

  • Tesla Model S 85D, 2015 Detroit Auto Show
    Tesla Model S Aluminum Body: Why Repair Costs Are Higher

    As more and more Tesla Model S electric sport sedans hit the road—50,000-plus at last count—some of their drivers are naturally starting to have accidents. They are bumping into other cars, colliding with deer, scraping telephone poles, and backing up into poles and trees. Their cars...

  • Gas pump

    Two facts sit in opposition to each other in Washington, D.C., and have for many years. First, raising taxes--in any way, for any purpose, under any circumstances--is virtually impossible. Second, the U.S. Highway Trust Fund is broke, because the Federal gasoline tax hasn't been raised in two decades and continually improving fuel economy means new cars use less gas to cover the same miles--meaning lower revenues. DON'T MISS: All Taxes Are Automatically Always Bad; Are Potholes Worse? Now, two senators have introduced a bill that would raise the Federal tax on both gasoline and diesel fuel by...

  • 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, Newport Beach, California, July 2012
    Buying An Electric 'Compliance Car'? Think Hard About Servicing First

    There are now more than a dozen plug-in electric cars for sale in the U.S., but not all electric cars are created equal. And a pair of recent articles about service challenges experienced by owners of the Toyota RAV4 EV underscores that buyers should be fully aware of the context in which their...

  • State-by-state ranking of car repair costs for 2012, from CarMD
    Hybrid Repair Costs Drop, Especially In The Northeast

    We have good news and bad news for hybrid car owners. First the bad news: basic car repairs are more expensive than they used to be. According to a CarMD survey of repair costs across the U.S., problems associated with the "check engine" light cost $367.84 to repair in 2012. That's 10% higher than...

  • 2013 Toyota Prius liftback
    Car Repair Costs Rising--Apart From Hybrids, Which Get Cheaper

    There was a time when the average vehicle could be expected to go wrong on a fairly regular basis. That's not the case these days, and in general cars are more reliable than ever--even if repair costs are increasing. Well, they are for regular vehicles anyway, as a study by CarMD suggests the cost...

  • Joe Ferrer, owner of BS&F Auto Parts in the Bronx, New York
    Mechanic's Worry: Electric Car Brakes Will Ruin My Business

    Talk to any independent auto-repair mechanic, and you'll learn that the single most important item that keeps a shop in business is brakes. But hybrids and electric cars use their friction brakes far less aggressively than regular cars. That's because when the driver presses the pedal, some or all...

  • 2011 Nissan Leaf SL
    GE WattStation Vindicated, Leaf Blamed In Charging Station Woes

    It isn’t a good time to be Nissan right now. For a start, its first all-electric car, the 2012 Leaf, is suffering from poor sales. Then there’s the matter of Leafs in hot states like Arizona exhibiting premature battery capacity loss to attend to. Then, over the weekend, more bad news...

  • 2012 Chevrolet Volt

    The 2012 Chevrolet Volt might cost nearly $5,000 cheaper more than the 2012 Nissan Leaf, but over the next five years, it might cost you less to run. At least, that’s the verdict of Kelley Blue Book (KBB) which crowned the 2012 Chevy Volt the electric choice in its inaugral Total Cost of Ownership awards. Over the course of five years, it said, the total cost of ownership for a base level 2012 Volt would work out at $40,629, while the expected ownership costs for a base level 2012 Nissan Leaf for the same period total would be $42,089. The 2012 Nissan Leaf is cheaper to buy and...

  • Gas pump
    All Taxes Are Automatically Always Bad; Are Potholes Worse?

    We've written before about the growing shortfall in gasoline tax revenues versus the highway and bridge repairs those taxes are supposed to fund. The Federal Highway Trust Fund now has an estimated backlog of $400 billion in repairs between now and 2015 just to bring the complete national highway...

  • 2011 Toyota Prius
    Do Battery-Pack Failures Reduce the Life of Hybrid Cars? A Reader Asks

    Our reader Jonathan P asks: I have a 1997 Saturn that, remarkably, is still running. It probably has the book value of a large watermelon, so if anything major goes wrong with it, that's the end of that. If that Saturn were a hybrid, I'm guessing the battery pack would have died about four years...

  • 2000 Toyota Prius
    Hybrids Don't Cost More To Repair or Run, But Payback Debatable

    It's a concern that comes up over and over: If I buy a hybrid car, won't I have to spend thousands of dollars to replace the battery pack in a few years? The answer is, No. Not only are automakers required to warranty the high-voltage battery packs in hybrid-electric vehicles for 8 years/100,000...

  • 2011 Tesla Roadster 2.5
    Tesla Plays Cautiously, Recalls 439 Roadsters Over Potential Fire Risk

    Tesla Motors, manufacturers of the all-electric Tesla Roadster and Tesla Roadster Sport has decided to recall 439 of its sexy sports car, over a potential fire risk. The Palo-Alto based automaker has often been in the news this year, from its roller coaster initial public offering back in June...

  • Tailpipe Emissions
    California Steps Up Gross-Polluter Vehicle Retirement Program

    Not only do old cars pollute more than new ones, they pollute a lot more. According to a rule proposed by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, fully “75 percent of vehicular pollution is caused by just 25 percent of the vehicle fleet" in the state. Those vehicles were built before 1995...

  • Replaceable cartridge oil filter used in Ecotec engines fitted to 2011 Chevrolet Cruze

    Sometimes a "new" green idea is actually just the way we used to do things, before disposability and convenience became primary consumer values. Consider the "cartridge filter" that GM touts on the Ecotec engines fitted to its new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Instead of a one-piece metal cannister that's removed and tossed out every time the oil is changed, Chevrolet has built the filter housing into the engine block itself. This allows just the pleated paper element to be replaced, which is undeniably less wasteful: no metal tossed in the garbage can, just oily paper (and some rubber). GM has used...

  • Toyota Prius body damage
    Yet Another Reason To Buy a Toyota Prius: Cheap Insurance!

    There are many excellent reasons to buy a Toyota Prius, new or used, leading off with the hybrid's superb fuel economy: 50 miles per gallon for the new 2010 Toyota Prius. Now you can add to that list another justification. It turns out that the Toyota Prius will save you money on insurance. The...

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