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America's Love Affair With the Car Henry Ford did more than simply put Americans on the map as automakers. He turned the entire country into a collective lover of the automobile. While early versions of his Model-T were reserved only for the affluent and wealthy, it didn't take long for their use to expand to other segments of the population.The Age of AffluenceAfter World War II, America was booming. The economy was thriving, thanks in large part to its ability to streamline production and manufacturing in factories. Owning a car became an important rite of passage. It denoted one's place as part of the burgeoning middle class. Teens viewed it as a way to cement their hard-fought independence from their parents. Buying an American-made car not only showed your patriotism but also ensured that you received a fine automobile for your investment.Another Pivotal ShiftToday's car buyers tend to view their cars as more of a tool that...
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Self-Driving Uber: Pros and Cons So far, self-driving Uber has launched in places as diverse as Tempe, Arizona and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The company that revolutionized the taxi business by enabling nearly anyone with a driver's license and a vehicle with nearly instantaneous access to those who need a ride is hoping to put more of the money their drivers typically make into its own pockets with its self-driving versions.Self-Driving Uber BasicsWhile riders will use the same basic concept to order a ride by placing a request through the Uber app or on its website, there's where the similarity ends. A self-driving Uber arrives at your doorstep without a human driver. Each vehicle is outfitted with an array of cameras and sensors, along with a human engineer who acts as a failsafe mechanism, if needed. The vehicle also includes a tablet for passengers, allowing them to see what the car itself senses so there's no need to...
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3 Things You Didn't Know About CAFE Standards If you drive a car, then your everyday life, whether you know it or not, is affected by regulations called the Corporate Average Fuel Economy - or CAFE - standard. Because the CAFE standard is an acronym that probably isn't on everyone's radar, but its effects are so far reaching, we thought a little history lesson might be interesting.1. They spring from Middle East energy restrictionsEnacted by the United States Congress in 1975 as a result of the Arab Oil Embargo, the CAFE standard established regulations for improving the fuel economy of passenger vehicles produced and sold in the United States. Later, other vehicles, such as light-duty passenger trucks and commercial heavy-trucks, were added.2. CAFE standards had the intended effectsResearch found that without the CAFE standard in place, consumption of fuel would have been about 14 percent greater during 2002, the year of the study. A non-governmental organization and non-profit, the...
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3 Keys to the Future of Hybrid Vehicles At one time in the not-so-distant past, hybrid vehicles were touted as a way to help wean Americans off of their gas-guzzling cars, large trucks, and over-sized SUVs. The reality, though, hasn't quite played out the way many experts anticipated that it would.1. Gas prices went downWhile dropping gas prices are generally a good thing for the American consumer, a mirroring effect meant the price of hybrid vehicles rose. In fact, many people selling used hybrids were advertising them for prices close to new in an effort to capitalize on a market that doesn't have enough vehicles to meet demand.2. Few optionsThe primary manufacturers of hybrid vehicles - Toyota and Lexus - have funneled their efforts toward tapping and maintaining their target markets. Few efforts have been made for hybrids to appeal to a wider audience. For example, Americans are continuing a shift toward larger vehicles with few options, like hybrids...
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When you hear the words, "car-sharing programs," what thoughts jump to your mind? If you're like many people, images of carpooling to work or piling in a friend's car to save money when driving to a concert come to mind. Today's version of car-sharing is putting a twist on carpooling - and it’s affecting the sales of new cars.1. Car sharing eats up profits from new car salesAccording to research firm Gartner Inc., estimates are that by 2025 about 20 percent of urban-based vehicles will be shared. This means that the need for consumers to purchase cars is drastically reduced. With each vehicle that goes into a car-sharing service replaces 4-6 new car sales. Additionally, the purchase of up to seven more vehicles could be postponed.2. Car sharing is the wave of the future in citiesNowhere is this trend for car sharing more evident than in today's bustling urban centers. With...
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