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NEW YORK, April 12, 2018 -- Mazda Motor Corporation has been awarded Gold at the Edison Awards for its breakthrough SKYACTIV-X compression-ignition engine. SKYACTIV-X, the world's first commercially available compression-ignition engine, took top honors in the Engine Enhancements category, competing against other technologies in automotive, heavy transportation and aerospace industries, among others.

"We are humbled that the Edison Awards steering committee and industry leaders selected Mazda's SKYACTIV-X engine for a gold award," said Masashi Otsuka, VP of R&D and design, Mazda North American Operations. "Mazda's goal is to create a sustainable path forward, introducing cars and technologies that enrich people's lives as well as society. This award means a great deal to the men and women who are building our future throughout Mazda Motor Corporation."

A part of Mazda's forward-looking Sustainable Zoom-Zoom 2030 plan, SKYACTIV-X implements Spark Controlled Compression Ignition (SPCCI) to seamlessly transition between compression ignition and spark ignition. Using a spark plug as a control mechanism, SKYACTIV-X is able to finely balance ignition timing and its air-to-fuel ratio, maximizing fuel-efficiency. The net result combines the efficiency and torque of a diesel with the high-revving drivability and lower CO2 emissions of a gasoline engine.

Gas prices have held at their highest price of the year – $2.66 – for one week. And motorists are seeing fluctuating prices at the pump from state to state with jumps as high as 12-cents in Utah and declines as much as 7-cents in Michigan since last Monday.

“Gas prices are only a penny away from topping the $2.67 high of 2017,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “The price is likely to increase as spring brings warmer weather and the switchover to summer blend gasoline, but hopefully we will only see mild jumps in coming weeks.”

Gas prices have edged higher this week following the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest weekly report that showed gasoline inventories dropped by 1.1 million bbl. Additionally, demand for gasoline remains robust at 9.2 million b/d and is more in line with demand levels at the same time in 2017.

Quick Stats

The largest yearly increases are: California ($3.52, +54 cents), Hawaii ($3.52, +47 cents), Idaho ($2.89, +44 cents), Utah ($2.81, +42 cents), Arizona ($2.67, +40 cents), Nevada ($3.07, +40 cents), Oregon ($3.10, +35 cents), Maine ($2.66, +33 cents), Rhode Island ($2.64, +33 cents) and South Carolina ($2.43, +32 cents).

The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: California ($3.52), Hawaii ($3.52), Washington ($3.19), Alaska ($3.17), Oregon ($3.10), Nevada ($3.07), Idaho ($2.89), Pennsylvania ($2.87), Washington, DC ($2.83) and Utah ($2.81).

4 Minute Friday

This week's topics:

1. Left-lane hoggers
2. Distracted driving - It's dangerous!
3. More potential privacy issues with digital IDs

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Mar. 29, 2018) ― Distracted driving tops drivers’ list of growing dangers on the road, according to a new survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The annual Traffic Safety Culture Index shows that 88 percent of drivers believe distracted driving is on the rise, topping other risky behaviors like:

Aggressive driving: 68 percent

Drivers using drugs: 55 percent

Drunk driving: 43 percent

The proportion of drivers who report talking on a cell phone regularly or fairly often when behind the wheel jumped 46 percent since 2013. Nearly half (49 percent) of drivers report recently talking on a hand-held phone while driving and nearly 35 percent have sent a text or email. Despite their behavior, nearly 58 percent of drivers say talking on a cellphone behind the wheel is a very serious threat to their personal safety, while 78 percent believe that texting is a significant danger. A recent study from the AAA Foundation shows drivers talking on a cellphone are up to four times as likely to crash while those who text are up to eight times as likely to be involved in a crash.

“With more than 37,000 deaths on U.S. roads in 2016, we need to continue finding ways to limit driving distractions and improve traffic safety,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “The Foundation’s work offers insight on drivers’ attitudes toward traffic safety and their behaviors, so we can better understand the issue and identify potential countermeasures to reduce crashes.”

If you’ve ever gone to Airpark Auto Service, chances are, you’ve met Aaron Nelson who has worked there for 25 years. Most people say that Aaron has been more than a service advisor to them; he has become their friend.

Recently Airpark Auto Service was sold and is under new ownership. Aaron Nelson decided it was time for him to make a change too. So, Aaron Nelson has gone to work at Tri-City Transmission & Auto Repair in Tempe.

“It’s been an awesome experience,” said Nelson “and I will miss all of the friends and customers I have worked with over the last 25 years.”

Nelson has seen a lot of changes in the last 25 years when it comes to the vehicles, but when it comes to customers, their expectations always remain the same. Customers want to work with a business they can trust, who values them as a customer and as people. Nelson is glad that he can continue that kind of service at Tri-City Transmission & Auto Repair.

Nelson is excited for his new adventure at Tri-City. He’s worked with them as a customer for most of his 25 years at Airpark Auto Service and he knows that they too, have the same philosophy when it comes to taking care of customers and their cars.

Nelson says, “If I wouldn’t sell it to my parents, I won’t sell it to my customers,” and the folks at Tri-City Transmission have been treating people the same way for over 45 years.

Tri-City Transmission & Auto Repair has been in business in Tempe for over 45 years. They provide full-service auto repair and are Phoenix’s transmission experts. To contact Nelson at Tri-City, call 480-968-5062.

The latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index reveals what's driving Americans to hit the road this season

NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 27, 2018 -- With this year's harsh winter weather finally coming to an end, it's no surprise that drivers are eager to get out and about. According to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index, for many this means it's time for a break, as more than half of Americans (55 percent) are planning to take a spring vacation this year.

More than half of Americans are planning to take a spring vacation, according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index.

So where are they going? Following the bitter cold winter, drivers are determined to get warm: Hankook found that 31 percent of drivers who are planning to take a spring vacation this year are headed to the beach. And according to the Gauge, Americans are up for driving the distance to get there, as 58 percent say they plan to drive more than 100 miles for their next road trip.

Whether driving with family or friends, there's usually a debate over which car to take. Hankook Tire found that the roomiest ride wins. A third of drivers (33 percent) prefer to take the biggest car, followed by the best maintained car (27 percent) and the car with the best gas mileage (26 percent).

LAS VEGAS, March 23, 2018 - Used cars should experience strong demand and growth in sales across the U.S. in 2018, as the economy continues its strong performance, while new cars may see a slight downtick as industry headwinds become more pronounced.

Economic conditions improved throughout 2017, helping support 39.3 million used-car sales, up 1.8 percent from 2016. New-car sales, conversely, reached 17.1 million, down 2 percent. The economy is expected to accelerate further in 2018, supporting higher used-car sales of 39.5 million. New-vehicle sales in 2018 are expected to decline to 16.7 million, however.

These forecasts and the trends behind them are explored in the Cox Automotive 2018 Used Car Market Report & Outlook, released today at the annual National Automobile Dealer Association (NADA) Show in Las Vegas. Previously known as the

Manheim Used Car Market Report, the book has been reinvented for its 23rd edition. The Used Car Market Report & Outlook has been expanded to include perspectives from across Cox Automotive's family of brands, while still maintaining the long tradition of packing its pages with salient data, smart insights and keen industry observations.

"The U.S. economy in 2018 is ripe for continued strength in used-vehicle sales," said Cox Automotive Chief Economist Jonathan Smoke, who oversaw the compilation of the 2018 Used Car Market Report & Outlook. "But headwinds are growing, with the greatest risks being rising inflation, higher interest rates, and tightening credit. In this dynamic environment, a clear perspective on the trends impacting the industry is more important than ever."

In addition to forecasts and trends, the 2018 report focuses on the technologies and services that are rapidly transforming the automotive marketplace.

"Technological advancements and consumer expectations are evolving rapidly," said Cox Automotive President Sandy Schwartz in the report's opening message. "We're all trying to stay ahead of a change curve that is getting steeper every year – in the automotive industry and well beyond."

Americans who compared cars showed higher post-purchase satisfaction rates than those who didn't.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 20, 2018 -- Today,, the leading website for automotive service and repair, released the results of a survey detailing consumer research habits during the car-buying journey. The study marked the launch of RepairPal's new Car Comparison feature, which allows users to compare vehicles side-by-side in terms of reliability, repair costs, and owner reviews — all for free.

For example, consumers can view popular comparisons, like the Toyota Camry vs. the Honda Accord, or the Honda Fit vs. the Ford Fiesta, and learn more about what they can expect in the cost of owning different vehicles, instilling increased confidence in their next vehicle purchase.

RepairPal surveyed over 1,000 Americans through an independent pollster in February 2018, learning more about consumers' research processes when purchasing a new or used vehicle.

- Hybrid version of 2018 North American Car of the Year debuts with best-in-class cabin space, power, and cargo space

- Trim levels expanded from three to five

- More affordable than ever thanks to lower starting price

TORRANCE, Calif., March 16, 2018 -- The 2018 Accord Hybrid will begin arriving in dealerships starting March 23 as the latest addition to Honda's growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. Boasting class-leading power, cabin space, and cargo space, the next-generation Accord Hybrid wholly embodies Honda's unique approach to electrification – infusing fun-to-drive performance, efficiency, premium feature content, and comfort in a sophisticated and affordable package.

The 2018 Accord Hybrid will begin arriving in dealerships starting March 23 as the latest addition to Honda’s growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. Boasting class-leading power, cabin space, and cargo space, the next-generation Accord Hybrid wholly embodies Honda’s unique approach to electrification – infusing fun-to-drive performance, efficiency, premium feature content, and comfort in a sophisticated and affordable package.

To suit a wider variety of hybrid sedan shoppers, the Accord Hybrid lineup now comes in five trim levels: Hybrid, EX (new), EX-L, EX-L Navi (new), and Touring. Better yet, the new Accord Hybrid is more affordable than ever thanks to a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)1 of $25,100 (excluding $890 destination and handling), reflecting a $4,505 drop compared to the previous model. Despite this lower entry point, the Accord Hybrid still offers a lengthy list of standard equipment, such as 17-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights (low beam) and taillights, dual-zone climate control, Smart entry with Push-button Start, a 7-inch TFT digital driver's meter, a multi-angle rearview camera, and the Honda Sensing® suite of advanced safety and driver-assistive technologies, which bundles together Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Collision Mitigation Braking System™, Road Departure Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, and Traffic Sign Recognition.

Consumer gasoline demand is at the highest level on record for March. According to the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest report, demand measured at 9.6 million b/d – levels typical of summer months, not the first quarter of a year. U.S. exports continue to trend high, accounting for a large chunk of this week’s demand data.

“As demand strengthened, gasoline inventories declined, pushing the national gas price average two cents more expensive on the week to $2.55,” said Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “As a result, the majority of motorists are seeing more expensive gas prices at the start of this work week.”

Today’s national gas price average of $2.55 is two cents more than a month ago and more than a quarter (26 cents) higher than this time last year.

Quick Stats

The largest monthly changes are: Michigan (+17 cents), Ohio (+16 cents), Illinois (+12 cents), New Jersey (-9 cents), Oregon (+9 cents), California (+9 cents), Pennsylvania (-8 cents), Utah (-8 cents) Nevada (+8 cents), and Iowa (-7 cents).
The nation’s top ten most expensive markets are: Hawaii ($3.50), California ($3.41), Alaska ($3.07), Washington ($3.05), Oregon ($2.96), Nevada ($2.86), Washington, D.C. ($2.76), Pennsylvania ($2.75), New York ($2.69) and Connecticut ($2.67).

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