Driver's News: Gas Prices Heading Up

March 10, 2006

Gas Prices Heading Up

The drop in gasoline prices over the past few weeks appears to have come to an end, as the price of oil continued to trade at more than $63 per barrel on New York Mercantile Exchange.

There seems to be relatively little optimism that gasoline prices will decline in any significant way any time soon. Political unrest in Nigeria and the international community's continuing standoff with Iran over the development of nuclear power, coupled with the continuing guerilla activity against pipelines in Iraq has left crude prices slightly above the what global demand would justify, experts suggest.

The historically high prices for crude also continue to show up at the neighborhood fuel stations. The national average for regular self-serve gasoline is $2.255 a gallon, an increase of one penny from last week.—Joe Szczesny


“Cars” off the Trailer

Disney and Pixar want you to know their newest effort, Cars, is coming soon. But they don’t want you to see too much in advance of the picture’s June 9 debut. The new trailer featured on the movie’s Web site, www.carsthemovie, is the briefest of snippets that introduces the main character in the flick — Lightning McQueen, a racecar that detours down Route 66 “when a small community that time forgot shows McQueen what he’s been missing in his high-octane life.” Like other Pixar efforts before it, this one’s jammed with celebrity voices throughout: Paul Newman, Owen Wilson, and Larry the Cable Guy all lend their pipes to the effort, as does racing and dental legend Richard Petty.


Ford Fusion Gets “Poor” Crash Rating from IIHS

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says the Ford Fusion ranks “poor” in its latest crash tests. The industry-funded research group points to the new sedan as evidence of the effectiveness of side airbags. The IIHS tested a Fusion without side airbags for side-impact protection and gave the four-door its lowest “poor” rating for side-impact protection. Similarly, a Pontiac G6 tested with and without side airbags earned acceptable and poor ratings for side-impact protection. In frontal-impact tests, the Fusion earned an “acceptable” rating. The new BMW 3-Series sedan and Lexus IS sedan were ranked at the top of the IIHS’ ratings for both front and side impact crash tests, while the Hyundai Sonata received a good ranking for front impact and acceptable for side impact. The IIHS tests vehicles at 40 mph in front impact tests and 31 mph in side impact tests.

2006 Ford Fusion by John Pearley Huffman (9/6/2005)
Taking Ford beyond the Taurus. Hopefully.


NYT: Ambien A Growing Drugged-Driving Problem

Drunk driving’s an acknowledged problem on the country’s highways, and drugged driving is a growing concern that has reported on in the past year. Now, the New York Times says one drug in particular, the sleeping pill Ambien, is being cited as a factor in an increasing number of accidents. “Ambien drivers,” the Times say, sometimes have no memory of driving under the influence of the drug, and are distinct from other drugged drivers in that the accidents include an element of oblivion, from driving into light poles to failing to recognize the presence of police officers after the accident. Wisconsin, the paper says, linked Ambien to 187 arrested drivers in the five years from 1999 to 2004; Washington State has seen a rise in Ambien-linked arrests in the past year. The maker of the drug, Sanofi-Aventis, told the paper it notifies the FDA when reports of sleepwalking are taken.

READ the full story at the New York Times

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