Motorists Looking to Keep Vehicles Longer
According to a recent vehicle
ExxonMobil, uncertain economic
caused many motorists to reexamine
the attitudes they hold about
their vehicles, with an increasing number of people
putting off the decision to purchase a new vehicle.
Survey results indicate that 40 percent of respondents
want to keep their vehicles for 150,000 miles or more
(while 23 percent want to keep them for over 200,000
miles) and 37 percent plan to hold on to their vehicles
longer than they planned at the time of purchase.
Although a growing number of motorists are planning
on keeping their vehicles for longer periods of
time, few have adjusted their maintenance habits to
accommodate the extra mileage. Only 21 percent of
survey respondents follow their vehicle manufacturers’
maintenance recommendations, while only 11 percent
use synthetic motor oils.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor,
transportation is second only to housing when it comes to annual consumer spending.
The most recent BLS Consumer Expenditure Survey indicates that average annual
spending on transportation increased 7 percent from 2004 to 2005, and 2percent from 2005 to 2006.
Transportation spending includes vehicle purchases, finance charges, gasoline and
motor oil, maintenance and repairs, insurance, public transportation and vehicle
rental, leases, licenses and other charges. According to AAA, the cost of owning
and operating a new vehicle is 54.1 cents per mile, an increase of 1.9 cents per
mile over last year. “While the cost of some driving expenses declined since the
start of 2007, higher gasoline prices have more than offset these savings and pushed the overall
cost of vehicle ownership and operation higher this year,” said AAA director of public
affairs Gail Weinholzer.
Toyota to Begin Requiring 0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil in New Vehicles
Driven by increasingly stringent emission and fuel
economy standards, Toyota has informed its dealers that the company will
begin requiring SAE 0W-20 synthetic motor oils in new Toyota, Scion and Lexus
vehicles over the next several years. Other OEMs are expected to follow suit
by 2011. Among the benefi ts cited by Toyota are enhanced protection at high
and low temperatures, improved fuel economy and reduced engine deposits. In
addition, Toyota is reportedly studying increasing oil drain interval
recommendations to 10,000 miles. AMSOIL 0W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil (ASM) is
the superior choice among 0W-20 motor oils on the market, offering maximum
power, performance and fuel economy and extended drain intervals of 25,000
miles or one year, whichever comes first.
Vehicle Owners Consider Maintenance a Top Priority
According to the recent 3M “Elbow Grease Economics” study,
vehicle owners are placing a greater priority on vehicle maintenance than
ever before. The study of 1,835 American car owners revealed the following:
• Thirty percent consider keeping their current vehicles running,
without performing or paying for a lot of repairs, their largest vehicle
challenge. • Twenty-two percent consider improving fuel mileage a
priority. • Twenty-fi ve percent pay more attention to vehicle
maintenance now than they did two years ago. Eighteen percent of owners
between the ages of 18 and 25 pay more attention to vehicle maintenance now
than they did two years ago. • Female vehicle owners just as focused on
their vehicles maintained as male vehicle owners, with 26 percent indicating
their vehicles are one their biggest investments and 32 percent indicating
they are taking better care of their vehicles because they can’t afford
a new one.
Warning Labels for Obsolete Motor Oils
The National Conference on Weights and Measures has added a lubricant category to its
Handbook 130, which serves as a prototype for states that regulate consumer products.
It calls for warning labels on obsolete motor oil containers, as well as documentation
of performance claims upon request. "This is basically something that can serve as
a model regulation for states that want to address such problems," says Dennis Johannes,
chairman of the conference's Laws and Regulation committee. The new rules automatically
become law on January 1 in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and West Virginia, while other
states are expected to soon adopt the regulations or develop their own.
More Vehicle Choices
There are currently more than 200 major automotive nameplates (discrete car and truck
lines) on sale in the United States, and the number is expected to continue rising over
the next five years. According to AutoPacific Inc, launching and establishing a new
vehicle line is more difficult and expensive than ever, requiring billions of dollars
to develop, manufacture and merchandise. Yet, auto industry analysts expect 50 new
nameplates will be introduced by 2009. Sales are not increasing quite as quickly, with
AutoPacific predicting total sales rising from 16.6 million units now, to 18 million
in 2009. "It is not surprising that cutting through this clutter of products and messages
is almost insurmountable to all but a small few," says AutoPacific Inc.
Vehicle Maintenance Becomes Bigger Priority
The Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) reports that neglected
automotive maintenance dropped from $62 billion to $43.3 billion in 2003. According
to AASA director of market research Frank Hampshire, the drop can be attributed to
increased consumer interest in maintenance due to uncertainty about future economic
conditions, as well as a high rate of new vehicle sales that took many maintainable
vehicles off the road. "When money is the only issue, car owners will neglect vehicle
maintenance," says Hampshire. "When their job or economic future is uncertain, consumers
will maintain their cars to protect their investment and to make sure the vehicle
remains in good running condition." Of the $43.3 billion in neglected maintenance,
tires and shocks/struts represent the largest product segments.
Hybrids Experience Engine Problems
According to the J D Power & Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability Study, diesel and
gasoline electric hybrid vehicles have more engine problems than their gasoline-powered
counterparts. The study surveyed over 45,000 owners of 2001 model year vehicles in the
areas of malfunction, NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness), drivability, dependability,
and safety. Owners of Toyota Prius and Honda Insight hybrid vehicles, and Volkswagen
diesel vehicles reported twice as many problems as owners of the corresponding gasoline
models, with the most common problems related to engine computers and emissions-control
systems. Because hybrid vehicles weren't introduced until 1999, a J D Powers executive
suggests the problems were likely due to quirks that weren't worked out yet by the
2001 model year.
RV Sales Strong
Despite recent spikes in the prices of gasoline and diesel fuel, Winnebago Industries, Inc
is reporting record revenues from motorhome sales, with its profits nearly doubling
in its third fiscal quarter. "We continue to believe the long-term prospects remain
extremely positive for Winnebago and our industry." says company chairman, president,
and CEO Bruce Hertzke. "Economic factors have improved since last year at this time.
Fuel prices have stabilized and it appears consumer confidence has begun to rise."
According to Hertzke, Winnebago's redesigned diesel vehicles, the Winnebago Journey
and Vectra, and the Itasca Meridian and Horizon, are largely responsible for the
company's large increase in diesel-motorhome shipments.
Natural Gas Powered Garbage Trucks
The environmental group Inform reports that an increasing number of US cities are switching
their garbage trucks from diesel to natural gas, with approximately 1,500 of the nation's
136,000 garbage trucks currently powered by natural gas. "Replacing diesel fuel-powered
trucks with trucks powered by natural gas is a tremendous opportunity, not only for
cleaner air and quieter neighborhoods, but also for reducing reliance on a fuel coming
from risky and unreliable foreign sources," said Inform president Joanna Underwood.
Diesel Owners Report Excellent Fuel Efficiency
According to the EPA's "Your MPG" database, diesel vehicle owners are reporting 4.3%
greater fuel efficiency than indicated on their vehicle window stickers. The data was
collected from 221 diesel drivers who calculated their own fuel economy and report it
to an internet database. Gasoline vehicles owners, on the other hand, reported 1.4%
to 1.7% decreased fuel economy compared to the window sticker, while hybrid owners
reported 8% decreased fuel economy. "It's long been known that diesel is the most fuel
efficient internal combustion engine ever produced, typically providing 20 - 40% greater
fuel efficiency than other technologies," said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of
the Diesel Technology Forum.
5W-20 Oil Increases Fuel Economy
Ford Motor Company reports that the company's switch from recommending 5W-30 viscosity
motor oil to 5W-20 viscosity motor oil has saved 700 million gallons of gasoline since
2001. By reducing load and internal friction, lighter viscosity 5W-20 motor oils reportedly
increase fuel economy by a half-mile per gallon. In addition, Ford reports its use of
5W-20 oils has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by about one million metric tons per
year. AMSOIL 0W-20 Synthetic Motor OIl (ASM) and XL 5W-20 Synthetic Motor Oil (XLM)
deliver outstanding fuel efficiency and superior wear protection over competing synthetic
and conventional motor oils.
Buell to Introduce Off-Road Motorcycles
Within the next two years, Buell Motorcycle Company plans to introduce off-road motorcycles
designed for closed-course competition. "Harley-Davidson and buell are highly committed
to braodening the range of products we offer and reaching out to new groups of customers,"
said Buell President and Chief Operating Officer Jon Flickenger. "We're always looking
at new market opportunities, but this one is particularly exciting."
Dual Remote Filtration System Ideal for Off-Roaders
A July 2007 4-Wheel and Off-Road article by feature editor Jerrod Jones entitled
"Fantastic Filtration" recommends 4x4 enthusiasts use remote mount oil filtration systems
in their off-road vehicles in order to extend engine life and oil drain intervals. Jones
specifically expresses his satisfaction with the AMSOIL Dual Remote Filtration System
recommended by the Dyno Shop in Santee, CA and includes pictures and instructions for
Tonneau Covers and Fuel Economy
In order to determine the effect truck tonneau covers have on drag and fuel economy,
SEMA recently conducted wind tunnel tests on 13 different tonneaus from nine different
manufacturers. Test results indicated the tonneaus improved drag coefficient by an average
of 5.73 percent. "Other tests would need to be conducted in order to determine the exact
effect on fuel economy", wrote Megan McKernan of SEMA. "Aerodynamicists often say that
a 10 percent improvement in aerodynamic performance is good for a 2 to 3 percent improvement
in gas mileage, based on an EPA road speed of 48 mph. Therefore, an improvement in Cd
of 5.73 percent should account for a 1.8 percent improvement in gas mileage."
Hot Running HD Twin Cam 96 Engines
Harley-Davidson has recently acknowledged that its Twin Cam 96 engine tends to operate
at higher temperatures. In particular, owners of 2007 Ultra Classic Electra Glide motorcycles
have noticed an excessive level of heat radiating from the engine. This model has fairing
lowers that obstruct some of the cooling air that would usually cool the rider's legs
at slower speeds. In addition, the Twin Cam 96 engine operates at higher temperatures
than the Twin Cam 88 engine because it has almost 10 percent more displacement and because
it is calibrated to run a leaner fuel-air mixture to meet exhaust emission standards,
often elevating engine heat at slow riding speeds when little air is flowing around
Hybrid Scooters On the Way
Piaggio SpA recently announced plans to launch a gas-electric hybrid scooter model in
congested cities. "The hybrid can represent a very important reply to the problems of
traffic, safety and pollution," said Piaggio SpA Chairman Roberto Colaninno. "The hybrid
generates synergies from the two motors, using electronic systems. "Equipped with a
125cc gas engine, the planned model is based on the Piaggio three-wheeled MP3 scooter
and is expected to achieve 169 mpg. A lithium battery is used to power the electric
motor, and it can be recharged either at the owner's home or through the gas engine
when it is running. According to officials, lithium batteries are lighter than conventional
lead batteries and can be recharged several thousand times.
Aftetmarket Continues to Grow
According to the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the value of the
light vehicle aftermarket is expected to surpass $200 billion within the next few years.
After reaching $185.2 billion in 2006, the market is expected to approach $193 billion
by the end of 2007. As in years past, vehicles over 10 years old made up the largest
percentage of dollars spent, equating to $80.8 billion in 2006. The segment of vehicles
six years old and older is expected to continue growing at a steady pace, while vehicles
five years old and newer are projected to peak this year before declining to below $45
billion in 2010.
Bosch and Getrag Introduce Hybrid Drivetrain Concept
Bosch and German transmission maker Getrag recently developed and unveiled a new hybrid
drivetrain concept featuring a dry dual-clutch transmission linked to an electric rear
axle. The hybrid systems incorporate Getrag six-speed PowerShift transmissions and Bosch
electrical architecture for the alternator, electric drive system and power electronics.
According to Getrag, the systems feature lighter and less complex electric components,
with many parts in common to the PowerShift transmissions in non-hybrid powertrains.
Increased Efficiency with MEHF Hydraulic Fluids
Research performed by RohMax demonstrates that use of Maximum Efficiency Hydraulic Fluids
yields significant efficiency improvement over use of conventional hydraulic fluids.
Analysis of hydraulic fluid behavior in a pump circuit showed use of the higher viscosity,
shear stable hydraulic fluids could increase output without increasing fuel consumption.
Mathematical models, lab scale testing and full-scale equipment trials demonstrated
efficiency improvement of more than 18 percent with MEHF fluids compared to conventional
grades, translating into an 18 percent improvement in fuel efficiency and an 18 percent
reduction in CO2 emissions. AMSOIL Synthetic Anti-Wear Hydraulic Oils are
MEHF fluids, effectively increasing hydraulic system efficiency and lowering costs.
Major Improvements to AMSOL By-Pass Filter Mounts
AMSOIL has remained a leader in the lubricants industry by continually researching new
and emerging technologies and reformulating its products to incorporate those technologies.
AMSOIL filtration products are no exception. Following months of research, the new AMSOIL
by-pass systems ensure maximum protection without sacrificing oil pressure. They provide
better oil flow, a modernized appearance and come with larger hoses and fittings. The
new kits provide improved sealing and feature spin-on adapters that are easier to install.
The new by-pass kits provide unbeatable ultrafine filtration protection and are made
with the high-quality AMSOIL Ea Filters in mind.
FuelMax Provides Refunds
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has determined that the marketers of FuelMax, a magnetic
"fuel saving" system, made deceptive claims about the product's ability to improve fuel
efficiency and reduce emissions. Although FuelMax marketers denied the charges, they
paid $4.2 million to settle with the FTC and are banned from further manufacture, advertising
and sale of the product. Consumers who purchased the product have until June18, 2008
to request a refund by completing and mailing the appropriate claim form, available
download at www.FuelMaxLitigation.com or by calling 1-800-356-4638.
Increased Synthetic Demand
According to a new study by consulting firm Kline and Co., synthetic and semi-synthetic
lubricants comprised 9.7 percent of global lubricants demand in 2007, and demand is
projected to continue rising for at least the next decade. Global synthetic lubricant
demand is expected to increase by 7 percent annually until 2017, while semi-synthetic
demand is expected to rise 4 percent annually until 2017. George Morvey, Kline project
manager of energy, reports that synthetics and semi-synthetics represent around 15
percent of total consumer engine oil in the United States. While decreased emissions
and improved fuel economy are two of the main drivers fueling the increased demand,
OEM recommendations and extended warranties that require use of synthetics are expected
to be among the top drivers in the future.
Small Vehicle Sales on the Rise
High gas prices have prompted many consumers to purchase smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles.
In fact, according to SEMA, small vehicle sales increased 11.4 percent during the first six
months of 2008. The following are the 20 top-selling small cars in descending order: Honda
Civic, Toyota Corolla, Ford Focus, Chevrolet Cobalt, Toyota Prius, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai
Elantra, Mazda 3, Dodge Caliber, Nissan Sentra, Volkswagen Jetta, Nissan Versa, Kia Spectra,
Honda Fit, Chevrolet Aveo, Hyunda Accent, MINI Cooper, Toyota Matrix, Pontiac Vibe and Kia Rio.
Gas Prices Fuel Strong Growth in Sport Bike Market
New riders, including an increasing number of Generation Y and female riders, are driving
up sport bike sales. Lower displacement sport bikes have been particularly popular, with
many manufacturers and dealerships seeing their sales spike in recent months. According to
Tony Chatman, owner of Chatman Cycle in Seattle, WA, "There are more new riders coming into
my dealership than ever before, and they don't want to spend the extra money for higher-powered
bikes. But more importantly, most of them are pretty inexperienced and want a bike they can
grow with, and possibly trade in later they're ready to step to another level."