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 |  Apr 07 2011, 5:37 PM

2010AccordEX-L_02

The American Automobile Association has compiled annual statistics for its “Your Driving Costs” study, and the numbers show that operating a car will hit your pocketbook harder than previous years.

The study focused on the cost of operating a sedan, and AAA estimated a total cost of $8588 per year, while an SUV would see costs of $11,239 per year. Among the reasons cited for the increased costs are rising prices for tires and gasoline, while costs for maintenance have gone down, partly due to the trend of car companies throwing in free oil changes and servicing for the first few years of the car’s life.

The big killer overall was actually depreciation, with a $3728 loss cited for a sedan that drives 15,000 miles per year. While most people don’t often consider how much this can affect the “cost-per-mile” statistic, the AAA cites that more than any other factor as the main driving force for the rise in vehicle ownership costs.

[Source: AAA]

 |  Sep 04 2010, 2:49 PM

It seems as though drivers can be distracted by just about anything. First, there was a lot of concern about cell phones, and then it was all about kids in the car. And don’t forget the dangers of eating and driving. Now we’ve got another distraction to add to the list: your pets.

A new study conducted by the American Automobile Association (AAA) that was based on 1,000 dog owners who have driven with their pet in the car during the past year. They found that 31 percent of those who responded admitted to being distracted by their dog. Furthermore, 59 percent have engaged in various distracting behaviors involving their pets – this included petting their dog (more than 50 percent); allowing their dog to sit on their lap in the driver’s seat (21 percent); and giving their dog food and water or playing with them while driving.

Are you guilty of doing any of the above mentioned offenses? Even if you only do it for a few seconds, it can still increase the risk of a crash. In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that taking your eyes off the road for as little as two seconds doubles your crash risk.

The study goes on to say the 88 percent of those polled drive with their pets on occasion, but only 17 percent use a pet restraint. It’s hard to think about, but an unrestrained pet can be a dangerous projectile in a crash, not only causing serious injury to your beloved pet, but also to all other passengers in the vehicle.

“An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a crash at 50 mph will exert roughly 500 pounds of pressure, while an unrestrained 80-pound dog in a crash at only 30 mph will exert 2,400 pounds of pressure,” says Beth Mosher, AAA Director of Public Affairs.

Many vehicles already come with special equipment packages that help keep your pet safety contained. As well, major pet stores and online retailers sell restraint harnesses and other devices to help keep you and your pooch safe on the road.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

 |  Aug 23 2010, 7:31 AM

Some rides are better suited for your dogs than others. From your dog’s point of view, all they need is an open window to stick their head out of, but the American Automobile Association (AAA) has put a bit more thought into compiling their list of the best canine-friendly vehicles.

“More than 45 million households in the U.S. have a dog, and many are taking Fido along for the ride on a regular basis,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “There several vehicles with features that can help keep pets safe, comfortable and easy to clean-up after while also addressing other driver desires such as sportiness, adventure or luxury.”

In order to put together the most through list, AAA Auto Buying’s team of experts test drove and reviewed hundreds of vehicles. The list was based on a wide variety of factors such as crash test ratings, safety features, fuel economy, ease of animal ingress and egress, cargo area size, availability of tie-down hooks and easy-to-clean interiors.

Broken down into six categories, see the winners after the jump:

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