CHARLOTTE – The temperatures may have warmed again for a little while longer, but AAA Carolinas is taking last weekend’s cold snap as an opportunity to tell you to winterize you car.
Director of Communications Angela Daley says there are two main parts of the car to keep an eye on in the cold months.
“The biggest factors we see with cooler weather are batteries and tires,” Daley says. “So it’s important to get those checked this time of year.”
Temperatures dropped into the 20s in the Triangle during the weekend. Daley says with lower temperatures your tire pressure can often be affected.
“One thing we see is tire pressure is usually decreased when the weather gets colder,” Daley says. “So, it’s important to check your tire pressure. You can find that either in your owner’s manual or on the sticker on the inside of your door.”
And if the Triangle should get any snow this year, Daley says it’s important that you have good tread on your tires.
“We recommend that you replace your tires when you have less than 3/32nd inches of tread,” Daley says. “Another thing you can do is take a penny and put it in your tire tread, and if it doesn’t cover Lincoln’s head, you know you need to replace your tire.”
Winter Car Care Checklist:
CHAPEL HILL - North Carolina’s average gas price has dropped 20 cents since last month, making it the lowest price this year.
The average price per gallon in the state is now $3.27, just two cents lower than the average in the triangle area. Angela Daley, Director of Communications at AAA Carolinas, says that the price change is due to the season.
“Well the biggest factor right now is decreased demand,” Daley says. “After the end of the summer driving season, people aren’t taking those trips anymore, and so in September and October we start to see gas prices come down because demand has decreased.”
Not only has summer ended, but the Gulf coast managed to avoid any serious hurricanes, unlike in previous years.
“The other big factor right now is hurricanes,” Daley says. “We haven’t seen a major hurricane hit the Gulf, and so gas prices have really been coming down since Labor Day. That’s the one exception that we sometimes do see gas prices go up during September and we did see that last year.”
AAA Carolina’s expects the price to continue to drop until around Thanksgiving. During heavily traveled holidays the gas prices are likely to stabilize or slightly go up.
The Government shut-down has assisted in lowering gas prices as well since many workers aren’t commuting to jobs. Daley says that depending on how long the government shut-down lasts, prices may continue to drop.
“Right now, the biggest factor that we’re seeing push gas prices is just overall demand down because summer is over,” Daley says. “But, depending on how long the shut-down lasts, it could push gas prices down even further.”
The last time gas was cheaper in North Carolina was December 26 2012 when the average was $3.26. Per gallon, prices are highest in Asheville averaging around $3.36, and lowest in Fayettville at $3.21. North Carolina’s gas prices continue to remain below the national average of $3.35.http://chapelboro.com/news/business/gas-prices-drop-to-lowest-in-2013/
CHARLOTTE – Seatbelt usage in North Carolina has statistically been among the best in the nation for a while, but AAA Carolinas Communications Director, Angela Vogel Daley, says the buckle-up rate dipped in 2012.
“In 2012 compared to 2011, we found that seatbelt use rates fell from 89.5 percent in 2011 to 87.5 percent in 2012, which is an alarming trend that it’s going down after going up for so many years,” Daley says.
She says the high rate is in part due to the Click-It-Or-Ticket campaign and the subsequent enforcement of it. North Carolina was the first to launch the campaign 20 years ago.
Statistics by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the use of seat belts reduces the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passengers in cars by 45 percent and in trucks by 60 percent.
“That’s an average, but obviously when you’re going at higher speeds and you’re in an accident you have a higher chance of being thrown from the vehicle,” Daley says. “You could be killed on impact.”
South Carolina has followed the same trend that North Carolina did increasing its usage rate from 70 percent in 2005 to 91 percent in 2012. Daley says a lot of that has to do with the change in state law.
“That’s for the front and back seats meaning that you can get pulled over for not wearing your seatbelts (without) requiring another violation,” Daley says.
Both states are still above the national average of 86 percent, but that number is also on the rise after jumping two points this past year.
“The increased enforcement, the increased awareness, it’s definitely heading in the right direction,” Daley says.
According to the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, in 2011, 43 percent of people who died in a traffic-related incident were not wearing a seatbelt. It also reported that 53 percent of those who died unbelted were ages 16-35.http://chapelboro.com/news/safety/seatbelt-usage-down-in-north-carolina/
CHARLOTTE – You can expect more people on the roads this weekend compared to previous Labor Day weekends.
“A big factor is gas prices, which are the lowest—this year going into Labor Day—than they’ve been since 2010,” AAA Carolinas Communication’s Director, Angela Vogel Daley, says. “We are seeing about an eight-percent decrease from where they were last year.”
She says with the combination of the national unemployment rate down nearly one full point compared to last year and a point-and-a-half from two years ago, the stock market on the rise, and gas prices down, Daley says all those factors provide higher likelihood of travel for the last vacation of the summer.
“Domestically, supplies are good,” Daley says. “Another factor this time of year is hurricanes, and we haven’t seen any major hurricanes comes through the Gulf so far. Obviously September is peak time for that, so that’s something we’ll be monitoring.”
And, Daley says this is a continuing trend of the nation slowly returning from The Great Recession.
“I think we’ve seen a slow and steady increase over the past several years,” Daley says. “There’s always other factors involved; obviously gas prices play a role, but this summer we’ve seen lower gas prices than we did most of last summer. So, we are seeing just a slight increase year over year.”
She says this year’s tropical activity, or lack thereof, has also contributed to favorable gas prices.
“Last year we were dealing with Hurricane Isaac, so that affected the weather, and it did cause a spike in gas prices last year,” Daley says.
Daley says the current conflict in Syria could contribute to added gas price increases. The United State and its allies are deciding whether or not to get involved after allegations of chemical weapons being used against civilians.http://chapelboro.com/news/traffic/gas-prices-down-labor-day-travel-up/
CHARLOTTE – Get your gas now; AAA Carolinas says the prices are going back up.
Since last week, national gas price averages dropped from $3.67 per gallon to $3.62, and they’re down to $3.54 in the Triangle, three cents lower than a week ago. Although prices at the pump have decreased over the past few days, Public Relations Manager at AAA Carolinas, Angela Daley, says there was a huge increase a few weeks ago and it’s likely to happen again.
“We saw a huge increase a few weeks ago, or over the past few weeks, and we’ve just started to see a decrease over the past couple days. The increase was due to unrest in Egypt, which caused crude oil prices to spike well over a hundred dollars a barrel,” says Daley.
Daley says the rapid increase in crude oil prices per barrel was causing prices to spike two to three cents a night, and now what we’re seeing is a little bit of a pullback.
Despite the recent drop, Daley says prices tend to increase in the second half of the summer, during the peak summer driving season when demand is at its highest point of the year.
“I do expect gas prices to turn around and start heading back upwards towards the second half of the summer, but it’s really hard to say. If crude oil prices stabilize, or if they go back down, depending on what happens in the Middle East as well—all those factors will impact prices at the pump,” says Daley.
She says another factor that can play a huge role in affecting gas prices as we head into August and September is hurricane season.
“We know that even the threat of a hurricane in the Gulf can impact gas prices tremendously. That’s because we get ninety percent of our oil from the gulf,” Daley says.
Although hurricane season is most prominent in August and September, Daley advises us to keep an eye on what’s happening in the Middle East as well, because those conflicts are independent of seasonal trends that affect gas prices.http://chapelboro.com/news/traffic/gas-price-decrease-not-likely-to-last/