AD #1948 – NHTSA Says Computers Are Legally Drivers, Uber Sets Up Shop in Detroit, The Proper Way to Announce Price

September 20th, 2016 at 11:49am

Runtime: 7:48

To watch this episode on YouTube click here.

- NHTSA Sets Federal Guidelines for Autonomous Cars
- Level 3 vs. Level 4 Autonomy
- Uber R&D Headed to Detroit, Not Silicon Valley
- The AAA Says Americans Waste Billions on Premium Fuel
- Honda Sets Up New Motorcycle Website
- GM Averts Canadian Strike
- GM Shows the Proper Way to Announce Price

Visit our sponsors to thank them for their support of Autoline Daily: Bridgestone , Dow Automotive Systems and Lear Corporation

»Subscribe to Podcast | iTunes | RSS | Listen on Phone Stitcher | YouTube

Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website:

24 Comments to “AD #1948 – NHTSA Says Computers Are Legally Drivers, Uber Sets Up Shop in Detroit, The Proper Way to Announce Price”

  1. Brett Says:

    I like to put a tank of Premium through the Outlander whenever prices are really low. It runs better during and after that tank is burned for a while.

  2. Kit Gerhart Says:

    People waste lots of money on premium gas, even in cars where “premium is recommended, but not required.” I have two such cars, a non-S 2010 MINI, and a 2016 Corvette. At first, I used premium in both of them, but a few months ago, after carefully reading the fuel section in the owner’s manuals, I tried regular. Both run fine in normal driving, with no audible pinging, and seem to get the same gas mileage. I make it a point to use Top Tier in the ‘Vette, since it has direct injection, making it more susceptable to deposits on the valves.

  3. Chuck Grenci Says:

    John, I think what AAA is referring to, when it addresses the non-need for premium fuel for cars that the manufacturer lists an octane of 87 (regular gas), is that the extra octane (that you are paying for is a waste) if not required. Now stating that the use of Toptier fuels as a must, that gets a little more nebulous. Some fuels that don’t apply for Toptier status may in fact meet the toptier goal but don’t want the added expense to certify their fuel; as far as using non-toptier that would be a roll of the dice (though even non toptier fuels in the U.S. meet other minimal detergent levels as set by other government agencies). I use Toptier in my vehicles most of the time but I do not fret if I require fuel and Toptier is not available or convenient. This, JMO but I’ve seen lots and lots on the web that reflects what I have stated.

  4. kurtw Says:

    Nice report! Wrt topics:
    1. Granted all cars do not need premium fuel, but there are some cars like Forester XT which benefit from it providing additional efficiency and power.
    2. What kind of traffic flow patterns will exist once majority of vehicles reach Level 4? Will there be massive level 4 “road trains” on freeways or urban areas, making it difficult or impossible for manual drivers to position themselves within freeways, let alone enter and exit? Could it be that it will then be __required__ that all vehicles function autonomously in order to function within these traffic flows?

  5. Sean T Says:

    What does Top Tier gasoline have to do with the difference of Premium and Regular fuel? I’ve heard (at least in the past) that some fuels offer additives in their Premium that they don’t offer in their regular so in those cases what you said could be applicable, but the site’s FAQ states that they use Top Tier gasoline for “all octane grades of gasoline sold at their stations. So all grades provide enhanced cleaning power.” In that case, what benefit is there for Premium gasoline (for vehicles that don’t recommend it in their owner’s manual)?

  6. Drew Says:

    My 2005 Jaguar 4.2L says “Premium Only” or “Premium Required”. I hate paying the $0.60/gallon surcharge. Luxury brands use premium fuel calibrations to extract a little more HP, but our roads are too congested to use that HP.

    Shamefully, Jaguar did not spend the effort to employ flexible calibrations and knock sensors to adjust the engine for the fuel usage. Wifie’s much more affordable Miata can run on either premium or regular fuel (“Premium Recommended”).

  7. JWH Says:

    Premium Fuel -As some have said, some brands used to include additives in premium that were not included in regular, although from what I have been able to determine, if the fuel meets Top Tier requirements, the detergent additives are not an issue.

    Fuel economy improvement using premium is normally only applicable if the vehicle electronics (knock sensor) allows more spark advance with premium. I do use premium in Volvo V70R (Turbo) & in the Corvette which runs a fairly high compression ration (11.5 to 1).

    Kit – If you did not find a difference, it could be that you drive too nice (blending in with the Florida population, or sample size may not be large enough.

    Level 3 vs 4 – Since much of the population already does not pay enough attention to driving, I vote for Level 4 so the autonomous factors have more development time in them. Concerned that too many people with Level 3 may believe it will take care of them so they move directly to very distracted driving.

  8. Rick W Says:

    Premium fuel is recommended for my Buick Riviera due to the supercharged engine and compression ratio. I can run 87 octane but the knock sensors will just retard the ignition timing before I ever hear any knock.
    This just reduces the power.
    I think a lot of cars/engines can benefit from 92/93 octane fuel regardless of the cleansing additives.
    All or most modern engines have knock sensors that react before the human driver can detect any engine knock. And, it just doesn’t cost that much more to use a higher octane fuel per tankful.
    I use only high octane fuel in my lawn tractor and other small engines. They run better and handle a heavier load with premium fuel.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    4 What I’ve read, both from the Top Tier web site and elsewhere, is that all grades of Top Tier brands have the “premium” detergent package, while non-Top Tier brands may not.

    There is no benefit from using premium in engines where it is not recommended, and from my experience, for normal driving, there is no advantage to using premium even when premium is “recommended but not required.” Top Tier is, presumably good to use in my case, and I would certainly use premium in my cars if doing a “track day,” autocrossing, or other cases where I was using a lot of full throttle.

  10. Kit Gerhart Says:

    7 Where I am, premium costs almost 30% more than regular, and in the Corvette, I get the same gas mileage. If I used heavy throttle often, I might notice a power difference, and mpg might suffer, but the car has a lot of “reserve power” that I rarely use.

    If I thought there was any chance of damaging the engine by using regular, I wouldn’t do it, but the manual mainly says that, if you hear knocking, something is wrong, and you need to take it to Mr. Goodwrench.

  11. Albemarle Says:

    I use premium in my Forester XT as the manual says. It doesn’t knock on regular but I paid a bunch more for the extra performance, so it seems silly to be cheap on the gas. I traded in an MKX and my wife pointed out the difference in price of the vehicles will keep me in premium fuel for a very long time.

    Tesla has illustrated perfectly why Level 3 doesn’t work with human beings. Everybody’s an idiot from time to time. If the computer gave up, it means there is a big deal emergency. You can’t count on the driver to wake up, put his burrito and phone down, and take over control competently. 60 mph is 88 ft/sec and you probably have less than a second to respond. Time to brace yourself, say your favourite swear word, then the impact.

  12. Mike B Says:

    Destination charges were always on the add a tag portion of a window sticker. But That destination price is built into the cost that the dealer pays for that car. Then they list it again for extra profit.

  13. Mike B Says:

    Premium Fuel is meant for engines with higher compression. Like 8.5 to 1 compression can run 87 octane. But 10.5 to 1 needs 91 or 93 Octane.

  14. Ukendoit Says:

    I always get gas at Costco, and had considered getting premium once in a while to clean the engine deposits out. I asked about the detergents in their Top Tier gas, and they told me all levels have the same detergents. Checking their website to verify, it agrees: “Kirkland Signature™ Gasoline contains five times the EPA detergent requirement in both regular unleaded and premium grades. Kirkland Signature™ Gasoline helps remove any existing deposits and keeps your engine clean.”
    Thusly, according to this it does not pay to buy the premium.

  15. Ukendoit Says:

    Just to clarify, all Costco gas is also Top Tier rated as well as all having the same detergents.

  16. Bill-S Says:

    OK, with level 3, you can say the driver was at fault, and the lawyers and insurance companies will go after the driver for liability in accidents. With Level 4, who will they go after? The driver? The car manufacturer? The subsystem supplier?

    As for octane rating vs Top Tier, they are two different things. Yes, modern cars with electronic knock sensors will retard timing and pull back power to prevent damage with lower octane gas. It also usually results in lower fuel economy too, so in the end you pay the same because you lost MPG with the lower octane gas if your car needs it. There’s a few studies done out there that show that, so stick with what your car calls for. Unless it does knock, and then go up until it stops, usually only something that happens with older cars now that can’t adjust like modern systems now do.

    Top Tier gas means all octane levels have increased detergents well above the minimum EPA guidelines, and can help with deposit buildup prevention and in some cases clean up what you have.

    My problem is 10% crapanol, I mean ethanol, in gas. Due to that, I can’t find any Top Tier gas to use in my cars without ethanol. Cars will get 3% less MPG using 10% ethanol gas, that’s just science due to the energy content loss in the gas with 10% ethanol. E-85 is even much worse, so really a money loser for the MPG you get compared to real gas. Some folks may not notice it with 10% ethanol, due to how they drive or how well they try to calculate it, but it’s rare that there is not a MPG loss, and other long term ethanol damage issues.

    I go out of my way to use ethanol free gas, and pay a premium for it, about $0.50 per gallon now where I live. When it should actually be less due to the cost of the ethanol added and energy loss, but they know folks will pay it.

    I’ve done the calculations several times to figure out the difference in MPG between real gas and crapanol in my cars. My Corvette will get about 7% better MPG using real premium and my Yukon Denali about 11% better MPG using real regular ethanol free gas. I just add extra aftermarket fuel system cleaner every now and then since I can’t buy Top Tier gas, which I used to when real gas was available. When I go on a road trip and have to use crapanol, I stick with Top Tier gas stations. Then drive the ethanol out of my car quickly once I get back home and fill up with real gas.

  17. Drew Says:

    The difference in fuel economy between premium and regular gas is barely measurable in most well-maintained vehicles. The difference between ethanol-blended fuels and straight gasoline is very measurable (and noticeable).

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    14 Bill-S says: ” so in the end you pay the same because you lost MPG with the lower octane gas if your car needs it.”

    I have not seen that, with a 2010 MINI Cooper or a 2016 Corvette. Premium costs 27% more than regular at the Phillips station where I usually get gas, and with multiple mpg checks, the mpg difference is so small that I can’t see it. I suspect that I would see even a 5% difference, and I would very clearly see a huge, 27% difference.

    I’d be tempted to try some E-0, and see what I find, but at the only station here with E-0, it costs about 50% more than E-10. So far, I haven’t tried that experiment, for an expected 3% difference.

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Just ordered a brand new ASP 160 twin ;}>

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    17 Will you run it glow, or otherwise?

  21. Bill-S Says:

    Kit, I’m also more concerned with long term damage from E-10, so stay away from it as much as possible. Yes I’ll pay more for E-0. In my cars, boats, and lawn equipment.

    Wow to 50% more for ethanol free gas where you are! I’m not sure what price are where you are. I’m in NW FL, premium E-10 here now is $2.57, premium E-0 is $2.98. So cost for me is about 14% more, but I get 7% better MPG in my Corvette. So in the end, not really as bad as it seems, plus no long term damage from E-10.

    If E-10 isn’t such a big deal, why does the EPA still give new car MPG ratings with E-0 pure gas for their testing. Why not go with E-10 so everyone sees the true lower ratings on the window sticker?

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    19 I’m in central Indiana now, and the “space coast” area of Florida. The last I knew, E-10 regular was about 2.20, and E-0, I think 90 octane was about 3.20 here in Indiana.

    I’ve read that he EPA tests with E-0 because it is “always the same,” more than E-10, which can vary in actual ethanol content from zero to 10%.

  23. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Actually, it looks like E-10 is now used for the EPA testing.

  24. Bill-S Says:

    OK, but you’re comparing the price of E-10 regular to E-0 premium, apples to pears there. E-10 regular is about $2.22 now in NW FL. You need to look at the price difference in E-10 regular to ethanol free regular, or premium E-10 to ethanol free premium.

    Interesting about E-10 being used now for new car window sticker MPG certification. That’s news to me now too. I’ll have to go read the fine print on a new car window sticker to see if they changed it to read they now use E-10.