Five Perks of Hybrids

Hybrids and energy-efficient vehicles are the future. They’ve made huge strides in recent years in technology, form and function. In fact, there are more than 40 different hybrid models available for sale in the U.S. today.

So, have you wondered how exactly hybrids are different from their gasoline counterparts – and what makes these innovative vehicles so amazing?  Here are what we refer to as the “Five Perks of Hybrids:”

1) Hybrids have a gas engine and an electric motor (aka a “hybrid” powertrain system). The electric motor supplements the gas engine when gas isn’t as efficient, which means it uses less fuel.

Many hybrids don’t need to be plugged in to recharge the battery. However, there are a new breed of hybrids like the Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-Max Energi that are called “Plug-in
FordEnergiPlufHybrids.” These innovative vehicles boast larger batteries and more powerful electric motors. This combination allows the car to run in all-electric mode under more circumstances and for greater distances. To charge the larger battery, it’s most efficient to plug the car into an outlet, but it still will run as a conventional hybrid when the EV (Electric Vehicle) battery is dead.

2) The “feel” and sound of a hybrid is distinctly different from a normal car. 

Hybrids are a lot quieter. This is due to the electric motor running more often than the gas engine, which cuts the engine noise down to zero. According to Matt Mocabee, Butler Internet Coordinator and Ford C-Max Energi Owner, “This makes it a lot easier to hold conversations in your car.” In regards to feel, Butler Acura Product Specialist Patrick Ormerod and Ford Fusion Owner says “It’s incredibly smooth and responsive.”

3) Hybrid braking can feel different.

With some hybrids, when you take your foot off the brake pedal, you can feel the two different brake systems working. This is called regenerative braking. For a more detailed explanation of this amazing process, click HERE.

4) Hybrid vehicles brakes can last longer.

Regenerative braking is pretty amazing. It not only helps recharge the battery, but it also slows the car and saves the brakes in the process!

5) Many hybrids sacrifice cargo space or flexibility to make room for the battery. Batteries are what we consider a perk!

Most cars aren’t engineered solely as hybrids, so manufactures had to find someplace to store the extra battery. This results in a bit of decreased storage room, but when you think of the money staying in your pocketbook and not gushing down your gas tank, it seems like more than a fair trade-off.

M-Ford-C-MAX-Energi-1The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can help you figure out the fuel economy of YOUR hybrid or the hybrid you have your eye on. They list fuel economy numbers HERE. This also calculates the estimated annual fuel cost of each car based on driving 15,000 on $3.70/gallon gas.

The fuel efficiency and resulting financial savings are huge perks and the reason why many people purchase these fantastic vehicles. The public is also becoming increasingly concerned for the health of our planet and saving valuable fossil fuel, so perhaps this is one of the most valuable “perks” of a hybrid.

Curious about a hybrid now? Want to take one for a spin? The Ford Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi are waiting for you at Butler Ford in Ashland!

Did You Drift Your Hotwheels? Just Wait Til You Hear This!

Back in the ’80s before the word “drifting” became popular, we used to push our Hot Wheels and Matchbox toys cars with great gusto, attempting to MAKE them turn in the way we wanted them to (aka “drifting”). I’m not sure what we called it back then – we could almost hear and smell the screeching and burning tires, but alas, we couldn’t bend the laws of physics and actually make our little die-casts turn themselves.

Today’s kids however, will never have to experience that sad let down.  Enter Driftpad, a special low-friction surface by TYO Toys. This pad can be made into a homemade course you can send your toys cars sliding, skidding and drifting just like Ken Block!

For $15, the adhesive-backed Driftpad and included barriers and cones give you the raw materials to build the course of your dreams. However there’s some tinkering that’s involved with this.

Specifically, you’re gonna have to create a launching ramp with just the right downhill angle to pitch your die-casts into a bit of a spin. From there, once they hit the Driftpad, the magic begins.

At least, theoretically. TYO Toys’ Phil Foss shows how he creates the perfect undulating surface for precision small-scale drifting in fascinating video.

Extend the Life of Your Vehicle and Keeping You Safe

We’re always looking for tips that can extend the life of your car AND keep you safe! My Ford Magazine is a great resource and they’ve posted an excellent article about your shocks and struts – and why this is important to you!

Below are great tips to protect your car in winter and spring driving conditions and what to look for if your shocks and struts are not the best they can be and you need to be ready for those summer road trips!

1. REDUCED BRAKING ABILITY
When your shocks or struts become worn down, your vehicle “jounces” more over bumps, which means it bounces up and down. This makes braking more difficult and could significantly increase your stopping distance. So take note: If your vehicle is taking longer than usual to stop, or if it is nose-diving when you do so (another sign of decreased traction), have your vehicle checked at any of our four service locations. A suspension check is part of the multi-point inspection included; during the inspection our technicians will ensure that all possible pothole-related damage is assessed, and you’ll have less to worry about.

2. LESS CONTROL ON CORNERS
Watch out for an exaggerated “body roll” when you turn corners—this is when you feel yourself and your vehicle tilting a bit more than normal, which can be a sign of damaged shocks or struts. If that’s happening to you, take your vehicle in for a suspension check right away, because excessive body roll can affect your ability to safely steer around obstructions in the road.

3. ROUGHER RIDE
Getting jostled on your journey is not only uncomfortable, it can affect your ability to safely control your vehicle. Try a quick bounce test at home by pushing down firmly on the front and rear of your vehicle. If the car moves up and down more than once or twice, have your shocks and struts checked at any of our four service centers.

4. TIRE WEAR
When struts or shocks are worn out, your tires wear out faster. A damaged strut or shock can also contribute to quicker wear on the other steering components of the vehicle, like rods and wheel bearings. If you notice a rumbling or increased vibrations at higher speeds, have a Ford auto technician look for “cupping” on your tires, which is a type of scalloped wear pattern associated with struts and shocks. Cupping happens when your car jounces up and down, leaving indented scuff marks on the tires, and is a big red flag that your suspension needs repairing.

5. MORE HYDROPLANING & SKIDDING
Worn shocks and struts can affect the way your wheels engage with the road, especially when roads are slick. If your vehicle is sliding or hydroplaning frequently, get your suspension checked out now—before more April showers arrive.

Our Ford and Acura service centers are located at 1899 Highway 99 N in Ashland and can be reached at 541-482-2521. Our Kia dealership is located at 4950 Crater Lake Avenue, 541-776-3088 while our Hyundai dealership is located at 5000 Crater Lake Avenue, 541-245-5335. Call for an appointment today if you notice any of these issues with your vehicle.

Self-Driving Cars? Say What?

Curious about the new self-driving car phenomenon? We’ve uncovered some facts for you to ponder. While self-driving cars might be more efficient on the roadways, they might not be as efficient in fuel economy, according to a recent study.   

University of Michigan in Ann Arbor researchers argue that since autonomous vehicles will be making more trips, more often, they will consume more energy than cars driven by humans.

2014-05-13-google-self-driving-car-8In most US households, each adult run errands, commutes and shuttles the kids separately. For a self-driving car to complete the same tasks, it will likely make more trips which results in greater fuel usage. For example, the autonomous car might drop off one parent at work before returning home to pick up the other. After that trip, it would then take the kids to school and return home before restarting the cycle in the afternoon and evening.

Calculations by University of Michigan researchers Brandon Schoettle and Michael Sivak show that increased sharing could mean 43 percent less cars on American roads but they will be used 75 percent more.

“It could be that sharing the vehicle ends up increasing the mileage because of all these connecting trips,” Schoettle said. “The net effect is probably going to be an increase in mileage, and in general the more miles you drive the more fuel you burn.”

However, there are a couple caveats that may make these cars of the future more efficient all the way around. Autonomous vehicles will be better at conserving fuel because they operate more efficiently than humans. This may help balance out the increased usage. There’s also the possibility that a vast majority of self-driving cars will be electric vehicles, which makes is a win-win situation. What are your thoughts? Comment below!

 

 

A Tribute to Barbara Harper

While she’s never technically been an employee here at the Butler Family of Dealerships, she is a spectacularly BarbaraFBwonderful woman that has influenced our dealership immensely.
Her husband worked at Butler for years in the 80’s, her son, Les, has worked in administration for over 20 years and we are honored to have five Living Opportunity employees because of her! Who is this fabulous lady? Her name is Barbara Harper and she’s just “wonderful!”
So why are we awe struck? Barbara’s story begins as the mother of four sons, one – Charlie – who was born with Down ’s syndrome in 1949.
At that time, Dr. Downs had not discovered “Down’s Syndrome” and the doctors told Barbara and Bill that their son Charlie was a “Mongolian Idiot” and that he wouldn’t live past one year old. If he did, he would be a “crib vegetable” and they instructed her to leave him in an institution and forget him. Barbara vehemently cried NO! She would raise him until she was no longer able. Charlie moved out to a group home when he was 28 and lived a wonderful, full life until he died from complications of Alzheimer’s at the age of 63.
Barbara and her husband Bill became founding board members of Living Opportunities, Inc. in Medford. Living Opportunities was established in 1974 to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as they learn to live, work, and play in the community.
LivingoppBarbara refused to give up the dream that Charlie could live a “normal life” just as her other three sons did. “We’re all different but we all think we’re normal. So what is normal? I haven’t figured that out yet,” she laughed.
Living Opportunities gave Charlie that chance, as well as so many other children who otherwise would be left on the fringes of society. Thanks to Barbara, Bill, and the other founding board members, children and adults with disabilities will have the quality of life they deserve.
To read more about Barbara’s story and the strides made in the last 50 years with intellectual and developmentally challenged people go to: 

HID’s – A Glaring Problem in Oregon

The hottest trend nowadays in headlights is installing HIDs, or High Intensity Discharge lights. Proponents of the new HID_35lights say the crystal blue color highlights the road and cuts through the fog better than the typical halogen lights.

However, HID opponents say those lights can be blinding in the darkness and make it dangerous when trying to share the road. Many of them are also illegal. Oregon State Troopers pull over drivers daily for the illegal lights, which are most often bought from the internet and installed incorrectly.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, improperly installed headlights can throw out as much as three times the amount of glare legal headlight put out.

Here’s why – think of your headlight like a flashlight, and inside is the bulb. A halogen bulb is shorter than an HID bulb. BrightLightA longer HID bulb filament widens-out the beam. That sends more glare out of the side of the light, right into drivers’ eyes. Additionally, older drivers are more at risk for being blinded by the ultra-bright lights because the retina in the back of the eye takes longer to recover after getting hit with bright light as you age.

According to Oregon State Police Senior Trooper Douglas Brown, the illegally bright headlights can have tragic consequences.

“I’ve had cases where they’ve swerved across into the oncoming lanes and hit the car that was blinding them,” says Brown.

So what can you do to be safe? If you do purchase HID lights, make sure they say DOT approved and take them to a certified dealer service center like ours to get them properly installed. If you are blinded by illegally bright HID lights on the road, pull over and the let the vehicle pass if possible. Remember, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Why is Tax Season Good?

Tax season is here! Why is that a good thing? Many of us have already received our refunds and are investing money Ford-F-150_2015back into the economy through automotive purchases. A win-win for the economy and the consumer.

So what vehicles are the most sought after?  The 2015 Ford F-150 and Acura TLX proudly sit among the top sellers in a January auto sales report, according to Edmunds.com.

“Momentum is especially strong for our F-Series pickup, with the all-new F-150 the hottest product on our dealers lots in January,” said Erich Merkle, Ford’s U.S. sales analyst. Ford reported that the new aluminum-bodied F-150 is averaging just 12 days on the lot. High-end Platinum and King Ranch F-150 models are “turning even faster, averaging just nine and 10 days, respectively,” Ford said.

Ford posted a 15 percent sales increase in the U.S. in January, with sales of 178,351 vehicles.

Photographer: Benedict Redgrove;Acura’s revamped Acura TLX was a top performer as well. Consumers grabbed 2,892 TLXs in January, “easily besting the combined sales of its two predecessors in January 2014 by 27.9 percent,” the company said. The TLX replaces the Acura TL and TSX. A sure winner for 2015.

Check out our vast selection of F-series trucks and the gorgeous Acura TLX’s HERE. We’ve got plenty of both these winning vehicles in Ashland, come by and check them out! Turn lemons into lemonade with this tax season!