Entries in Vehicle (2)


Toyota Resumes Vehicle Production at All Japanese Plants

TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Toyota resumed vehicle production at all of its Japanese plants Monday, just over a month after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan forced the company to shut down most of its operations in the country.

The Japanese automaker said it will build cars through April 27, after which production facilities will go on their annual spring holiday break until May 10.  The plants will operate at about half capacity leading up to the break and between May 10 and June 3.  Production rates after June 3 will be determined after the automaker assesses its parts supply.

Toyota was forced to stop manufacturing vehicles in Japan after the quake struck.  Most recently, the automaker had resumed producing repair and replacement parts in the country.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Is Your Car Costing You More?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- From the rising cost of the rubber on your tires to a two-year high in oil prices, it's no surprise that families are having a tougher time budgeting for driving. Gas has always been an expense for families, but with prices skyrocketing, many are finding that their cars are becoming their most serious budget concern. AAA has calculated that simply owning a small car costs you $6,758 a year -- an SUV can cost upwards of $11,239.

"I did have sticker shock. It was $76 to fill up a tank of gas!" minivan driver and mother of four Karen Slimmon told ABC News. That is almost as much as she paid for groceries to feed her family.

Gas prices across the nation are nearly a dollar higher than they were a year ago. That can make a huge difference in a family's budget.

There are many reasons why oil prices are going up -- from the turmoil in the Middle East to a continuing recovery.

The uprisings in the Middle East have disrupted oil-producing countries, including Libya, which exported 1.5 million barrels of crude a day before the rebellion spread and created pitched battles for prime oil fields. Although the United States does not import any oil from Libya (it mostly supplies Europe -- notably its former colonizer Italy), a fear that protests would topple larger oil providers such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, disrupting the flow of the economic lubricant, sent oil prices skywards.

Beyond the uprisings, the price of oil had already been steadily rising as demand increases in both Europe and the United States while economies recover. This is in addition to strong continuous demand from China and other developing nations.

This combination of both rising demand, and the risk of dropping supply, are the two main factors pushing prices higher globally.

It's not just oil that has people rethinking their budgets. Many other costs associated with your car are rising. The high price of driving goes well beyond filling the tank.

Rubber and other raw materials have jumped 15 percent in cost this year, meaning replacing your tires just got even more expensive. There's also something many people rarely think about, the depreciation of their cars. That's up almost 5 percent as those huge gas guzzlers quickly lose their value. Add insurance and maintenance and AAA says driving now costs you an average of $0.59 a mile.

President Obama said Wednesday that a good option for people is to trade in for a more economical model. "If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon...You know, you might want to think about a trade-in," he said in eastern Pennsylvania on Wednesday.

Or you can try simply try leaving your car at home.

That's what Steve Mazor in Southern California is doing. He calculated his gasoline use down to the penny. "The cost per mile of gasoline has been as low as 8 cents…these days it's running over 20 cents," he told ABC News.

That means his 140-mile-a-day commute costs nearly $400 a week. So Steve, who works for the automobile club of Southern California, is spending more days working from home.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio