SUVs

Photo courtesy of Toyota

As every driver is happy to note, gas prices are down. Today you can find gas prices close to, and even under, $3 a gallon.

And just on cue, American are buying pickups and SUVs at rate that hasn’t been seen since the Great Recession began.

Believe it or not, some of that seems to be due to one man — Anchorman Ron Burgundy.

During the baseball playoffs and the World Series, Dodge released commercials with Will Ferrell reprising his Ron Burgundy character. Sales of the 2014 Dodge Durango jumped 58.5 percent as those commercials hit our TV screens.

But haven't we done this before — Americans fall in love with SUVs and pickups, only to have gas prices leapfrog back up, leaving us pining for small, fuel-efficient cars?

By IFCAR (Own work) / Wikimedia Commons

DETROIT (AP) - U.S. safety officials have closed an investigation into allegations that three Ford SUVs can roll away when the transmissions are in park.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the probe involved about 1.5 million Ford Explorer, Mercury Mountaineer and Lincoln Aviator SUVS from the 2002 to 2005 model years.

The agency determined that failure rates weren't high enough to order a recall. The probe began in April 2009 and was closed last month. The safety agency found 36 complaints including 14 crashes and six injuries.

Investigators found that the park gear in the transmission failed only 4.4 times per 100,000 vehicles. A system that prevents the car from being shifted into gear unless the driver's foot is on the brake failed only 3.4 times per 100,000 SUVs.

General Motors is recalling more than 6,000 big vans and SUVs because their steering can fail. The recall affects certain 2012 Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans, and Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Yukon XL SUVs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on its website Saturday that a gear shaft can break, causing a loss of steering. GM says no crashes or injuries have been reported.