Historic interest rates boosting car sales
New-car buyers, shunned by lenders just four years ago, now are benefiting from historically low interest rates and more-available credit, pacing a U.S. auto market that is hovering near pre-recession levels. General Motors and AutoNation are among the companies that say ample financing for new car and truck purchases has helped push the annualized sales rate past 15 million, the highest since 2007. Banks reported the most common rate for a 48-month new-car loan was 4.82 percent. The rates have dropped from more than 7 percent in December 2008.
— Bloomberg News
Study: teen driving deaths rise in 2012
The number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers killed in passenger vehicles increased in the first six months of 2012, according to a report by the Governors Highway Safety Association. Deaths of 16-year-old drivers increased from 86 to 107 (a 24 percent change), while the number for 17-year-old drivers went from 116 to 133 (a 15 percent change). Researchers say the benefit of graduated driver-licensing laws may be leveling off, as most of these laws have been in place for some time. Also, improved economic conditions are contributing to an increase in teen driving, thus increasing exposure to risk.
— NWautos staff