Couple unknowingly drive 14 miles with drunk guy passed out on trunk lid

We’ve all been there. You and your better half climb in the car after an evening out, and as you’re cruising down the freeway … BAM! A cop pulls you over to tell you that a drunk guy is passed out on your trunk lid. Wait, what? That’s never happened to you? Well, it happened recently to a couple in Memphis, Tenn.

According to WHBQ, Carl and Hazel Webb left the Barbecue Fest in downtown Memphis on the evening of May 18. They had backed their late-model Ford Taurus into a parking spot, and when they returned the lot was pretty dark and the cars were packed in. The couple approached the car from the front, hopped in, and headed for home.

“We came down the aisle, walked right to the car, opened it up on both sides then we got in the car,” Webb told WHBQ. Unbeknownst to the Webbs, though, they had a stowaway aboard. Or rather, outboard.

About 15 minutes later, as the Webbs were cruising down the interstate toward home, a Memphis police officer pulled them over.

“The officer came up and he said, ‘Mister, are you aware there’s a body on your trunk?,’ and that did not register,” said Webb. “He goes, ‘Mister, I’m not messing with you. There’s a body on your trunk.’ So I got out. We walked around and sure enough, there he was still hanging on, still unconscious, just lying there.”

There, on the Taurus’ narrow decklid, was an extremely drunk guy in a Hawaiian shirt. He had apparently crawled up onto the Webbs’ car, curled up on his side, and passed out in the parking lot. He somehow managed to cling to the car for 14 miles at highway speeds.

Webb credits the slight lip on the trunk lid for holding the blotto man in place. Webb might want to give himself some credit for an exceptionally smooth driving style.

It took forever for the officer to wake up the stowaway, and when he eventually did the guy was still so drunk and confused that he briefly wandered off into oncoming traffic. The cop snatched him back to the shoulder before anything could happen.

The drunk guy was bundled into the MPD cruiser and taken away, but there’s no word on his identity or whether charges were filed.

Webb told WHBQ that he wasn’t angry at the drunk guy, but he did hope that the incident taught him a lesson.

“I hope he takes a good look at where he put himself and the hazard that he had open up to himself. It would’ve been death.”

[Source: Autoblog]

Fuel efficiency causes dip in demand for gasoline

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US gasoline demand has been weaker than expected this year, but a growing economy and relatively cheap pump prices have the energy industry expecting record demand again this summer driving season, which should help drain the global oil glut.

Gasoline demand in the first two months of 2017 was down 2.1 percent from a year ago, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The US gasoline market accounts for roughly 10 percent of global oil consumption, so American motorists have outsized influence over the global petroleum supply.

Some analysts believe weak gasoline demand and a recent dip in auto sales will keep the global oil glut swollen. Analysts said weak demand may be temporary, due to the weather and other unusual factors. But oil refiners doubt that summer demand will be strong enough to boost their profit margins.

Last year, US gasoline demand hit a record 9.33 million barrels per day. Despite the dip in demand so far this year, vehicle miles traveled are up, a sign that fuel efficiency is rising.

Analysts and refiners blamed the drop in gasoline demand to unusually bad weather in California and Texas, states with the highest US driving volumes. California’s rainfall in January and February was more than double the amount in the same period last year, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With summer driving season in sight, the outlook for gasoline demand is strong. Motorists are expected to hit US roads at rates not seen in a decade, the nation’s largest motorists’ advocacy group said on Wednesday.

The American Automobile Association projected that 34.6 million people will drive 50 miles (80 km) or more from home during the end-of-month holiday period, most since 37.3 million in 2005.

Steady economic growth and low unemployment should help boost demand in coming months, analysts said.

“I am a bit more bullish on US gasoline demand than I was six months ago,” said John Auers of refining consultancy Turner, Mason, & Co. “People thought 2016 would be a peak year, but I think we will top that this year.”

US gasoline prices have risen in recent months, but remain relatively cheap. The average pump price for regular gasoline was $2.34 per gallon on Thursday, up just a dime from a year ago, according to AAA.

US President Donald Trump’s tougher anti-immigration stance also hurt demand, Barclays analyst Paul Cheng said in a note this week. He estimated fear of deportation decreased driving activity among illegal immigrants enough to shave 0.4 percent from last year’s total demand.

MORE VEHICLE EFFICIENCY

Vehicle miles traveled on US roads were up 1.5 percent from last year through the first three months of 2017, according to the Department of Transportation. Analysts said higher fuel efficiency standards are starting to take hold, which could mean US gasoline demand will peak soon.

Sales of new cars and trucks hit a record high in 2016. SUVs and light trucks account for more than 60 percent of sales in 2016 and the first quarter of 2017, according to Barclays. Yearly auto sales fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 16.9 million cars in April.

The average fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the United States is up by 0.2 miles per gallon since the start of the year, hitting 25.3 mpg in April, according to Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, nearing August 2014’s peak of 25.5 mpg.

US gasoline inventories, thanks to weaker demand, remain 5.8 percent above the five-year seasonal average, according to the EIA.

Unless gasoline demand sharply increases, oil refiners may be in for another tough year. US gasoline refining margins have remained below 2016 levels for most of the year, an ominous sign ahead of summer driving season.

“The book has already been written,” said one refining executive. “Inventories are just too high, and they are not going away. We have pretty much written off the summer.”

Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw at [Autoblog]

Man crashes car through store window, says he needs a beer

Police body cameras captured a chaotic scene at a Cleveland-area convenience store after a man drove his car through the front of the store and barricaded himself in a walk-in cooler.

According to WJW, the Convenience Mart in Rocky River, Ohio, had just closed in the early hours of May 7 when a black Dodge Challenger barreled through the security bollards at around 40 miles per hour and crashed through the front window. Police arrived to find the car parked in the store with its hazards on, the store clerk trapped beneath debris, and no driver. The clerk told officers the driver got out, told the clerk that he needed a beer, then wandered into the walk-in cooler.

Officers found the driver barricaded inside the cooler. A tense standoff ensued with the agitated, confused man, who dared the cops to shoot him. Police learned he was suffering PTSD-related issues from his military service and job with the Federal Protective Service.

“The conversation he was having with the police was deranged, consistent with somebody who was going through a mental crisis,” RRPD Chief Kelly Stillman told WJW.

Eventually, an officer was able to use a taser on the man, who put up a fight but was eventually subdued. He faces charges that include DUI and reckless driving.

Thankfully, the store clerk escaped relatively unscathed. His life was saved by a deli case that absorbed the impact of the car and sheltered him from falling debris.

“Had the car been over a couple more feet, he was hurt, it could have been serious bodily injury, even possibly death. I mean that’s a four, five thousand pound automobile coming at 30, 40 miles an hour. He was lucky, very lucky,” said Chief Stillman.

[Source: Autoblog]

Junkyard Gem: 1989 Dodge Daytona Shelby

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In addition to leading Chrysler back to profitability after the federal bailout of 1979 (by betting heavily, and successfully, on the new K Platform), Lee Iacocca also managed to sign up Carroll Shelby to help design a bunch of factory-hot-rod Chryslers. Starting in the 1983 model year, a series of cars based on the K family and the Chrysler Europe-derived Omnirizon platform got the Shelby treatment. Here’s a well-preserved example of one of the later Shelby Daytonas, spotted in a Phoenix self-service wrecking yard last month.

These cars were quick, by the standards of their time, with 174 horsepower from the Turbo II 2.2-liter four-cylinder engine, in a car that weighed just 2,951 pounds.

The Porsche 944 that year had 162 horsepower in a 2,637-pound car, but it sold for $36,360 versus the Shelby Daytona’s $13,295 (in inflation-adjusted 2017 dollars, that’s $73,417 and $26,845, respectively). Of course, the 944 had rear-wheel-drive, while the Daytona’s engine drove the front wheels.

This one has hood decals indicating that the engine has the Variable Nozzle Technology setup, which is interesting because the VNT-equipped Turbo IV engine wasn’t used in Shelby Daytonas until the 1990 model year. This car’s VIN shows that it’s a 1989 model for sure, so perhaps it got wrecked and had the hood replaced by one from a 1990 car. Any of you Shelby Chrysler experts, please let us know what you think might have happened here.

These cars scored pretty high on the Detroit Badass-O-Meter back in 1989, and here’s a solid, rust-free Arizona one about to get crushed. Is nothing sacred?

[Source: Autoblog]

Bear opens Honda door, locks himself in, honks horn to alert owner

Some days you never know what you’ll wake up to. Like, a bear sitting in your car in your driveway, honking the horn.

“I guess the bear thought it was Take Your Bear to Work Day,” said the car’s owner, Ryan McClanahan of Roanoke, Va. “It was a crazy morning.”

McClanahan woke around 5 a.m., heard honking, and quickly discovered it was coming from his own car, a Honda Pilot.

“I look out the window and I can see the car kinda shaking, and I hear noises.” Yeah, that’d be from the bear in there.

Apparently it’s not unheard of for a curious bear, likely following the scent of food, to luck out and open a car door. In this case, however, the bear managed to open the door, get in, then close and lock the door behind him.

Roanoke police Officer Chris Thayer arrived to find the black bear trapped in the car, apparently exhausted from his struggle to get out. The windows were fogged up, and the bruin had torn up the interior of the Pilot pretty good in his search for the door handle. Eventually, a car key was found, a door opened, and a bear who would rather walk than drive, freed.

[Source: Autoblog]

Watch comical criminals try to steal Ford truck as it rolls away

Oklahoma City police are on the lookout for two guys who may be OKC’s clumsiest crooks after they tried to steal a pickup off a dealer lot and it almost rolled off without them.

In a video recently released by CrimeStoppers and aired on KOKH, two men creep into the Reynolds Ford lot back in March and make for a line of parked pickups. They choose a white, crew-cab F-150 and get to work opening the doors. Somehow, they manage to throw the truck into neutral, and that’s when the fun begins.

With the truck rolling, these two geniuses did what I assume any of us would have done in that situation. One guy grabbed the driver door handle and yanked at it for all he was worth while dragging his feet cartoon-style along the tarmac. Meanwhile, his partner unloaded a pellet gun into the truck’s windshield and driver’s window out of, what … frustration? Eventually the truck came to a halt all on its own, and our master criminals were finally able to get it running and off the lot.

OKCPD stated on their Facebook page that the truck was eventually recovered, but the suspects are at large. They also released the hilarious surveillance footage of the caper in the hopes that someone will come forward to identify the crooks. Let’s hope the police catch these guys soon before they get hurt, because they are clearly a danger to themselves.

[Source: Autoblog]

Waze navigation lets you follow the sound of your own voice

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In addition to the stock voices and handful of celebrity voices the Waze navigation app offers – such as Morgan Freeman and Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen – it will now let you record your own voice for navigation directions. It’s only available on the Android Waze app, but will arrive on the iOS version soon.

If you have Waze for Android and want to try it, simply go into the “Sound & Voice” folder in the app’s settings and find “Voice Recorder.” From here, you can record voiceovers for general navigation prompts. Then you can listen to yourself tell you where to go. And if you take a different turn than the navigation says, you can listen to yourself yell at you to turn around. And then you can yell at yourself yelling at yourself that you know what you’re doing. Where were we?

Granted, many people don’t like the way how they sound when they hear their voice recorded. But who said you had to record your own voice? You could record your significant other’s voice, or your kids, or perhaps even your parents. The makers of Waze suggest having fun with it by singing directions, or even yodeling them (we’re not making that up, they really suggest that).

You could even use the creative freedom of the Waze voice recorder to play pranks on your friends. You could grab a friend’s phone and record your terrible impersonation of Julia Child on their Waze app. Or perhaps you could record useless voiceover for the navigation cues. For instance, you could make the Waze app sound annoyed and record things like, “I’m not talking to you anymore,” and, “Find your own way,” for each prompt. Just make sure your friend has a good sense of humor…

[Source: Autoblog]