Industry Pulse: Interview with Consumer Reports’ Jeff Bartlett

Today’s post is an Industry Pulse feature – Be Car Chic’s monthly column that shares insights gathered from leaders within the automotive community, focusing on current topics important both to the industry and to the consumer. Click here to read the previous Industry Pulse piece.

Jeff Bartlett is a seasoned automotive journalist who gets behind the wheel of the cars auto enthusiasts dream of driving. Last week, the Deputy Online Automotive Editor at Consumer Reports, shared his thoughts with me about rising gas prices and what everyday people can do in response to them. Our conversation couldn’t have been more timely. A few weeks ago, I blogged about how gas prices – compounded with the Japan tsunami aftermath – would have a serious impact on consumers.

The Obama Administration had just come out and urged Americans to buy new cars to replace their current modes of transportation in favor of something more fuel efficient. While that was all good in theory, the economy is still slowly repairing, and we can’t expect all consumers to have that kind of cash flow right now.With gas prices on the rise – at least $4.05 in my neighborhood outside D.C. – consumers are clinging to their pocketbooks. As summer vacations and road trips loom overhead, American families are wondering what heightened fuel costs will mean for them. Thankfully, Consumer Reports’ Jeff Bartlett is on-hand to help answer some of those challenges. Watch the video of my interview with him and get look for helpful tips below!

The tips that Jeff provided for auto enthusiasts (and really, anyone) to improve their fuel economy without giving up their roadsters are great take aways. Here they are again:

  • Everyone can improve their fuel economy by changing their driving behavior.
  • Follow the speed limit and drive more gently – don’t accelerate hard away from a stoplight.
  • If you drive an SUV or a wagon, then remove the roof racks when not in use. Anything that can contribute to aerodynamic drag is going to hurt your fuel economy.
  • Bundle your errands together. Rather than running out to the store every time you need something, plan a series of errands that can be done consecutively – one right after another.

Note:  Our interview was captured partly through phone call and partly video. But as these types of tasks seem to go, we had a few technical difficulties. My first few questions didn’t make the audio reel, but Jeff’s responses did. I’ve edited those silent moments out, and instead included a full transcript of our Q&A session for your convenience. I like to think that I asked some pretty good questions…and Jeff gave Be Car Chic some terrific answers.

Download the full transcript of Be Car Chic’s interview with Jeff Bartlett here.

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Melanie Batenchuk founded Be Car Chic in 2009 as a way to help consumers make smart decisions when buying and selling their cars. Her prior work at the dealership, trade association and manufacturer levels has provided her a deep understanding of the complex facets within the auto industry, making her a leading woman in her field.