Survey Says

Traffic may be going up, but fuel fill ups are down according to the latest research

As coronavirus lockdowns are being lifted, traffic is increasing on streets nationwide.

Photo by Getty Images

A new study by Honk Technologies has found that motorists are fueling up far less frequently than they were before COVID-19 lockdowns happened. How drastic the drop is, however, may surprise you.

According to Agero, beginning March 17, when the country's first stay at home order went into effect, daily average traffic volume began to fall. Currently, traffic has rebounded and continues to climb with figures nearing the volume of early March, growing at a weekly rate over four times faster than the same period in 2019.

traffic NYC New York City 42nd street Traffic in New York City is down 18 percent compared to forecasted amounts, according to Agero. Photo by Getty Images

"The pandemic has certainly disrupted traditional traffic patterns," says Beth Davidson, Agero's chief marketing officer. "The typical rush hour commute has disappeared, errands are no longer relegated to Saturday morning, and road trips are becoming the new plane ride. But as states continue to ease stay at home orders, we're seeing breakdown event volumes rapidly return to near-normal levels as people begin to use their vehicles again. We believe this could be the start of far higher traffic volumes than we are used to seeing."

Easter seem to have been the turning point for most areas, according to Agero. Since then, average roadside assistance events have shown a greater than 30 percent increase through June 10th.

Because Americans are driving less, they're also fueling up less. An online survey of 719 motorists by Honk Technologies found that 56 percent of respondents were willing up less than once a week prior to the pandemic. Eleven percent filled up once a moth or less.

Currently, 25 percent of survey respondents say that they're filling up at least once per week. Forty-five percent hit the pumps once per month or less.

Additionally, the survey revealed that beyond commuting, few are making trips other than for what is absolutely necessary. This makes sense as many extracurricular actives have been cancelled and dining establishments have closed or are only open under limited conditions. School runs have also ceased.

When asked what destinations they had driven to in the prior seven days, 83 percent said they had driven to a grocery store, pharmacy or some other store for necessary supplies. Just 17 percent had gone shopping, 21 percent to outdoor recreation activities, 25 percent to a restaurant or cafe, 31 percent to visit family or friends and 32 percent to go to work. Just four percent did not go out at all.

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The design study gives customers an idea of what to expect out of the next-gen QX60

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

It’s not the next-gen Infiniti QX60, but it is darn close. The Infiniti QX60 Monograph is a concept car and design study of the forthcoming new version of the three-row SUV.

"We commenced the design of the Monograph knowing this was an opportune time to start a discussion about where we are planning to take the QX60 in the future and more broadly, where we are heading as a brand with our design language'" said Alfonso Albaisa, senior vice president, Global Design, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph Slim headlights and an athletic stance make the face of the SUV unique.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Consider it a detailed plan. Even Infiniti itself is relaying that the QX60 Monograph “provides tangible insight” into the new model from proportions to design elements. With the new QX60, Infiniti looks to not break the mold, which their buyers love, but instead refine what customers expect.

"In crafting this Monograph, we wanted to change the tonality of the QX60 and transform the nameplate from a sculptural and architectural point of view. We raised the visual center of gravity, giving it a strong, straight shoulder line that carries through to the hood, with a higher, more prominent grille, and longer-looking cabin to deliver a sense of muscularity and a commanding presence" Albaisa said.

The QX60 Monograph is more muscular than the current QX60, with distinctive athletic styling that sets it apart from the usual SUV crowd and gives it its own Infiniti identity. A long wheelbase, teardrop-like greenhouse, and sweeping lines give the SUV a new profile. A horizontal window line and wide backside are designed to give the concept a sense of poise and stability.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph The SUV’s grille features a fresh design.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti is showcasing the QX60 Monograph with a platinum plant color that mimics the qualities of liquid metal. It features a black roof that is on-trend for the current design environment. On top of the car is a panoramic roof that features a “kimono fold” pattern.

"The QX60 Monograph embodies the Japanese concept of 'Ma,' a sense of minimalism where designers seek harmony, adding just the right amount of elements with very specific meaning to create something special. This is evident on the body, where at a glance it is simple, but when you get closer, you see that there are elements that are playing against each other in a sense of harmony." Albaisa explains.

At the front of the SUV is a new take on the traditional Infiniti grille - a two dimensional surface that projects a sense of three-dimensional depth. It’s a mesh pattern that repeats on the car’s side intakes.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph Infiniti has given the SUV a black roof.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

Infiniti calls the lighting at the front and rear of the SUV “Digital Piano Key” technology saying that it projects a “futuristic appearance”. The taillights are tinted and appear to wrap around the sides of the vehicle. The lamps are accompanied by a glowing “infinite road” brand emblem.

Infiniti QX60 Monograph The model’s taillights appear to wrap around the vehicle.Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motors

The interior of the model was not shown and not detailed as part of this design study. It is expected that a thoroughly modern, new interior is on tap for the next-gen QX60.

The production version of the next generation QX60 is expected in 2021.

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