The jeep, the rugged little vehicle that did workhorse service for the U.S. armed forces for more than 40 years--from World War II through Korea and Vietnam--is being retired from military service.

The Pentagon is replacing its fleet of 100,000-plus aging jeeps and light trucks with the High Mobility, Multipurpose, Wheeled Vehicle, or HUMMvee for short. The HUMMvee, a four-wheel drive like the jeep, will be longer, lower and will carry a 2,500-pound payload.

AMC's AM General Division was named winner March 22 of the three-way competition for production of the HUMMvee. The other two competitors were Teledyne Continental Motors and Chrysler Corp.'s Chrysler Defense Division.

A spokesman for the Army's Tank-Automotive Command scoffs at any nicknames for the new vehicle: "AM General called it the Hummer but now its our vehicle. I think we'll just call it the HMMWV. That's pronounced HUMMvee."

Plans call for the vehicle to operate in any one of three basic configurations: weapons carrier, utility vehicle and field ambulance.

The first HUMMvees are expected around April of 1984, with delivery to the troops around September 1984.

The HUMMvee's are expected to cost around $27,000 each, compared with $15,000 per jeep.

Ford Motor Co., aware that about 40 percent of annual new-car sales are to women, recommends that salesmen "never call a would-be buyer 'honey' or 'dear.' "

The National Association of Van Pool Operators is holding its seventh annual van-pool conference April 18-22 in Costa Mesa, Calif. NAVPO says the conference will offer participants "yardsticks to measure your effectiveness and solid programs to give you new skills, information and 'how-to's' . . . everything you'll need for you and your ride-sharing program to measure up in the '80s."

How can low inflation rates hurt the consumer? The answer is in your car tires. Tire pressure 20 percent below the recommended levels can cause a 10 percent loss in tire life. Also, underinflated tires can cause irregular tire wear. The solution: Check your tires' air pressure regularly, at least once a month.

Don't forget auto expenses as a possible deduction when figuring your 1982 income-tax return. General Business Services' Washington Alert newsletter points out that you might save "substantial tax dollars" by taking such a deduction.

While most personal driving cannot be claimed, travel from your workplace to another job site is deductible. If you work at home and have no commuting expenses, all work-related travel is deductible. Also, travel relating to deductible personal expenses--trips to the doctor, dentist, charitable activities--can be claimed.

Cycle Wars: The American-made Harley-Davidson XLS Roadster motorcycle recently outscored its two major Japanese competitors--the Yamaha 920 Virago and Honda 750 Shadow--in tests conducted by the editors of Cycle-Guide magazine.

The findings should cause smiles at Harley-Davidson, the sole surviving motorcycle-maker in the United States.

A Positive Charge: Your car battery is dead or at least too low to start the engine? Tools for Living says its Easy Charge is the answer.

The device ($20) is a variation on traditional jumper cables. A 16-foot cable connects the disabled car to a running car through the cigarette lighter outlets. A trickle charge powered by the running car flows into the battery of the disabled vehicle and after a few minutes, the supplier claims, the battery should be sufficiently recharged to start the car.

Available from: Tools for Living, 400 S. Dean St., Englewood, N.J. 07631, or by calling 800-228-5505.