Man, there are some good photos in here. Makes me feel almost inadequate to post mine. Both were taken with a Rebel T3i with a kit lens and an $11 polarizing filter. Photography has never been super interesting to me, but when my mother gave me the T3i after upgrading, it's something that's really piqued my interest. Mainly been trying to work on my framing and letting the camera mess with the settings for me. Done some experimenting with settings with landscape stuff, not so much the vehicle shots.
Getting the Foz dirty up on the NC-TN border today.
And my rust bucket POS 78 Corona.
Best thing I think you could do would be to get rid of that kit lens. Figures, right? Of course someone would recommend "spend more money" as the answer!
My recommendation isn't just being a gear snob, it's actually to help you learn. I think kit lenses are terrible because they give you too many options. "Necessity is the mother of invention" or something like that...
Get a prime lens (fixed focal length, no zoom) and stick with it until you feel like you have another type of photo you'd like to make that isn't possible with your current prime lens. Being "stuck" with a fixed lens helps you to work on your positioning, using your feet as the zoom instead of using the band-aid that zoom lenses can act as for a beginner.
It will help you with composition because if you can't get a certain shot, you'll need to move around until you can. If you still can't, you can get creative with your composition in order to make a good photo.
What a lot of people do is just buy a 50mm f/1.8 because there's a cheap and fast option. Canon has their "nifty fifty" lens, and they have a newer version of it that's around $125. It's a little tight on a crop body, but it's a really great starting point.
What's considered "normal", or closest to the perspective that your eyes see, on a full frame or traditional film camera is 50mm. Your T3i is a "crop" camera body, which has a 1.6x magnification factor. So that turns a 50mm into an 80mm lens effectively. To get to about 50mm equivalent on your camera, you'd want to look for a ~30mm lens. That can come later if you decide to go that route, because the few options that are out there in that range are quite a bit more expensive.
A great side effect of getting a prime lens is good optical quality and fast aperture. That 50mm is a fixed f/1.8, which means you'll have better options in low light and of course that great background blur everyone wants. You can mess with the aperture settings to change the look of your photo.
Another recommendation is really just to get off of auto mode and screw around. Make it a point from here on out, don't ever shoot on auto again. The camera knows what it's doing, but you'll never learn if you let it decide for you. Shoot on AV (aperture priority) to learn how that affects the image, then TV (Time, or shutter length). When on each mode, look at what other settings are chosen when you take the pic, and see how that affects the photo. Eventually move to manual. The good thing with digital is that you can take an infinite number of pics and then delete the ones that you don't like.
If buying a lens isn't in the cards, that doesn't change anything about learning. Shoot manual as often as possible and eventually you'll learn how each setting affects others.