Episode 987 – CA Emissions Cave to Price Pressure, Overpriced Ethanol, 2014 Kia Forte

October 8th, 2012 at 11:59am

Runtime: 8:37

California temporarily lowered its emission standards for gasoline because prices skyrocketed in the Golden State. E85 must be priced 20% below gasoline or motorists have no financial incentive to use it. We take our first look at what will become the new 2014 Kia Forte sedan. All that and more, plus we take a look at the fashion aspect of the Paris Auto Show.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily for October 8th. I’m John McElroy and here’s the latest news about cars and the automotive industry.

Well, maybe Hell has frozen over. California temporarily lowered its emission standards for gasoline because prices skyrocketed in the Golden State. They hit an average of $4.65 a gallon, which Bloomberg says is 22% higher than the national average. In Escondido, just outside of San Diego, they hit $5.75 a gallon. California’s stringent air quality standards for gasoline make it almost impossible for refiners outside of the state to blend fuel for California. A power failure at one refiner and a fire at another crippled the state’s ability to produce gasoline and that led to the jump in prices.

Speaking of the price of fuel, the Renewable Fuels Association says that E85 should be priced significantly cheaper than it is. It says the wholesale price of E85 is 70 cents a gallon cheaper than pure gasoline, but at the pump it’s only 37 cents cheaper. Fuel distributors are pocketing the difference. E85 delivers about 20% lower fuel economy, so unless E85 is 20% cheaper than gasoline, motorists have no financial incentive to use it. Without that mark-up for ethanol, it’s possible lot more motorists would use it. The U.S. currently has over 8 million Flex-fuel vehicles on the road.

General Motors announced it is moving its hydrogen fuel cell research to Pontiac, Michigan. According to the Detroit Free Press, GM is closing its fuel cell lab near Rochester, NY where it’s been for years. GM says it will help having its powertrain research in one location and it will also save money.

Last week we reported that car sales for Japanese automakers in China are plummeting because of anti-Japanese sentiment. And now Bloomberg reports that Hyundai and Kia are the big winners in that dispute. Last month the two combined sold nearly 128,000 vehicles in the China which is 9.5 percent higher than their previous record.

And speaking of China, Gasgoo reports that Volvo will miss its 2015 sales target in the country. Geely’s chairman Li Shufu boasted he would boost Volvo sales to 200,000 cars a year after Geely bought Volvo. But the company is severely underperforming the overall market. Volvo is forecasting sales of 46,000 vehicles this year in China.

We now have our first look at what will become the new 2014 Kia Forte sedan, thanks to Chilean blogger Ramon Rivera. The new Kia Cerato, also know as the K3 in South Korea, is on display at the Santiago Motor Show in Chile. And that will be the new Forte in the North American market. The design borrows from Kia’s upcoming flagship, the Quoris, and brings in an upscale cabin design that we have seen in recent Kia releases. No word yet on any powertrains, but we’re expecting a 40 mpg rating on the highway. The Forte should debut in the U.S. at either the Chicago or New York Auto Shows.

Looks like Porsche has reclaimed the title of fastest production car at the Nurburgring.  The new 911 Carrera S lapped the ‘ring at 7:37.9. According to PorscheBoost that is a full two seconds quicker than the time it posted last year. Not to mention a few tenths of a second faster than the Lexus LFA, Corvette ZR1, Nissan GTR, and Ferrari 458 Italia. Not too shabby if you ask me.

Coming up next, we’re going to take a look at the fashion aspect of the Paris auto show. We’re going to look at what the models were wearing, and we’re not talking about the cars.

The Paris Auto Show gave us a look as some of the newest cars coming out, but Paris is also about fashion. We ran into Margery Krevsky at the show who was there to evaluate how automakers are dressing their models and subject matter experts to create the kind of look that they want at their display stands. You may remember Margery from the “Sirens of Chrome” shows that we’ve done with her, but let’s let her tell you what she found in Paris.

(Today’s look at the fashion at the Paris Auto Show is only available in the video version of the show.)

Margery Krevsky gave Autoline a little scoop while we talking to her that she hasn’t announced yet. Starting with the LA Show next month, she’s will be providing the product specialists or models for GM’s four brands at North American auto shows.  So congrats to her.

Don’t forget to join us for Autoline After Hours this Thursday night, besides having the best insider information of what’s going on in the industry, we’ll have Candace Wheeler, a Technical Fellow at GM and one of the foremost experts in the world about fuels. All kinds of fuels. So join me and the Autoextremist, Peter De Lorenzo for Autoline After Hours.

And that wraps up today’s report. Thanks for watching, we’ll see you tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

62 Comments to “Episode 987 – CA Emissions Cave to Price Pressure, Overpriced Ethanol, 2014 Kia Forte”

  1. Ed K Says:


    When you and your viewers tire of all the pavement huggers out there check out the machines at muddox.net, these things will go practically anywhere you want to explore, they are built by a relatively new American company in Indiana competing with Argo from Canada and bring a whole new twist to the amphibious all-terrain vehicle market. Something a little different for the gearheads that watch your show. Enjoy.


  2. G.A.Branigan Says:

    Nice spam there Ed K.

  3. George Ricci Says:


    Where are you getting your numbers? Every test I have seen on the fuel millage of gasoline vs. E85 shows a 25 – 30% reduction.

    On the fastest lap at Nurburgring, a 2012 Corvette ZL-1 did it in 7:19.63. That is 18 seconds faster than the 911 Carrera S.


  4. Wim van Acker Says:

    Who designed the Quoris for Kia: BMW? :-)

  5. Rafi Jaan Says:

    This may sound a bit strange, but I always welcome the higher fuel prices across the country.

    For one, it’d make it more cost-effective to drive electric/hybrid vehicles and it would, finally, force consumers to choose the right size of vehicle for them and their families.

    For as long as I can remember, American car buyers have chosen the biggest SUV/Truck that they can afford, not the vehicle that best meets their needs. Now, if the SUV/Truck owners can pay the higher fuel costs, then they should, or they can be more sensible and switch to better-driving, better-looking, more fuel-efficient cars.

  6. C-Tech Says:

    Why does the Geely emblem in the background resemble the last Plymouth emblem?

    John, your show is the only one (compared to Fox, CBS, NBC, and ABC) which explained why California could not get gas from other states! Perhaps Californians will finally revolt against CARB and join the rest of the country.

    The Rochester area has already been hard hit. Hopefully there will be some industry which picks up the slack there.

    The question I would like to ask Ms. MARGERY KREVSKY is there a link between fashion GOING INTO designing interiors? The models all seem to dressed to project the personality of the companies, not necessarily related to the interior.

  7. HtG Says:

    I take issue with some of the things Ms. Krevsky said about the presenters at the Paris Show. First, the Audi gals were dressed like guys and were wearing figure concealing grey outfits with men’s black belts. Second, the LBDs were being used to magnificent effect by Cadillac in DC and NY last year. Third, I’m looking more at the women next to the cars these days than I am bothering with the bureaucrat ‘inspired’ sheet metal.

    There’s got to be something wrong with that.

  8. pedro fernandez Says:

    I must be turning into a low testosterone, decrepit old geezer, but when I go to an auto show, the last thing on my mind are the models, human models. Want to see the new stuff and the upcoming stuff!

  9. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ #5: Most people do buy what they need,not really what they want.And many people such as myself live out in the country,and have for all of my life.As for trucks,not many compact trucks to buy anymore is there? Funny,all the oems sold all of their compact trucks,yet the same oems don’t want to make them for the USA anymore.

  10. pedro fernandez Says:

    #5 problem is they’ll stop eating out or taking trips or buying stuff rather than get into a smaller vehicle or driving much less.

  11. MJB Says:

    @ #5 – “American car buyers have chosen the biggest SUV/Truck that they can afford, not the vehicle that best meets their needs”

    And?… Your point is… You do realize this is America, right? I, for one, certainly do not plan on stopping short at the vehicle that simply “best fits my needs” next time I hit the showroom. Sure I could get by with just a Camry. But why should I when I can comfortably afford a Lexus LS460L?

    @ #7 – My setiments exactly HtG. Can’t believe she actually classified those Audi models’ outfits as ‘feminine’. Theirs were the LEAST feminine in the whole place. “Soft Greys” aside – since when has the Hillary Clinton look been synonymous with femininity?

  12. Ed K Says:

    Hey Branigan,

    No worse than your diesel truck spam, we get it, you like diesels, now write about something else for a change, like off-road vehicles you don’t see everyday.

  13. G.A.Branigan Says:

    When questions come up about diesels,or AD has something about diesels sometimes I post a link to a relevant article don’t I.I have never posted an advertisement for anything.That is the difference between relevant comments and articles on topic as apposed to blatant spam….get it?

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    E85 has about 30% less energy/gallon than E10, so earlier flex fuel vehicles that made no “tuning” changes, like ignition timing, would probably lose about 30% mpg on E85.

    E85, though, has a much higher octane rating than regular E10, or even premium, so a flex fuel engine can run more advance, slightly leaner mixture relative to stoicometric, and, if a turbo, can run more boost to take advantage of the higher octane fuel, and improve power and efficiency. If you search “e85 vs e10 mpg” or similar, you get a lot of different opinions on the mpg you actually get with flex fuel vehicles.

  15. buzzerd Says:

    @5 I totally agree with you and that doesn’t mean you can’t buy a truck, I have one also, but you don’t have to buy the 3/4 ton and add a 6″ lift to drive to the mall or drive down a dirt road to shoot your deer. Personally if I didn’t need a truck to occasionally hall a motorcycle and dirt bike I wouldn’t drive one, mostly because they handle like a truck and have the ride of a truck.

  16. Kit Gerhart Says:

    So all of these people NEED 6000 pound SUV’s to go to the grocery store, and take road trips with two people and little cargo. I never would have known.

    As far as compact pickups, I see a lot of Rangers, even though I am clearly not in “Ford Country” in Kokomo, Indiana, land of GM and Chrysler manufacturing. It’s just that Ford made compact trucks, which some people want, and no one else has made them lately. For whatever reason, Ford chose to drop the Ranger rather than making it better. It was really showing its age at the end, but people bought them anyway. We’ll see how the new Colorado turns out, if and when it arrives.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    In the past two weeks, I met 2 Ford F150 owners who traded their V8′s for the new Turbo 6 and they claim better mileage and no loss in power.

  18. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The F150 turbo gets 1 mpg better EPA numbers than the 5.0 V8, but CR got the same mileage in their tests. Everyone says the turbo six drives very well, though.

    Of course, maybe the V8′s that were traded were older, 5.4′s which would be a lot thirstier than the new turbo, or the new 5.0 V8.

  19. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: Playing devils advocate for the land yacht owners,maybe they have heavy campers/boats that they sometimes haul on weekends.There is no way to know if in fact they do need such a vehicle.As for me,I don’t even need a 1/2 ton pickup anymore so I don’t have one.BUT….up until a short while ago I did need one,and had one that I used to pull at different time,the two trailers I owned.I have a friend of mine who is a radio engineer and drives a suburban.He carries very expensive electronics test equipment used to keep commercial radio,and tv stations up and operating.He choose the big 4×4 suburban so his equipment is somewhat safer for thieves as well as not getting rattled around like in a pickup.My point? If you seen him driving around all alone in this huge land yacht you would think he’s just into wasting gas and resources.He also uses it in the winter time to pull his snowcat to remote mountain tops to service what I just described.That also includs the police/law enforcement and the various emergency agencies that we seem to have in abundance.

  20. HtG Says:

    I hope that this Thursday on AfterHours we’ll hear a few numbers on the subject of the energy and other costs that go into delivering various fuels. It takes energy to make gasoline, lots of heat is needed to distill crude or separate lovely Canadian bitumen. It also takes water to grow Corn, and natural gas as feedstock for fertilizer to grow it, then more gas to cook the stuff up in your all american still. I’d like to know more about the true budgets for fuels. I can read about the stability of the Persian Gulf elsewhere.(sorry about my tone, I used to work in oil, so my tolerance for belly aching consumers is thin. Oil is hard to do)

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    @ G.A.: I agree that I don’t know what the big vehicles might be sometimes used for, just seeing them go down the road, but I know people who have Tahoes, Expeditions, and a Navigator, who never tow anything, and never carry any stuff that wouldn’t fit in the trunk of a mid-size car.

    They have various reasons for driving them, most of which are a version of saying “screw you” to people in cars, such as, “I can see over traffic better” (and block your view.) “They are good in a crash” (I can kill people in smaller vehicles, and survive myself.)

    Oh well. I’m not going to change the world, but I will say that I agree with Rafi that in that it doesn’t bother me much when fuel prices go up. If we had Europe’s fuel prices, people would think a lot more about their needs when they buy cars.

  22. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve read that processing the Canadian tar sands oil is the most energy-intensive fuel source of all, worse than ethanol from corn. I don’t know if that is true, but it seems likely.

    A guest on an NPR show a while back suggested that they should use small nuclear reactors as an energy source to make the steam needed for processing the stuff, rather than burning natural gas. Maybe reactors like in navy carriers would work.

  23. HtG Says:

    There’s also lots of profit for american carcos in those trucks. Isn’t this what the mileage standards which take into account footprint are about?

    OK, now I’m wound up

  24. Chuck Grenci Says:

    #9 pedro
    Pretty much agree with this ‘cept the part about ” the last thing on my mind” (well maybe not the LAST thing) but agree the vehicles are the ‘stars’. Now, if we’re talking motorcycle shows; now them’s some models. ;)

  25. HtG Says:

    Trade deficits anyone? About 40-44% of our trade deficit is for petroleum. Maybe if more of our energy were made here it would be nice.


    6 pages

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I tire of all these Pres candidates promising to make us energy independent if they win and then they all fail to do so, even with 2 terms.

  27. HtG Says:

    26 You mean there’s demagoguery in this establishment?

  28. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Ducati always has some really good models at the MotoGP in Indy. They might not be legal on broadcast TV.

  29. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ Kit: I live out in the country so don’t see any kind of big city traffic,and the vehicles there in.Out here most folks are just getting by.Having said that,they buy a vehicle that is as useful as they can get withing their budgets.Nobody around here buys a ‘land yacht’ for for the sake of having one.I’m sure in large urban areas that some people buy what I would call ‘useless snotbag vehicles’ that only show that they can afford such.Even 3/4 ton crew cab pickups are often used for everything they need to do.If they don’t actually need it,most I know won’t buy it.But I do understand that lots of city folks buy ‘big’.

  30. HtG Says:

    28 I was watching that on a foreign broadcasting corporation, Kit, if you get my drift. They sure do spend an inordinate amount of time covering the starting grid girls holding up those umbrellas. Is it the same girls all over the world, cause you wouldn’t want to share some of those outfits.

  31. Ed K Says:

    Hey Branigan,

    It’s only spam if I have a financial interest in it, which I don’t, maybe you should look up the meaning of spam before spouting off about it, and if you took the trouble to check out the website you would even see that they have a DIESEL option, something that we ALL know you like.

  32. cwolf Says:

    Since the price of oil is market determined, I don’t believe where it comes from has that much of an impact. I believe the real problem is with the refiners suspicious and timely shutdowns/breakdowns and bottlenecks which mystically keep fuel prices inching higher as consumption continues to decline. Any sane person knows there is no valid reason and, after awhile, excuses become lame and insulting.

  33. Kit Gerhart Says:

    30 I’d guess that it’s semi-local girls at each venue, but I’m not sure.

  34. cwolf Says:

    By the way; could you guys kick up the fervor a notch or two about the models dress? The last time we had a good tiff was when tj was aboard!

  35. cwolf Says:

    It should be worthy noted that Hyundai/Kia sales grew only as a result of Japans misfortune,yet GM sales exceeded Hyundai/Kia at 244k units for the month and a 10% increase for the year! Guess even most Chinese know junk when they see it!

  36. HtG Says:

    Le’me try, cwolf.

    At the Lime Rock ALMS event this summer, Falken Tire had a pair of stunners out. Two tall gals in heels, wearing what looked like Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader outfits, except in satin blue. This pair were taller than me, with ripped abs. I swear I didn’t feel right ogling them without waving a folded C-note.

    Ah, if only Craig Cole were still around to try to embarrass.

  37. C-Tech Says:

    I wonder what Ms. Krevsky would have to say about Linda Vaughn in her heyday? Racing (F1 to Dragstrips) seem to have the most fashion va-voom in my opinion.

  38. cwolf Says:

    HtG, there is nothing wrong with ogling and if one was endowed it would have reminded you of a “56″ Caddy!

  39. HtG Says:

    What was her name again?

  40. cwolf Says:

    Kreskin Wolf feels a prediction coming on! Car sales will decline over the year,but I predict truck sales will make up for past declines. The housing market is cracking the ice, so after 3 months of steady work, many contractors and subs will feel confident enough to make a new purchases. Of the many I have known over the years I don’t think a single one would care about E85,let alone purposely use it!

  41. Lex Says:

    I really hate the design of the new Kia Forte!!!
    The Current Design of the Korte is sporty, strong and sharp, too bad Kia is meshing with a good thing. Scratch the new Forte model off my shopping list.

    I passed a Gas Station today in Rye, N.Y. where regular gas was priced at $4.35 and E85 at $3.89. This is the only station selling E85 within my local area. Nobody thinks about buying a FlexFuel vehicel in my area since there is such little access to E85. What are our Elected Officials due to easy the “Pain at the Pump?

  42. HtG Says:

    An article on lovely Dagmars for our edification.


  43. cwolf Says:

    @ #39: I’m not sure:”Consuelo” comes to mind. She may have been Cuban,so be careful. She wasn’t modeling for Toyota,but who knows? She could be related to pedro!!!

  44. cwolf Says:

    HtG, you ol’fart, I can’t believe you would ogle at such big bosoms! I bet you were hoping to see if the “57″ model having the “pasties” came with tassels. What would your mother say bout your fixation???

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There are now a few places selling E85 where I am in Indiana, but it is not enough cheaper than regular to be cost effective. The E85 needs to be about 25% cheaper, but it’s only about 10% cheaper.

  46. pedro fernandez Says:

    Wow, $4.35 in NY we get about $3.75 and I find it too much, I guess it’s a matter of regions, look at Cali and how much they drive there. No I don’t have any relatives named Consuelo or Maria or Gloria or Celia or Fidel.

  47. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have met people who own e85 capable vehicles and don’t use it cause it’s not available where they get their gas and they won’t go out of the way to get some.

  48. buzzerd Says:

    true story- a few of us were sitting around the coffee table B.S.ing a few years back when the price of fuel came up, everyone bitching. I said it was a bunch of whining because 3 of us lived very close together, (within blocks) and the 4 drove past all our houses on the way to work. We all drove Ext cab 4X4 trucks to work, alone. Iiiiiiiiiiiiif the price of fuel was so bad why wouldn’t we share a ride to work? Because it wasn’t so bad and we could afford it. There was no further talk of fuel prices.

  49. cwolf Says:

    Question: Does E85 come in Summer and Winter blends? If so, wouldn’t the winter blend result in an even greater reduction in mpg’s?

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    There are winter and summer blends of E85. I’ve heard that the summer blend gives better mpg, but I don’t have any E85 compatible vehicles, so I haven’t been able to experiment.

  51. W L Simpson Says:

    2010 GMC Terrain 10% more for real gas , 20%
    better mileage.
    Don’t ever store (or run)your outboard
    w/ethanol in the system, specially EFI mercs..
    Clogs up every thing, specially the injection pump. Trying STP cleaner.
    According to the web, damage is nationwide & big bucks at the dealers service depts.
    Foggy Bottom strikes again

  52. RonE Says:

    Re: #1, The Mud-ox reminds me of the Banana Buggies that the Banana Splits rode around in on their tv show “The Banana Splits” that aired during the late 1960′s. Six wheel all terrain vehicles.


  53. Earl Says:

    #26…Nixon was the first to tell everyone that the U S would be energy independent soon. But I don’t think Romney’s doing it because I heard he doesn’t lie.

  54. blueovalblood Says:

    John, why aren’t we making ethanol from sugar like Brazil is? It’s not like we don’t have enough spare tires to go around?!?! See what Candace has to say about that Thursday.

  55. kevin m Says:


  56. pedro fernandezp Says:

    I remember back in 08 when gas approached $5, movies, restaurants, stores all lost business cause people need to fill up them tanks more than their stomachs at an eatery, it’s a matter of priorities, folks.

  57. RonE Says:

    The top export for the U.S. in 2011 was fuel, gas, diesel and jet fuel.


  58. HtG Says:

    You want to read this paragraph from a more detailed analysis linked to above…

    The first thing to understand about this number is that it refers only to net exports of refined petroleum products, calculated for example by subtracting the amount of gasoline that the U.S. imports from the amount of gasoline that we export. These imports or exports of refined products are far smaller in magnitude than the imports of crude oil, which is the raw material from which refined products are made. The small positive net export balance on petroleum products is still completely dwarfed by the huge negative balance on crude petroleum.


  59. jesse Says:

    E85/Ethanol in General and as a whole is a big FRAUD being perpretrated on the AMERICAN driving public!It may have made sense back in the 70′s,but brother,we ain’t there anymore!Dump all of it.PERIOD!!RAFI JAAN…No offense,I don’t know you,but I don’t want you or ANY government dictating what I drive!Maybe that’s good for you and yours but not me and mine and I resent you saying what you did about American drivers.WE DRIVE WHAT WE WANT BECAUSE WE CAN!!!You want to spend 40 large for an Electric car,knock yourself out.25+ for Hybrids?That’s your choice.Now go live in California with the rest of the nut jobs.

  60. Brett Says:

    My son-in-law is an attorney in South Florida. He drives an H2 Hummer “cause he likes it”. My step-daughter drives a Suburban “cause it’s safe for the children”.

    People buy what they want and what they can afford. What they “need” can be quite subjective.

    Case in point: I bought the Crown Victoria LX Sport in 2003 because we were doing a lot of road trips between Houston, TX, Knoxville, TN, and South Florida, I could afford the vehicle, my wife liked it, and it was bad-ass. :)

    I probably should’ve looked into buying one of those loaded up Elantra GT hatches because I found the quasi-European styling attractive, but considering my wife already had expressed dissatisfaction with the loaded Accord EX we’d test driven (seats not sufficiently luxurious), I didn’t bother to explore that option. I would’ve given the Ford Five Hundred a good, hard look, but they weren’t available then.

    I suppose I could’ve gotten a Marauder or a 3-series, but I’m sorta cheap. :)

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    #59 it’s worked out ok for Brazil and has cut their oil imports to almost zilch, if you combine E85 with nuclear and coal and natural gas, we could indeed cut our dependence in foreign oil quite a bit, but no one individual wants to make ANY sacrifice, it’s always someone else or the government that has to step up.

  62. Kit Gerhart Says:

    As long as people continue to drive 6000 pound trucks to transport one person around town, U.S. energy independence will be a mere pipe dream. There are many energy sources for making electricity, natural gas being one that is increasingly being used, but liquid fuels like gasoline are what run our vehicles, and will continue to for a long time, and we will continue to import the raw material to make that gasoline.