Episode 1013 – U.S. to Dominate Oil Production, Honda Civic’s New Face, Women Rule the Roads

November 13th, 2012 at 11:36am

Runtime: 7:02

An international agency says that the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production by the end of the decade. Honda shows off the Civic’s new face prior to its Los Angeles debut. For the first time ever, women rule the roads. All that and more, plus we preview Continental’s newest safety technology developed to meet stricter safety regulations.

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Hello and welcome to Autoline Daily. Coming up later we have some news from the guy that many of you taken to calling “Sandy Claus” — the one and only Sandy Munro. But, before we get to that, here’s what’s hot off the presses.

In what is going to become a geopolitical game changer, the International Energy Agency based in Paris, says the United States will surpass Saudi Arabia in oil production by 2020. It’s all about shale oil and fracking. And it says natural gas will replace oil as the primary energy source in the U.S. by 2030. That doesn’t necessarily mean lower prices for gasoline at the pump, because those are set by the international market. However, U.S. oil consumption is declining and is expected to decline for decades. Here’s my Autoline Insight: this could have a big impact on the 2017 review of the Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations. The pressure to achieve 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025 could ease up. It’s unlikely the target would be reduced, but it’s possible the auto industry would be given more time to achieve it.

Speaking of CAFE, on Autoline After Hours last Thursday, Sandy Munro, whose company does all kinds of vehicle teardowns, showed us a study they worked on with the company FEV. They essentially redesigned a Toyota Venza, reducing its mass by 700 pounds, or about 313 kilograms. And yet they also reduced the cost by $148, while meeting all the crash standards. This was a government sponsored study so the results are public information. Check out today’s show notes for a link to that study. But I warn you, it’s almost 900 pages long.

Honda unveiled a tiny EV concept car in Japan called the Micro Commuter Prototype. It’s designed for short-distance trips for families with small children, senior citizens, delivery services and car sharing services. The EV has a range of 60 kilometers or 37 miles and a top speed of 80 kilometers per hour or about 50 miles per hour. The company will start testing the vehicle in Japan next year.

And speaking of Honda, the company just revealed the 2013 Civic before it debuts at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month. The company says the refreshed model incorporates more upscale and premium styling to go along with new safety, comfort and chassis features. I’d say this is a fairly modest facelift that is a step in the right direction. It goes on sale later this month.

Here’s a seismic cultural change. Last week we reported that a new study says women are better drivers than men. Now the AP reports that for the first time in the U.S. there are more women with a driver’s license than men. In 2010 nearly 106 million women had their license compared to 104 million men. And that gap will only widen if current trends continue. Fewer young adults are getting their license but the decline is greater for young men.

Coming up next, a look at how German supplier Continental is helping automakers receive five-star crash ratings.

Safety regulations for cars are becoming more stringent in the U.S. and it’s the same case in Europe. In the coming years, automakers are unlikely to receive five star ratings from the EuroNCAP, the continent’s rating agency, unless vehicles are equipped with driver assistance systems. That’s why German supplier Continental is developing several different emergency brake assist systems, to help automakers pass the stricter tests.

I think we’re going to see dramatic improvements in safety in the next decade. That technology is really impressive.

Don’t forget to tune in to Autoline After Hours when the Autoextremist and I will have the chief engineer of Ford’s new Fusion on the show. Here’s your chance to learn how Ford went about developing that car.

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

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53 Comments to “Episode 1013 – U.S. to Dominate Oil Production, Honda Civic’s New Face, Women Rule the Roads”

  1. Tony Gray Says:

    Umm, the link to the study only takes me to a search page for the EPA.

  2. Tony Gray Says:

    Disregard my previous comment. It was just blocked by my work filters.

  3. pedro fernandez Says:

    Why does Honda not show the interior of the “updated” Civic when that was the #1 complaint of the auto media with the 2012 model it’s crappy interior, material and the way it was put together.

  4. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The Civic gets a facelift, but did they fix any of what was wrong with it, the crude interior, cabin noise, and so-so ride?

  5. Phoenix Mark Says:

    I’d say the facelift for the Civic is mostly on the interior.

  6. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Taking weight out of the Venza would be great, but in addition, if they’d just make a real Camry wagon, that would be better yet. Venza’s 5-6 inches of extra height doesn’t help gas mileage much at highway speed.

  7. pedro fernandez Says:

    Taking weight off ANY vehicle would be a great idea, but at what cost? The feds are not gonna remove any of the safety and environmental requirements which made the new cars so heavy to begin with!

  8. dcars Says:

    Road noise is common problem with all Honda’s. The interior on the civic is pretty bad, if they didn’t address this issue then it’s not fixed.

  9. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The article said they removed the weight while still meeting the crash standards, but maybe the “Venza Light” would have a more Civic-like interior and cabin noise.

  10. HtG Says:

    The Old Man and the Smokey.

    This Sunday at high noon I was getting onto the highway, following a BMW 750iL. Even though I thought I was pushing my lowly Civic around the ramp, that Bimmer was getting away. At some point I think the driver ahead of me and I both espied a 911 going like stink in the far left lane, whereupon he, not me, took off to race the Porker. And they did race a bit, dodging through traffic, while I took a long look down the road on the shoulder. That’s because the Old Man in this tale knows well that this particular stretch of road is one certified speed trap. So the big question is which boy racer did The Bear launch itself at, and maul?




    Pity the Poor Porsche

  11. Bob in Atlanta Says:

    The active braking systems being devised sound very promising and practical. I hope they continue to develop advanced whiplash protection systems at the same time.

  12. Lex Says:

    Women might have the majority when it comes to holding driving licenses and being safer drivings and I will give you the reasons why:
    Women live longer than men, that is why there are more female than male registered drivers.
    Secondly,In my household I do the majority of all the driving. My wife sits in the passenger sit the vast majority of the time. She will of course be less likely to have an accident or get a speeding ticket because I am doing the majority of the driving. A real world example of life in suburbia.

  13. jesse Says:

    It would seem that the only thing that can possibly lower gas prices is…..wait for it….AN ELECTION!!!

  14. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The election is over, and gas prices are still going down. Did the completion of the election cause that?

  15. W L Simpson Says:

    HtG, u r a poet !

  16. motorman Says:

    back in my day males wanted a car and driver licence so they could have sex. now you don’t need a car you just walk,take a cab or a bus to the girls house. times have changed

  17. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 10 – I’ll take a stab and guess the Porsche as thats the most obvious target for good ol Smokey .

    As a second shot I’ll say either both or the one that was leading .
    Oh but please don’t tell me ol Smokey nailed you in the Civic !!!

    That’d be more my league seeing as how with all the exotics and sports cars I’ve owned and driven the only thing I’ve ever gotten a ticket in was a rental Suabru . On two different occasions . Go figure 8)

  18. ColoradoKid Says:

    Woman Drivers Translated & Explained ;

    ( as per the ‘ Plain Language Initiative ‘ )

    1) Woman are ‘ safer’ not more skilled drivers . The problem being us more skilled ( on average ) male drivers have a tendency to push those skills to the limit on public roads more often due to our susceptibility to the small brain controlling the big brain bringing on a wave of the ‘ Red Mist ‘
    2) There are more women than men in the US so it only makes sense that there are more women drivers . This not being Saudi Arabia and all
    3) Those facts on women being ‘ safer ‘ are no surprise what so ever . Every and any car insurance company has known for decades women are safer drivers which accounts for them – all things being equal – having lower insurance rates

  19. HtG Says:

    Last week the Beeb had a doc on driving safety, and indeed one point they made is that males take more risks than women. One prof on the show said that risk taking is an evolutionary advantage when it comes to attracting the ladies. It ain’t the gals dragging their boyfriends to the race track.

    The thrill is in the chase, as ever.

    Another point on the doc was that police reports show that a ‘failure to look in the appropriate place’ was a leading cause of accidents. Looking in the vanity mirror as you apply lipstick on the way to work, permaybe?

    Of, dass sessis

  20. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I sure see a lot of cases where one of Lex’s explanations in #12 for women drivers being safer is the case. They don’t drive nearly as many miles. My father probably drove 10 times as many miles as my mother, and that is not atypical.

  21. Kit Gerhart Says:

    In my parents’ case, my father was actually a much safer driver than my mother. He had only one crash in his ~60 years of driving, and she had two, even though she didn’t drive nearly as many miles. None of the crashes were serious.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    Women do more yapping and texting as they drive, so I don’t know how much safer can they be than men, who kind of speed more and take more risks.

  23. pedro fernandez Says:

    CR just did a quick review of the Tesla S and they loved the driving dynamics, too bad they don’t put an ICE in that sleek, great handling machine.

  24. ColoradoKid Says:

    CR . Clueless as ever !

  25. Kit Gerhart Says:

    C and D said pretty much the same thing. They likedthe way the Tesla S drives.

  26. pedro fernandez Says:

    Re the Tesla, yeah, handles great, incredible torque and acceleration, tons of fun and oops! ran out of juice, sorry, call AAA for a tow please. I wonder if AAA charges a premium to EV owners, most likely to use their services than just about anyone else. The Tesla has a gigantic PC monitor in the middle of the dash, according to CR “it lets you surf the web as you drive” What a great safety tip for all to follow, I think CR testers have lost their freaking minds!!!

  27. ColoradoKid Says:

    Sorry guys but the insurance stats don’t lie ( or do they ? ) We’re a bunch of quasi homicidal maniacs behind the wheel and the ladies are all Mary Poppins personified . Least thats how the insurance industry stats stack up . Stats . Curious things those . With a little tweak here – a bit of stretching /compressing there and a few cooking skills on the side – you can make the stats say anything you want them to – in the name of profit of course .


  28. ColoradoKid Says:

    So C&D and CR now base their reviews on all of a five minute test drive . Interesting .

    #26 . CR and C&D lost their minds as well as their integrity years ago to the almighty dollar and pacifying certain elements that might have something to gain or lose depending on CR and C&D’s reviews . Honesty and Integrity having gone the way of Common Sense with those two as well as 90% of the other automotive press in print and online these days .

  29. ColoradoKid Says:

    GM & PSA

    Looks like the honeymoons over before the wedding even began


    Or maybe its just the French Government coming to their senses fearing another SAAB story only this time with their PSA ?

  30. Alex Kovnat Says:

    > In what is going to become a
    > geopolitical game changer,
    > the International Energy Agency
    > based in Paris, says the United
    > States will surpass Saudi Arabia
    > in oil production by 2020.

    I have mixed feelings about the USA becoming the world’s biggest oil producer.

    If the most important consideration driving the matter of oil, energy, high-fuel economy cars, etc is that we don’t like to import huge quantities of oil from the Middle East, then drilling for oil here in our own country makes sense.

    But if buildup of carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere is the most important problem, then more oil isn’t going to solve our problems any more than a mother lode of cocaine would solve a cocaine addict’s problems.

    Perhaps the best compromise is this: Drill for oil here in the USA, but place a carbon tax on oil (and also coal and natural gas) to create firm, admittedly painful but also very flexible incentives for us to burn less of said fossil fuels.

  31. Kit Gerhart Says:

    To me, it is not good news that “the US will dominate oil production.” That will probably set back any serious efforts to reduce consumption for another generation, not what we, or the world needs to happen.

  32. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, EV’s will keep the flatbed operators in business. I suspect the driving range numbers being thrown around for the Tesla are for very gentle driving, not what the car is likely to see, given its performance potential.

  33. pedro fernandez Says:

    If conservation does not go together with new production, we will again find ourselves depending heavily on foreign oil in no time.

  34. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I guess you could carry a Honda generator in the back of the Tesla, and get a “limp home” charge while you sit on the side of the road for a couple hours.

  35. HtG Says:

    Check this line from the IEA report,…

    “North America emerges as a net oil exporter, accelerating the switch in direction of international oil trade, with almost 90% of Middle Eastern oil exports being drawn to Asia by 2035.”

    This will do wonders for the US balance of trade, but think of security landscape. See, this here, is why the carbiz is so interesting.

  36. HtG Says:

    33 the report also sees efficiency rising

  37. Rafi Jaan Says:


    I know the Continental’s Emergency Brake is in the prototype stage, but I still worry about the very small gap that it leaves between it and the car in front. It seems that the system engages a little too late, therefore the gap is a lot smaller. In slippery road surfaces, braking so late would decrease the chance of a safe stop, so I hope Continental does change its system before it goes into production cars.

    On another note about US female drivers: 1) There are more females in the US than males. 2) In my household, I do most of the driving if I’m driving with a female, therefore she doesn’t get into accidents or gets a speeding violation (of course) and is therefore deemed “safer.”

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    It seems likely that females have lower insurance rates because they drive fewer miles, while maybe having more crashes per mile. The ins. companies probably have such data, but they don’t publicize it.

  39. pedro fernandez Says:

    Lindsay Lohan might tip the balance in this case, Kit, to help guys pay less insurance than women.

  40. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Yeah, she definitely does her part.

  41. HtG Says:

    That kind of talk hurts me, guys

  42. Ckernzie Says:

    Key phrase in the IEA Report: “North America” that would include the huge oil reserves in Canada. Now if you ‘mericans could hurry up and get the Keystone pipeline approved we can start sending you oil to be refined on the Gulf coast. Then you will be energy self-sufficient and the predictions will come true.

  43. Kit Gerhart Says:

    …but don’t you use almost as much energy processing the tar sands oil as you get burning it? Maybe small nuclear reactors would be a good source of energy for making the steam to process the stuff, rather than wasting natural gas, and producing more greenhouse gas.

  44. cwolf Says:

    Does it seem like there are more recalls today than those of 5-10 years ago? I think Ford and Toyota are trying to vie for most recalls in a year.

    I’m a Prius fan,but after the recent el window problem, a recall on water pumps and steering shafts were reported. What’s next? Toyota used to stand for reliability, but it’s tanking real fast!

  45. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The one problem I have had with my Prius was a “steering intermediate shaft.” There were “clunks” when turning the wheel, noticeable mainly at very low speed, like in parking lots, when turning the steering to near lock.

    I saw the part that had been replaced. It is a steel shaft that goes through the firewall, and has a U joint at each end. One of the axes of one of the U joints felt very rough when bent, while the other three were smooth. I suspect this is what the recall was about, though I don’t think 2010 Priuses like mine have been recalled.

    I was pleasantly surprised that the problem was correctly diagnosed by the dealer, (in Indiana) and that the part was replaced, and fixed the problem, without anything else being broken.

  46. cwolf Says:

    Kit, the article said the years were from 2003-2011 for Prius exported from Japan.

  47. Kit Gerhart Says:

    OK, maybe I will get a notice, or maybe I won’t because it will be on record that the steering shaft has been replaced.

    2003-2011 covers all three generations of Prius.

  48. ColoradoKid Says:


    I would have to agree . Its seems IMHO over say the last three years the number of recalls has been rapidly increasing at a very alarming rate . The fact that the rise in numbers is now including such previously dependable stalwarts such as Toyota makes it seem even worse .

  49. ColoradoKid Says:


    I would have to agree . Problem being thats not the spin the Ins Co’s chose to publicize .

    My guess though is all their takes/spins are simply an excuse/justification to overcharge one element of the car buying population so as not to seem too greedy by overcharging everyone . But thats just this mans opinion : with no viable fact to back it up .

  50. Kit Gerhart Says:

    Maybe part of the reason for an increase in recalls, is that, unlike in the 80′s, companies seem more inclined to recall cars rather than hiring lots of lawyers to fight it, as with the X car brake problems. Still, there are a lot of recalls, like Toyota with 2.77 million in one recall.

  51. ColoradoKid Says:

    # 50

    Much as I’d like to believe thats the reason all the evidence seems to be pointing towards lax quality control , rushed production , cost cutting on materials and accessories , lack of skilled workers on the assembly lines .. along with a general apathy amongst the current crop of workers etc .

  52. Dan Hudgins Says:


    We need to get Sandy Munro back on AAH to discuss his Venza study in depth. Meeting the new CAFE standards has got to be the toughest thing on automakers agenda and Sandy is saying they can do that on a car as large as the Venza and do it for less money. That’s a game changer and I’d like to understand it better.

  53. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    gm and psa. why gm? psa has been on a slide for over a decade now. because psa has lost its flair for design. psa’s linkage with the house of pininfarina resulted in great designs like the 405, 406 coupe, 505, etc. but now, peugeots are solid vehicles, but ugly.

    and the fact that psa is very dependent on the european continent (60+ %) for its revenue is now a recipe for disaster.

    opel does not need a partner. but opel needs long-term thinking and action from gm.

    usa to dominate oil production again. this has been talked about all this year. but there needs to be research into alternative fuels in tandem with increased oil prodution in the usa and canada.

    toyota venza weighing 700 lbs less yet meeting all standards and costing less to do so. i concur with the gentleman indicating that mr. munro should be brought back to discuss this in greater detail.

    also covetics.info. they are teasing very badly. we really need to know more about this in depth. does it only work with alloys? or can this be done with base metals as well? that promises to be a serious game changer in manufacturing for good.

    recalls. it does have to do with lowering standards for parts in order to meet the cost requirements of the manufacturer. you can lay the responsibility at the feet of jose ignacio lopez de arriotua. in the 90s while working at gm, he was the one tasked with the job of lowering costs of parts that gm bought from suppliers. some time later, he went to vw along with some secrets from gm. and got nailed in the process.