Latest News From Bumper to Bumper Radio

Buckle Up: Thanksgiving Travel to Rebound Almost to Pre-Pandemic Levels

Airports and roads may seem jam-packed this year as AAA predicts 53.4 million people to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, up 13% from 2020. This brings travel volumes within 5% of pre-pandemic levels in 2019, with air travel almost completely recovering from its dramatic fall during the pandemic, up 80% over last year. As restrictions continue to lift and consumer confidence builds, AAA urges travelers to be proactive when making their travel plans this holiday season.

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” said Paula Twidale, senior vice president, AAA Travel. “Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday.”

With 6.4 million more people traveling this Thanksgiving coupled with the recent opening of the U.S. borders to fully vaccinated international travelers—people should prepare for roads and airports to be noticeably more crowded.

“International travel re-opening will allow people to reconnect with friends and family and explore new places, while also giving a much-needed boost to the economy,” continued Twidale. “But it also means airports will be busier than we’ve seen, so travelers must plan for long lines and extra time for TSA checks.”

All-New 2022 Honda Civic Si Gets Set to Defend Affordable Performance Crown

- Civic Si sets a new standard for sport compact sedans with hot new styling, an updated turbocharged engine, standard rev-matching manual transmission, limited-slip differential, and sharper handling

- New high-tech sporty interior includes Si-specific Sport seats, racy red accents, a 9-inch HD color touchscreen and Bose® premium audio

- Civic Si is a performance icon that has offered young driving enthusiasts affordable high-performance for four decades

TORRANCE, Calif., Nov. 2, 2021 -- With an exciting new design, improved dynamic performance, and an even more engaging driving character, the all-new 2022 Honda Civic Si will begin racing into showrooms later this year, ready for a new generation of driving enthusiasts. Simply the best-handling, best-equipped, and most fun-to-drive Civic Si ever, the new 2022 Honda Civic Si has a starting Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP)1 of $27,300 (excluding a $1,015 destination charge). Optional high-performance summer tires that maximize grip and handling add just $200.

A New Benchmark for Sport Compact Sedans

AAA Finds Better Behavior Behind the Wheel, But There’s Room for Improvement

New data shows drivers still speeding and using the phone

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 28, 2021) — A new report finds unsafe driving behaviors, including red-light running, drowsy driving, and driving impaired on cannabis or alcohol, have declined in the past three years. Some dangerous driving behaviors have fallen more than others, with drivers still admitting to speeding and using a handheld cell phone, posing a danger on the roadways, according to new survey data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. As more Americans return to the daily commute, AAA reminds all motorists to practice safe driving behaviors by focusing on the task of driving, keeping their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

Benefits Outweigh Risks for Autonomous Vehicles - If They Are Regulated

An interdisciplinary panel of experts has assessed the risks and potential benefits associated with deploying autonomous vehicles (AVs) on U.S. roads and predicts that the benefits will substantially outweigh potential harms -- but only if the AVs are well regulated.

"We wanted to assess the potential harms and benefits associated with AVs and determine what the best implementation strategies would be to minimize harms and maximize benefits," says Veljko Dubljevi?, first author of the study and an associate professor in the Science, Technology & Society (STS) program at North Carolina State University.

Deploying AVs onto public roads is a complex social issue, which touches on everything from ethics to transportation engineering to artificial intelligence programming.

Toyota Corolla Cross: All-New Body Style Adds Utility, Fun

PLANO, Texas, Sept. 9, 2021 -- Fresh off the sale of the record-setting 50-millionth Corolla, the best-selling car of all time welcomes a versatile new family member with the introduction of the 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross. Value-priced and packed with features not typically found in a small crossover, Corolla Cross hits the sweet spot with the engaging driving experience of a small car and the functionality of a larger crossover. The 2022 Toyota Corolla Cross, based on the ever-popular Corolla sedan, is coming to dealerships this October with a starting MSRP of $22,195 for the front-wheel drive base grade. And a bump up to all-wheel drive will be available for an extra $1,300.

The all-new 2022 Corolla Cross will be assembled in the U.S. at the new Mazda Toyota Manufacturing plant in Huntsville, Alabama – a brand new facility that will have the capacity to produce up to 150,000 Corolla Cross vehicles per year.

"For over 50 years, Corolla has been synonymous with dependability, fuel efficiency, safety and value," said Lisa Materazzo, group vice president of Toyota Marketing. "With the all-new Corolla Cross, we are building upon that foundation and offering even more versatility and creature comforts to make everything from a daily commute to a weekend escape more memorable."

As Fall Approaches, National Gas Price Average Edges Lower

WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 13, 2021) — With the height of summer in the rearview mirror, motorists are seeing some relief at the pump, as the national gas price average dropped by a penny on the week to $3.17. However, the recovery from Hurricane Ida remains slow, with the latest U.S. data showing just under half of the U.S. offshore oil production in the Gulf still idle after companies shuttered production ahead of the storm.

Meanwhile, refinery utilization is down almost 10%, causing gasoline stock levels to fall by 7.2 million bbl to 220 million bbl, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Stock levels are likely to remain tight until Ida-affected refineries resume normal operations. While refineries are reporting progress towards restarting, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said it would release an additional 1.5 million bbl of crude oil held at the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) to help ease tightened supplies brought by Hurricane Ida. This is the second such release, and the DOE said the SPR has now released a total of 3.3 million bbl of crude oil in response to the storm.

U.S. News Announces the Best Labor Day Car Deals for 2021

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2021 -- U.S. News & World Report, the global authority in rankings and consumer advice, today unveiled the Best Labor Day Car Deals for 2021. The list features nine vehicles, including four SUVs, two compact cars, a large car, a midsize car and a luxury sports car. These models are all available with excellent financing, cash back or lease incentives.

"The current inventory shortages make Labor Day a difficult time to find a great deal, particularly if you're shopping for a popular truck or family-friendly SUV," said Jim Sharifi, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "The flip side is that there are attractive lease and finance offers on a number of top-ranked cars and small SUVs, so the three-day weekend is an excellent shopping opportunity for some buyers."

National Gas Price Average Could See Temporary Spikes Following Hurricane Ida

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 30, 2021) —The national gas price average decreased by two cents as of Sunday, the cheapest price since early July, but was back up a penny to $3.15 Monday morning following Hurricane Ida. The storm has left more than one million people in Louisiana and Mississippi without power and likely taken about 13% of U.S. refining capacity offline. There were nine oil refineries in Ida’s path; at least four were believed to have shut down operations ahead of the storm.

“Until the power is restored, it’s too early to know the full impact of any damage Ida caused on the oil and gas industry, but motorists regionally can expect price fluctuations leading into Labor Day weekend,” said Jeanette McGee, AAA spokesperson. “Typically, a category 4 storm could mean three plus weeks before refineries are back to normal operations, while offshore production is more likely to resume this week.”

Sticker Shock: Owning a New Vehicle Costs Nearly $10,000 Annually

According to the latest research from AAA, the average annual cost of new vehicle ownership is $9,666, or $805.50 per month. The biggest factor pushing the nearly $10,000 annual price tag is depreciation. It accounts for 40% of all ownership expenses outpacing additional costs like fuel and maintenance. With low inventory at dealerships due to the semi-conductor chip shortage, AAA urges new car buyers to be aware of all the expenses associated with ownership so that they can negotiate the best deal for their budget.

“Consumers have to remember the expense of owning a car goes far beyond the monthly payment,” said Greg Brannon, AAA’s director of automotive engineering and industry relations. “Plus, we are seeing costs increase for a number of products recently, and cars are no exception. This trend will likely continue as new vehicles come equipped with the latest technology, which naturally drives up the sticker price.”

Hybrid Cars are Twice as Vulnerable to Supply Chain Issues as Gas-Powered Models

The global computer chip shortage has hit car manufacturers especially hard, indicating the importance of supply chain resilience. Yet, for hybrid electric vehicles, it isn't clear how their production could be impacted by fluctuating supplies and high prices. To get a grasp of these vulnerabilities compared to those for gas-powered models, researchers reporting in ACS' Environmental Science & Technology conducted a thorough analysis, finding that hybrid models have twice the vulnerability to supply chain disruptions.

Clip of the Week

Andrew Abel of the GoodGuys Car Show joins Bumper to Bumper Radio from their remote broadcast at WestWorld.