By now, you've probably heard about General Motors' Vice-Chairman, Bob Lutz's comments:
- "Global warming is a total crock of sh**."
- Hybrid cars like those made by Toyota “make no economic sense...”
- His opposition to U.S. government's increased CAFE fuel effiency standards, stating "CAFE is a totally flawed strategy"
- When asked about the wisdom of producing vehicles that run on ethanol, given its "questionable" benefits, he accused the American Petroleum Institute of running a multi-million dollar smear campaign against ethanol
- His opinion that both Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton's plans to raise fuel standards to 40 mpg in the next decade are unrealistic
Lutz goes on to state that these are only his personal opinions and they carry no weight at GM, the largest automaker in the US, and are not a reflection of GM's values. But here are some facts for your consideration.
- According to the Union of Concerned Scientists' Automaker Rankings 2007: The Environmental Performance of Car Companies (of all automakers responsible for 96% of cars in the US), GM is ranked next to last. Their key finding about GM? "General Motors crawls out of the basement—barely. GM is the top peddler of vehicles rated at 15 mpg or worse in city driving."
- US auto fuel standards have remained at 27.5 mpg for two decades and the Clean Energy Act 2007 proposes to raise standards to 35 mpg by 2020, finally bringing the US close to China's standards and exceeding South Korea's standards. According to BusinessWeek, GM can tout 23 vehicles in its lineup that achieve 30 mpg or more, surpassing the efficiency standards that were set in the 1980s.
- According to the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Japanese cars now get an average of 46 miles to the gallon while American cars (at 27.5 mpg) have the lowest standards and fleet-average fuel economy ratings of 9 worldwide regions covered in their study. The EU is targeting a 48.9 mpg standard by 2012.
- For the first time in history, foreign imports now claim more than 1/2 the US auto market as US automakers' market shares continue to decline. In 2007, Toyota finally overtook GM's seven decade run as the largest automaker in the world.