New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote an op-ed piece on Wednesday that absolutely blasted General Motors for its "Fuel Price Protection Program" in which California and Florida customers are being reimbursed for the cost of gas above $1.99/gallon for one year. Some more colorful quotes from Friedman's article include, "Is there a company more dangerous to America's future than General Motors?", as well as comparing the company to "a crack dealer looking to keep his addicts on a tight leash."

GM's product czar and media wrangler Bob Lutz takes Friedman's harshly worded editorial to task on GM's FastLane Blog pointing out that Toyota offers a larger $2,000 cash rebate on the Sequoia, which actually gets worse mileage than the Tahoe. He also points out the General's recent push into E85 territory, its industry-leading lineup of 30 mpg or better vehicles, and its commitment to hydrogen fuel cell R&D.

Lutz is at the top of his game, however, when he points out that for all the credit Toyota receives for its Prius hybrid, the Japanese company's growth over the past ten years has been fueled mainly by its expansion into truck and SUV segments. But he gets back on Toyota's good side by saying, "Don't get me wrong. Toyota's a fine company. But like GM, Toyota offers a full range of cars and trucks to satisfy all their customers across this nation."

A full range of vehicles will always include ones that get worse mileage than others, and usually the less efficient of the bunch will be trucks and SUVs. It appears to us that GM is putting the most effort into making its full-size trucks and SUVs as efficient as possible without sacrificing their purpose. For all the GM bashing we're accused of here on Autoblog, we stand with Bob on this one.

[Source: The Detroit News and GM FastLane Blog]

CORRECTION: Umm... yeah, so the editorial on GM's FastLane Blog wasn't written by Mr. Lutz but by by Steven J. Harris,
Vice President of Global Communications GM. Don't know how we missed that one, except the tone of the commentary matches some past fumings from Bob so much we just assumed, and that made an ass out of us, not  you.