At the Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City on Friday Chrysler's Loren Beard made some remarks that would come as a surprise to those who think that the automakers are in the pocket of the oil companies. Beard is the Senior Manager of Energy Planning and Policy and he spoke about the five groups that are trying to stop alternative fuels.
The first and most obvious is the big oil companies that want to protect their market. OPEC should also come as no surprise since most member countries have economies that are almost entirely dependent on the flow of high dollar crude oil. Another is what Beard describes as "Silver Bullet" carmakers who are trying to sell some new technology that will solve everything as long as there is no competition.
Agri-business companies also get called out because they want the focus to be on biofuels from corn and soy rather than other alternatives. Lastly comes what he calls Fringe Environmental Groups. Their problem with them is that they need to keep people afraid that none of the currently available technology can help. Keeping people on edge helps them attract donations. Click the Read link to hear Loren Beard discuss the five groups.
Loren Beard stirred things up at the end of a weeklong industry conference.
The Chrysler Senior Manager of Energy Planning and Policy named the five groups that he says are trying to stop the growth of alternative fuels.
Speaking at the annual Management Briefing Seminars conference, held outside Traverse City, Mich., Beard said the groups have their own interests to protect. What might be a surprise to some is the inclusion of "Big Agriculture", some environmental groups and some automakers.
The five groups are:
1. Big Oil
– Alternative Fuels eat into their market share, complicate distribution operations and may require special components and unique additives at refineries.
2. Big Agriculture
– They support feedstock-specific biofuels such as soybeans and corn and want to maintain current tax incentives that support their crops. The Renewable Fuels Association supports mid-level blends of ethanol, which will effectively kill the E85 program.
3. "Silver Bullet" Carmakers
- They believe that their technology is the only answer to improving fuel economy.
- Look to parochial interests rather than national and global interests
4. Fringe Environmental Groups
- They need "crisis" PR to attract donations
- Focus on imaginary "silver bullet" long-term technologies without respect to real world economics.
- Need to support high production rates at high prices
- Use their market position to influence political positions
Beard also listed the five reasons they can't succeed:
- Finite petroleum resources
- Petroleum held by hostile regimes
- Greenhouse gases
- Alternative fuels create jobs on American farms, in American processing plants and in American transportation
- U.S. balance of trade
We talked to Beard about the five groups listed above. To hear our interview, click on "download podcast" below.