• Dec 3, 2007
It appears as if GM is ready to accept the current CAFE legislation waiting to be decided by Congress. In a statement on the General's media site, Rick Wagoner writes,
"There are tough, new CAFE standards contained in the energy bill before Congress that pose a significant technical and economic challenge to the industry. But, it's a challenge that GM is prepared to put forth its best effort to meet with an array of engineering, research and development resources. We will continue our aggressive pursuit of advance technologies that will deliver more products with more energy solutions to our customers."

The release goes on to detail GM's current environmentally-friendly accomplishments, which include the company offering "more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg on the highway," and having "produced over 2.5 million E-85 capable vehicles to date--more than any other automaker." It also says that GM sees ethanol as the "best near-term solution" to reduce gasoline consumption. Yeah, we chuckled at that one, too.

And then there are hybrids, which GM plans to roll out at an average of one every three months over the next two years. We're quite sure that GM has the means and, lately, the desire to do the green thing. The only uncertainty is whether they'll deliver substantially, and in ways that customers want. Their ace in the hole is, of course, the much anticipated Volt. If Lutz and his crew can get it out when promised, as promised, then 2010 will be the year of The Great Leap for GM in terms of brand perception, and, most likely, sales.

[Source: GM]


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  • 33 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      this country doesn't need CAFE standards for MPG - it needs them for WEIGHT. Americans do not have to suffer, change their lifestyles or do "with less" in the future if we would all just lose some weight in our cars. The massively heavy whales that we are currently driving take a lot of horsepower to push (pull) around and therefore, use a LOT of fuel. Lose the weight in cars and the MPG will soar...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Finally the right response from one of these guys. When your in this kind of business, having a can-do attitude will best suit you to winning customers. The old, "it's gonna cost the consumer this much" attitude only serves to make you look like you want to fight what people seem to want.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The probably wrote most of it, what's not to like?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I find it amusing that everyone here thinks you can only produce ethanol from food crops and its a "waste of resources". Does anyone know what cellulose ethanol is? I know since its a Canadian technology most Americans don't care, but its a viable and resource abundant way to make ethanol from cellulose rich farm waste such as straw or corn stover. So I would agree with GM that ethanol can become a "best near-term solution".
      • 7 Years Ago
      "There are tough, new CAFE standards contained in the energy bill before Congress that pose a significant technical and economic challenge to the industry."

      Yeah, right. Gimme a break. The auto industry has had a free ride. CAFE used to get upped every year or so, then it stalled for like 20 years. This new legislation doesn't even catch up to where it really should be by now.

      Not that I'm a supporter of CAFE or ever have been, mind you. It's just that I can't believe they let it go for so long without an update.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Farmers sell corn for cattle feed. They can produce ethanol for ~1.15 per gal with no loss in nutrition or protein and sell the byproduct for the same amount as corn.
      Why would they not produce ethanol?
      Get the facts here:
      http://www.ncga.com/ethanol/main/index.asp

      http://www.ethanolrfa.org/resource/made/
      • 7 Years Ago
      The knowledge gap between the pro and anti ethanol posters here is telling. Well said drake and far jr.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "How much food are you putting in your tank?"
      It also says that GM sees ethanol as the "best near-term solution" to reduce gasoline consumption. Yeah, we chuckled at that one, too.


      Laughable ignorance that just proves that if you repeat the same agenda driven falsehood enough, the ignorant will start to believe it. Ethanol is made from corn raised for livestock not the sweetcorn you put on your table. furthermore the process yields not only ethanol but a much higher quality feed for livestock than the original unprocessed corn. The idea that ethanol is taking food off of anyones table is ridiculous.

      Everyone in the industry is fully aware that corn based ethanol is not a long term solution. Cellulosic ethanol is and it is coming a lot faster than these new Cafe standards. Mean while producing and selling flex fuel vehicles is solving the chicken and the egg problem vis a vi the energy source vs the automobiles to burn it. Throw in the fact that corn based ethanol is giving us valuable experience in transporting and pumping ethanol safely and efficiently; and corn based ethanol is a strong net positive.

      In short, becoming more efficient in our use of petroleum as a fuel will not solve this problem. It will help but it will not solve it. The only way out is through alternative sources of fuel. Ethanol is by far the most promising fuel source to displace large volumes of gasoline. The funny thing is that those who trash it the most are the pie in the sky wind and solar guys. We will be doing an extraordinary feat if we manage to get 1% of our power from either of those sources in 10 years. While that make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, it will do nothing to significantly decrease our dependence on fossil fuels or to reduce our green house gas emissions.

        far jr
        • 7 Years Ago
        c4... Glad to see someone else that educates themselves on a topic rather than just repeating what they heard over a dinner discussion. Even with cellulosic ethanol, we likely will not be able to displace gasoline altogether, but it sure has the ability to help things out.

        I know that most peoples views on ethanol fuel economy are tainted too. This is because the flex fuel vehicles that run on gasoline and ethanol must have compression ratios to allow burning gasoline. If they were strictly designed to run on ethanol, they could do better.
      • 7 Years Ago
      provides on average 30% less MPG

      stuart, ethanol provides 30% less MPG if it is burned in an engine optimized to burn gasoline. This MPG disadvantage all but disappears if the much higher octane level of ethanol (roughly 115 octane) is utilized by purpose built engines with much higher compression. Throw in the fact that your fuel dollars go to the heartland of the US instead of to propping up tin pot dictatorships hostile to the US. Everyone always rails against the subsidies for ethanol, yet if you calculate the trillions of dollars that the US has spent defending oil deposits worldwide in the last 20 years and add that to the price of a gallon of gasoline; a gallon of ethanol even without it's rather insignificant subsidies would be far cheaper.

      Once again, no one thinks that corn based ethanol is the long term solution. Cellulosic ethanol could be. The probability of being able to displace billions of gallons of gasoline with ethanol in the next ten years is far higher than the possibility of any other alternative fuel source. This chance to stop funding our enemies with our petro dollars is certainly worth the extremely modest investment our country is making in it. We should continue to pursue advanced battery technology, diesel technology and HCCI. Ethanol is utterly compatible with all of these fuel saving techniques except for diesel. A flex fuel Chevy Volt would use such a tiny amount of petroleum that you would actually start to have a real effect on the overall oil consumption of the US.

      9394,
      we produced as much sweet corn this year as we have in the past. feed corn has replaced CRP in thousands of acres to make way for ethanol production. Since CRP is a government subsidy paying farmers to not grow a crop, I think the trade off is worth while.
      Drake
      • 7 Years Ago
      The only reason why congress introduced the energy bill is because so many of the Americans are complaining about the rise in gas prices. Until recently, gas prices have not risen that much (actually have lowered in real dollars) since the 70's when CAFE was first introduced. Now that the public is complaining and wanting more efficient vehicles to save their wallets, the politicians are responding in order to keep their jobs. Its not about foreign oil, or environment, its about getting votes.

      Regarding ethanol, the country of Brazil has been using ethanol in their vehicles for years. Guess what, they are now 100% energy independent. 100%! They do have some domestic oil, but the rest of their fuel comes from sugar cane ethanol. Granted, they can generally run on 100% ethanol as they don't have the cold temperatures that we have in the States. But running on E85 is using 85% less petroleum based fuel, which means 85% less oil. E85 also produces less CO2, because the plants that are used for ethanol production need CO2 to grow. Granted, refining ethanol takes energy, which produces CO2, so it is not carbon-neutral. Advances in the refineries will take some time, but it is already showing promise to result in less CO2 production than petroleum based gas.

      The people who think E85 is the wrong way to go are the ones who only care about how much they have to pay for fuel. When you respond, be honest. Are you concerned about America's independence from foreign oil, the amount of CO2 that's produced by cars, or that you are just being selfish and are only concered about how much you have to pay for gas? - Drake
      • 7 Years Ago
      The release goes on to detail GM's current environmentally-friendly accomplishments, which include the company offering "more vehicles that achieve 30 mpg on the highway," and having "produced over 2.5 million E-85 capable vehicles to date--more than any other automaker." It also says that GM sees ethanol as the "best near-term solution" to reduce gasoline consumption.

      Not to mention more vehicles that achieve less than 30 mpg on any kind of road. The only reason why GM built so many E85 flex-fuel vehicles is to take advantage of the loopholes in the old CAFE standards. How many of those vehicles actually run on E85. A lot a s**t talk comes out of GM along with the s**t vehicles. Die GM die!
      Long live FoMoCo!
        • 7 Years Ago
        wow- are you really this misguided?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Remember the idea behind CAFE is to reduce emissions and to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. And, the loop hole of which you speak is necessary because ethanol's energy density is less than gasoline and so there must be some adjusted to encourage it's use. As I remember I think you are talking about 15% less energy for 100% ethanol. While I'm not necessarily happy with all GM does, the so called loop hole does help encourage less oil usage.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ psarhjinian -

        the House version of the bill actually calls for phasing out the E85 loophole by 2020. While it's true that the current situation is a complete greenwash, plugging the hole immediately would impose heavy gas guzzler taxes on the models currently in production and development.

        Given the parlous state of the Big Three's finances, this would lead to further reductions in market share, lay-offs and a higher risk of bankruptcy. The latter would mean hundreds of thousands of retirees (= voters) would look to the federal government for their pensions and health care, albeit at sharply lower levels. Politicians need to balance energy security and environmental goals with the economic reality that the auto industry cannot turn on a dime.

        It would be wise to add achievable milestones toward the 35MPG fleet average goal for 2020, though. It would also make sense to insist on using the EPA08 procedures for CAFE + GGT from e.g. 2015 onward. In addition, new procedures are required to fairly compute equivalent fuel economy for PHEVs from tank/battery-to-wheels performance only.

        Perhaps the current version of the bill already calls for these measures, but I haven't read that anywhere.
        • 7 Years Ago
        lol, he thinks Ford is green.
      • 7 Years Ago
      sorry ment to say 2020 not 2008
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Better mileage will only make people willing to drive more and use more gas. "
      This is a GOP canard. A bit of truth but it doesn't mean that the efficiency gain is completely lost. If I go from a 20 mpg car to a 40 mpg car, I won't drive 2x as much. I simply don't have the time! Day to day it would have zero impact on me. I'm not going to change my 30 minute commute at 20 mpg to a 1 hr commute at 40 mpg because the total gas cost is the same.
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