Akerson also pushed for a coordinated public-private effort to invoke an energy policy that will broaden natural-gas use, reduce foreign oil dependency and greenhouse-gas emissions, and provide cleaner water and more affordable energy to US citizens. Akerson also promoted quality improvements in the company's smaller cars as well as the cost benefits of natural gas and fuel-economy improvements in GM's larger engines.
"I believe the President should immediately appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to develop a 30-year energy policy framework," Akerson said in prepared remarks. What that actually means is anyone's guess, but at least Akerson insisted that the policy be required to hit certain "checkpoints" every five years.
"I believe the President should immediately appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to develop a 30-year energy policy framework."
Akerson, whose company's small-car sales have surge on a broader product line and higher gas prices, allowed that GM's early efforts in that arena were less than successful.
"It's no secret that our small cars back then weren't built to the standards of our other vehicles," he said. "Mercifully, those vehicles have since been recycled into Energy Star refrigerators and other useful goods."
Akerson also spoke positively about broader adoption of natural gas use among fleet operators, estimating that "a typical Class 8 operator" may save as much as $3,500 in monthly refueling costs by switching to liquefied natural gas (LNG). He also said that GM's vaunted V8 engines will remain relevant because of fuel-efficiency gains, noting that "the death of the V8 engine has been greatly exaggerated."
"Mercifully, those vehicles have since been recycled into Energy Star refrigerators and other useful goods."
Additionally, Akerson reiterated his claim from November that GM will have a half-million electrified vehicles, which is about equal to all registered vehicles in Vermont, on US roads by 2017.