General Motors is planning to be twice as nice to the environment four years from now when it comes to producing high-MPG vehicles. The US automaker recently spelled out its green goals in its sustainability report and notably predicted that it would double the number of vehicles it makes that get at least 40 miles per gallon (highway) by 2017. That means boosting production of extended-range plug-ins like the Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR as well as increasing sales of the Chevrolet Sonic, Cruze Eco and Diesel, and Chevrolet Spark EV. In all, GM says it will have a half-million hybrids, extended-range plug-ins and electric vehicles (including those with eAssist) on US roads by 2017, while its fleet will have cut its CO2 emissions by 15 percent by 2016.

GM is also trying to boost its green production cred by increasing the number of recyclable materials while boosting the use of solar and biomass energy and reducing waste. Already, the General has cut its factory carbon footprint by 5.3 percent since 2010.

GM lost a bit of momentum this year when it comes to boosting green-car sales. Through June, company green car sales basically tread water, with EV, extended-range plug-in, hybrid and mild hybrid sales up just 1.4 percent from a year earlier. That year-over-year growth rate slowed from 14 percent at the end of the first quarter. You can find GM's press release below and check out a copy of its sustainability report here (PDF).
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GM Outlines Progress on Environmental Priorities

  • Reduces energy use 7 percent and carbon emissions 5 percent since 2010
  • Increases landfill-free facilities to 105; reduces total waste 8 percent since 2010
  • Commits to reduce average U.S. fleet CO2 emissions 15 percent by 2016
DETROIT – General Motors today reaffirmed its commitment to further reduce the energy used and the environmental impacts of building and operating an automobile, detailing product goals and tracking progress toward its 2020 manufacturing priorities in its 2012 Sustainability Report.

The report covers energy, emissions, waste reduction and other areas that drive long-term sustainability.

Reducing energy used and emissions output in its plants, operations and products is important to customers and stakeholders, GM says in the report. The company's overall sustainability strategy creates value for customers through new technologies and lower operating costs and improves the bottom line through revenue generation, cost savings and risk mitigation.

"Sustainability is not only a key part of how GM is shifting from a good to great company, it is about the leadership and innovation that can transform the auto industry," said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. "Our long-term approach to sustainability enables us to increase efficiency and reimagine personal mobility to best meet customer needs and lifestyles."

GM developed the following commitments to meet customer needs for efficient vehicles and significantly reduce the environmental impact of its products:

Put 500,000 vehicles on the road in the U.S. with some form of electrification by 2017. GM's electrified vehicles today include the extended-range electric Chevrolet Volt, Spark EV and Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Chevrolet Malibu and Impala with eAssist.
Double the models that achieve 40-mpg highway or better by 2017, such as the Chevrolet Volt, Sonic and Cruze Eco, and the all-new Cadillac ELR and Chevrolet Spark EV and Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel.
Reduce average U.S. fleet CO2 emissions 15 percent by 2016 and Opel/Vauxhall fleet CO2 emissions 27 percent by 2020.

GM bases its sustainability priorities on an assessment of the most pressing global economic, environmental and social issues facing the company's customers and the communities where GM does business. Both internal and external stakeholders identified product efficiency and energy and emissions management of manufacturing operations among the most important for the company.

"GM's commitment to addressing climate change, to reducing its energy and waste footprint, and to providing value to customers through fuel efficient vehicles is due to a realization that in this global economy, being more efficient leads to increased competitiveness and a stronger bottom line," said David Foster, executive director of the BlueGreen Alliance. "The gains made by GM to achieve these goals are laudable and we are proud to call them a partner in building a cleaner economy that creates quality jobs across the country."

GM's energy management and renewable energy leadership helped reduce carbon intensity by 5.3 percent since 2010, making progress toward its 20 percent reduction commitment by 2020. In 2012, GM reduced 173,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions throughout its operations – equal to the carbon sequestered by more than 4.4 million newly planted trees in the first decade of growth.

The company uses more than 60 megawatts of solar, landfill gas and biomass energy at its facilities today, about halfway to its 125 megawatt renewable energy goal. GM also reduced the amount of energy required to build one vehicle by 7 percent and avoided $66 million in energy costs through conservation initiatives since 2010.

GM's landfill-free program continues to grow around the world and produce bottom-line benefits, with an industry-leading 105 facilities that recycle, reuse or convert to energy all waste from daily operations. By recycling and reusing 90 percent of its manufacturing waste worldwide, the company generates about $1 billion in revenue annually. GM has reduced total waste 25 kilograms, or 55 pounds, per vehicle since 2010.

Akerson said great companies use their strength to lead, set an example and solve issues. Earlier this year, he called on the Obama administration to develop a cohesive, consumer-driven national energy policy. GM also was the first automaker and industrial manufacturer to sign the Climate Declaration, a statement from Ceres and its Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy coalition.

GM continues to integrate customer-driven sustainability into its business model to create long-term value and enhance competitiveness. "You can see sustainability in action in everything we're doing to grow our business around the world," Akerson said.

For more information, visit

About General Motors Co.
General Motors Co. (NYSE:GM, TSX: GMM) and its partners produce vehicles in 30 countries, and the company has leadership positions in the world's largest and fastest-growing automotive markets. GM, its subsidiaries and joint venture entities sell vehicles under the Chevrolet, Cadillac, Baojun, Buick, GMC, Holden, Isuzu, Jiefang, Opel, Vauxhall and Wuling brands. More information on the company and its subsidiaries, including OnStar, a global leader in vehicle safety, security and information services, can be found at

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Levine Levine
      • 9 Hours Ago
      GM talking big, again. Instead, GM should just improve the quality and mpg of its existing models. How's that for improving corporate credibility?
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Oil is just shy of $108/barrel today. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that going for high MPG is a good idea.
      • 9 Hours Ago
      Are any of their vehicles going to get 40+ mpg Combined? Or are they going to get 40 mpg on the highway, which is the only number their marketing will mention on while in reality the vehicles get mediocre mid 20's mileage in the city.
        • 9 Hours Ago
        Meh - regardless, even if they said, "Cars with higher gas mileage would double" would still be a good thing. I suspect it will be the highway mileage. That is relatively easy - put a tall gear in for overdrive, presto chango - 40mpg. Even the Corvette gets 30mpg. Just make sure each car has one tall gear at the very end. With 6 speed (and more) transmissions - this isn't that difficult. The other 5 speeds (what was the norm) can be used for good performance, and the 6th can be for mileage.