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GM exec stands by calling global warming a "crock"

Reuters – February 22, 2008

I pretty much ignored the original story about GM’s Bob Lutz saying that global warming is a crock.  I think I was one of the few bloggers that did though since the web is awash with complaints about his statements.  I do need to comment though on his more recent statements that defend his right to say that it is a “crock of s—“.

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Toyota Will Offer a Plug-In Hybrid by 2010

The New York Times – January 14, 2008

Toyota is not going to be out-done by GM.  Yesterday, I discussed that GM is spending a lot of effort and money to develop alternative fuels and alternative propulsion options. This article shows that Toyota is not going to stand still in that important competitive battle.

Toyota will offer the first plug-in hybrid in 2010. Plug-in hybrids are important because it is far more efficient to produce electricity at an industrial power utility plant than it is to burn gasoline in your car in the form of a “traditional” hybrid vehicle.

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GM to partner with biofuels start-up Coskata

BloggingStocks.com – January 13, 2008

I am very intrigued with biofuel as an alternative source of liquid fuel to propel our trucks and automobiles down the road. This source combined with plug-in electric technology seems like a very effective method of breaking our addiction to liquid fossil fuel.

GM has been on this site a lot lately (here, here, and here). It is obvious that they are trying very hard to show themselves as a “green” company. I wonder if it is really working.

General Motors announced this weekend at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that it would partner with Coskata Inc., an Illinois-based renewable energy start-up company that plans to produce ethanol from agricultural, municipal, and industrial waste byproducts.

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Chevy Fuel Solutions: The View from Thailand

GMNext – December 18, 2007

Regardless of your stance on global warming, I am sure that we can all agree that using our resources appropriately is very important. GM Chevrolet has introduced a vehicle to the Thailand market that will use natural gas as a fuel and this seems to be exactly what is needed in today’s evolving marketplace.

Obviously, one of the problems that needs to be solved is a distribution model for the fuel. One of the benefits to our current fuel sources is that there are only 3-5 major fuels (several octane levels and diesel) and they are all handled in approximately the same way from a transportation and storage viewpoint. Adding another fuel that is shipped and stored with entirely different technology would complicate supply chain issues.

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Hydrogen: An alternative

CNN – November 9, 2007

No reading on this one.  It is a podcast from CNN.  If you don’t have an iPod, it doesn’t matter as you can listen to it on your computer.

As we grapple with ways to curb carbon dioxide emission as well as deal with the geopolitical problems of the world, it becomes obvious that we must find alternative ways to propel vehicles across the road.  Earlier this week, I wrote about GM’s Volt, which is an electric car.  Now here is an interview with a GM spokesperson that discusses the possibility of hydrogen fueled vehicles.

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GM to launch Volt by end-2010 despite skepticism

Reuters – November 21, 2007

Bob Lutz from GM has re-confirmed that GM is still planning on introducing the Chevy Volt in 2010 even though there are some concerns about that timeline.

Typically when this level of concern happens, there are some trade-offs that are put out and the product doesn’t live up to expectations. I hope that is not the “hidden” message that Lutz is actually trying to deliver in this interview.

Mr. Lutz does speak with some sense of urgency and perhaps doom so maybe this really will hit the consumer market on time and, hopefully, will be a raving success.

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Electric Car Maker Aims For the Top With Sports Car

Wall Street Journal – October 15, 2007

I think that electric cars make an immense amount of sense for the majority of Americans. Most of us do not travel more than 200 miles per day on a regular basis and most of our travel is done with one or maybe 2 people in the car. The problem is that the automotive companies have done a really bad job of selling electric cars.  They sell these vehicles like they are selling to hippies and professors so they are small, compact, and (frankly) ugly!

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Global Warming, Tailpipes And Where to Tackle Them

Wall Street Journal – September 18, 2007

Many people have been following the case in California where the state was suing a group of automobile manufacturers for damages that were tied to global warming. The contention of the state was that auto manufacturers were creating a product that was causing global warming and since global warming had caused damage to certain regions of the state, the auto guys should have to pay up.

This case has been dismissed by Judge Martin Jenkins.

In my opinion, this is a good thing. Not so much for reasons of global warming but for precedence in the court system.  This is a policy related issue and not a judicial issue. The courts should not get into declaring what industry has partially caused what part of global warming. This slippery slope could have resulted in thousands of tort lawsuits and eventually the consumer would bear this cost.

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Wanna Pay $7 a Gallon?

Forbes.com – July 2, 2007

First of all, I am not making up this date above.  I know that it is not July 2 yet but that is the date on the article.  I believe the date is representative of the issue of the printed magazine (and we all know that these dates are wrong).

This article by Jerry Flint, a man that has been covering the automobile industry for decades, points out that the only way to aggressively solve the carbon dioxide problem with changes to autos is a dramatic and painful tax. He explains that in many cases the cure may actually be worse than the sickness.  This is similar to my personal feelings except that I  temper his statements by stating that if the science was rock solid, it would probably be worth the investment but if the science is not rock solid, the risk of catastrophe from the cure is almost surely 100% and therefore is probably not justified.

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Cars By The Numbers

Environmental Defense – March 20, 2007

This is an easy article since it should have no controversy.  It is simply a list of statistics regarding automobiles.  Since many people think that we should cut back on auto emissions to reverse global warming, this should be an interesting read.

  • 232 million – Number of registered vehicles in the U.S.
  • 600 gallons – Average amount of gasoline consumed by one U.S. car each year.
  • 12,000 pounds – Amount of carbon dioxide emitted from one U.S. car each year.
  • 240 – Number of trees needed to absorb the 12,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emitted from one U.S. car each year.

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