Big Oil and Big Auto get into a war of words
Writing on a private company blog directed at journalists and analysts, Chrysler’s head spokesflack Jason Vines aimed the big guns at Big Oil:
Despite a documented history of blowing their exorbitant profits on outlandish executive salaries and stock buybacks, and hoarding their bounty by avoiding technologies, policies and legislation that would protect the population and environment and lower fuel costs, Big Oil insists on transferring all of that responsibility on the auto companies.
Yes, even though the automakers have spent billions developing cleaner, more efficient technologies such as high-feature engines, hybrid powertrains, multi-displacement systems, flexible fuel vehicles, and fuel cells, Big Oil would rather fill the pockets of its executives and shareholders, rather than spend sufficient amounts to reduce the price of fuel, letting consumers, during tough economic times, pick up the tab.
He goes on to blast oil companies for refusing to invest in new refineries, develop alternative fuels, or build alternative-fuel stations.
As we say in the journalist-and-analyst business: Oh, snap!
Vines’ potshot at oil companies comes in response to a full-page ad that ran in several media outlets, paid for by Exxon, which points out that the U.S. economy overall has become much more efficient in recent decades, and asks: "So why is that despite this overall progress, the average fuel economy of American cars is unchanged in two decades?" No you didn’t!
Apparently the ad infuriated many auto-industry execs, and they’re getting ready for a coordinated response. Vines’ was just the first sally.
Daniel Becker, director of Sierra Club’s global warming program, has just the right response to this emerging feud: "I’m happy to watch."
"Each industry is right — that the other is to blame for a big part of the problem. The auto industry continues to make gas-guzzling vehicles with antiquated technology rather than using modern, fuel-efficient technology," Becker said.
"At the same time, the oil industry is perfectly happy to have people addicted to their product."
When it comes to developing new technology, "Each of them wants to play ‘After you, Alfonse’ with the other," Becker said.
Bust out the popcorn — this is gonna be good.