Yesterday, a post on the Wall Street Journal’s energy blog discussed the controversy over GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz calling global warming a “crock of shit.” It said:
Some, like Wired and Grist, buy his argument: As long as GM keeps making progress toward electric cars and expanding the role of alternative fuels like ethanol, the auto maker is clearly blazing a new trail.
This is a bad misreading of my point, which I probably didn’t make very clearly. I was only trying to say that Lutz has a right to whatever personal beliefs he chooses, up to and including a devotion to the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Thought Police give me the creeps, even if I agree with the thoughts in question.
I was most decidedly not saying that Lutz’s statement is forgivable because GM is “blazing a new trail.”
To the contrary, GM is not blazing a new trail. GM has been, and continues to be, a strongly reactionary force in American energy politics, thwarting progress at every juncture.
I won’t get into a whole historical diatribe. Suffice to say, the company, with Lutz’s vocal backing, has been a long-time opponent of any boost in U.S. fuel efficiency standards. Even now, as the Minnesota legislature considers signing on to California’s tailpipe standards, GM is working behind the scenes to stop them. Arizona has provisionally decided to adopt the standards, and will finalize them on March 3, but GM is leading a last-ditch, behind-closed-doors effort to stop it.
This is to say nothing of "live green, go yellow," the stupid marketing slogan meant to convince gullible consumers that corn ethanol is great — by building vehicles that can, but rarely do, run partially on ethanol, and using those vehicles primarily as a means to game fuel economy standards.
The Volt is great, and kudos for Lutz for pushing it. But at best it boosts the overall grade for GM’s record on climate and energy from an F to a D. Indeed, the company is using the car specifically to lobby against fuel economy regulations.
If I were a GM shareholder, that’s the crock of shit I’d be worried about.