|03-28-2007, 09:50 PM||#1|
Drives: 2014 ZL1 #705
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: SA, Texas
Detroit car execs promise Bush flex-fuel vehicles
Detroit car execs promise Bush flex-fuel vehicles
March 27, 2007
BY JUSTIN HYDE
FREE PRESS WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush praised Detroit automakers Monday for promoting alternatives to gasoline, as the three auto chief executives fully committed to making half of their new vehicles flex-fuel capable by 2012.
While the event lacked new initiatives from the White House or automakers, it did emphasize the priority that both sides have put on alternative fuels, especially ethanol.
Although Congress appears likely to approve some kind of boost for ethanol production, some agricultural and environmental groups question whether ethanol can reduce the nation's dependence on foreign oil without serious side effects.
In their second meeting in five months, Bush and the auto executives spent 45 minutes in the Oval Office discussing the president's "20 in 10" plan. The initiative calls for reducing gasoline consumption by 20% in 10 years through boosting alternative fuel consumption to 35 billion gallons a year as well as raising fuel economy standards.
As at their much politicized meeting last November, Bush and the executives were joined by other administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney.
Bush said, "If you want to reduce gasoline usage, like I believe we need to do so for national security reasons, as well as for environmental concerns, the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice.
"I appreciate very much the fact that American automobile manufacturers recognize the reality of the world in which we live and are using new technologies to give the consumers different options."
After the meeting, the heads of the three companies walked with Bush around alternative-fuel vehicles -- Ford's Edge HySeries hydrogen plug-in hybrid concept, an E85-capable Chevrolet Impala from General Motors and a diesel Jeep Grand Cherokee from the Chrysler Group fueled with 5% biodiesel.
GM, Ford and Chrysler have long supported increased use of E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, which about 6 million of their vehicles can use today. Part of that embrace has come as a defense against higher fuel economy standards. Making new models flex-fuel-capable typically costs automakers between $50 and $100 per vehicle, while tougher fuel efficiency standards can increase costs by thousands of dollars per car or truck.
The three automakers pledged in November's meeting with Bush to make half of their vehicles flex-fuel capable by 2012, but only if more pumps and filling stations capable of handling alternative fuels were made available. That condition disappeared Monday, as the executives said the nation was heading in the right direction.
"We are absolutely on the edge of being able to move into a new era with flex-fuel, a lot of developments in batteries and hybrids," GM Chairman Rick Wagoner told reporters on the White House's south lawn. "We ought to stick with that and play it hard. This is a real opportunity."
Wagoner, Ford Chief Executive Alan Mulally and Chrysler Group President Tom LaSorda said that while they told Bush they support his proposal to allow federal regulators to rework fuel economy standards, they did not discuss his target of an annual 4% increase.
Congress is considering several kinds of increases, even though Detroit automakers and their competitors say a 4% annual jump is unworkable.
The executives also urged Bush to continue incentives for building flex-fuel vehicles, namely a credit under the Corporate Average Fuel Economy program that has long rankled environmental groups. The groups contend flex-fuel vehicles actually increase gasoline demand because they rarely burn E85, which is available in only 1,100 pumps around the country.
Of the 5 billion gallons of ethanol sold last year, researchers estimate about 1% was sold as E85, with the rest blended into regular gasoline.
"Automakers fool consumers into thinking they are helping the environment and lessening our dependency on foreign oil, while they manipulate the CAFE credit loophole, avoid meeting federal fuel economy standards and laugh their way to the bank," said Joan Claybrook, president of Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer group.
The ethanol industry's success has created some backlash, especially over growing demand for corn, its main raw material. As ethanol plants have come online, corn prices have risen to their highest level in a decade, threatening to increase food prices.
Although scientists have researched ways to distill ethanol from other plants, those methods are years away from widespread use. The Congressional Research Service, Congress' independent research agency, said last week that even if all U.S.-grown corn were converted to ethanol, it would replace only 13% of the nation's gasoline consumption.
Contact JUSTIN HYDE at 202-906-8204 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
|03-30-2007, 06:36 PM||#2|
I used to be Dragoneye...
Drives: 2014 1LE...Drove: 2012 ZL1
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Buffalo, NY
That's a good find. I wonder if the LS3 or whatever engines they put into the Camaro will be E 85 capable...Then I don't have to convert to an electric drivetrain.......
|04-10-2007, 09:18 PM||#3|
i heard today on the news that when Ford was at the white house showcasing alternative fuel vehicles that Bush was handed an extension cord by the vp of Ford and was told to plug it in and he instead of plugging it into the electrical outlet on the car he almost plugged it in the location for placing the hyrdogen cell for fueling. this could of cause a huge explosion when electric from the cord made a connection with the metal of the hydrogen fuel tank. lucky the vp of Ford noticed and stopped him before he did it. that would of been a big bang.....
|04-11-2007, 12:36 AM||#4|
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: West Michigan
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