Dave's Energy

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bob Lutz on diesel vehicles in America


This video is of Robert Lutz, GM's Vice-Chairman of Global Product Development, on GM's FastLane Blog. To no one's surprise, he talks of the economic impracticality of ULSD vehicles in the US and is skeptical that consumers would be willing to spend an extra $4,000 or so to get one over a traditional gasoline Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) model. Bob also says that GM's "German Competitors" believe in the technology and the adoption of it in the states, and he thinks they are probably wrong, yet GM will roll out ULSD models just in case.

Ford has taken a similar stance, more of a 'wait and see' attitude. Though it's a bit cliche to justify American automakers' woes on their unwillingness to change with the rising tide, if the shoe fits... Most indications seem to point towards a shift towards ULSD vehicles, or at the very least away from gasoline vehicles. From an environmental standpoint, ULSD versus regular gasoline is an improvement on emissions. Lutz laments on the stringent standards imposed federally and the even more tight standards in California, the Northeast, and now Florida. These standards force GM to comply by making more expensive vehicles, which he doesn't think consumers will buy. If the consumer didn't have a choice this would be a non-issue, but the only group that can force the hand of the capitalist firm is the government, and in this country the government makes it policies based on the demands of the people, that is unless an outside influence dissuades them. But what lobbyist groups would be against diesel vehicles in the US? Here is a link to a lobbying spending database if you want to do some digging into the issue. You won't need a big shovel, that's for sure.

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