Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne finds it “most shocking” that the U.S. auto industry is not throwing its might behind natural gas, which has been found in abundance in the United States:
“A rapid adoption of CNG as a fuel source for automotive applications would almost instantly kill the reliance on foreign oil, and it would bring about a substantial reduction in emissions. Those are opportunities that need to be grabbed and they need to be industrialized. Especially with large vehicles like pickups and large SUVs, we could probably accommodate the installation of CNG tanks within the next 24 to 36 months.”
Marchionne said this on the sidelines of an industry convention in Shanghai, China, over the weekend, but it wasn’t reported. Reporters instead pestered Marchionne with inane questions whether bringing Jeep production to China would cost jobs in the U.S., or Italy. Both of which Marchionne answered for the umpteenth time with a no. Poor reporting by unscrupulous bloggers has been blamed for the rumor that Jeep production would be outsourced to China, but correspondents of major U.S. newspapers tried their best in Shanghai to keep the rumor alive. At the same time, they buried the story on how to end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and to put an end to global warming – at least as far as Sergio Marchionne is concerned.
Sergio by the way doesn’t think ethanol has much future in the U.S. Sergio thinks alcohol as fuel works for Brazil where, “from a global standpoint, producing ethanol probably is the most efficient use of their sugarcane.” It was tried in Africa, and it failed. And, said Marchionne, he is “making no comments on the U.S. side of ethanol production which relies on grains.” We take it, Sergio doesn’t think it’s a good idea.
Asked why alternative fuels aren’t adopted in wholesale fashion the world over, Marchionne started “the dominance of oil …” Then he checked himself, took a big breath, and said “I am not pointing fingers on big oil being responsible for anything.” He continued to say that the existence of big oil as a big business with established refinery capacity in most of the developed countries is a force to be reckoned with.
A day later, on Monday, it turned out the Chrysler doesn’t need two or three years to install tanks on trucks. The first Ram 2500 Compressed Natural Gas pickup trucks started rolling off the line at Chrysler’s Satillo Truck Assembly Plant.