GM Finally Figures Out How To Sell Cars in California

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams

According to the Mercury News, in 2005, California officials entered discussions with GM on how to integrate flex-fuel (read "E85") vehicles into the state's fleet. This in spite of a then-three-year-old policy prohibiting the purchase of such vehicles because the fuel wasn't available. Several months later, the state and GM entered an agreement for a "small pilot project of 50 to 100 vehicles"– without allowing other automakers a chance to bid on the contract. Not long after that, the state bought a fleet of 1300 flex-fuel Impalas and Silverados totaling $17m, as only these vehicles qualified for purchase. Now for a few inconvenient truths: The 2002 policy prohibiting flex-fuel vehicles was conveniently eliminated "at the last minute." California has state laws requiring officials to seek competitive bids on large purchases; it's illegal to hold private meetings with one supplier to set the specifications. GM has contributed more than any other automaker to Governor Schwarzenegger's charitable and political causes. State contracting manager Rita Hamilton stated the E85 vehicles were added to the fleet "per the Governors (sic) request." On top of all that, the Mercury News reported in July, "the alternative fuel fleet was running exclusively on standard gasoline because high-grade ethanol has never been widely available in California." State senator Dean Florez has launched a legislative investigation of the contract, which could lead to a criminal investigation by the state's Attorney General.

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  • Blautens Blautens on Sep 24, 2007

    I don't see GM as the real bad guy here...I think it's more like some weasel(s) in the California government. If they don't go to jail, I hope they're condemned to a lifetime of driving Impalas.

  • Jaje Jaje on Sep 24, 2007

    GM does what any mfgr would do to increase sales. However there is a big political favor and looks like some laws broken - so maybe the Governator won't come out smelling clean on this.

  • Hltguy Hltguy on Sep 24, 2007

    This is no surprise, the is much corruption in California. I know Senator Dean Florez, he represents the area in which I live and is a good man, he is constantly uncovering corruption in state government. Govenor Ahnold campaigned before becoming Govenor that he would not be party to the special interests, as he was already independently wealthy, well guess what? he accepts and is beholden to the big donors as much or more as any politician. He is on the global warming bandwagon, while California is going to drowing in red ink and has horrible schoolt test scores, rampant gan problems, hospitals closing right and left from lack of funding and a completely overwhelemed infrastructure. You want to see corruption that matches anything on the national level, you should see the corruption in the California prison systems and the money pays offs there.

  • Stuntnun Stuntnun on Sep 24, 2007

    this hole e-85 thing is stupid -it raises food prices and destroys and pollutes the land in the process of making it-Arnold isn't the only politician buying into this bad technology for unknown reasons.