Maximum Bob and Dr Z Talk Diesels, E85, Safety

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
maximum bob and dr z talk diesels e85 safety

In The Wall Street Journal [sub], Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche and GM Car Czar Bob Lutz discuss their respective companies' approach to environmentally-friendly vehicles. Dr Z wants to sell more diesels. (And there you have it.) Maximum Bob eschews oil burners to hang his proverbial hat on E85. Of course, Lutz' preference for corn juice will cost consumers plenty through government spending on ethanol infrastructure and corn price supports. But the winner of TTAC's first annual Bob Lutz Award reckons developments in corn breeding will blunt E85's inflationary impact on food prices. "So I think that people who say, well, the ethanol industry is taking food from the mouths of babies and it's driving tortilla prices up– I think these are highly suspect conclusions." Meanwhile, both executives say Daimler's success selling the smart in the U.S. heralds the end of the efficiency vs safety debate. "There are no statistics that would support [the idea] that you are less safe in the smart than you are in any kind of vehicle," says Dr Z. Lutz appears equally oblivious the laws of physics, stating "If a vehicle is registered for sale in any developed market of the world, it is going to be an extremely safe vehicle."

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  • on Mar 24, 2008
    Now you can say I’m stealing the beans off those tortillas, but at least the energy balance is positive. And, we've always known that beans are a good source of gas. (Couldn't resist the temptation.)
  • Gsp Gsp on Mar 25, 2008

    Food prices in the next few years are going to do what oil prices did in the last few. Global excess supply of grains used to be substantial, now the world demand is about even with supply. Supply and demand curves usually tell the picture for those that are will to look at as many issues that effect supply and demand independently. As soon as the government subsidizes anything, they screw it up. The irony of this is that it is the most upheld capitalist market in the world that does the most damage with such a socialist tool. E85? Environmental concerns have been around for years and people in the auto industry poo-poo them. Peak oil had economists on their side (and even some oil industry execs) and people still laughed at them for years. Food shortages were coming anyway but E85 sped things up a bit. For people that read the news (globally) and are careful about their sources of "news" in the US (read: stay away from Fox) these issues coming down the pipe are going to substantially change our societies. In spite of the fair and balanced arguments that are out there people still think things are going to get better with oil. Here is a great article that talks about many of the the oil price issues:

  • Menno Menno on Mar 25, 2008

    Here is an article which talks plainly about food riots, food shortages, massive worldwide increases in food prices. Note that biofuels IS noted as one reason for the problems (not the only reason, but also not immune from blame).

  • Wheatridger Wheatridger on Mar 25, 2008

    No, "biofuels ARE one reason for the problems." Or is that two reasons? Make that three reasons, ethanol, biodiesel and WVO (waste cooking oil) Plus the ideal but non-obtainable cellulosic biofuels we hear about. At these prices, won't the new biofuels techs arrive that much sooner, as escalating prices make them economical? Anyway, calm down, fellas. I guess I'm off the biodiesel bandwagon. Today, in Denver, I was offered B100 at $6.11 per gallon. At that price, it's no longer a fuel, it's an additive.