GM Floats UK CO2 Extortion Scheme

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago
gm floats uk co2 extortion scheme

When it comes to government-mandated corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) regs, I'm with GM Car Czar Bob Lutz. It's like forcing a clothing maker to sell smaller shirts to get people to lose weight. If you want to reduce obesity, just raise the price of food. [My add; even MB knows you can't threaten to starve people for their own good.] In any case, no matter what MB and his employer's representatives say, they have a consistent record of gaming the system. Flex-fuel credits anyone? The U.S. "light truck" CAFE exemption is/was The Mother of All Loopholes. (Who says there's no such thing as karma?) And now GM's playing the angles in Europe. The Times reports that UK PM Gordon Brown's entourage arrived at the London Auto show in some Indian sedans and SUVs and dangled £90m of UK taxpayer money for electric automobile development. Over five years. Available to someone. Depending on something. To which GM Europe Prez Carl-Peter Forster responded fuck that shit [paraphrasing]. GM's wants a national sponsor for a "super credit" scheme that would allow ultra-low carbon-dioxide vehicles (below 50g/km) to offset larger and more polluting models. "If Britain was prepared to champion this idea within the EU, GM would consider making its electric vehicles at the Ellesmere Port plant on Merseyside." Sweet.

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  • Golden2husky Golden2husky on Jul 27, 2008

    I don't buy the CAFE is a failure bit. It is far from perfect, but the answer is written above..."the automakers have a consistent record of gaming the system..." What makes you think that the mileage of vehicles would be better if the automakers were left to their own devices? The vehicles that are routinely ridiculed on this site are often ridiculed because of their excess size and weight. They would weigh even more had there not been a minimum floor in place. It is all well and good to say that the best means to limit consumption is to raise the price. We now know that the "squeal point" in America is about $4.00 a gallon. But if you chose to reduce consumption by artificially raising the price, you punish those who have no choice but to drive. Not everybody has a viable mass transit option. America has chosen, for better or worse, to invest in the personal car for transport. It seems to me that we best make that huge investment work as efficiently as possible. And that means making vehicles more efficient. One could argue that the government has no business in the "efficiency" game at all. The "market" will decide what is right. That argument could well be applied to many things, but transportation is not one of them. Why? Because the use of vehicles and the fueling of them has far reaching consequences that go way beyond the vehicle itself. Think national security, economic stability, and yes, bluecon, the effects of pollution on the global environment. These are things that the "market", left to its own devices does not care about. And, IMHO, is where good government is supposed to step in. I guess it all depends what you expect from your elected officials. If you feel that government should be so small that it fits into a bathtub, well... If the fuel economy thing was mine to set up, I actually would eliminate CAFE. Instead, I would put a yearly registration surcharge (or credit) on the owner based on the EPA combined cycle mileage rating. This would encourage carmakers to build the most efficient vehicle in its class. Those who don't care could buy whatever they want. The earth is entering a cooling phase, CO2 is a beneficial gas that makes plants grow and the politicians still insist on destroying the economy..... That is like saying an oil spill doesn't matter because oil comes from the ground. Bluecon, I have a deal for you. If 15 years from now average global temperatures are indeed on the decline, I'll send you a check for $100, assuming this site is still to offer me the same in reverse?

  • Capeplates Capeplates on Jul 28, 2008

    The UK offer of £90 million over five years is made by a man (Brown) who will be ousted from powerr very shortly. The offer could die with him as his party attempt to regather from the total disaster that have beset them of late

  • Ihatetrees Ihatetrees on Jul 28, 2008

    Serious regulators/environmentalists across the pond (and here) would enforce CO2 taxes/fees against all vehicles (new and used) at registration time. Since they don't, they're still scared politically. For now...

  • Joeaverage Joeaverage on Jul 28, 2008

    Maybe if a few of the big players (Big three among others) were to disappear we'd get some real competition to replace them - back to several dozen small car makers working hard to get a customer.