March 17, 2008

GM: Species Treason

I got to ask GM's David Lake a question after he'd brought up a side tangent about how silly it was for people to say that the car companies were aligned with the oil companies.

So I asked him why the car companies had been fighting CAFE standards for so many years, to the point where last year's hard fought legislation mandates a standard by 2020 that's lower than China's is now.

He said that the car companies only opposed CAFE because it was a "market distorting" practice, and that "people don't appreciate" how hard it will be for the auto companies to transition to the new fuel standards.


Listen, species traitor ... there's no right to profit in the Constitution. I don't care how hard things are for the car companies. I don't care how hard things are going to be for them. And I'd almost feel bad about that, but they obviously don't care about us, either.

They don't care about their workers' pensions, job security or health care, trying to cut those corners wherever they can.

They don't care about the United States, offshoring whatever they can, whenever they can. For years, they've fought legislation that would have kept them competitive, destroying the country's capacity to have domestically controlled companies dominate our own markets, all for the sake of avoiding some temporary inconvenience.

And they aren't paying attention to the extreme urgency of our looming climate catastrophe, or they'd be changing virtually everything about their business models starting right now. Instead, they're talking about cellulosic, which isn't here yet, some new EV-1 style program that isn't here yet, and "market distortions."

It's always amazing how much more important the Market ends up being than people when corporate flackeys get to talking.

Amory Lovins was speaking at a New Democrat Network event last week, where he brought up what the US car industry did in WWII. In six months, they switched over from making cars to making the battle machinery that won the war, that defeated the German and Japanes armies, when the Axis powers had spent years building up their capacity in the foreknowledge that they were going to attack their neighbors.

Today's timid, puling, whiny, irresponsible auto corporations want my sympathy for how hard it's going to be for them to improve fleet efficiency to 35mpg by 2020.


Posted by natasha at March 17, 2008 11:57 AM | Environment | Technorati links |

Freeways also represent market distortion (since they are funded as public goods via taxes). Somehow, I don't see GM campaigning against THAT market distortion.

Posted by: Rob at March 17, 2008 12:15 PM

I like that - species traitor.

Posted by: Ten Bears at March 17, 2008 06:57 PM

Auto companies deserve the next-to-tiniest violin in the inventory (poor-mouthing oil companies that whine for subsidies need the smallest).

Auto mileage sucks. I drove barges in the 1960's that got better mileage than a smaller US car does today. The marriage of the machine and the microchip has produced a cross-bred horror that costs hundreds to even diagnose when it breaks.

And the fuel economy measures don't seem to work. I don't know how they do it, but the mileage is screwed no matter how small the American car.

Posted by: Scorpio at March 18, 2008 05:37 PM