June 27, 2006

Gas Incentives to Use More Gas?

Legislators at every level across the United States are trying to initiate gas incentive programs to combat the fuel crisis. About a month ago the automobile industry tossed its hat in the ring too. Sadly, however, GM did it in a way that directly contrasts the strides the country as a whole should be making to lessen its dependency on oil. As it is explained by the Associated Press, each month for one year GM will give customers who buy certain vehicles,
“A credit on a prepaid card based on their estimated fuel usage. Fuel usage will be calculated by the miles they drive, as recorded by OnStar, and the vehicle’s fuel economy rating. GM will credit drivers the difference between the average price per gallon on their state and the $1.99 cap.”
GM's official press release says that “this program gives consumers an opportunity to experience the highly fuel-efficient vehicles GM has to offer in the mid-size segment.” You know, mid-sized vehicles such as the illustrious gas guzzlers Hummer H2 and H3, Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, and GMC Yukon.

Clearly, the incentive programs established in Florida and California by General Motors are not a step forward in our country’s battle with oil and energy over-consumption. Instead, they are a very irresponsible step backward. Scientists, environmentalists, and individuals concerned with our country’s overdependence on foreign oil are looking to alternative and renewable fuels and to pushing the national fuel economy higher. While recent incentive programs encompass a wide range of perspectives, most are at least willing to try something new, something that may one day be a key to solving the gas problem. Not so with GM. This recent gas program shows GM’s true dedication: to selling expensive and inefficient models with no regard to social responsibility. The global sales leader in the automobile industry is digging in its heels to keep the status quo, and whether you look at it from the perspective of environment, pocketbook, or oil independence, it is a status quo that few Americans can afford.


At 3:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Although this may not be the smartest thing in your opinion, it was only initiated in hopes of seeing a sales increase in these two states. Mr. Steven Harris, Vice President of Global Communications at General Motors, pointed out that the gas incentive is not going to persuade a person who is going to buy a $15,000 car to turn around and buy a $35,000 Tahoe.

How can you say that General Motors is not trying to solve the gas problem? Each year, GM is investing billions of dollars in different technologies, such as hydrogen, and they have already provided over 1.9 million E85 capable vehicles for us to use on the road (available on nine different models; will be available on more in the future) that will help reduce our dependency on foreign oil, and we can expect to see an increase in these vehicles over the years. GM is also working on having more fueling stations available that will supply E85 fuel for customers who own an E-85 capable vehicle or want to get one. GM is also investing in many new hybrid technologies. Just take a look at the hybrid GMC Sierra or the upcoming hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe that will offer a 25% increase in fuel economy. The hybrid system placed in the Tahoe will also be available in GM’s other full-size SUVs. Another note-worthy vehicle coming from GM is the soon-to-be released Saturn VUE Green Line hybrid. It gets the best highway fuel economy rating of any SUV currently available on the market, and will also be the cheapest hybrid available. GM has also marketed hybrid buses across the United States and Canada that are saving thousands of gallons of fuel every week. General Motors also offers more cars that get 30 highway estimated MPG than any other automaker. Who’s to say that GM is not concerned with fuel economy? The HUMMER brand shouldn’t be put into question for this matter either. The H2 may only get 9 to 12 MPG on average, but a new engine will soon be placed in the H2 that will make this vehicle more fuel efficient. And let’s take a look at the new H3. GM had a choice on this one: to give the H3 power or to give it better fuel economy. They choose fuel economy, and look what they got; a HUMMER that achieves 20 MPG on highway driving and a best-seller in its market division. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of GM and what they have failed to do in the past, focus on what they are trying to accomplish and have already achieved. GM is working to meet customer demands and they are improving their company in every aspect, including making the quality of their vehicles much more appealing. Hopefully, we will see nothing but great products rolling out from now on. GM’s restructuring plan isn’t going to happen in one year though. It’s going to take time, and that’s what we need to understand.


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