After the meeting between President George Bush and the CEOs of the Big Three, the general public commended the dedication of the parties to make the United States’ energy quite dependent.
While there are flex fuel cars in production which can run on alternative fuels, Business Week reported that the promise of these vehicles is not what they seem to be. This reaction comes after the President held the energy meeting with the Big Three and did not invite Toyota to the party.
Business Week reported that there is a dirty secret behind the production of flex-fuel vehicles. Government policies allow car manufacturers to manufacture gas guzzlers as long as they produce flex-fuel vehicles. And in reality, majority of flex fuel vehicles already on the country’s roads are far fro being clean.
It is also reported that the Big Three produced thousands of units of flex fuel vehicles to increase their CAFE average since flex fuel cars are given very high gas mileage ratings. These flex fuel cars are impractical since most consumers have no access to alternative fuels according to Business Week. In fact, a study reveals that only one percent of flex fuel vehicles are actually using alternative fuel like E85 while for the rest of the lot, 99 percent of them are still running on petroleum gasoline.
This secret has enraged environmental watchdogs like the Sierra Club. Dan Becker, the director for Global Warming Program of the club, calls the production of flex-fuel vehicles and the hype that comes with it as a “total scam”. “The automakers are trying to shield themselves from having to make more efficient vehicles. They’re avoiding the path to cutting oil dependence, curbing global warming, saving consumers’ money, and ultimately saving Detroit from competitors like Toyota,” says Becker.
The reaction comes after the President met Rick Wagoner for General Motors, Alan Mulally for Ford, and Tom LaSorda for Chrysler to talk about energy policy. It can be remembered that the absence of Toyota in the meeting has received criticism since Toyota is in a position to provide the administration with insightful information in the production of vehicles that will support the government’s goal to reduce energy dependency on oil producing countries.
Some of the vehicles presented to the President after the said meeting are flex-fuel vehicles from the Big Three’s lineup. A General Motors model which runs on ethanol is one of the vehicles presented to President Bush as well as a plug-in hybrid from Ford and a DaimlerChrysler Jeep running on biodiesel. All these vehicles are designed to save fuel and reduce emission with the use of advance mechanical and automotive electrical components. If the government makes a step towards the expansion of the alternative fuel industry, these vehicles will surely be used to reach the administration’s “Twenty in Ten” goal.