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Bob Lutz
Bob Lutz and his pals tout the benefits of domestic oil production, electric vehicles

The last time we visited commentary from former General Motors Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, he was firing back against the "Right-Wing Media" for its assault on the Chevrolet Volt. Lutz was a huge proponent of the Volt while at GM, and he helped spearhead the development of the gasoline/plug-in electric vehicle.
 
Now, in another column for Forbes magazine (written in conjunction with FedEx CEO Fredrick Smith, and U.S. Marines commandants General P.X. Kelley and General James Conway), Lutz is switching gears slightly to tout the positive benefits of oil independence and electric vehicles instead of attacking the "attackers".
 
Lutz and his posse argue that moving to vehicles that are more efficient or rely solely on electricity for power will boost the United States' national security. In addition, U.S. military manpower and financial resources are being strained to protect vital oil distribution points around the globe.
 
From a national security perspective, the U.S. military is forced to protect the world’s vital oil infrastructure… Protection of the sea lanes of commerce has become an American burden and will remain so, costing the United States Treasury an estimated $80 billion per year while taxing our military, which is already engaged on multiple fronts.
 
“Lutz and Friends” go on to say that the U.S. needs to produce more oil domestically (to isolate the country from global oil price spikes) while at the same time moving the U.S. transportation sector away from oil dependency. "The only way to fundamentally solve this problem is to break oil’s stranglehold on the transportation sector, which accounts for 70 percent of the total oil consumed by the United States and relies on oil for 94 percent of its fuel," states the quartet.
 
As we reported nearly a year ago, Frederick Smith is definitely onboard with reducing our “addition” to foreign oil in an effort to boost the domestic economy. And like Lutz, Smith is hip to the idea of electrifying America’s transportation sector.


Chevrolet Volt enjoying a dip in the pool with the ladies. [Source: TECHVEHI]
 
Not surprisingly, the column throws a shout-out to the two primary players in the electric car market: the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf:
 
Regarding electrification, the beauty of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf is that they are powered by electricity, which can be generated from many sources: nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewables. Best yet, these are all domestic energy sources, meaning OPEC won’t be able to corner the market. And the retail price of electricity is far less volatile that the price of oil.
 
It seems inevitable that electrification will by the end game for vehicles in the future, but the question is should the government be footing the bill to jumpstart the process?

Source: Forbes



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Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Beenthere on 4/17/2012 9:00:14 PM , Rating: -1
Lutz is a car guy and a good guy but EVs are not the solution to national security or emission issues. They are a pet project of the Messiah who can't even speak without a teleprompter...

The U.S. is not being held hostage by forign oil. We are being blackmailed by the oil Cartel. The U.S. has the largest deposits of crude in the world and enough to last ten lifetimes. The only reason we are paying $4/gal. for oil is because of the Cartel. There is no shortage of oil and no reason for it to cost $4/gal. other than financial greed.

EVs won't fix the exploitation by the oil Cartel even if 100% of the oil comes from the U.S.




RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By FaaR on 4/17/12, Rating: 0
RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Spuke on 4/17/2012 11:04:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Cheap gas just means lazy, complacent and irresponsible americans like you will piss away any oil reserves you may have by driving around inefficient, heavy, gas-guzzling V8 clunkers like you have been doing for decades already.
Provide proof that the US has been "driving around inefficient, heavy, gas-guzzling V8 clunkers". I want to see sales numbers organized by year and vehicle.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/17/2012 11:16:58 PM , Rating: 3
Agreed Spuke, he's wrong. With the exception of pickups which are always big sellers for contractors and fleets, the best selling vehicles for 2011 are mostly efficient midsize and compact sedans:

http://wot.motortrend.com/top-of-the-charts-the-be...


By ncalipari on 4/18/2012 7:36:47 AM , Rating: 2
So one year makes up for 60 years of inefficiency.

Us Car has been traditionally big and fuel inefficient.

http://www.marketingcharts.com/topics/asia-pacific...


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Paj on 4/18/2012 7:44:53 AM , Rating: 1
Lol, nice foot shooting

No 1. Ford F-Series
No 2. Chevrolet Silverado
No 5. Ford Escape
No 7. Ram 1500/2500/3500

Not a hatchback among them.

Compare with the top selling UK cars, where you hardly see anything bigger than a hatchback, and no 4WDs at all.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/gallery/2012/ja...


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/18/2012 9:19:39 AM , Rating: 2
Americans buy sedans, not hatchbacks for the most part. It's a cultural difference.

And there were six cars on the list versus 4 trucks... some where exactly is the foot shooting? Also, the Escape is relatively fuel efficient for an SUV and is available as a hybrid.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Paj on 4/18/2012 11:24:38 AM , Rating: 1
Which, out of an F150, a sedan and a hatchback do you think is more fuel efficient?

The original point was:

quote:
Cheap gas just means lazy, complacent and irresponsible americans like you will piss away any oil reserves you may have by driving around inefficient, heavy, gas-guzzling V8 clunkers like you have been doing for decades already.


I think the sales statistics from the US vs the UK back that up pretty conclusively.

Part of the issues US automakers have meeting the new emission standards is due to the inertia behind these so called 'cultural differences'. European cars have little difficulties meeting the targets, even with Imperial/US conversion taken into account.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 4/18/2012 11:33:44 AM , Rating: 1
The point is, you make it seem like we're all driving around in gas guzzling pickup trucks when in fact, 7 of the top-selling vehicles aren't even pickups. And six of those are compact or midsize sedans that get good fuel economy.

While many Americans DO buy pickup trucks, a large portion of the ones sold in America go to fleets and businesses and not consumers.

So again, I still don't see your point.


By heffeque on 4/18/2012 1:09:24 PM , Rating: 2
Have you ever traveled to Europe? You'd see right away the difference there is in size compared to the States.

The point is:
- FOUR out of the top 10 selling vehicles are big ass oil guzzlers in the US, three of them in top 5.
- ONE out of the top 10 selling vehicles are big ass oil guzzlers in the UK, and it's not even in the top 5.

What point don't you get? Are you blind?

Also American cars tend to have bigger motors, bigger chassis, larger wieght and less modern diesel engines.

Saying otherwise is just living in denial.


By quiksilvr on 4/18/2012 1:12:10 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that within the past few years we have become more efficient, but that doesn't excuse the fact that numbers 1 and 2 are pick up trucks. Granted a "large portion" goes to businesses, but none of us can deny the fact that virtually at every intersection, we see way too many SUVs and trucks with no load on them and one person in them.

We are transitioning out of that ($4 a gallon is a good incentive to do so), but that doesn't excuse the fact that there are too many of these gas guzzlers for our own good.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Paj on 4/20/2012 7:47:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Agreed Spuke, he's wrong. With the exception of pickups which are always big sellers for contractors and fleets, the best selling vehicles for 2011 are mostly efficient midsize and compact sedans


What your really saying is akin to the following:

Despite the fact that 4 of the top 10 best selling cars are indeed massive oil guzzling SUVs, I'm just going to completely ignore this salient fact and instead focus on the sedans, which consume more fuel than hatchbacks anyway.

Americans have a cultural aversion to any vehicle that is smaller than a sedan. This is reflected in the sales. Do you deny this?


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 1:08:41 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Part of the issues US automakers have meeting the new emission standards is due to the inertia behind these so called 'cultural differences'.
Provide PROOF of which emissions standards we aren't meeting?


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By heffeque on 4/18/2012 1:12:20 PM , Rating: 2
Here's one.

A list of CO2 per capita:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CO2_per_capita_p...

You're welcome.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Kurz on 4/18/2012 1:20:29 PM , Rating: 2
CO2 is not a pollutant


By Jeffk464 on 4/18/2012 8:31:14 PM , Rating: 2
pollutant (p-ltnt)
A substance or condition that contaminates air, water, or soil. Pollutants can be artificial substances, such as pesticides and PCBs, or naturally occurring substances, such as oil or carbon dioxide, that occur in harmful concentrations in a given environment. Heat transmitted to natural waterways through warm-water discharge from power plants and uncontained radioactivity from nuclear wastes are also considered pollutants.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 1:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, CO2 per capita is not an "emissions standard". AGAIN, which "emissions standard" are we not meeting?


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Paj on 4/20/2012 7:42:55 AM , Rating: 2
Your own CAFE standards?

http://www.dailytech.com/UPDATED+Feds+Proposed+545...

http://www.dailytech.com/Republicans+Try+to+Block+...

Cars will be legislated out of existence! They will simply vanish!


By Keeir on 4/18/2012 2:45:26 PM , Rating: 2
I think this is as good as a Place as any

A. Car Selection
http://www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/mpg/fetrends/2012/420...

According to the US EPA, Between 15-20% of the US car market is "pickup" trucks.

-50%- are car models.

And of the car models, -50%- are "small" cars. That means there are more C-segment cars sold each year than Pickup Trucks.

The distortion you see on the top models sales list has to do with the limited selection of models. The F-150 series has nearly 40% of the market.

http://news.pickuptrucks.com/2011/01/the-ultimate-...

You add up the top 3 namplates and they accord for 70%!!!!! of the pickup market alone.

In constrast, the Corrola, Yaris, Civic, Fit, Cruze, Sonic, Focus, Fiesta, Mazda3, Mazda2, Impreza, 200C, Sentra, Forte, Rio, Elantra, Golf, Jetta, TSX, A3, 1 series, Gallant, etc split the market up a little more fairly


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By robertisaar on 4/17/2012 11:06:53 PM , Rating: 5
why is it always "inbred, fat, stupid 'mericans with 4MPG tractor-trailers to go to the store half a block away"?

the majority of the US isn't like that, but i'll leave that for someone else to get statistics for, since your ignorant self won't listen anyways.

but, here's a kicker: your fuel prices are taxed the hell out of by your governments to provide for things like actual universal healthcare. we're slowly creeping toward european fuel prices, but without the benefits that come with it.

i think we're allowed to be angry.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By borismkv on 4/17/2012 11:45:10 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
your fuel prices are taxed the hell out of by your governments so they can spend themselves into bankruptcy anyway


FTFY


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By WalksTheWalk on 4/18/2012 10:56:57 AM , Rating: 2
Compared to the rest of the developed world, the US does have many more people with larger houses in the suburbs, larger vehicles and subsequently lower than average MPG. I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying it exists.

The US also have a large contingency that take this standard of living for granted, whose biggest problems are that they cannot afford an iPhone and have to settle for something else, their Facebook isn't fast enough, etc. IMO, people in the US at least should look and see what's happening in other areas of the world to really see that we have it EXTREMELY good here, despite our own internal issues.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Jeffk464 on 4/18/2012 12:38:06 PM , Rating: 2
Things are quickly changing though, the US standard of living is going down and the rest of the world's (except europe) is coming up. I guess eventually we will meet somewhere in the middle.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Spuke on 4/18/2012 1:10:09 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Things are quickly changing though, the US standard of living is going down and the rest of the world's (except europe) is coming up.
Wow! Provide proof of this. LOL!


By Jeffk464 on 4/18/2012 8:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
http://www.dailyfinance.com/2010/10/17/disturbing-...

Do any search combining declining american middle class. The combination of union busting and outsourcing labor has absolutely shrunk the middle class. Sorry, but its a fact.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Keeir on 4/18/2012 2:03:15 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
It should cost much more than that.


Why?

Gasoline should cost the amount require to pump oil from the ground, refine the gasoline and ship it to the pump, plus a reasonable profit defined by markets willingness to pay for it.

In the US, we have decided gasoline should also include a significant share (75%+) the cost of maintaining Federal and State roads.

Potentially, gasoline should also include the costs of cleaning the pollution, etc. I'd support that if someone could do a good estimate of these costs.

quote:
NO, you're not paying too much. You only pay about 50% of what we pay, and you think that's too expensive? Lol... Get real.


What does that have to do with anything?!? You're nation choices about how to tax gasoline are clearly responsible. Heck, the US exports to Europe refined Diesel/Gasoline. I am fairly sure European government just pocket the tax money and its not earmarked typically for a specific service. How strange.

quote:
No oil business in their right mind would greatly overproduce to artificially drive down the price. That'd be financial suicide from a commercial standpoint, and just not how a capitalist system works.


And this is where you show your true ignorance. If I wanted to fetch the highest price for my good... I would produce one and only one of it. Or maybe 10, just to get some positive reviews. Businesses all the time produce far more than required AND have low prices. It depends on the marginal production price and marginal change in price. The idea for most businesses is to MAXIMIZE revenue per capital invested. Not to Maximize revenue per unit.

quote:
You bawww about oil cartels and whatnot, but what you sound like is a bloody communist. You want price-fixed gas, move to Soviet Russia a quarter century ago... That's the only way you'll succeed.


What? Oil cartels are against capitalism. That's a socialist/communist ideal. Oil cartels want price-fixed gasoline... high price fixed.

Just because the original post was off base and crazy, doesn't give you license to be as off base.

quote:
Oil is a precious resource, and have much better uses than simply being burned in extremely inefficient internal combustion engines.


Oil is so precious, its leaking onto the Ocean Floor and onto Beachs in dozens of places... and no one will spend the money to fix it.

But overall, your really have this backwards.

Oil is a precious resource, because we burn it in internal combustion engines. The only other wide scale use of Oil was in oil-lamps. So... if we suddenly stopped using Oil in cars where would it all go? Would air travel become super cheap then? Is that the thinking? Or do you mean other uses than transporation? What is the super valuable use you would put it to?


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By RubberJohnny on 4/18/2012 5:10:41 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Oil is a precious resource, because we burn it in internal combustion engines. The only other wide scale use of Oil was in oil-lamps. So... if we suddenly stopped using Oil in cars where would it all go? Would air travel become super cheap then? Is that the thinking? Or do you mean other uses than transporation? What is the super valuable use you would put it to?


Are you farking serious? probably half the items in your house and office are made from oil!

http://www.ranken-energy.com/Products%20from%20Pet...
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/11/9-shockin...
http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/la...


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Keeir on 4/18/2012 11:32:05 AM , Rating: 2
Yes.

While many items are made from Oil in my household,

What percentage of Oil consumed in the US is in the transporatation section? The EIA claims .66! Now, since there are millions of other uses for oil, each of these uses just uses a tiny slice of oil production.


By Solandri on 4/18/2012 1:10:42 PM , Rating: 2
The vast majority of oil is burned as fuel. About 3% is used for asphalt and lubricants. About 2% ends up in other products like plastics and waxes.
http://abcnews.go.com/Business/PainAtThePump/story...


By ncalipari on 4/18/2012 7:38:56 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
What? Oil cartels are against capitalism. That's a socialist/communist ideal.


Why some people are so naive?

Next time will be the nazi that drive the price up.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Paj on 4/18/12, Rating: 0
RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By bah12 on 4/18/2012 9:56:55 AM , Rating: 2
Those items you listed are all from oil BY-PRODUCTS. In other words without the cars' need for the base product, it would not be worth the effort to pump it out of the ground for plastics. In other words in a world with no cars, everything on your list would be REALLY expensive as everything on your list were inventions to use the non-fuel parts of oil.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Paj on 4/20/2012 8:00:36 AM , Rating: 2
Really? So no-one was trying to create plastics before the invention of the combustion engine?

Far more effort is expended in refining oil to a usable fuel than it is obtaining other useful materials from it. Crude oil is useless as a fule on its own - it goes through many, many stages of refining and distillation before it becomes usable in cars.

Most synthetic fabrics, such as nylon, polyester and others, are also made from plastic precursors derived from oil.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By FITCamaro on 4/18/2012 7:50:01 AM , Rating: 2
You have no one to blame but your governments for that.

Don't like it? Vote them out and replace them with people who won't charge several dollars worth of taxes on a gallon of gas.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Jeffk464 on 4/18/2012 12:42:06 PM , Rating: 2
Nah, I like them jacking up gas prices.


By FITCamaro on 4/19/2012 11:02:31 AM , Rating: 1
Then stop bitching about it.

If you support high gas prices, you have no one to blame but yourselves. Don't get pissed at us because we don't want to artificially jack up the price of energy here in the US because it kills an economy.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Natch on 4/18/2012 8:17:48 AM , Rating: 2
Except, we're not really pissing away OUR reserves, are we? We're pissing away the Middle East reserves, as well as the North Sea and Venezuelan reserves, but very little of the US reserves.

Maybe we're not as think as you dumb we are, eh?

So far as the whole question of electric vehicles and national security, I would ask Mr. Lutz where he's getting the rare earth minerals to make his electric motors? China, more than likely? And where does that fit into the national security picture, especially when China decides to finally cut off the rest of the world by stopping exports of rare earth minerals??

Sorry, but both you and Mr Lutz are WRONG.


By bah12 on 4/18/2012 10:13:57 AM , Rating: 2
Ding ding we have a winner. You don't pillage your own reserves first. Honestly gas is expensive, but it isn't really there yet for us to tap our own.

This is if you even believe there is a supply constraint. Most experts agree there really isn't one. If anything the biggest constraint is refinery capacity at the moment.


By mikeyD95125 on 4/18/2012 2:41:55 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
They are a pet project of the Messiah who can't even speak without a teleprompter...


Cliche BS like this instantly takes credibility out of anything you wanted to say.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By euroscot on 4/18/2012 7:34:16 AM , Rating: 2
Electric vehicles are expensive in Europe. Socialist-minded governments have had to provide taxpayer-funded subsidies in order to support the manufacturers selling efforts. I guess American EV manufacturers are supported by taxpayers also.
Car production in the UK is booming; but the majority of the vehicles are high-efficiency petrol or diesel fueled. (Petrol is "gas")
Fuel has always been expensive here, so the manufacturers have had to develop efficient engines and transmissions. For example, my 2003 Vauxhall Vectra 1.8 litre does 44 British mpg ( about 37 mpg US). The engine was developed by Lotus Engineering for Vauxhall's owner, GM.
I am now paying £1.42 per litre, about $US2.27, about 66% of which is tax. The more polluting diesel is £1.46 per litre.
Other than that, the actual price of crude oil is set by the "market". The market comprises OPEC, and non-OPEC producers such as Norway and the UK. It's traded internationally, and the traders sell for as much as they can get.
We'll find that electric-cars will see a "retreating market". Conventional technology will get better making electric cars less attractive than hoped. For example, the Mini D: does 80mpg (British); the Astra "gas" turbo 1.4: does 57 mpg or better.
Finally, CNG public transport and LPG taxis are in widespread use in Seoul, which has a smog-prone climate a bit like LA/ SF.


RE: Lutz a good guy but wrong about EVs
By Solandri on 4/18/2012 1:37:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Conventional technology will get better making electric cars less attractive than hoped. For example, the Mini D: does 80mpg (British); the Astra "gas" turbo 1.4: does 57 mpg or better.

1. The EU uses a different mileage rating test than the U.S., which results in much better mpg ratings. Their tests use a lower top highway speed, and don't have as many stop and gos. It's not uncommon for vehicles with >50 mpg EU ratings to get EPA ratings in the low 30s.

2. The U.K. gallon is 20% bigger than a U.S. gallon.

3. Mileages over 50 mpg are mostly meaningless. Fuel consumption is actually the inverse of mpg. So when you start getting really big mpg, you're actually saving very little fuel. e.g. Going from 15 mpg to 25 mpg is "only" a 10 mpg difference. But it saves more fuel than going from 25 mpg to 50 mpg, which is a 25 mpg difference.

quote:
Finally, CNG public transport and LPG taxis are in widespread use in Seoul, which has a smog-prone climate a bit like LA/ SF.

CNG and LPG are better fuels than gasoline from an emissions standpoint. Their problem is their volumetric energy density is much lower than gasoline or diesel. If you've ever peeked in the trunk of a CNG car, there's not much room left over for luggage. You can stick maybe 3-4 grocery bags inside. A thin suitcase standing on its side.

That makes CNG/LPG good fuels for vehicles where cargo capacity doesn't matter as much, or which have lots of extra room. Buses, taxis (especially vans), utility trucks. It's not so good for a general purpose vehicle like a personal car, or for taxis which go to the airport.


By euroscot on 4/19/2012 6:02:17 AM , Rating: 2
Solandri
Please read my actual post.
Yes, the British gallon is bigger than the US gallon. I said that! The British gallon is 4.536 litres; US is 3.785.
My Vectra does 44 mpg British in actual use! That includes 75 mph on the Motorway and 50 or 60 on rural roads.
Around town, it's 34 or so, depending on congestion.
And that's for an engine designed by Lotus in 1999!
EU fuel consumption figures include three outputs: highway, urban, and average. We are allowed to drive at up to 70mph UK, lot more in Germany.
My point was, Toyota claim low fuel consumption for the Prius. A similarly-sized petrol or diesel-fueled car is cheaper to buy and almost as good on fuel.
Now, back to electric:
In Europe, how long do people think it will take for Government to place a tax on "automotive electricity"? That's why many European countries are installing "smart meters".
Governments cannot afford to lose the automotive fuel tax. Full stop.
Then we'll see how great these electric cars are.

Fuel tax is wonderful. We get motorway bridges that aren't in danger of falling down (c.f much US infrastructure).
We get a health service which is often free or cheap at point of need (cf the dreadful state of poor people's health/ dental state in the US).
We get subsidised accomodation for poor people (c.f trailer parks in the US which are really like African shanty towns)
So don't decry fuel tax.
In case you wonder I've worked in the US in many places. Seen the good - it's wonderful!
Seen the bad - it's amazingly awful and sad for the people concerned.
You Americans need to pay more for automotive fuel.


By rich876 on 4/18/2012 9:53:08 AM , Rating: 2
Your logic is out of whack.


By kattanna on 4/18/2012 10:26:36 AM , Rating: 2
is it just me.. or is the pic of bob there showing us exactly how it is with our current EVs.. we are getting fisted


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