GM CEO Dan Akerson Calls for Consumer-Driven National Energy Policy
March 7, 2013 8:33 AM
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Akerson wants a presidential commission set up to form a 30-year energy policy
GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson said this week that the U.S. is close to achieving long-term energy security thanks to several factors. Those factors include the
rise of fuel-efficient vehicles
, energy-efficient homes and factories, and improvement in domestic oil and gas production. Akerson also said that he believed it was time for consumer-driven national energy policy.
Akerson wants President Obama to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission with the goal of developing a 30-year policy framework for energy security with progress reviews every five years. He believes that the commission would need to include a cross-section of energy producers and energy consumers.
Akerson made the comments when speaking at the IHS CERA Week energy conference. The executive also took the time to talk up GM's technologically diverse range of fuel-efficient vehicles, which include the
Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbodiesel
GM also plans to help increase fuel economy by using advanced materials in the construction of their vehicles that reduce vehicle weight such as carbon fiber and magnesium. GM is even looking at better ways to construct vehicles using traditional materials such as nano steel and resistance spot welding for aluminum structures.
“A good rule of thumb is that a 10-percent reduction in curb weight will reduce fuel consumption by about 6.5 percent,” Akerson said. “Our target is to reduce weight by up to 15 percent” by 2016."
“Everywhere you look there are opportunities to seize the energy high ground,” Akerson said. “Indeed, our leaders have been presented with an historic opportunity to create a national energy policy from a position of strength and abundance.”
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RE: Consumer driven
3/7/2013 2:12:59 PM
Why did companies profit from SUV's? Somehow they forced people to buy gas guzzlers against their will? Consumers generally preferred these vehicles for the space and comfort they provide and were willing to pay extra for this. If an automaker didn't provide what the consumers wanted, another automaker would and they would reap the profits.
Consumers shifted to gas guzzling SUV's becuase the government outlawed station wagons. Once upon a time you could buy the Griswald Family Truckster, which had quite a bit of space and a smaller amount of weight and aerodynamic drag. Some beaurocrat at the EPA decided that wasn't right and outlawed station wagons by imposing higher CAFE standards for cars. Whoops, the net effect was worse mileage as consumers were forced to get SUV's to meet their needs. Beaurocrats have zero chance of finding the right balance due to the information problem. There is no way for them to figure out how best to balance the needs and tradeoffs for 300 million people. This is best left for consumers to decide.
Sure, CAFE requirements will drive new technologies to be developed, but they ignore the cost/benefit tradeoff. It's best when that is determined by the individual actions of the consumers. Automakers would experiment and compete with each other to find combinations of features that best meet the cost/benefit balance for their customers. Consumers would vote with their wallet. A large variety of options would be available.
I don't buy the argument that politicians or beaurocrats are more far-sighted than consumers. They're only in office for 4-6 years at a time, and have many votes to buy and favors to repay. How is the consumer's needs even in their top 5 list of priorities?
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