General Motors and the Environment

General Motors and the Environment

Clearly, we are all distressed when 14,000 workers are let off, and their factories closed.  General Motors in fact said that consumers are desiring to drive SUVs and Trucks more, so they are fulfilling consumer demands.  

I partly believe that, but GM failed to mention that their profit margins are far greater with the sales of more expensive SUVs and Trucks.  The SUV margins used to be about $10,000 per vehicle.

But let us examine their effect on the environment by dropping the Chevy Cruze and the Chevy Volt.  If Trump is pressuring them to keep producing these models, we have something in common.  

The Chevy Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which gets 53 miles on a battery charge, and 420 miles total.  Even considering emissions at some of the electric generating sources, the equivalent mpg is well over 60, and even as much as a 100 mpg equivalent.  The Volt price starts at $33,220.  I am not advertising this car, since it is probably kaput.

The Chevy Cruze is a compact car that gets 31 mpg city, and an amazing 47 mpg highway.  It starts at $17,000.  Again, not advertising.

If people are not buying these cars, people have suggested (Trumpspeak) five possibilities.  One, salespeople do not push cheaper and low commission cars.  Two, buyers in general are moving away from economical and low emission cars to more comfortable SUVs and impressive pickups.  Or, it could be that buyers of smaller cars just aren’t attracted to Chevys.  Three, the price of oil, and therefore gas, fell in October and November to $50 a barrel, from $80 a barrel.  Hardly a predictable trend.  Trump took credit for that, as he does for anything good, since he asked Saudi Crown Prince MBS to do that, just before the midterms.  (He should have also asked MBS not to kill any American News correspondents.). Four, it just snowed, and people think that they now need big, hefty vehicles, instead of just snow tires.  Five, in the Fall, the new models come out, and car sales are up, as well as car commercials.

One good thing for the environment, is that GM seems to have dropped gas guzzling Cadillac models as well.

So, if Trump is thinking that he wants them to continue manufacturing low emission vehicles, it is good for the environment and slowing global warming, despite his rants about it being a hoax, according to his innate scientific genius.  Probably, he just wants them to start making SUVs there.

So now, Trump is again ordering around the auto industry, as he has ordered around so many other industries.  Although Trump did start his term by bragging about saving 700 auto jobs.  Why does everything have to be about Trump?

You can also buy hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric SUVs.  Volkswagen is switching to an all electric fleet, and that will be a highly charged competitor.  Volkswagen will also not have to cheat on its diesel emissions tests anymore.

It is up to environmentalists to concentrate more on educating auto consumers that their choices are the most important to be made in progressing to a cleaner and greener planet.

About Dennis SILVERMAN

I am a retired Professor of Physics and Astronomy at U C Irvine. For a decade I have been active in learning about energy and the environment, and in lecturing and attending classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UC Irvine.
This entry was posted in 2018 Midterm Election, Autos, CAFE Standards, Clean Energy, Climate Change, Climate Education, Climate Science, Donald Trump, Electric Cars, Hybrid Cars, Oil, Transportation. Bookmark the permalink.

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