Bush Reviews More Fuel-efficient Autos

By: Anthony Fontanelle

US President George W. Bush took another day in the nation's capital to look over some advanced vehicles that are powered by flexible and alternative fuels. At a U.S. Postal facility, Bush reviewed a group of advanced technology commercial vehicles after meeting with the CEOs of General Motors, Ford and DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler Group at the White House.

Bush discussed about the need for additional government funding of research top auto executives that include Rick Wagoner, the Chairman and CEO of the General Motors Corporation; Alan Mulally, the President and CEO for the Ford Motor Co.; and Tom LaSorda, the President and CEO for the Chrysler Group. The automaker's CEOs alluded to the president's proposition, suggesting that the White House may be more open to upping research funding for automakers, especially on advanced batteries.

Bush was quoted saying: "I've just spent quite a while talking to our CEOs of American automobile companies. And I was interested in their take on my goal of reducing gasoline consumption by 20 percent over the next 10 years."

He added, "I found it very interesting that by 2012, 50 percent of the automobiles in America will be flex-fuel vehicles. That means that the American consumer will be able to either use gasoline or ethanol, depending upon, obviously, price and convenience."

Wagoner said, "From General Motors' perspective, we very much share the President's vision, and we definitely see a path through to both lower oil consumption, lower amounts of imported oil, and fewer carbon emissions. And obviously, a near-term opportunity that we are moving on right now, as the President cited, is flex-fuel vehicles that are powered by E85 ethanol." He added, "There are millions on the road today. As a group, we've agreed to double our production by the year 2010, and then have 50 percent of our production E85-capable by the year 2012."

"The goal I laid out of reducing gasoline by 20 percent over 10 years is a realistic goal," Bush noted. "In other words, this isn't a pipe dream, this is something that our nation can accomplish. It's going to take more research dollars, it's going to take working with the private sector, and it's going to take innovative leadership."

Bush also met with officials from the U.S. Postal Service, Fedex, UPS and DaimlerChrysler "to talk about how we are using new technologies to convert truck fleets, bus fleets to vehicles that will be able to help meet the goal of reducing gasoline usage by 20 percent over 10 years." He also witnessed three DaimlerChrysler-built vehicles and a GM-built advanced technology which are used as a U.S. Postal vehicle.

The president's gasoline reduction proposition intends to dramatically increase ethanol use by 2017, to 35 billion gallons per year, and increasing the fuel efficiency of vehicles to limit gasoline usage by five percent, or 8.5 billion gallons yearly. The White House said that reaching that goal will require automakers to raise fuel efficiency of vehicles by an average of four percent annually.

Bush's proposition analysis could cost the auto industry $114 billion between 2010 and 2017, including $85 billion for domestic auto manufacturers. Automakers have strongly opposed that aspect of the plan, though they support reforming the way passenger car fuel economy regulations are set.

There is no need to apply braking for the goal towards cleaner environment plus the curbing of foreign oil reliance could be enjoyed by the nation in due time.

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