Bush Meets Again With Top Auto Execs

Bush Meets Again With Top Auto Execs

US President George W. Bush met again with top auto executives Monday to discuss fuel emission standards. The event was highlighted by the demonstration of alternative fuel vehicles on the South Lawn drive of the White House. Top executives include Rick Wagoner, the Chairman and CEO of 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. Mary Peters, the Secretary of Transportation was also present.

When asked about his proposed emission standards, Bush has this to say: ?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.?

Bush 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.?

He stressed further, ?That’s a major technological breakthrough for the country. If you want to reduce gasoline usage, like I believe we need to do so for national security reasons, as well as for environmental concerns, the consumer has got to be in a position to make a rational choice. And so I appreciate very much the fact that American automobile manufacturers recognize the reality of the world in which we live and are using new technologies to give the consumers different options.?

Most ethanol is derived from corn. However, the federal government is spending a hefty sum to formulate new technologies that will be applied to auto body parts as well as to car systems to complement the fuel. Bushed added, ?Part of that request is embedded in a request to the Congress, and I would hope that Congress would move expeditiously on our plan to reduce gasoline usage by 20 percent over the next 10 years. It’s in our national security interest that we do this, it’s in economic security interest we do it, and all at the same time, it will help us be better stewards of the environment.?

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 further 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.?

Automakers are asking the government to increase financial aid in the development of new auto technologies to bolster the use of alternative fuels. ?One of the things that I think it’s important for American taxpayers to understand is that we’re using some of their dollars to promote new technologies, and we’re working with these CEOs and their respective companies to advance new technologies,? Bush concluded. ?They’re on the leading edge of technological change, and it’s in our interest to help promote these new technologies that are coming to the market. And I’m excited about the future. I’m optimistic we can meet our goal. I look forward to working with Congress to do so, and I appreciate you all coming today.?