December 1, 2008
Dear Automobile Manufacturer Executive,
As you are asking Congress for tens of billions of taxpayer dollars, I want to remind you of the last several
billion that we gave your industry, and remind you of the outcome of it. In the 1990s, the Partnership for a New
Generation of Vehicles worked to make 80+ mile per gallon cars and allowed for communications amongst scientists
between the big three auto makers to help speed that process along.
The Partnership was a huge success, with three 70+ mile per gallon prototypes. General Motors had the
Precept, with one version getting 108 mile per gallon equivalent running on hydrogen. Ford had the Prodigy getting
72 miles per gallon, and Daimler-Chrysler also had a 72 mile per gallon vehicle. Taxpayers were proud that their
billions were not wasted, and expected these vehicles on the market.
But none of the automakers put any of these vehicles into production. Instead, they chose gas-guzzling
SUVs, the epitome of stupidity from a climate change and energy conservation perspective. Using slick ads,
the auto makers are among the biggest culprits in the fast rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the Untied States.
And what happened to the efficient vehicles? This was also a major cause of our economic collapse.
With the rise in gas prices this past summer, people found that their SUVs were worth less than the loans they
had on them.
Why should we give a bail-out now, when the automakers are the ones who put themselves into the crisis
they are in through their own idiocy? Why don’t you dust off these efficient vehicles and put them into production,
something both our wallets and our planet could have used a decade ago?
They say those who forget history are bound to repeat it. After the foolish follies of the auto industries in
pushing gas guzzlers on the American public (along with tax breaks that they manipulated through Congress), why
should we bail them out?
Kister is the Author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness Area; Arctic Melting: How
Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Area and Against All Odds: The Struggle
to Save The Ridges. He is also the producer of the 2006 film, Caribou People. The second edition of Arctic Melting
is coming out soon, with 100+ more pages and thoroughly updated throughout.
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