Raising Gasoline Taxes Won't Solve America's Oil Problem - Open Letter To Dan Akerson GM CEO

Jun. 08, 2011 9:23 AM ET
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Contributor Since 2009

AKA Milton Snide, The Auto Channel's Andy Rooney. I am the president and co-publisher of theautochannel.com, an editorial web site about the automotive world. We have been on line over 13 years and have more than 1 million screens of textural content and 10,000 video and audio programs. As a father and grandfather it gauls me to see how screwed up our domestic car companies have gotten...and how much power the oil companies have over us.

An Open Letter

To: GM CEO Dan Akerson
From: The Auto Channel CEO Bob Gordon

Hi Dan;

Sorry for this open letter format but I couldn't find your e-mail address to send this letter to you directly.

I read your interview in the Detroit News in which you are proposing a gasoline tax increase to push Americans to buy smaller more fuel efficient vehicles, and disagree with your assumption.

We believe that the size of a vehicle is not the problem, but which fuel it uses. There is absolutely no need to down size or drive less or compromise or reduce America's freedom of movement...we just need to stop using gasoline.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
General Motors' CEO Dan Akerson

Dan, everyone knows that most Americans don't want or won't or can't use small cars, no matter how expensive gasoline is in both dollars and in our service men and woman's lives. No matter what, you can't squeeze 4 kids and a spouse into a small vehicle like the Cruze, and unlike Europe or Asia, most American's can't get to grandma's house or work without their personal vehicle.

So what's up with your new tax thing to reduce gasoline use anyway? I'm sure you are aware that GM already owns a real solution to reduce and then eliminate the use of oil based fuels in America's vehicles...just make all GM cars and trucks E85 Flex-Fuel models.

But sadly Dan, it seems that you have been distracted by Big Oil's propaganda that proclaims, "there is not one single solution for our gasoline problem but many". This untrue bromide benefits Big Oil and seems to have taken GM's corporate energy and collective will away from a real and proven replacement solution, Flex-fuel. With your eye off the ball GM is now promoting diffuse fairy tale alternatives (Like EV's) which are not a realistic gasoline replacement now, or in the mid or long-term. The cacophony of alternative fuel half-truths and hopes have seemingly taken your focus and commitment away from GM's in-progress gasoline replacement efforts to provide a near term solution to solve America's fuel problem now and pushed it to the back burner.

Dan I know you are a courageous and patriotic American, but your tax on gasoline solution along with a lack of outrage or disagreement with the government's assumption of a long term continuation of our addiction to gasoline (albeit at a higher MPG) only reinforces Big Oil's propaganda that there can never be a meaningful replacement for gasoline.

So no matter how much is invested in research and technology, no matter the size of government subsidies in alternatives, no matter how much gasoline hurts America, you apparently agree that we are to continue to be held hostage in 2025 and beyond. Your lack of vociferous disagreement with these bureaucratic proclamations only helps maintain the gasoline monopoly and its profitable satus-quo and delays or eliminates any implementation of a realistic alternative, convincing Americans that they will never see a future without gasoline.

This lack of outrage at the government's (Oil Bought) assumption of being forever beholden to OPEC's “Foreign Princes” and your apparent tacit agreement of the continuation of our addiction makes me believe you are unwittingly (I trust) doing the work of the bad guys with your proposal and lack of obvious public support for Flex-fuel vehicles.

At one time GM promoted its Flex-fuel initiative as a realistic American Solution to America's Problem, so what happened?

Dan I am not questioning your motives for pushing for higher gasoline taxes, but do question your apparent lack of leadership in communicating what GM has professed to be its company position on the benefits of Flex-fuel vehicles for; our country, our citizens and your company (how can your high level executives not understand what a wonderful competitive advantage Flex-fuel vehicles give GM over its international brand competition).

An example of GM's recent unexplained move away from promoting the benefits of Flex-fuel is that in the GM Exhibits at this year's LA, Detroit and Chicago auto shows there was ABSOLUTELY NO MENTION OR VISIBILITY FOR GM's FLEX-FUEL OFFERINGs, nowhere in your exhibits, NONE, in fact the Flex-fuel models I saw on display did not even have a Flex-fuel badge on them...what the heck is going on?.

Another example. During a Q and A session at a recent automotive industry conference in San Francisco, a highly ranked GM exec was asked about the role that ethanol could play in the elimination of gasoline, he smiled and remarked "how bad e15 would be for his snow-blower", does this answer really reflect the official GM position on Flex-Fuel? If it does what has changed? If not, his answer was both stupid and Anti-American, a hurtful and pro-enemy remark made in desperate times by one who should know better, how disturbing and sad.

Most GM car makers are already flex-fuel vehicle conversant, they know how to build them, fix them and market them and by making them "standard" can solve America's oil problems now, without rocket science, drill baby drill, CNG conversions, smart grids, or even flux capacitors.

And because E85 Flex-fuel is renewable, sustainable and domestic, another result of a successful GM flex-fuel initiative will be the creation of vibrant dynamic green industries that can ignite America's economy and allow Americans to buy more appropriately sized (and profitable) GM Cars and Trucks.

So Dan get your troops to once again march in a direction that can win the ongoing battle for a real drop-in replacement for gasoline now, before our economy and our country is completely controlled by today's fifth column - Big Oil.

I know that you have the strength to do what's right and stand up to oil bought politicians, oil company sycophants and anti-American right wing talk hosts and marshal the strength of GM to promote a Flex-fuel win-win by reinvigorating your company's commitment for a bio-fuel drop-in replacement of gasoline today. This victory will defuse Big Oil's ticking time bomb and provide both America and GM the luxury of time to research any future mobility technologies without suffering with today's detrimental effects of gasoline or its purveyors.


Of course all of the flex-fuel benefits can't and won't happen without the understanding of our politicians and implementation by the Government...Dan isn't it time for you and other American auto execs to get pissed off and demand action? Its our country isn't it?

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.
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