2010 Detroit: Lutz sees value in higher gas tax

Vice chairman of General Motors, Bob Lutz has been a hard nosed opponent fuel economy regulation and has even been known to refer to global warming as a ‘total crock’, although his description was a tad more specific.  He has also historically been unsupportive of hybrid vehicle development, and declared that they didn’t make much sense to sell or buy.
As recently as this week, even amidst Chevy’s much hyped press conference at which the new Chevy Volt and Chevy Spark were with heavily touted, Lutz mad his opinion known that internal combustion engines would dominate the industry for at least the next 20 years.
Given this trend, Lutz seemed as unlikely to support higher gasoline taxes as one could expect.  But that is exactly what he did in a meeting with journalists yesterday at the North American International Auto Show.  “If the rise in gasoline prices is gradual, I think that all of us in the industry would frankly welcome that,” stated Lutz ,”because there is nothing more illogical than forcing fuel-saving technology when gasoline is extremely cheap,”.  When asked if that meant that he stood in favor of a European style gas tax, he declined to speak for the company but stated that he personally, saw much value in a steady increase.
Lutz mentioned that a gradual and more importantly, expected increase in fuel prices would prompt smart car buying.  As it is, “Every time gas prices go back down, everybody starts buying big stuff again. Gas prices go up a buck, the big stuff is unsellable and everyone wants small cars.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated yesterday at the show that the Obama administration has no interest in any such policy.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also dismissed the idea in a press conference yesterday.
-By: Stephen Calogera
Source: CNN

As recently as this week, even amidst Chevy’s much hyped press conference, at which the new Chevy Volt and Chevy Spark were heavily touted, Lutz made his opinion known that internal combustion engines would dominate the industry for at least the next 20 years.

Given this trend, Lutz seemed as unlikely to support higher gasoline taxes as one could expect. But that is exactly what he did in a meeting with journalists yesterday at the North American International Auto Show. “If the rise in gasoline prices is gradual, I think that all of us in the industry would frankly welcome that,” stated Lutz ,”because there is nothing more illogical than forcing fuel-saving technology when gasoline is extremely cheap,”. When asked if that meant that he stood in favor of a European style gas tax, he declined to speak for the company, but stated that he personally saw much value in a steady increase.

Lutz mentioned that a gradual and ,more importantly, expected increase in fuel prices would prompt smart car buying. As it is, “Every time gas prices go back down, everybody starts buying big stuff again. Gas prices go up a buck, the big stuff is unsellable and everyone wants small cars.”

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated yesterday at the show that the Obama administration has no interest in any such policy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also dismissed the idea in a press conference yesterday.

-By: Stephen Calogera

Source: CNN


Chris Chin

Chris Chin is the Editor-In-Chief of egmCarTech and is a regular contributor to Automobile Magazine.

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