Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step


June 3, 2006

Thomas Friedman for President. Colbert for VP.

Category: Economics,Editorial,Political,Rants,Transportation – Tom Harrison – 12:52 am

Thank god for the liberal, East Cost, elite media.

If you haven’t yet seen the Stephen Colbert speech at the 2006 White House Correspondents Dinner, stop what you’re doing, get ready, and then watch it. It’s uncomfortable. It’s shocking. In some places it’s really not funny at all. But it’s very, very real. And it demonstrates that sometimes, as in Shakespeare, only the fools speak the truth to the King.

And also, thank god for Thomas Friedman, whom I believe we should nominate for President of the World. I have read his current book The World is Flat, which is stunning in it’s equanimity and (what used to be) conservative positions. This man says globalization is … good. And that we should … embrace it. And that it is an … engine of economic opportunity. And that (those silly liberals who support) protectionist measures are bad. And he’s right. As I read the book, I wondered if he really was the same columnist I knew from the New York Times. Isn’t the Times, um, kinda liberal? And no, he’s not the token conservative Op Ed guy, either.

Well, all is right in the world now that Friedman has gotten his gander up. His editorials have been direct, focused, mature, and mildly tinged with position. Until the last few weeks. A recent column (which I can’t find a link to) started

“President Bush has slipped in one recent poll to a 29 percent approval rating. Frankly, I can’t believe that. Those polls can’t possibly be accurate. I mean, really, ask yourself: How could there still be 29 percent of the people who approve of this presidency?”

Ooh, that’s rich. But today’s Friedman column got serious again, and about energy. He asks how General Motors could have the gall to announce its “fuel price protection program” whereby buyer’s of GM vehicles can be assured that their gas prices will be fixed at $1.99/gallon if buyers purchase one of their excellent vehicles. How desperate can they be?

Or better yet, if GM is this desperate, something really big must be happening. Duh. Yes folks, this is the crisis.

Can you guess which GM vehicles are eligible? Here’s a hint, from their press release:

“This program gives consumers an opportunity to experience the highly fuel-efficient vehicles GM has to offer in the mid-size segment,” said Dave Borchelt, GM Southeast regional general manager. “It helps protect consumers against rising fuel prices by providing them with a partial credit for their fuel purchases for one year.”

Now then, which highly fuel-efficient vehicles might he be referring to? Perhaps something small?

Chevrolet: Tahoe, Suburban (1/2 Ton models only), Impala, Monte Carlo
GMC: Yukon, Yukon XL (1/2 Ton models only)
Cadillac: SRX
Pontiac: Grand Prix
Buick: Lucerne
HUMMER: H2, H3

So, how do they do on mileage, Johnny? From GM’s site:
Tahoe: N/A
Suburban 1/2 Ton: N/A
Impala: 18/31
Monte Carlo: 18/31
Yukon 1/2 Ton: N/A
Yukon XL 1/2 Ton: N/A
SRX: 15/21
Grand Prix: 18/30
Lucern: 17/30
H2: N/A
H3: 16/20

So does N/A mean “not available”, “not applicable” or “if you have to ask, you don’t want to know”. I think the last: Hummer H2 gets 9 mpg, for example. But even generously, the average of listed mileage is less than 25 mpg highway. My god. Ok, our Prius doesn’t really get 60MPG city and 55MPG highway. It gets 43MPG city, and 52 highway. So if gas prices go up to $4/gallon, and you believe the EPA numbers for these cars, GM buyers on this program will pay the same amount as I do for gas. And still use twice as much. The degree to which these incentives are just wrong, wrong, wrong are beyond my comprehension.

Here are the details from GM’s mouth.

Thanks to Colbert and Friedman for speaking the truth.

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