Executives from General Motors Corp. (GM), Ford Motor Co., and DaimlerChrysler AG met with Congress on May 18 to discuss energy issues and the need for more alternative fuel vehicles. The three automakers backed the widespread use of ethanol and endorsed a plan called the 25×25 Initiative which seeks to have renewable fuels meet 25 percent of the country’s transportation energy needs by 2025.

GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford, and DaimlerChrysler President and CEO Tom LaSorda asked members of Congress to help make ethanol more readily available nationwide. They also requested incentives for gas stations to increase the number of sites offering ethanol blends.

“If we want a game changer, and a game changer in very short term and in big numbers, then ethanol is a very good play for this country,” said Ford.

Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford (at podium) speaks at the renewable energy press conference held May 18 on Capital Hill.

Ford Chairman and Chief Executive Bill Ford (at podium), Rep. John Dingell of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, and DaimlerChrysler President and CEO Tom LaSorda speak at the renewable energy press conference held May 18 on Capitol Hill. Credit: Energy Future Coalition, www.25×25.org

The executives arrived on Capitol Hill in ethanol-powered vehicles decorated with corn stalk images. The three claim that their companies have produced 5 million ethanol-capable vehicles thus far, and they plan to offer an additional million to consumers this year. Wagoner, Ford, and LaSorda said the meeting with Congress was an opportunity to voice their concerns about the energy issues facing the United States.

“We were interested in talking about things that would improve the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector, and certainly the competitiveness of the auto sector,” said Wagoner.

GM, Ford, and DaimlerChrylser endorsed the 25×25 Initiative, which is supported by the Energy Future Coalition, a non-partisan public policy group. Various other agriculture and forestry groups back the plan to use renewable resources, such as biofuels, to meet 25 percent of America’s transportation energy needs by 2025.

“With gas hovering near $3 a gallon, America wants a new energy vision,” said Co-chair of the 25×25 Steering Committee J. Read Smith. “25×25 is the bold vision we need. Our farms, ranches, and forests hold the keys to reducing our dependence on foreign oil, protecting the environment, and providing a bright future for rural America. We applaud the automakers for their foresight and determination and their willingness to join us in working toward a worthy legacy for future generations.”




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