Why the Big 3 are in the dumps

This could be one of the major reasons why Ford, GM and Chrysler are begging for bailout help in the US Congress: it’s because the US car market is lagging behind Europe and Japan in terms of greeness.

According to automotive data provider Jato Dynamics, the US car market is slower to embrace fuel-efficient and low-emission cars compared to the European and Japanese car market. Poor selection of fuel efficient vehicles coupled with historic larger-vehicle tastes and relatively low gas prices (before) have all contribute toward a slow green transition in the US car market.

Jato noted that US demand for hybrid vehicles such as those made by Toyota and Honda surged mostly because of the higher fuel costs.

But why only blame the car makers? Maybe if US regulators would have been more strict in automotive carbon emissions, it could have force the Big 3 to change their “ungreen ways” much earlier??

This could be a big lesson for the chemical industry as well. Maybe US chemical companies should start implementing green chemistry as soon as possible so as to become more competitive not only in the domestic market but worldwide as well.

One Response to Why the Big 3 are in the dumps

  1. Pradeep 19 November, 2008 at 10:41 pm #

    I disagree about the similarities between the chemical industry and the automotive industry. At the recent conference I referred to in my earlier comments, it was clear to me that the US chemical industry is pretty energy-efficient, what weighs them down are the feedstock (natural gas) costs and availability issues. In other words, they are as green as they can be (most of them, at least), within the limits of the present technology. But I do agree that there is a potential for green chemistry to move things around. I wrote about this on my blog. I think the problems you allude to are basically energy problems, rather than those of efficiency.
    From my blog article :
    “Some of the important challenges for developing clean energy technologies from a green chemistry perspective are:
    * How can we better use renewable materials to produce fuels or industrial feedstocks?
    * How can we maximize atom efficiency the above conversions?
    * How can we plan for chemical degradation/CO2 sequestration after use?”

    I don’t want to generalize, but there is a common energy thread that constitutes the competitiveness concerns for the cement, steel and bauxite industries also face the same problems. In their case, it is the CO2 emissions from

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