After three decades of cheap oil, the rising cost of gasoline is finally driving consumers away from gas guzzling cars trucks and SUVs, the mainstay of Detroit’s profit margins. Now General Motors, with its 100,000 workers, 1300 suppliers and thousands of dealerships around the country, may go bankrupt without federal support. If Wall Street is worth a $700 billion bailout, then what should Detroit get?
Our answer – nothing, not without conditions that reduce our dependence on oil. Our money should be offered on our terms. No automaker deserves federal funds or loan guarantees unless it commits to producing and selling at least 30,000 plug-in electric vehicles by the end of 2011 – and after those three years have passed and they’ve met the terms of the bailout, then let’s talk about more support for more plug-ins. Taxpayers’ dollars should be used to stabilize the industry and the jobs that depend on it by producing vehicles that end the downward spiral of our dependence on oil. Electric vehicles recharged by a green grid means green jobs, less greenhouse gas pollution, a more competitive domestic auto industry, not to mention saying no to tar sands development and good bye to wars for oil.
President-elect Obama has pledged to put one million plug-ins on the road by 2015 and grow five million green jobs. Sounds great – let’s get started with GM.