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From the Detroit Insider:

Chrysler blasts Big Oil

Auto executive turns up heat in growing feud

Josee Valcourt and Christine Tierney / The Detroit News

Taking an unusually public swipe at another industry, Chrysler's chief spokesman slammed major oil companies Monday, accusing them of greed and indifference to the environment.

The blunt remarks by Jason Vines, vice president of communications for DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group, are likely to fuel tensions between Big Oil and the auto industry that have been rising along with gas prices.

"Big Oil would rather fill the pockets of its executives and shareholders, rather than spend sufficient amounts to reduce the price of fuel, letting consumers, during tough economic times, pick up the tab," Vines wrote on a company blog, www.thefirehouse.biz, used to communicate with journalists and financial analysts.

In an extraordinary rebuke across industry lines, Vines said the oil companies were lining up scapegoats for frustrated consumers while filling their coffers.

"Despite a documented history of blowing their exorbitant profits on outlandish executive salaries and stock buybacks, and hoarding their bounty by avoiding technologies, policies and legislation that would protect the population and environment and lower fuel costs, Big Oil insists on transferring all of that responsibility on the auto companies," Vines said, referring in part to a print advertisement by oil giant ExxonMobil that criticized the auto industry's record.

In the ad, ExxonMobil said the U.S. economy had become vastly more fuel-efficient since the first oil shock, "so why is the average fuel economy of American cars unchanged in two decades?"

The ad, which first appeared late last year, infuriated Detroit's auto executives. With the exception of Chrysler, U.S. automakers are losing money in their home market while oil companies are raking in record profits.

The sharp rise in gas prices has put a major dent in demand for some of the auto industry's most profitable vehicles, chiefly sport utility vehicles. After slumping last year, sales of the Ford Explorer, Chevrolet TrailBlazer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango are down again this year.

The auto and oil industries have sparred over many issues over the years, such as who should pay for anti-pollution regulations. But they usually tend to fight behind the scenes.

"Now that the auto industry is taking a huge hit with gas prices and higher heating oil prices, you see a more aggressive response coming from auto executives saying we've got to fight back," said Mario Morrow, a media and political consultant who has his own firm, Mario Morrow and Associates, in Detroit.

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. officials declined to comment on the ad, although executives said they were aware of it.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group based in Washington, D.C., that represents leading automakers, said it was not coordinating a response to the ExxonMobil ad but defended the auto industry's steady improvements in fuel economy.

Spokesman Eron Shosteck said the auto industry is producing more than 1 million vehicles this year that have gas-electric drivetrains or can run on alternative fuels -- yet the oil industry has been slow to provide stations that offer alternative fuels.

There are 180,000 gas stations in the United States but only 500 ethanol stations, and most of those are in the upper Midwest.

"What we'd like to do is to work constructively with the oil companies to expand that fueling infrastructure," Shosteck said.

The alliance includes Detroit's automakers as well as foreign-based manufacturers such as Toyota Motor Corp., Volkswagen AG and BMW.

Chrysler has gone out in front on this issue, Morrow said, but he expects other automakers to join in -- "I believe you'll see a consortium of forces coming out to beat up on the oil industry."

The counterattack may be effective, he said, because regular consumers have suffered from high home heating and gas prices. "So the consumer might be saying, 'There's someone out there finally fighting for the little guy.'"

ExxonMobil spokeswoman Prem Nair said the company stood by its advertisement and many of Vines' remarks did not warrant a response.

She pointed out the company has partnerships with several auto companies, including DaimlerChrysler, to develop lubricants, in part to improve fuel economy.

Karen Matusic, a spokeswoman for the American Petroleum Institute in Washington, declined to comment.

Vines took responsibility for his remarks, saying he was acting as the spokesman for Chrysler but that CEO Tom LaSorda had not seen the comments before their posting on the site. However, Chrysler officials had carefully vetted the text, according to people at the company.

Executives at other automakers privately expressed support for Vines. Several had approached ExxonMobil about the ad.

Early reactions to the blog echoed Vines' sentiments.

"I wish I could meet him and shake his hand," one poster, identified as Al, wrote on the auto industry news site www.leftlanenews.com. "I agree with everything he says, and I admire the way he said it, directly to the point!"

Environmental activists accustomed to battling both industries were bemused by the feud.

"I'm happy to watch," said Daniel Becker, director of the Sierra Club's global warming program.

"Each industry is right -- that the other is to blame for a big part of the problem. The auto industry continues to make gas-guzzling vehicles with antiquated technology rather than using modern, fuel-efficient technology," Becker said.

"At the same time, the oil industry is perfectly happy to have people addicted to their product."

When it comes to developing new technology, "Each of them wants to play 'After you, Alfonse' with the other," Becker said.

Ford spokesman Oscar Suris had no comment. At GM, Chris Preuss said: "We're aware of the ad; we've seen it but didn't have a response from an official standpoint."

Prodded by the popularity of environmentally friendly hybrids introduced by the Japanese, Detroit's automakers have stepped up efforts to produce hybrids and vehicles that run on cleaner fuels.

"The auto industry is doing its job by building cleaner, leaner, more efficient vehicles and embracing alternatives to gasoline," Vines said in the blog.

"While we make these important and responsible strides Big Oil is swimming in profits, content to let the nation's drivers drown in rising prices, every time they fill up."
 

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I have yet to hear anyone explain to me why oil companies made record profits last year, but said they had to raise prices to cover increasing costs. Well, it may be true that they have to cover increasing costs, but if they are making record profits, than I think they went way beyond just covering their costs.
 

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Oh I love how they tell everyone around here that it takes 6 months for prices to go down because the oil has to work it's way through the system......but as soon as the barrel goes up, it hits immediately!!!

People are so stupid. I work at a gas station right now part time, and ppl will come in and fill no matter what the price we charge.
 

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Better yet the morons in DC and the 10% ethanol blend. That the oil companies have to start putting in all our gas all year round 05 May 06. Get this you will get less MPG. Like 10 % to 20 % less per gallon. We get this **** every year here in Mn in the winter time. And we always get less mpg. My folks where snow birds this winter, and went south NC, FL TX ect.. On their way back home they got gas in southern Mn. Right away they got 5 mpg less on the Hwy on the EVIC. Burning this ****. Plus now there is a shortage of ethanol. It is now going for over $2.00 a gallon. It will add any where from .05 too .35 cents a gallon more at the pump.
 

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Warlord187 said:
I have yet to hear anyone explain to me why oil companies made record profits last year, but said they had to raise prices to cover increasing costs. Well, it may be true that they have to cover increasing costs, but if they are making record profits, than I think they went way beyond just covering their costs.
Hit that nail on the head with a sledgehammer, my friend.

Take this quote from the article:
Taking an unusually public swipe at another industry, Chrysler's chief spokesman slammed major oil companies Monday, accusing them of greed and indifference to the environment.

Not to defend the oil companies in any way, but what has Chrysler done about the environment? What Hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles has Chrysler developed? He's preaching about the oil companies being indifferent about the environment, when its actually the vehicles themselves making the pollution. Poking at the oil companies about greed and record profits is all he should have implied in this article. Once he tossed in the environmental factor, he's gotta take a better look at his own company on that one.
 

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Avenger said:
Oh I love how they tell everyone around here that it takes 6 months for prices to go down because the oil has to work it's way through the system......but as soon as the barrel goes up, it hits immediately!!!
That is an interesting phenomenon, isn't it. I used to pump gas years ago, and rising gas prices is sure one way to piss people off.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Actually Chrysler has hydrogen technology that is supposed to be quite good. The reason they stopped (and I think BMW was working with them along with GM) is that the oil industry has shown no inclination to build stations to dispense the fuel.

As far as the current hybrid technology I'm not sold on it. My understanding is the batteries are not recyclable so when their shelf life ends (and we all know it will) we'll have another problem at disposal time for the environment.

As far as the fuel mixtures here in Maryland we have oxygenated gas for several months of the year. While it does reduce emissions somewhat; it cuts the mileage so you wind up paying more for less. On top of that, it's been found to be a major pollutant of the water (both rivers and well water). So in the end it flat out isn't worth it. I'm a member of MaryPirg; the major environmental organiztion for Maryland and I always argue that point with them. I'm still losing that battle but with more studies against it hopefully it'll change. Since you use more fuel it seems that you'll be putting as much or more pollutants in the air. Doesn't make sense to me.

By the way yesterday the no-name gas stations were charging 2.77 for regular. I've already seen a few stations charging over $3.00 a gallon for premium. What's funny about that is the news predicts our gas prices will continue to rise up to 2.66 a gallon. Hell I don't know anyplace right now that has it that cheap. Go figure.
 

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its called a captive market and the industry is going to do whatever it takes to keep it that way and maximize their profit. the problem is that the govt needs to step and up put controls on these companies. sorry buts its obvious the free market system isnt working the way it should as others have pointed out. the system is flawed. energy futures trading all a scam. enron is just the tip of that iceberg. guess what that will NEVER happen till we get gdubya out of office.
 

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But how does he control the Muslim mideast oil countries? and South american countries? and africa oil producing countries? and Russia? Everybody in the world is paying more for oil, not just us.
 

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SPOOK R/T said:
But how does he control the Muslim mideast oil countries? and South american countries? and africa oil producing countries? and Russia? Everybody in the world is paying more for oil, not just us.
Agreed. But Big Oil has never been willing to step up to the plate when it comes to alternate energy. And since they have an interest in keeping us dependent on their product I don't expect them to, either, without federal intervention. They're in the best position to distribute alternate fuels and they can make money at it - just not as much as sucking the wells dry and charging us a mint in the process. Somewhere along the line Uncle Sam is gonna' have to do a little arm twisting for the good of the country. Oil dependency may be great for Big Oil but it's slowly strangling US ...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I understand what you're saying Buffalo but when that was tried in the past we had those damn gas lines. Also with big oil raking in billions in profits they could afford to slow things down for awhile while we sat in gas lines.
 

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D76G12 said:
Oil dependency may be great for Big Oil but it's slowly strangling US ...
Slowly? How about both hands around our necks with a firm grip!
 

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froggy81500 said:
Slowly? How about both hands around our necks with a firm grip!
I thought it was. Bend over and grab you ankles and take it up the ass again.
 

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SPOOK R/T said:
I thought it was. Bend over and grab you ankles and take it up the ass again.
Yeah and those cheap, stingy oil barons wouldn't even lube it first!
 

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I see it as a good thing, obesity is a problem in this country and gas prices are high hmmmmmmmmmm maybe its time for a walk.
 
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