by Rebecca Carter
Categories: Transport.

You could say that we talk about Hummers a lot around here. They are kind of the environmentalist’s enemy, aren’t they? That’s why we were kind of shocked and intrigued when we got to have dinner, and an exclusive interview, with Martin Walsh – General Manager of Hummer – while attending the New York International Auto Show as guests of General Motors.

You can see the video of our interview with him below, and then continue on to read about the experience overall, as well as my additional thoughts. We discuss the H3, biofuels, and Arnold Schwarzenegger‘s After School All Stars program.

First of all, I was going to assume that they would keep Hummer and Ecorazzi “separated” so as not to start World War III over dinner (I was served a vegetarian asparagus risotto, delicious). However, as soon as I introduced myself to Martin and found out who he was, I said, “Uh oh.” He said, “We need to sit next to each other at dinner.” Interesting.

I have to say that Martin & I got along quite well. He’s an interesting, intriguing, and outgoing person and I enjoyed our conversations. He discussed with me the mileage of an H3, which really isn’t that bad (15 mph city, 20 highway). In fact, we almost only talked about the H3. However, it’s the H2 that is so monstrous that it doesn’t even classify as a personal vehicle. That means that no mileage information is posted. The H2 is also the vehicle that Hummer seems to promote the most. I do believe I was being pitched the H3 to distract from the H2.

However, I also realized something in my conversations with Martin: there are tons of vehicles out there that get crappy mileage. Yet, we all seem to focus on the Hummer. It makes sense: It’s huge. It’s unique looking. It evokes strong emotions. Sometimes too strong. And while I’m not making excuses for the Hummer – there are a lot of vehicles out there that burn major gas.

Finally, as was mentioned in the video, Hummer is planning to offer bio-fuels (ethanol & biodiesel) in all of its vehicles by 2009. It’s a step in the right direction – though I’m sure, as some of you will point out – there is a lot more to do.

I found GM’s offer to give bloggers uber-access to executives and information all quite sincere. It may be that they are at the forefronts of trying to understand how to use this new media to their advantage. It may be an attempt to save their reputation. And it may be both…I’m okay with that.

Again, I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on the topic or if you would have any follow-up questions for Hummer execs.

Related post: Hydrogen Madness @ NY Auto Show

About Rebecca Carter

Rebecca Carter is the Co-Founder of Ecorazzi. Rebecca was recently featured in the book Hot, Rich, and Green. She is one of 70 eco-achievers featured in Glamour magazine in April 2009, named Best of Green 2010 by Miami Magazine and Best Environmentalist by Miami New Times Best of 2008. She's raising a couple of little boys in Miami and speaks English & Spanish. Find out more at Follow Rebecca on Twitter: @rebeccacarter

View all posts by Rebecca Carter →
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  • Charlie Peters

    Does corn ethanol fuel policy increase oil use and profit?

    Clean Air Performance Professionals

  • Charlie Peters

    Thank you for your letter regarding our environment. I appreciate hearing from constituents who are concerned about protecting California’s natural resources.

    California is known around the world for its incredible beaches, magnificent natural parks and beautiful sky. Our state has been a leader in protecting and managing these resources for the past half century. I want you to know that I am committed to ensuring that all natural resources are protected and maintained so that Californians can continue to enjoy these treasures.

    Since coming into office, I have created an ocean protection plan to protect our coastline against offshore drilling and improve the water quality of our ocean. In addition, I established the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, which is the largest conservancy in California, preserving and protecting 25 million acres in the Sierra Nevada range. To further protect California’s environment, I will continue to support the Clean Air Act to help reduce the amount of air pollution in our state. And because some of the biggest contributors to air pollution are the vehicles on the road, I created the “Breathe Easier” campaign to buy the dirtiest old cars and scrap them, allowing motorists to purchase cleaner cars instead.

    Our future is in biofuels and hydrogen, not polluting petroleum fuels. That’s why I created the California Hydrogen Highway, and we now have dozens of hydrogen fueling stations across the state and many hydrogen cars and buses on the road. I also have supported the development of solar and wind technologies to promote clean and safe sources of energy.

    Again, thank you for writing to me. It is heartening to know that Californians care about the future of our Golden State

    Arnold Schwarzenegger

  • odograph

    The best thing Hummer could do? They’ve already licensed the name, to a fairly decent folding mountain bike.

    They could bundle one with every H2 sold, and hope that it cuts down on the time they spend driving.

  • Charlie Peters

    Ethanol Eco nomics…

    Tom McClintock’s Citizens for the California Republic, 06-18-2007

    The public policy farce that the “Green Governor” unleashed with AB 32 (the so-called “greenhouse gas” law) continues. Using their newly granted power to slash carbon dioxide emissions, the California Air Resources Board (all Schwarzenegger appointees) has mandated that every gallon of gasoline sold in California must contain at least 10 percent ethanol by 2010.

    First, a few basic facts. Californians use about 15 billion gallons of gasoline a year, meaning that the new ten percent CARB edict will require about 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol. Corn is the most common ethanol-producing crop in the country, yielding about 350 gallons of ethanol fuel per acre. That means converting about 4.3 million acres of farmland to ethanol production, just to meet the California requirement. But according to the USDA, California currently has only 11 million acres devoted to growing crops of all kinds. Get the picture?

    The entire purpose of this exercise is to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions from California automobiles (although Californians already have the 8th lowest per capita gasoline consumption in the country). And that’s where the public policy discussion becomes farce.

    As more acres are brought into agricultural production, the demand for nitrogen fertilizer will grow accordingly, which is itself produced through the use of fossil fuels. And the most likely source of new agricultural land will be converting rain forests to agriculture, although deforestation is already the second biggest man-made contributor of carbon dioxide emissions, ranking just behind internal combustion. And here’s the clincher: ethanol is produced through fermentation, by which glucose is broken down into equal parts of ethanol and – you guessed it – carbon dioxide.

    Obviously, this edict will hit gasoline consumers hard: ethanol is less efficient than gasoline and it’s more expensive – meaning you’ll have to buy more gallons at the pump and pay more per gallon.

    The bigger impact, though, will be at the grocery store. By radically and artificially increasing the demand for ethanol, the cost pressure on all agricultural products (including meat and dairy products that rely on grain feed) will be devastating. Earlier this year, spiraling corn prices forced up by artificially increased demand for ethanol produced riots throughout Mexico.

    The CARB regulations will undoubtedly hit Californians hard – but they will hit starving third world populations even harder. Basic foodstuffs are a small portion of the family incomes in affluent nations, but they consume more than half of family earnings in third world countries.

    So when the global warming alarmists predict worldwide starvation, they’re right. They’re creating it.

  • Charlie Peters

    —– Original Message —–



    Sent: Monday, July 09, 2007 4:04 PM

    Subject: Re:”Conservation may limit global warming”(LA) Times / February 28, 2007

    Thank you for your letter on an issue I take to heart – fighting global climate change. I appreciate that you took the time to share your concern about the impact global climate change has on California.

    I’m committed to addressing this issue – we know the science, we see the threat and the time for action is now. That’s why I worked with members of our Legislature to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32). AB 32 established California as a national leader in the fight against climate change. We established a program for the capping and reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and California is set to reduce GHG emissions to 2000 levels by 2010, to 1990 levels by 2020 and to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

    While California leads the way, we must work with our neighbors in the fight. I’ve partnered with the governors of Oregon, Washington, New Mexico, Utah and Arizona to create the Western Regional Climate Action Initiative, a joint strategy to combat global climate change. Like AB 32, the agreement establishes a regional cap and reduction program for GHG emissions, as well as a framework for developing a similar national program.

    To reduce GHG emissions and also decrease California’s reliance on foreign oil, I have established the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) for transportation. By 2020, the LCFS will reduce the carbon intensity of California’s transportation fuels by at least 10 percent – the same as removing 3 million cars from the road.

    Through our efforts to fight climate change, we can secure both a stronger economy and a cleaner environment for future generations. Our programs foster economic growth by promoting the development of green technology. As the computer industry and the Internet built the economy of Silicon Valley, green-clean technology can be the next great economic wave for California.

    Thanks again for your interest in climate change and for writing to share your thoughts. I truly appreciate your personal commitment to the future of our great state.


    Arnold Schwarzenegger

  • Charlie Peters

    NO on AB118

    Corn ethanol policy is good for gasoline refiners

    Corn ethanol policy increases oil use and increases oil profit

    The proposed car tax of AB 118 Nunez is an oil company welfare program

    Italy used public/private partnerships as a business model in the early ’40s

    In my opinion the corn ethanol waiver allowed in the 2005 fed energy bill would lower gas prices, improve miles per gal, lower oil use and improve the air.

    Your phone book lists your elected officials, sharing your opinion with the folks that make our rules might help

    Clean Air Performance Professionals

  • Charlie Peters

    The Farce About Ethanol…

    By State Senator Tom McClintock, Free Republic, 06/28/2007

    In response to my blog, “Ethanol Economics,” Former Secretary of State Bill Jones (now Chairman of Pacific Ethanol), made five key points in his piece, “The Facts About Ethanol.” Just for fun, let’s run “The Facts About Ethanol” through the old fact-checker:

    “Today, ethanol is about 65 cents per gallon cheaper than gasoline in the California market.” That’s only after taxpayers and consumers have kicked in a subsidy of $1.50 per gallon – or $7 billion a year paid into the pockets of ethanol producers to hide the staggering price of ethanol production. And even with the subsidy, the California Energy Commission estimates that the new CARB edict will INCREASE the price per gallon by between 4.2 and 6.5 cents – on top of the tax subsidies. Ouch.

    “Allowing a 10 percent blend of ethanol into gasoline provides a 4 percent supply increase to the marketplace at a price far below current gasoline prices.” Not only is the price far ABOVE current gasoline prices (see above) but Bill ignores the fact that ethanol produces less energy than gasoline – meaning you’ll have to buy more gallons for the same mileage.

    “CARB’s recent vote reduces our reliance on oil from overseas…” Let’s walk through the numbers again. One acre of corn produces 350 gallons of ethanol; the CARB edict will require 1.5 billion gallons of ethanol, in turn requiring 4.3 million acres of corn for ethanol production. Yet California only has 11 million acres devoted to growing crops of any kind. And that, in turn, means an increasing reliance on foreign agricultural produce, shifting our energy dependence from King Abdullah to Hu Jintao.

    “Further, it sends a signal to companies like ours to continue to invest in California production to help make this state energy independent.” Yes, you can sell a lot more ethanol with a kind word and a gun than with a kind word alone. You got me there. But it also sends a signal to the market to raise prices on every product that relies upon corn for both food and grain feed – meaning skyrocketing prices for everything from corn meal to milk. Remember the tortilla riots in Mexico in January?

    “Pacific Ethanol uses state-of-the-art production practices that reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40 percent compared to conventional gasoline.” Unless Pacific Ethanol has re-written the laws of chemistry, ethanol is produced by converting glucose into two parts ethanol and two parts carbon dioxide. The chemical equation is C6H12O6 = 2C2H5OH + 2CO2. (Memo to Bill: If you’re not using this formula, you’re not producing ethanol. And if you are, you’re also producing lots of carbon dioxide. Better check.)

    * NO on “car tax” AB118 (Nunez)

    * Clean Air Performance Professionals (CAPP) supports a Smog Check inspection & repair audit, gasoline oxygen cap and elimination of dual fuel CAFÉ credit to cut car impact over 50% in 1 year.

    * Some folks believe corn ethanol in gasoline increases oil use and oil profit

    * Ethanol uses lots of water

    * A Smog Check audit would cut toxic car impact in ½ in 1 year. Chief Sherry Mehl, DCA/BAR, has never found out if what is broken on a Smog Check failed car gets fixed, never

    * A corn ethanol waiver would stop a $1 billion California oil refinery welfare program coming from the federal government @ $0.51 per gallon of ethanol used

    * About 60,000 barrels per day of the oil used by cars is allowed by the “renewable fuel” CAFE credit

  • Charlie Peters

    A Background Research Paper on Corn Ethanol

  • Charlie Peters

    Bill Jones as subsidized ethanol magnate

    * From Alan Bock, Orange County Register (blog), December 4th, 2007

    * Here’s an interesting piece from the Mercury-News on the “post-politics” of Bill Jones, former Republican Assemblyman and Secretary of State Bill Jones, who has now become one of California’s biggest Welfare Queens as an entrepreneur in the subsidized world of ethanol. His family had some farmland near Madera, and for years he’s been eyeing corn likker — ethanol – as a way to maximize profits. Since retiring from politics, but using his political influence, he’s becoming a magnate, having formed Pacific Ethanol. Having pocketed $15 million from selling stock after the company went public, he’s looking for a controversial $14 million tax break from the state to build two more ethanol plants.

    * I remember when Bill Jones used to come in for editorial boards and talk about how he was a limited-government conservative eager to get rid of boondoggles and use taxpayers’ money responsibly. Now he’s profiting from one of the biggest boondoggles in California history. Sad case — but then he’s pocketed $15 million and I haven’t.


    * Clean Air Performance Professionals

  • Charlie Peters

    What was the cause of death of Alexander Farrell, 46, expert on alternative fuels?

  • Charlie Peters

    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
    State Capitol Building
    Sacramento, CA 95814
    Phone: 916-445-2841
    Fax: 916-558-3160 ( new number )

    RE: IMRC policy

    Are carpetbaggers: Booz Allen, Carlyle Group, Applus, Meineke Car Care Centers and CARB working a deal to take CA small business “Smog Check”?

    —– Original Message —–
    Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 3:36 PM
    Subject: IMRC meeting

    Hi Charlie,

    You missed the first part of the last IMRC meeting when we announced we will no longer transcribe IMRC meetings since it is an extravagant expense that the state cannot afford. As you know, we are under no statutory requirement to do so. All that is required are meeting minutes. Therefore, when possible, we will record the meeting but when a recording is not possible, we will simply post the minutes of the meeting. Let me know of you have any questions.


    Rocky Carlisle
    Executive Officer
    (916) 322-8249

    Charlie Peters
    Cell: (415) 516-9909
    Fax: (510) 537-9675
    Clean Air Performance Professionals

    CAPP contact: Charlie Peters (510) 537-1796


    “(Dr.) Jeffrey Williams. Looking at the very distant future, can we make it clearer how much air
    pollution is costing people? I can envision cars with a meter on the dash that shows the health
    care cost of the tailpipe emissions. The owner can then get repairs to reduce emissions (rather
    than hit a cut point). We’re not using all the information we could (from OBD II for example) to
    fix the pollution costs of the vehicle. How many miles has the car has driven with check engine
    light? There should be a fine for driving with the check engine light on.”

    Is it time for CHANGE?

    Clean Air Performance Professionals
    Charlie Peters
    (510) 537-1796