Jun 09

GM CEO Dan Akerson comments on a few politically oriented topics

 

Acknowledging the inherently politicized nature of his position and company, General Motors CEO Dan Akerson has nonetheless shown himself willing to weigh in on controversial political subjects to reporters with whom he apparently feels comfortable.

In an interview with the Detroit News, he said he declined a spot on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” because he was concerned with the politically charged media climate.

“I can’t go on it. I’m toxic. I’m like a lightning rod. I couldn’t have an intelligent discussion without someone saying, ‘He’s a welfare guy from the bailout.’”


How high will gas be before we see the Volt selling in numbers like the Cruze? Akerson said in five years, this car will be “an old, old technology and old news.” What else does he know that is being kept secret?

Even so, he opened up to the Detroit News, and his interview has prompted several media outlets to spin off stories this week.

Among the Akerson comment stories were those about revisiting the idea of a substantial gas tax, as well as raising the U.S. debt ceiling, slashing U.S. government spending and substantially increasing income taxes to aid the U.S. economic recovery – and GM’s recovery.

As for fuel taxes, in November 2009, GM-Volt wrote a story based on a Reuters report that auto executives were proposing the idea of artificially stimulating the market for electric, hybrid and especially fuel-efficient vehicles by making gasoline more expensive.

At the time, gas had recently spiked, then fallen to an average $2.66 per gallon nationally, and the magic price range being bandied about was $4-5 per gallon. It was asserted this would be a tipping point toward getting the American people to re-think their buying choices.

Well, we are at this point now, have been seeing more fuel efficient cars being bought, but hybrid sales were low last month, and a sizable chunk of sales did go to less than fuel efficient cars.

Electric car advocates are still looking well into the future for widespread proliferation, implying gas prices will need to yet go much higher, if they are to be a stimulant.

In his long interview with the Detroit News, Akerson floated the idea of a gas tax again.

“You know what I’d rather have them do – this will make my Republican friends puke – as gas is going to go down here now, we ought to just slap a 50-cent or a dollar tax on a gallon of gas,” Akerson said. “People will start buying more Cruzes and they will start buying less Suburbans.”

The context in which his statement was given was while discussing the looming prospect of other potential costs.

Federal officials are reportedly considering 3 percent to 6 percent fuel efficiency increases between 47 mpg and 62 mpg for the model years 2017-25.

It is estimated vehicles prices could be inflated by as much as $3,500 in order to comply with such a mandate.

Akerson said a gas tax would be a better way to spur more people to buy small cars and would do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.

“There ought to be a discussion on the cost versus the benefits,” he said. “What we are going to do is tax production here, and that will cost us jobs.”


Remember this graphic Lyle posted a year and a half ago?

Such a move would have to come from legislators and signed by the president. The term “political suicide” is often associated with the idea of raising American fuel taxes.

In the Reuters story last year, one advocate’s idea was to progressively ratchet up fuel prices to European levels of $8 per gallon more or less, regardless of factors in the U.S. otherwise keeping fuel prices much lower.

The belief behind this sentiment was Americans get fuel too cheaply, and this promotes creation and consumption of gas guzzlers that are unique to the U.S.

In a brief phone interview with GM-Volt yesterday, Greg Martin, director, policy and Washington communications for GM said Akerson’s comments were little more than brainstorming.

In asking whether Akerson was hoping a legislator would pick up on the idea, Martin suggested we were reading too deeply into it.

He also said GM’s lobbying arm is not pursuing a gas tax hike, and otherwise played down the comment that has been widely repeated by several media outlets the past couple days.

Other interesting comments Akerson has recently made included views on the nation’s debt ceiling.

He said rather than allow the government to default on Aug. 2, the ceiling should be raised from its $14.3 trillion limit.

“We’re too good a nation to let ourselves be a banana republic,” Akerson said, adding that it would be “unimaginable” for the U.S. to default and it could hurt auto sales.

Describing himself as “a Colin Powell Republican – not a Sarah Palin Republican,” Akerson said President Barack Obama has “done a pretty good job on the economy,” which, he said, was “a nightmare.”

To be sure GM was rescued under Obama’s watch, which Akerson observed was not only for GM’s benefit.

“If we had gone down,” he said, “the supply chain would have gone down. … And Ford was hanging on by its fingernails, too,” he said.

As for broader U.S. economic decisions, Akerson said he agrees it is otherwise bad policy for the U.S. to spend beyond its means.

“Now, we need practical decisions,” Akerson said. “I think you need to cut the hell out of the budget and you’ve got to increase taxes … on everybody – including the middle class and the rich people.”

But Akerson, whose personal net worth is estimated to be as high as $190 million, said solutions will not be overnight, and alternately said President Obama ought not do anything rash.

“I don’t think he can fix it in four years and I think we just have to stay the course,” he said.


Akerson has not said a lot directly about the Volt, even though the car is essentially the corporate symbol of pride, a backdrop that was prominently displayed at the recent shareholders’ meeting, and in much of GM’s current promotional content.

Speaking of which, staying the course at least appears to be what the U.S. Treasury is doing with its 500 million shares of GM stock that at the time of the interview were trading at around 13 percent below their initial public offering price.

“I think that it is an overhang – to have 500 million shares sitting out there – it’s a problem,” Akerson said, adding he believed Middle East unrest and oil prices are also depressing GM’s share price. “They don’t know when [the Treasury is] going to come out. Investors hate uncertainty.”

Akerson has said GM stock will go up, and it will take patience. Assuming its value does increase, it would be a good deal for GM now to buy out the Treasury at below IPO.

However, on Tuesday, Automotive News reported the U.S. Treasury is reluctant to sell its GM stock quoting “a person familiar with the matter.”

GM is sitting on over $36 billion in cash, and has reportedly discussed buying back some of its stock from the Treasury or allowing all common stock shareholders to sell back shares.

Essentially the idea of buying high and selling low is not sitting well with the Treasury, which among other concerns does not want to invite criticism that GM is getting a preferential deal.

Source: The Detroit News, Automotive News

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 9th, 2011 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 55


  1. 1
    Mark Z

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (7:35 am)

    If drivers buy less fuel and that forces prices down, then the driving public has done a good thing and should not be penalized by raising fuel prices with a tax. Put the tax on top of the purchase price of low MPG vehicles to slow the manufacturers from creating gas guzzlers. Let’s not tax the drivers who are having a difficult time making ends meet with their existing vehicles. Money from the high MPG vehicle tax should be allocated to pay for instant rebates on low MPG and EV vehicles.


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    koz

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (7:49 am)

    Hopefully any “real” gas tax discussions get framed as much as bringing the actually cost of gas more in line with reality rather than just a method to prod people to purchase higher mileage vehicles. The domestic oil industry is highly subsidized with tax incentives and other means. Gas taxes should rightfully be used to pay for these subsidies rather than general tax funds. My understanding is that currently, gas taxes are only used for roadway/bridge/tunnel construction and repair. I also believe gas taxes should also fund that portion of our military budget that is for defending non-domestic oil interests. Any gas tax implementation would have to be well thought out because gas prices are so influential over our economy. In the end, though, I’ld much rather pay $0.50-$1.50 in per gallon gas taxes toward funding already existing costs rather than pay that same amount to the gas and oil companies/countries. Believe it or not, our economic elasticity for gas prices is what it is (tax or no tax) and the end price will be about the same regardless. Other than those rare times when oil prices plummet, gas prices are NOT based on the raw cost of extracting and delivering oil.

    Raising gas taxes will raise the bottom prices, i.e. instead of falling to about $1.80/gal during the height of the recession they would have only come down to about $1.80 + increased gas tax. They won’t have much affect on the top end of prices as that is more determined by demand and it is clear from the last few years that currently there noticeable increasing pressure on demand starting at about $3.75/gallon. It would be very difficult under current US economic conditions for gas prices to go above $4.50/gal for any length of time, tax or no tax.

    This isn’t to say that you can’t tax gas enough to make it a cost based pricing scenario at all times but that would be economic disaster, IMO.


  3. 3
    Rashiid Amul

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (7:51 am)

    Jeff,
    Nice job on this.

    From the article
    Well, we are at this point now, have been seeing more fuel efficient cars being bought, but hybrid sales were low last month, and a sizable chunk of sales did go to less than fuel efficient cars.

    Agreed, but only 54,000 new jobs were created last month. The economy is still in the toilet.
    Initially hybrids are more cash than a non-hybrid.
    Wide adoption would be very easy if the price of hybrids dropped significantly
    and all vehicles had Voltec.


  4. 4
    Rashiid Amul

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (7:55 am)

    From the article.
    Electric car advocates are still looking well into the future for widespread proliferation, implying gas prices will need to yet go much higher, if they are to be a stimulant.

    I’ve heard this before and I still don’t buy it.
    Like I said earlier, the cost of these vehicles need to drop.
    It is difficult to justify $30K – $40K when a gas sipping Cruze can be bought for under $19K.
    This is the issue standing in the way of wide adoption.


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    koz

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (8:04 am)

    From the Article: JWell, we are at this point now, have been seeing more fuel efficient cars being bought, but hybrid sales were low last month, and a sizable chunk of sales did go to less than fuel efficient cars.</I

    I think ignoring 10 years of sales data in favor of one trunami filled month of data is folly. Hybrid sales are pretty much in lock-step with smaller vehicles sales when supply is unaffected by uncontrollable circumstances like those brought on by the Japanese Tsunami. For sure, higher gas prices favor hybrids and electrics but I believe $4/gal is currently felt as high.


  6. 6
    James

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (8:49 am)

    A politician will suggest a gas tax increase when Newt Gingrich becomes president…Or Sarah Palin.

    In other words, when hell freezes over.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,

    James


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (9:04 am)

    I would rather see an import fee on energy. This will raise the price of energy (gasoline primarily) while also spurring domestic production which would not have the import fee. I also think we need a two sided market in energy which we currently do not really have. Use the strategic petroleum reserve to both buy and more importantly sell oil into the market in order to remove excessive speculation. This way options can still be used as a hedge and those who want to speculate on the long term moves in energy prices can still do so but the ability to influence short term swings would be greatly reduced. To do this the amount in the SPR could no longer be public information. The data could be released perhaps when it is a year old.


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    James

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (9:17 am)

    I was working in the home office yesterday with CNN on the tube in the background. During the afternoon GM ran the “Breathe Socket, Breathe” ad three times.

    Because we can’t buy a Volt in most states, and even when we will the numbers will be microscopic when compared to Cruzes, Equinoxes and Malibus – it’s plain GM’s Volt strategy is pure halo power.

    Hanging the Volt carrot out on a stick in front of gas price weary summer drivers is bad policy IMO. It’s like running gourmet food ads during a famine. You’re not going to win any points with the public. My opinion of GM is souring more every day. The verdict is in – the Volt is a success, it’s proven reliable, easy to use and safe. Corvetteguy-a Chevy salesman in California said he has seven orders on his desk – but no cars. The demand is there. When they said it would be a halo product, I didn’t think it would be to this extent. The slow rollout is not indicitive of their announcements that 2011 production would be ramped up, and new markets introduced earlier than previously announced.

    A quick Google of Volt in media today shows nearly everyone is calling it a flop and a sales failure based on sales figures they can dial up online. It makes a good story ( sans production and distribution realities ) – to slam GM and point to it’s technology breakthrough as being a dud at the dealer level. Splash in a dealer rebate scam here and a winter EV range test result there and very soon, the common Joe is telling his cohorts at the water cooler what a white elephant the Volt was!
    If GM is seeking new stockholders and a general world view that GM has found it’s stride – this is not the way to do it.GM’s ads don’t even say ” available soon”, or “available nationwide 2012″. If they advertise Volt they should be able to get one in a customers hands – PERIOD!

    Will I have to make a documentary – ” WHO TEASED THE ELECTRIC CAR” ?

    ANGELS NEED HALOS – NOT GM! ,

    James


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (9:38 am)

    I agree with Jame. Yeah yeah yeah a gas tax makes economic sense but it’s not going to happen. I also agree with Dan Akerson that he’s toxic. If he did appear he would be the guy from the company the government had to bail out, and that wouldn’t necessarily be unfair — GM is benefiting from the bankruptcy/bailout so, to the extent he’s talking as someone responsible for a successful company, he owes his position to the bailout. (What’s funny is that, implicit in his take on things, is that he has something interesting to say, which I suspect isn’t the case, but maybe I’m wrong).

    Unlike James, I think I’m glad that GM is running the “Breathe Socket” commercial. Not that it’s a great commercial but, given how bad the other commercials are, it’s the commercial equivalent of the queen of the pigs. At least it’s cute.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (9:42 am)

    James: A quick Google of Volt in media today shows nearly everyone is calling it a flop and a sales failure based on sales figures they can dial up online. It makes a good story ( sans production and distribution realities ) – to slam GM and point to it’s technology breakthrough as being a dud at the dealer level. Splash in a dealer rebate scam here and a winter EV range test result there and very soon, the common Joe is telling his cohorts at the water cooler what a white elephant the Volt was!

    Well the media is an awfully good contra-indicator in many cases so this may just be one of many indications that the Volt is a roaring success.

    As far as the average Joe on the street: Most have never heard of the car. Those who have aren’t exactly sure what it is or how it works. Those who see and drive the car are impressed. As far as the bailout goes, a sad commentary on the general public is that in polling GM has a bad reputation but people don’t associate the brands with GM.


  11. 11
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    Jun 9th, 2011 (10:03 am)

    Hi Jeff,

    You wrote : “GM is sitting on over $36 million in cash”. It must be billion, not million.

    Good article. TP.


  12. 12
    Loboc

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (10:06 am)

    DonC: Most have never heard of the car.

    Even highly technical people I know don’t realize that Volt or LEAF exist. Once we get an electric Ford, Fiat/Chrysler, Toyota, Honda, etc out there it’ll start to hit home.

    As a country, we also need to diversify our fleet with CNG and other alternatives. Just concentrating on electric cars (and H2 cars last decade) will undermine what really needs to happen.

    It is very early in the game. This is like the first 30 seconds of the first quarter. We got a long way to go.


  13. 13
    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (10:14 am)

    Tall Pete,

    Hi TP,

    Oops! Slight oversight there. Fixed now. Thanks for pointing it out.

    J


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    Jeff Cobb

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (10:18 am)

    Rashiid Amul,

    Thanks Rashiid. Much appreciated.


  15. 15
    kdawg

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (10:31 am)

    “Akerson said a gas tax would be a better way to spur more people to buy small cars and would do more good for the environment than forcing automakers to comply with higher gas-mileage standards.”
    ——

    BINGO. Tax/punish the actual product you want people to use less of, not the indirect things that use it.


  16. 16
    Jackson

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:05 am)

    “Among the Akerson comment stories were those about revisiting the idea of a substantial gas tax, as well as raising the U.S. debt ceiling, slashing U.S. government spending and substantially increasing income taxes to aid the U.S. economic recovery – and GM’s recovery.”

    ‘Describing himself as “a Colin Powell Republican – not a Sarah Palin Republican,” Akerson said President Barack Obama has “done a pretty good job on the economy,” which, he said, was “a nightmare.”’

    We are going to look back on Bob Lutz’s big mouth with fondness.

    The greatest factor impacting the Volt’s future may not turn out to be how it can be electrically charged, but how it can be politically charged. I’ve long cautioned this board that to align the Volt with a political faction is to dig it’s political grave. Now Akerson is doing this very thing, for all of GM, with a backhoe. No, I don’t think the Volt’s future will be cut short, but it can be gravely retarded. Those with a clue will buy Voltec because it is better, but one shouldn’t minimize the prevalence of cluelessness.

    The winds are changing, and Akerson’s political comments blow.


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    Bobbydrake75

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:11 am)

    The only way that I would back a small gas tax is if it was guarenteed to be used for new battery research and implimentation. I’m a conservative that believes in what the volt can become. It is not there yet but I love the idea. The truth is that it is likely that we will have an even move conservative (politically) country after the 2012 elections. You can put your head in the sand if you would like but there are some serious problems in this country that need fixing and currently the path we are on is both wrong and dangerous. Anyone who thinks that Obama has done a great job with the economy is completely out of touch with the american public. 9.1% unemployment, slow to stagnant job in the economy, people dropping out of the workforce in record numbers. This is folly. To keep even with the number of new people entering the workforce you need about 150K jobs added per month. To see a real drop in the unemployment numbers you need to start seeing 300-400K jobs added per month. There are 6 million(low estimate) people that are unemployed and will be for the forseeable future.
    I’m for new technologies, but we have to make the breakthrough soon. Expecting my wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and all the weekend bags to hop into a prius or a 5 person vehicle is just not reasonable. I drive a Grand Caravan that gets between 23-25 MPG on the trips back to visit my family. I was hopeful that there was going to be a 40 mile electric van from dodge with range extender but it looks like no dice. I guess that we will see what happens in 2012, as nothing is likely to happen before then. :(


  18. 18
    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:28 am)

    James: A politician will suggest a gas tax increase when Newt Gingrich becomes president…Or Sarah Palin.

    In other words, when hell freezes over.

    #6

    “God send that it shall be true” +1


  19. 19
    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:29 am)

    Rashiid Amul: Jeff,
    Nice job on this.

    #3

    I agree. +1


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    Noel Park

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:32 am)

    Tall Pete: You wrote : “GM is sitting on over $36 million in cash”. It must be billion, not million.

    Good article. TP.

    #11

    Now that’s funny. I read it as “billion”. It’s truly strange how the brain works around typos so often. Good catch. +1


  21. 21
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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:34 am)

    Loboc: It is very early in the game. This is like the first 30 seconds of the first quarter. We got a long way to go.

    #12

    True that. +1


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    Noel Park

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:35 am)

    kdawg: BINGO. Tax/punish the actual product you want people to use less of, not the indirect things that use it.

    #15

    Amen! +1


  23. 23
    Steve W.

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:36 am)

    I like the photo, thats me driving my Volt #313 in April ! The photographer took some nice pics that day.

    Steve in Boca Raton


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    Noel Park

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (11:40 am)

    Amazingly, I find myself agreeing with about 95% of what Mr. Akerson is saying. Who would have thought? I think that he would have done fine on “Meet the Press”, but I can totally understand his reluctance. One aws__t wipes out 1000 attaboys”, LOL. Or, as my Dad used to say, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (12:18 pm)

    Of course Akerson is toxic and he explained why. He said he was more of a Colin Powell Republican than a Sarah Palin Republican. A moderate Republican is considered to be a communist by most conservatives these days. It’s interesting how John McCain had to completely renounce his maverick leanings.

    I sympathize with Akerson when it comes to his wanting a gasoline tax because very high CAFE standards will be next to impossible to achieve with cheap gasoline. When gasoline is cheap most consumers choose the biggest gas guzzling car possible. This makes it very difficult for full line automakers to achieve high CAFE standards. If you don’t understand this concept then please take a kindergarten level economics course. Automakers have been criticized by environmentalists for opposing high CAFE standards. These people also need to take a kindergarten level economics class AND they should give Akerson credit for advocating the only effective way to reduce carbon emissions: A carbon tax. You are either in favor of a carbon tax or you are in favor of screwing future generations. High efficiency is necessary and alternative fuel should be part of the solution but Jevon’s Paradox will kill us if we don’t adopt a carbon tax


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    pjkPA

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (12:23 pm)

    Need money … think “Global” ….. Tax IMPORTS… everyone else does it to us to raise money.. and it is has worked for them the last 30 years.


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    coffeetime

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (12:33 pm)

    My preference is for markets to set prices, not central planners. As for the Volt, I’d no sooner spend close to forty grand (by the time taxes and a 220V charger is added in) for a smallish car than use currency for toilet paper in these challenging economic times. As of today, I’ve burned 255 gallons of regular gas to travel 6,623 miles in my paid-off 2001 PT Cruiser (which is closing in on 160K miles) so far in 2011, at a cost of $927. That’s about 26 mpg at an average cost of $3.63 a gallon. My insurance is low (liability only) and my license tabs are low. Cheap transportation. Whatever excess money we have is going towards paying off our home and business mortgages, because frankly I’m getting tired watching $2,100 fly out the door each month to pay for interest on long-term debt. Dave Ramsey has a motto at the bottom of each page of his books: “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Sound advice we have taken to heart.


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    BLIND GUY

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (12:38 pm)

    I do believe that battery tech. will advance enough in the next 5-10 yrs. That EVs will be practical for the average American to afford. By the end of Bush’s term, America was in an economic melt-down. Bail-outs and stimulants were necessary to prevent depression. A larger divide with The rich & powerful and the rest of us has resulted from Bush tax cuts; using more borrowed money, wars that are bleeding us to death, and the neglect to actually fix huge problems like Medicare, Social Security, IRS, etc. etc.. Making deep cuts in our budget will raise unemployment if done too quickly. If this nation fails, IMHO it will be because the rich and powerful prevent the needed changes threw politics with money and scare tactics. I am an Independent voter.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (1:12 pm)

    Noel Park: Or, as my Dad used to say, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”.

    My dad used to say “If you’re gonna make a mistake, make it a BIG one so both you and everyone else sees it.”

    Being to timid to act is just as deadly as moving in the wrong direction.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (1:27 pm)

    DonC: P>Unlike James, I think I’m glad that GM is running the “Breathe Socket” commercial. Not that it’s a great commercial but, given how bad the other commercials are, it’s the commercial equivalent of the queen of the pigs. At least it’s cute.

    My point is why advertise something so much – at great cost, that’s not even on the market where it’s promo’d?! Answer: To sell Eco Cruzes. And I think that’s bad planning. Make Volts available to consumers and let them decide if they want to spend $25,000 or $34,000. Let them drive them and compare. This ad blitz is incredibly stupid. Like I said the other day – guy shows up responding to advertising only to say “WHERE’S THE VOLTS!” aka “WHERE’S THE BEEF”?

    The quality of the ad is neither here nor there. So far, anyway, GM hasn’t fired back at Nissan by showing a family in a Volt passing a dead Leaf by the side of the road, that would be too easy, and unlike Nissan, GM probably understands dissing other EVs currently on market isn’t a good way to start the gas-free revolution. One observation is that GM tinkered with several “How Volt Works” ( see Chevy’s website or YouTube ) web vids sprinkled here and there – they are ads already in the can and ready to show. We all notice the sheer lack of knowledge folks have about Volt – why not run THESE ads only in states where one can actually purchase one? The Breathe ad is cutesy and no ad so far has just explained in plain speak with pictures what Volt is and how it works. Toyota saved these eco-cute ads ( remember the monkeys in the rain forest climbing all over the boxy 1st gen Prius? ) for when the car was actually at dealers everywhere.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,

    James


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    lousloot

     

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    Jun 9th, 2011 (1:37 pm)

    OOh, a gas tax — lets have $8/gal gas like Europe. Hmm, why are there no electric cars in Europe? I want to hear how Akerson is leading the change in GM’s corporate culture, and things he can change — and will. Sure. yea.

    I like the Cruze and the Volt, but the poor Volt just doesn’t make financial sense. Now with $8/gal gas I won’t have to worry about either because I will be out of work.

    A little turbo 4cyl hooked to a 6spd w/3 gears overdrive — low drag coef, … and cheap! Now if the starter motor could help turn the wheels too, and a small battery pack to do regen braking, and quick recharges — haha, at stoplights.

    Now that would be cool, stoplight recharging! Akerson should talk about that!

    oh, my point of writing this was — Akerson needs to concentrate on his job and cut the political statements, sorry for the detours.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (1:57 pm)

    Jackson: We are going to look back on Bob Lutz’s big mouth with fondness.

    When I read this I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair! +1


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:00 pm)

    Here’s a 30 second spot GM could make that would outperform the ads they currently have.

    Kick Tim Allen to the curb, or use his image and voice – not just voiceover.

    Commercial #1

    Have a guy standing next to a red Volt and say – ” Lot’s of people think the Chevy Volt is an electric car with a 40 mile range – but it’s not. In fact nobody anywhere has ever made a car that can do what Volt does. And it’s made in America. I charge it from home or work and it makes my commute all week never needing any gas. I can run errands after that and still be clean green and all electric. When I need to go farther, the car can automatically operate like a normal car on gasoline and get nearly 40 miles to the gallon! ” Have him drive off silently – make sure the background is sunny, bright, lots of trees and birds chirping, etc.

    CHEVY VOLT – IT’S MORE CAR THAN ELECTRiC.

    Chevy Runs Deep – imposed over a mountain picture topped with snow – lots of trees, eagles circling.

    Commercial #2

    Show floods, storm devastation, hurricanes and tornados – Voiceover: ” Lots of us sit and watch the results of global climate change and wish we could do more “. “Some of us buy a 2012 Chevy Volt.”

    “The Volt does what no other car on the market today can. It takes you to work and play on clean quiet electricity and when you need it, automatically takes you as far as you want to go on gas getting better mileage than a Fiat 500, Honda Fit or Mini Cooper. Clean electric driving with no worry about running out of juice! Chevy then went further and made Volt more fun to drive than the hybrids currently on the road.”

    SPORTY AND NOT BORING – the American made 2012 CHEVY VOLT , IT’S MORE CAR THAN ELECTRIC. Now available nationwide


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:07 pm)

    coffeetime: My preference is for markets to set prices, not central planners.

    You’d have to be a moron to think that oil is set by free markets. In case you haven’t noticed, production of most oil, and hence the price, is set by a governmental monopoly. Is this the central planning you think is wrong? FWIW it’s working pretty well for Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezeula.

    If you don’t want to be a patriotic American and buy a Volt, no problem. At the moment there’s a shortage, so if you pass it simply means a real American can have one.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:11 pm)

    lousloot: I like the Cruze and the Volt, but the poor Volt just doesn’t make financial sense.

    Will idiots never tire of this air-headed argument? By this measure we should all drive a Nissan Versa. Get real. The Volt is the best car you can get for $35K. Compared to a BMW 5 series, which isn’t a bad comparison, it’s a steal!


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:13 pm)

    James: My point is why advertise something so much – at great cost, that’s not even on the market where it’s promo’d?!

    I’d agree with this but I suspect they bought the time and need to fill it and/or the airtime was really really really cheap.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:17 pm)

    Loboc: As a country, we also need to diversify our fleet with CNG and other alternatives.

    +1 for this. CNG is the obvious choice. The tank costs $500 and engines will run on it just fine. The only problem is availability. But gas lines are everywhere, especially along interstates, and the compression technology is mature and well understood.

    I love EVs, it would be hard to go back to an ICE for everyday driving, but they are not the most obvious solution. EVs for the higher end. CNG for the middle and low end and for trucks.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:26 pm)

    coffeetime: My preference is for markets to set prices, not central planners. As for the Volt, I’d no sooner spend close to forty grand (by the time taxes and a 220V charger is added in) for a smallish car than use currency for toilet paper in these challenging economic times. As of today, I’ve burned 255 gallons of regular gas to travel 6,623 miles in my paid-off 2001 PT Cruiser (which is closing in on 160K miles) so far in 2011, at a cost of $927. That’s about 26 mpg at an average cost of $3.63 a gallon. My insurance is low (liability only) and my license tabs are low. Cheap transportation. Whatever excess money we have is going towards paying off our home and business mortgages, because frankly I’m getting tired watching $2,100 fly out the door each month to pay for interest on long-term debt. Dave Ramsey has a motto at the bottom of each page of his books: “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.” Sound advice we have taken to heart.

    Different strokes for different folks. People spend their $ in different ways and in different amounts. Did you really need to buy the house you bought? Could you have gone cheaper? Could you sell your PT cruiser and take the bus?

    I will spend more $ on a car, but that’s just my preference. I could buy expensive clothes, or jewelry, or whatever, but that would be someone else’s perogative.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:31 pm)

    Commercial #3

    Commercial opens with inside car view of businesswoman dressed smartly in suit driving Volt down highway.

    ” I got tired seeing ad after ad of well-known foreign carmakers selling innovation and luxury for $60,000 plus”. I can’t think of more luxury than a car so quiet, it has no engine noise, no smell or vibration at all for 40 miles and more. I think innovation means a car that doesn’t need gasoline but won’t inconvenience me if I want to go farther on it if I wish”. All in a car with more room than a compact. Someone made a car for me that can drive carbon free, and it comes from right here in America.

    Now that’s true innovation. For less than 40 grand!”

    Outside shot of white Volt silently passing BMW 5 series, Lexus GS400 and Mercedes E Class.

    THE 2012 CHEVY VOLT – IT’S MORE CAR THAN ELECTRIC. Now available nationwide.

    Chevy Runs Deep


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:34 pm)

    lousloot: OOh, a gas tax — lets have $8/gal gas like Europe. Hmm, why are there no electric cars in Europe?

    Because the auto mfg’s really just started making them in significant qty’s.

    For a better compairson, look at the fuel efficiency of cars in Eurpope/Japan/any expensive gas place and compare that to the US. Also compare the distances people drive in those countries. Essentially compare the amount of oil the average US person uses compared to places where oil is artificially cheap and you’ll see why a tax would curb our bad habits.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:50 pm)

    BLIND GUY: I do believe that battery tech. will advance enough in the next 5-10 yrs. That EVs will be practical for the average American to afford.By the end of Bush’s term, America was in an economic melt-down.Bail-outs and stimulants were necessary to prevent depression.A larger divide with The rich & powerful and the rest of us has resulted from Bush tax cuts; using more borrowed money, wars that are bleeding us to death, and the neglect to actually fix huge problems like Medicare, Social Security, IRS, etc. etc..Making deep cuts in our budget will raise unemployment if done too quickly.If this nation fails, IMHO it will be because the rich and powerful prevent the needed changes threw politics with money and scare tactics.I am an Independent voter.

    #28

    Tell it like it is brother! +1


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:50 pm)

    And to think GM spends millions to ad agencies to come up with this stuff!


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:54 pm)

    Lost me @ “Commercial #2: Show floods, storm devastation, hurricanes and tornados – Voiceover: ” Lots of us sit and watch the results of global climate change and wish we could do more “. “Some of us buy a 2012 Chevy Volt.””

    Why alienate the 50% of the public that think that AGW is bunk. If you are trying to sell it to everyone focus on it great qualities as explained in commercial #1. Being one of the people that would consider buying a volt when the price comes down slightly ~28K but think AGW is junk poli-sci the commerical is a turn off. If you want to say the car is green that is fine by me, but guilt, or invented guilt will never make me buy a volt. This coming from a guy that has bought 8 cars and not one of them outside the Pontiac, Eagle, or Dodge.

    Another volt commercial idea: Open on a man standing next to a volt and a green lawn with flowering trees looking into his hand (contents obscured). A neighbor walks over and says “what the big secret?” The man puts the contents into the neighbors hand and closes it. The viewer still can’t see it. You then gets into the volt leans out the window and says “Hold on to this, I’ll need it next for gas next week!” Amazed the neighbor looks back in his hand to find 12 cents. With graphics change the 12 cents into a digital 12 and put a #20 ahead of it.
    Narrator: The 2012 Volt: Maybe it’s your turn to drive a little change.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (2:57 pm)

    kdawg: For a better compairson, look at the fuel efficiency of cars in Eurpope/Japan/any expensive gas place and compare that to the US.

    #40

    Also, there are a lot more diesels in Europe because 1) they are more efficient, and 2) diesel fuel taxes are significantly lower than gasoline taxes in deference to the trucking industry. So diesels are actually incentivized in Europe.

    And +1 to your entire comment, which is right on point IMHO.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (3:40 pm)

    Bobbydrake75: Another volt commercial idea: Open on a man standing next to a volt and a green lawn with flowering trees looking into his hand (contents obscured). A neighbor walks over and says “what the big secret?” The man puts the contents into the neighbors hand and closes it. The viewer still can’t see it. You then gets into the volt leans out the window and says “Hold on to this, I’ll need it next for gas next week!” Amazed the neighbor looks back in his hand to find 12 cents. With graphics change the 12 cents into a digital 12 and put a #20 ahead of it.
    Narrator: The 2012 Volt: Maybe it’s your turn to drive a little change.

    Great idea for a commercial. But 12 cents, where does that amount come from? If it’s not exactly what every one world wide who has ever heard of and or criticized a Volt would get, the fire storm of protest would be bigger than the 230 mpg debacle. Though, I do like the concept.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (3:42 pm)

    Bobbydrake75,

    You’ll notice I used the term “climate change”. Global Warming is oft used to describe Al Gore’s take on man’s destruction of our environment. In contrast “climate change” can mean what each individual wants it to. Facts are facts and this year we’ve seen unprecedented natural disasters and if you think they’re a fluke or have no reason behind them – I’d think again.

    As a conservative-leaning independent politically, I lean towards the view that Al Gore may have taken global warming too man-centric. Mankind has an ego, and we’d all like to think we can save the planet or destroy it. I personally feel extinct species, air that is hard to breathe and deforestation are obvious signs man is not a good steward of his planet. But to blame the obvious climate conditon changes on us alone is a stretch. Many like me feel the greatest reason for the changes we’re seeing this decade are the result of natural cyclic ebb and flow of the enormous complex organism known as planet earth. Example: Earthquakes are inevitible since our planet consists of a thin shell made of interlocking tectonic plates surrounding an extremely volatile molten iron core.

    National Geographic recently broadcast a documentary wherein world scientists explained the tornados, floods and superstorms that we’re experiencing are larger, more numerous and destructive than ever due to one factor: water. Since planetary temperatures are up over 1 degree the sheer volume of water vapor in the air and the way/distance it’s being transported accounts for the human carnage we experience weekly on our televisions.

    We all sit and watch thousands of people’s lives change on tv and wish we could do more to help. Some notable folks that have done more than their share are the gentleman I saw on TED who watched the 2004 tsunami that killed over 250,000 and knew there just wasn’t a proper way to get fresh water to them quickly enough. So he invented a new kind of water filter in a bottle or Jerry Can that can remove nearly all viruses and bacteria from horrid water immediately. Thus he’s saved countless lives. Another man from Cornwall, UK watched a natural disaster unfold on tv and asked himself what he could do. He thought of his own family and that a good survival box would go far. He set about, inspired by a green plastic box he spied at his local hardware store and this iconic box has become the Shelter Box, containing a ten man tent, water purifier, tools, dried food, cooking kits, first aid and color books for kids. These boxes have been deployed world over by the hundreds of thousands since 2005 ( see Shelter Box – YouTube ) and have been in part funded by the Rotary clubs. Even navy ships carry Shelter Boxes in their holds now when cruising the Carribbean during hurricane season , 14,000 were given to Katrina victims and they’ve been first on site after disasters in Java, Australia, Africa, China, Central and South America, Pakistan, Carribbean and Haiti.

    I’m sure we’re all amazed by what these regular guys have done to help others in our world. Buying a Volt does make a difference – if nothing else, it makes the air just a bit cleaner for your and my children to breathe.

    If you are closed to the fact our climate is changing and it’s effects – don’t shut down to the fact that the Volt, or any EV for that matter, is a moral choice for many and that supercedes pricepoint or status. Prius owners have gotten flack for years about being eco snobs – some justified, most not. Perhaps a driver of a cleaner car makes many feel guilty for buying smoke burners. My Prius doesn’t have a plug yet delivers 70% less pollution than my previous car. That makes me feel good. And I hope to buy a car with a plug so we all can breathe easier.

    The dorks who still voice the tired argument about coal plants don’t take into account the huge costs and pollution in searching for oil + protecting it’s source ( military ) + extracting it + refining it + storing it + shipping it across the planet and then long distances to retail outlets all over God’s creation. When compared – even if a person’s EV gets it’s juice from coal, it’s far cleaner safer and cheaper energy sent over wires to your outlet.

    PUMP OUT THE VOLTS! ,

    James


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (3:44 pm)

    Noel Park: as my Dad used to say, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt”.

    Your Dad was quoting Lincoln:

    http://www.quotationspage.com/quote/29375.html


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (4:52 pm)

    James:
    You’ll notice I used the term “climate change”. Global Warming is oft used to describe Al Gore’s take on man’s destruction of our environment. In contrast “climate change” can mean what each individual wants it to. Facts are facts and this year we’ve seen unprecedented natural disasters and if you think they’re a fluke or have no reason behind them – I’d think again…

    While you think that there is a difference between Apocalyptic Global Warming and Climate change, the other side of the argument sees it as ploy. Temperatures didn’t and haven’t risen to the level that Al Gore predicted that they would and so green people simple changed their refrain to Climate change. I do believe that there is a change in the environment happening but then again the planets is constantly changing and will be until it is destroyed. The planet has went through many warming and cooling periods that had nothing to do with man. I would guess that the change was violent during those times at well. I personally think that is amazingly arrogant to think that we are making a huge difference. I have my opinions about Global Warming and they are not going to change. People have made up stories on both sides. The point that I’m trying to make is that, in marketing you learn quickly that you are trying to sell to the widest audience possible.

    Despite common liberal belief, most Christian Conservatives want to help and thus spend time and money giving to charities in an effort to make the world a better place. Every starving person I feed, every poor person that I hand a blanket to changes the world. I think that buying the car will help me, the environment, and our country. It is clear that technology is emerging and still expensive but it is getting closer. It isn’t that “the driver of a cleaner car makes me feel guilty for buying/driving smoke burners”. I believe that it is bad form to sell through guilt regardless of the worth of the cause. If I can sell it to 100% of the people using the non-guilt method then it is smarter to use that route. I live a block from work and use very little gas. Drive my Trans AM in the summer and walk during the winter. Why? Because the TA is only out in the summer. 28 MPG on the highway 

    Like I said in the previous post, there is no way to fit all of my stuff in a Prius and travel back home. Thus a van. I’m a huge fan of the volt and have been on the site for a long time and hope that the gen 2 or 3 falls to my price range. I hope that new liquid batteries are usable in the near future. GO Volt GO!Bobbydrake


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (5:22 pm)

    coffeetime: My preference is for markets to set prices, not central planners.

    A lot of good advice in there. When there are a lot of US made electric cars to hold long term and some to buy used we will be much better off as a nation.

    When the time comes that you can replace your PT Cruiser with a long lasting, low maintenance, US made, electric car powered by US produced electrons, you your family and your country will be much better off.

    Keeping 200 billion dollars of payments for transportation fuel, paying billions less for pollution related health and productivity losses, and not losing lives and treasure in lands that would not warrant a single conflict if not for the possession of oil, has got to lead to a better quality of life for the generations to come.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (5:39 pm)

    DonC: CNG for [...] trucks.

    Compressed Natural Gas might not have the practical range or refueling speed of Diesel, but I’ve often wondered how Liquid Natural Gas would work for over-the-road trucking. Instead of those Diesel “saddlebag” tanks, imagine a spherical, insulated LNG tank up high behind the cab …


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (5:46 pm)

    James: Will I have to make a documentary – ” WHO TEASED THE ELECTRIC CAR” ?

    Don’t TEASE ME bro !!! Don’t TEASE ME !!!


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (5:59 pm)

    jeffhre: Keeping 200 billion dollars of payments for transportation fuel, paying billions less for pollution related health and productivity losses, and not losing lives and treasure in lands that would not warrant a single conflict if not for the possession of oil, has got to lead to a better quality of life for the generations to come.

    #49

    A very nice summary of many of the central arguments which have led many of us to buy Volts, even if we know that we are never going to save the money back on gasoline costs in our lifetimes. +1

    “Lead, follow or get out of the way”


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (8:20 pm)

    I fully support a higher tax on gasoline — particularly if it could be offset with lower taxes on labor or income.

    We need to encourage hiring and energy efficiency. Higher CAFE standards do not impact consumer behavior. (Driving a fuel efficient car farther distances doesn’t help either). In addition, rising CAFE standards can negatively affect the resale value of fuel efficient cars when manufacturers try to sell more fuel efficient cars than the market wants. CAFE standards skew the market and put our domestic automakers at a disadvantage when consumers in their home market demand bigger cars than the rest of the world — until gas prices spike.

    Our country needs an energy policy. We need to change consumer behavior with regards to energy. CAFE standards are simply a convenient way for politicians to say they’re doing something for the environment without actually affecting people’s behavior. The problem is that we have to change behavior to make a difference.


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    Jun 9th, 2011 (10:29 pm)

    DonC: Will idiots never tire of this air-headed argument? By this measure we should all drive a Nissan Versa. Get real. The Volt is the best car you can get for $35K. Compared to a BMW 5 series, which isn’t a bad comparison, it’s a steal!

    I’ve driven BMW’s and the Volt … no comparison… the BMW antiquated inline 6 is decades behind the Volt…. it’s not even as responsive as my Buick 3.4V6 which also runs smoother and with less noise.


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    Jun 10th, 2011 (12:27 am)

    Higher fuel tax might make sense for consumer vehicles, but commercial trucks are already operating on a razor thin margin that would put many businesses out of business. That’s not good for the economy. If Suburbans and Expeditions are the target, just slap a gas guzzler tax on them. Let the guys running a business stay in business.

    How about a pipe dream: figure out a way to run electric power to semi-trucks on the interstates so they can run directly off the grid! (I know, I know, it’s not practical, it’s science fiction, you can’t get there from here, etc…)