Chrysler's hard-hitting PR man Jason Vines just got over criticizing certain members of the press and the gay community for calling his company homophobic, and now he's at it again. This time, Mr. Vines targets Big Oil and rebuts accusations that automakers aren't working to improve fuel economy. "Just as the weather warms and Americans are turning their thoughts to hitting the roads for vacations or weekend getaways, the prices of gasoline and diesel fuel are rising faster than the odds of the Detroit Lions playing the Super Bowl," Vines said in a statement to the press. Vines says this "coincidence" has nothing to do with chance and "almost everything to do with greed by the big oil companies."
"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.
"Even tough the automakers have spent billions developing cleaner, more efficient technologies such as high-feature engines, hybrid powertrains, multi-displacement systems, flexible fuel vehicles, and fuel cells, 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 then went on to lay out the numbers behind his position. "In 2005, according to its financial report, ExxonMobil earned $36.1 billion, up $11 billion from 2004. Yet the oil giant isn't going to waste any of that dough on developing alternative fuels or significantly increase the amount of money it spends to find oil or refine it into gasoline, which would help boost supplies and raise prices."
The company's own literature states, "current renewable technologies do not offer near-term promise for profitable investment relative to attractive opportunities that we see in our core business."
According to Vines, the Wall Street Journal reported that spikes in oil prices were due to "Big Oil's emphasis on profits over finding oil."
Mr. Vines also explained how big oil has "repeatedly used the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina as a convenient excuse for sidestepping their responsibilities." Despite record profits, Vines says ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco and other oil giants have sought to delay national standards to lower sulfur content in fuels, pleading Katrina relief."
He also slams the companies for not contributing to the Katrina relief effort. "While Americans showed their generosity to Katrina victims by donating $500 million toward relief efforts, the four largest oil companies came up with relative pennies--$11 million total!" Vines said. "
"Nevermind that ChevronTexaco facilities leaked six million gallons of oil into pristine Gulf wetlands in Katrina's aftermath--one of the largest oil spills in U.S. history."
Vines also responded to claims that automakers like Chrysler are doing nothing to improve fuel economy. A recent Exxon advertisement reads, ""Every form of transportation--planes, trains and automobiles--now benefits from improved fuels and engine systems. So why is that despite this overall progress, the average fuel economy of American cars is unchanged in two decades?"
"That would be powerful--if it were true," says Vines. But according to EPA's latest figures, 2005 model year vehicles averaged 21 miles per gallon -- the highest since 1996. "In 1975, average fuel economy was just 13.1 miles per gallon," Vines points out.
"The auto industry is doing its job by building cleaner, leaner, more efficient vehicles and embracing alternatives to gasoline such as biodiesel and ethanol and hybrids," he concludes. "So while we make these important and responsible strides despite the challenges of global competition and legacy costs, Big Oil is swimming in profits, content to let the nation's drivers drown in rising prices, every time they fill up."