Freedom From Oil Campaigners Crash GM CEO’s Speech at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club

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Thursday, May 1, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO–Activists with the Freedom From Oil Campaign interrupted General Motors CEO Rick Wagoner’s speech on green cars today at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, urging him to sign a pledge to make his company the auto industry’s fuel efficiency leader by 2012. Wagoner refused, just as he did at the 2006 Los Angeles auto show when asked to sign a similar fuel efficiency pledge.

“Wagoner’s speech today was all smoke and mirrors,” said Nick Magel of Global Exchange. “Twenty million people who will be buying new cars this year deserve the choice of affordable, union-made cars that don’t guzzle gas and pollute. Besides, with gas at $4 per gallon, the only people that can afford to buy GM’s gas guzzlers are those on Wagoner’s pay scale.”

“Rick Wagoner can wax poetic on GM’s commitment to the environment, but his actions show that his only real commitment is to business-as-usual,” said Jodie Van Horn of Rainforest Action Network. “Wagoner’s double talk might play well in the boardroom, but Californians want real solutions to our addiction to oil.”

Increased fuel efficiency will save consumers money at the pump, tighten national security by reducing the nation’s reliance on oil, and help curb global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emission. Automakers could reach a 40-mpg standard using available technologies to improve conventional gasoline vehicles, 55 mpg by making the majority of their passenger vehicles hybrid-electrics, and up to 100 mpg by building a fleet of plug-in hybrids.

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Rainforest Action Network runs hard-hitting campaigns to break North America’s fossil fuels addiction, protect endangered forests and Indigenous rights, and stop destructive investments around the world through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action. For more information, please visit: www.ran.org