Final Thoughts From The Detroit Auto Show

This year’s auto show was a clash of environmental responsibility with traditional automotive manufacturing.

Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, told a group of us that we have two basic choices: use oil until the oil’s gone, or start working on alternatives now and avoid a drastic and potentially unpleasant switch.

While producers are still putting out large, gas-driven vehicles with relatively low fuel economy, the major players are inching toward alternatives and pursuing new technology as rapidly as they say they can. The green theme was so pervasive that some have dubbed 2008 the ‘green year for auto manufacturing’.

Consumers are playing a major role in the transition, at least according to industry representatives, by demanding improved fuel economy and more choice in the realm of ‘environmentally responsible’ vehicles. But despite the show’s green theme, recycling was nowhere to be seen. It also appears that sustainable sourcing of auto parts, and cradle-to-cradle car design have a long way to go.

But again, we’re talking about the greening of a individual transportation, which I’ve said before is the most difficult of personal sustainability issues to address. At least we’re getting somewhere.

Keep your eyes out for new technology that’s really going to make a dent in petroleum usage, like GM’s Chevy Volt, or Coskata’s new ethanol production method.

Here are all the posts from the 2008 North American International Auto Show:

How to Get Infinity MPG: Fisker’s Eco-Chic Karma vs Chevy Volt

GM’s Grand Plan For Solving America’s Oil Dependence

A Conversation With Bob Lutz: Vice Chairman of General Motors

More About the Coskata Process

Chevy Volt: Where Is GM’s Electric Car?

GM Unveils The E85 ‘Green Hummer’

GM Announces Biofuel Partnership: Cheap, Green Ethanol?


In a past life, Clayton was a professional blogger and editor of Gas 2.0, Important Media’s blog covering the future of sustainable transportation. He was also the Managing Editor for GO Media, the predecessor to Important Media.