The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

General Motors And The NEVC: Greenwashers United

Posted by keith on November 19th, 2008

GM E85 Vehicles

Eco Spam of the week goes to the National Ethanol Vehicles Coalition, as promoted by that true friend of the planet General Motors. Here’s the email, with a few salient points picked out…


As your readers make their annual snowbird trek to warmer climates, let them know that their trip could help kick our nation’s dependence on foreign oil.

Snowbirds traveling along the I-65 Biofuels Corridor, the first national, cross-country corridor of E85 ethanol stations, can drive from the shores of Lake Michigan in Indiana all the way to the Gulf Coast in Alabama and be at least a quarter of a tank from an E85 pump. New stations along this stretch of highway have opened over the past year in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama giving consumers the option to refuel with E85. Flex-fuel vehicle owners can refuel with ethanol to help reduce the nation’s dependence on petroleum and reduce carbon emissions.

Your readers can find stations along their route by visiting the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition’s (NEVC) website -

If you’re interested in learning more, please let me know. I’d be happy to provide additional information about the I-65 Biofuels Corridor and GM’s efforts to pursue alternative fuel solutions.


Bethany Ciampa
Mullen for General Motors

Ok, so what do we have here? First is the incredible assumption that “my readers” (who she assumes are all based in the USA of course – as people like this do) like to take annual trips south to their second homes, clocking up thousands of miles in the process and emitting tons of carbon dioxide as they go. In her defence — if there is any — she actually sent it to Green Seniors, which I help run, but still completely ignored the fact that “my readers” aren’t so dumb to be taken in by the oily words of one of the world’s largest (for the time being) corporations.

Second, that E85 — a mix of ethanol and petrol — actually has any environmental benefits. In the first instance, corn based ethanol is very energy inefficient to produce so even though it is plant-based, it is almost always heavily fertilized, processed, blasted with heat to distil it…all of which produce a great deal of greenhouse gas. If that weren’t bad enough, this is a classic case of Business As Usual Ethics making people think that because something is “greener” then they can carry on using it to their hearts content, without thinking of the repercussions of their continued high-consumption way of life: this is what the corporations want, and this is why they greenwash.

Finally, GM itself has as its (thankfully shrinking) core business, huge investment in the kind of trucks and SUVs seen in the photo: by showing an interest in E85 and making their gas-guzzlers able to take this fuel, they can carry on selling them, without having to compromise their abhorrant business in any significant way. The vehicle in the photo does a combined 17MPG!

Here was my response:


General Motors, environmentally friendly? Don’t make me laugh!

Remind me at what point GM decided to stop marketing gas-guzzling SUVs and pickups to the general public, and what marvellous strides GM have made to bring the USA’s emissions down by the required 90% by 2030? Sorry, I must have missed that among all your other efforts to screw up the planet.



P.S. For your greenwashing efforts, you have just booked yourself a spot on The Unsuitablog (

I strongly recommend you follow the link, and find out what GM are really all about.

4 Responses to “General Motors And The NEVC: Greenwashers United”

  1. Phil Colley Says:

    I’m with GM and we’re sorry that you, like some in the green community, choose to attack any effort to help the environment – short-term or long-term – that doesn’t come from your pre-existing “approved” list. If you are interested in moving from rhetoric and accusations to questions or genuine dialogue about E85 and longer-term efforts, we are ready. In fact, our discussions with other E85 critics on the blogs have been beneficial for everyone involved, including us.

    People are often surprised to learn that since the 1970s, GM has reduced smog-forming emissions from our vehicles by more than 99 percent. Our new vehicles are so clean today that painting a room with one gallon of water-based latex paint will generate more smog-causing emissions than driving a GMC SUV from Toronto to Vancouver and back again. Over the last three decades, the average fuel economy of our car fleet has increased 130 percent and our light truck fleet average has almost doubled. We offer more models that get 30 miles per gallon or better on the highway than any other manufacturer, and 13 of our last 15 new product launches in the U.S. have been cars or crossovers.

  2. keith Says:

    Is that the best you can do, Phil? A feeble attempt to cut the critics off from the mainstream “green community” (you know, the ones who you like to do business with, that happily endorse your pathetic efforts so they can make out they are achieving something: these kinds of groups); and a cut and paste from your Greenwashing folder talking about “smog forming emissions” while ignoring the fact that GM were almost solely responsible for the massive uptake in carbon dioxide spewing SUVs and light trucks amongst the general American public.

    My “pre-existing approved list”? Which list is that? Please enlighten me as I can’t find it anywhere.

    And then we have Hummer, which you also happen to own…

  3. The Sietch Blog » General Motors: A Company That Deserves To Go Down Says:

    […] my recent pop at General Motors on The Unsuitablog, Phil Colley, an account executive at MSL Communications (take a look at their fabulous client list […]

  4. How To Run A Car On Water Says:

    How To Run A Car On Water…

    Any similar blog posts you can point me to?…

    [Ed. Is this a genuine request or just a way of posting a commercial link?]

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