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Q: ENERGY BUSINESS ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Category: Business and Money
Asked by: bill22-ga
List Price: $200.00
Posted: 03 Jun 2006 08:05 PDT
Expires: 03 Jul 2006 08:05 PDT
Question ID: 735000
GM To cope with flagging sales, G.M. said it would cut vehicle
production in North America by 8.4 percent in the third quarter.  How
much Energy use in MWhrs and natural gas consumption is affected by
this decrease?

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Jun 2006 08:14 PDT
Hello Bill.

I assume you are asking about the energy consumption involved in the
manufacture of the cars.

In other words, how much less energy the GM plants will use due to the
cutback in production.

If there's anything more you had in mind, please let me know as I work
on your question.



Clarification of Question by bill22-ga on 03 Jun 2006 09:25 PDT
Yes I am specifically reffering to the reduction in energy with the
reduction in the production in cars , But there should be soem non
linearity to this if the reduction involves shutting a plant as a
opposed to just a per energy/unit produced calculation as there is a
step function in energy demand. I will be satisfied with the linear
answer but a complete and thorough answer should include the total
reduction in energy broken down by type.

Request for Question Clarification by pafalafa-ga on 03 Jun 2006 10:34 PDT

Thanks for the feedback.

GM has announced very specific production cutbacks in cars and trucks:

but has not identified exactly how the cuts would come about, and
which plants would be affected.  It seems, though, that these are
cutbacks (eliminating a shift) rather than shuttering a full plant.

In addition, the actual energy mix used by GM is not, to my knowledge,
a matter of public record, so I would have to make some guesses as
their use of, eg, coal vs natural gas, based on overall patterns of
energy use in US industry.

The guesses should get you reasonably in the ballpark.  Please let me
know if you have any concerns about this approach to answering your



Clarification of Question by bill22-ga on 04 Jun 2006 18:31 PDT
I am ok with your approach as it seems it will be more linear than I
thought BUT there should be some enrergy use information that is out
there either stated by GM or other source as it is a significant part
of thier cost and should be on a public document by them.
Answered By: pafalafa-ga on 18 Jun 2006 17:21 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Bill.

It took a while, but I've managed to dredge up some interesting data
that I think you'll find quite compelling.

Let's start with the actual reductions in vehicle production:
GM Production Schedule

                          thousands of:
                       cars  trucks total

3rd Qtr. 2005		423 	723 	1,146 

3rd Qtr. 2006		400 	650 	1,050 

The overall reduction of 96,000 vehicles represents an 8.4% reduction
from the levels of a year ago.

The reductions include 23,000 fewer cars, and 73,000 fewer trucks.


The overall energy use for General Motor's North American operations
can be seen here:
Sustainability Report

...In 2003, GMNA consumed 25,800 GWh of energy, a 20.5% decrease compared to 1995

...Compared to 2002, overall energy use was down 5.15%, due primarily
to aggressive implementation of energy efficiency strategies.

GMNA's target for 2005 energy consumption is 24,333 GWh.


GMNA's actual breakout in terms of energy sources is provided here:
GM North America (NA) ? 2003 Energy Consumption by Fuel
[slide #17]

GM actually has a rather interesting mix of sources.  

The biggest component is natural gas, which accounts for 50.5% of their total use.

Purchased electricity is next, at 35.49% (though of course, the
electricity itself has its own energy mix, which is not detailed in
the GM documents).

Coal is about another 5%, and they even make use of landfill gas (1%)
as part of their renewable/alternatives fuels program.


Their Sustainability Report also provides information on GMNA's
greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely related to energy

...GMNA (including the US, Canada and Mexico) emissions of CO2 in 2004
were 9.46 million metric tons, a 17.1 percent decrease from 2000

...GM U.S.... In 2004, CO2 emissions from its U.S. facilities were
8.48 million metric tons, a reduction of 27.3 percent from 1990 levels
and a reduction of 18.5 percent from 2000.


GM's Canadian operations actually provide the most detailed accounting
of energy use.

Although the data is specific to Canada, it certainly seems reasonable
to suppose that the per-vehicle numbers are representative of energy
use througout North America:
Action Plan Update for Manufacturing and Assembly Facilities
General Motors of Canada Limited
October 31, 2005

For the period 1990 to 2004:

? Total energy consumption has been reduced 46% from 4928 MWh to 2657 MWh.

? Energy intensity normalized to vehicle production has been reduced
by 47% for car assembly and by 28% for truck assembly.

For the period 1990 to 2004:

? Total energy consumption has been reduced 46% from 4928 MWh to 2657 MWh.

? Energy intensity normalized to vehicle production has been reduced
by 47% for car assembly and by 28% for truck assembly.

...Energy efficiency initiatives have saved over 256 million kWh and
avoided 151 kilotonnes of CO2 emissions.

...Total vehicle assembly production for the 2004 calendar year was
923,451 cars and light duty trucks.

[Here is some of the energy information normalized to per-vehicle production]

Energy Consumption and CO2 Generation Normalized to Vehicles Produced

...In 2004, automotive assembly operations accounted for 71% of GMCL?s
energy consumption.

...The energy consumption per vehicle dropped by 47% for car assembly
operations and by 28% for truck assembly, for the period 1990 through
2004. The CO2 production per vehicle dropped by 39% for car assembly
operations and by 19% for truck assembly, for the period 1990 through

Table 3.2 -- Energy and CO2 Intensity per Vehicle Produced --
indicates that the "Normalized Energy Consumption" per vehicle is 2.04
MWh per vehicle.

Similarly, CO2 emissions amount to 456 kg of carbon dioxide per vehicle.


Earlier versions of the GM-Canada energy reports provide some
perspective on the energy consumption of trucks vs cars:

General Motors of Canada Ltd.
Updated for 1999 - October 30, 2000

Energy Consumption Per Vehicle Produced

...Chart #2 ? Energy consumption per vehicle produced is shown in this
chart and reflects the BTU energy consumed to produce each composite
passenger and light duty truck in the period from 1990 to 1999.

The data show that energy consumption for cars and trucks is pretty
much the same; in 1999, this figure amounted to about 8 million BTU
per vehicle (which is equal to 2.34 MWh).

Cars required about 10% more energy per vehicle than trucks in 1999. 
But at the same time, reductions in energy use per vehicle were
occurring more rapidly for cars then for trucks.

It seems likely that more up-to-date data would show the energy
consumption to be about equal for both types of vehicles.  As noted
above, current energy consumption per vehicle has been reduced to 2.04
MWh per vehicle.


So, in sum, we know the energy breakout for GMNA, and we also have the
following information:

2.04 MWh per vehicle -- energy consumption

456 kg CO@ per vehicle -- carbon dioxide emissions

96,000 vehicles -- overall reduction in production for Q3-2006

Overall, then, this leaves us with a total energy reduction of:

96,000 * 2.04 = 195,840 MWh = 195.8 GWh 

and CO2 reductions of:

96,000 * 456 = 43,776,000 kg of CO2

Since GMNA's use of natural gas accounts for almost exactly half of
overall energy use, then we can anticipate that half the energy
reduction, or 97.9 Gwh, will come from reduced use of natural gas.

From the conversion terms available here:
Energy Terms/Conversions

we learn that:

1 kWh = 3413 Btus 
1 MWh = 3.413 million BTUs
1 GWh = 3.413 billion BTUs


Natural Gas: 1 cubic foot = 1000 Btu 


So, 97.9 GWh of energy savings amounts to 

97.9 * 3.413 = 334.13  billion BTUs

which, in turn, translates to

334.13 million cubic feet of natural gas


To summarize (again), we have:

Total energy reduction of 195.8 GWh 

Total CO2 reductions of 43.776 million kg of CO2

Total natural gas reduction of 334.13 million cubic feet

I trust this information fully answers your question.  

However, please don't rate this answer until you have everything you
need.  If you would like any additional information, just post a
Request for Clarification to let me know how I can assist you further,
and I'm at your service.

All the best,


search strategy -- Google searches on combinations of the following terms:

"energy use"
"life cycle analysis"
bill22-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Great will beasking for something similiar for ford

From: redfoxjumps-ga on 04 Jun 2006 13:59 PDT
Sometimes these announcements are made to allow layoffs.
GM may be required by union contracts to announce plans.
Their real plans may be much more hand to mouth.

Your local car dealer may be storing excess production of slow selling
models on various lots.  One local dealer here has large trucks on a
lot that used to contain fuel miser mini cars.
From: esmartbusiness-ga on 17 Jun 2006 19:24 PDT
Hydrogen is the new buzz word as oil companies and car makers back the
view that it will be the successor to oil in the coming decades.
The drive towards a hydrogen future was given a real boost when
President George Bush unveiled a development plan, worth $1.7bn, in
his State of the Union address, to help the US lead the world in
developing clean hydrogen-powered automobiles.

Now just weeks after that commitment comes a significant partnership
between General Motors (GM) and Shell to provide a taste of the

GM says it will provide a fleet of six fuel-cell Zafira mini vans at
$1m each for people to test drive while Shell will install hydrogen
pumps at one of its Washington gas stations.

The companies say they expect about 10,000 people to ride in the
vehicles over the next two years.

Shell Hydrogen chief executive Donald Huberts said his company wants
to demonstrate the practical and everyday use of hydrogen fuel.

Within reach 

Experimental fleets of hydrogen cars built by Toyota and Honda have
been operating in California since last year, but the GM/Shell
partnership is seen as pivotal because it is an oil company and an
auto maker joining forces.

 The benefit and flexibility of this technology is so powerful that it
will open up hundreds of new markets around the globe

Larry Burns, GM  

Of course the fact that the price of a barrel of crude has touched
12-year highs in recent weeks, coupled with the war in Iraq provides
further urgency to finding alternative fuel sources.

In hydrogen vehicles, an electric motor powers the wheels. 

A chemical reaction inside a unit called a fuel cell - usually between
hydrogen and oxygen - creates electricity for the motor.

The only emission is water vapour - although the air pollution is only
moved up the supply chain, and occurs when hydrogen is produced using
oil or gas.

Some believe with the right commitment and investment, hydrogen cars
could be ubiquitous in as little as 10 years.


Peter Schwartz of the Global Business Network charts trends and shifts
in the worlds of energy, business, technology and government.

In an article for Wired magazine, he has devised a five-point-plan to
build the hydrogen economy so that people can continue their love
affair with the car.

Peter Schwartz: people can continue to love their cars 

Mr Schwartz told BBC Online an investment of $100bn could shift the
balance of power from foreign oil producers to US energy consumers
within a decade.

By 2013 a third of all new cars sold could be hydrogen-powered, 15% of
the national gas stations could pump hydrogen, and the US could get
more than half its energy from domestic sources, he said.

The race is on to bring the first fuel cell vehicle to market - at the
National Hydrogen Conference in Washington GM declared that it is
poised to become the first automaker to sell a million fuel cell
vehicles in the next decade.

"We will remain competitive only by providing the technology that
customers expect and deserve - today and tomorrow," said Rick Wagoner,
GM president and chief executive.

Research on fuel cells is being taken so seriously at GM that more
than 500 scientists and engineers on three continents are working on
this new technology.

"The benefit and flexibility of this technology is so powerful that it
will literally open up hundreds of new markets around the globe," said
Larry Burns, GM vice-president of research and development.

To date DaimlerChrysler, Ford and GM have spent roughly $2bn
developing fuel cell cars, trucks and buses with the first products
due to hit the market this year.

Ford Chairman William Clay Ford Jr has proclaimed that fuel cells will
finally end the 100-year reign of the internal combustion engine.

Financial sense 

For the customer, cost is king. 

Chris Birroni-Bird, one of GM's leading fuel cell experts, said the
gas-powered engine on a $20,000 vehicle costs about $3,000.

A hydrogen fuel-cell engine on the same automobile would cost $30,000. 

But Jeff Serfass, president of the National Hydrogen Association, said
you must include the cost of fuel in the comparison.

"You have to compare the cost of hydrogen combined with the efficiency
of the fuel cell, which is about twice as efficient as today's engine,
to give you a competitive cost per mile," he said.

Futurist Peter Schwartz says the genie is now out of the bottle and
the need for hydrogen to replace oil cannot be ignored any longer.

Scientists estimate that the days of cheap oil will end anywhere
between 2007 to 2040.

The stakes are high and energy independence bears directly on US

The turmoil in the Middle East, the growing national security budget,
the promise of technology that needs only a financial push, appear to
make this the right moment to launch an Apollo-scale commitment to
hydrogen power.

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