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DATE News (chronologically)
02/14/08
automotive
American's won't give up SUVs,  The president of Shell Oil Co. said today that Americans were unlikely to give up their SUVs, despite a new law requiring automakers to boost the fuel efficiency of the vehicles by 40 percent by 2020.

"The vast majority of Americans love their big cars and I think the auto companies will follow the market," said John Hofmeister, the president of Royal Dutch Shell PLC's U.S. unit, in a meeting with reporters here.

He said the new fuel economy standards that hike fuel efficiency by 40 percent to a combined 25 miles per gallon over the next 12 years would have a "modest" impact on U.S. gasoline consumption by 2020, saying they didn't see big numbers of hydrogen vehicles or plug-in hybrids by then.

The oil company released a report in Washington today titled: "A National Dialogue on Energy Security" following the company's 50 town hall meetings over 18 months. About 250 Shell executives met with 15,000 Americans and found that the oil industry had a rotten reputation.

"We found a strong streak of visceral anger and zero sympathy toward the oil industry. We were somewhat prepared for this based on the 'hate mail' we had been receiving since prices first spiked," the report said.

Hofmeister said the tour revisited the low public image of the oil industry.

"We have a long way to go as an industry to be not just liked but respected. We are basically disrespected through our own fault," he said. "We've done a poor job of communicating our messages, of explaining ourselves our in justifying our actions… We're vulnerable if we're not transparent."

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