Apparently, Exxon has come to realise that something must be done to deal with global warming. However, they are not too keen on the transportation sector being the one to bear the burden - I wonder why?
Exxon argues that curbing emissions in the power industry is cheaper than cutting emissions from the petroleum-intensive transportation sector. I personally think that both sources should be tackled, especially as transportation is primarily responsible for much smog etc. pollution. They have the following likely costs (according to The Wall Street Journal, as reported by The Globe and Mail, January 11th 2007):
Costs per tonne of carbon dioxide avoided
|CARS & LIGHT TRUCKS(SUVs)|
|Ethanol (conventional from corn)||$192|
|Ethanol (from cellulose)||$116|
[Editorial note:] Clearly ExxonMobil does not like hybrid cars. It would be interesting to know more about the origin of these numbers. That particular number for hybrids seems to contradict recent reports that hybrid cars like the Prius actually save owners a lot of money in maintenance and depreciation costs, in addition to the savings in lower gasoline usage. Perhaps these numbers refer to direct capital costs for the different technologies, without accounting for differences in fuel and operating/maintenance costs over time. Though that doesn't make sense in the case of ethanol.
In any case, they are absolutely correct that replacing coal-fired power plants as electric generators is a much easier way to reduce CO2 emissions than fixing our automotive fleet.
Update - Two links on the hybrid cost issue: