One of Barack Obama's favorite fantasies is that Americans will soon abandon their SUVs and pick-ups in favor of battery operated cars. Implementing energy policies to "boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" is part of his overall plan to force us to go green.
The supposed upside is the standard line of worshippers of the green god – reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a cleaner environment.
But, like so much of the hope-and-change agenda, the electric car idea isn't off to a very good start, and new research finds it may not be so green after all either.
Obama hasn't been shy about pitching plug-in technology, even dedicating part of his State of the Union address to a prediction of a million battery cars on the road by 2015.
And, he's put your tax dollars behind making his prediction come true, too, with $240 million in grants to General Motors for the Volt in addition to the $50 billion bailout (takeover), not to mention another $150 million to the Korean manufacturer of the batteries.
After all of that we're left with "a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car" as one industry analyst put it. So, Obama threw in another $1.5 billion in subsidies to buy down the price of each car.
In the March issue of A Line of Sight we documented that sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were happening by the dozens per month rather than the tens of thousands some had predicted.
Consumers are hard pressed to warm to a $41,000 four seat compact that needs to be plugged in every 30 miles to recharge the battery. Even the $7,500 taxpayer subsidy can't pump up sales.
While the urge to be the first early adopter on the block will spur a few sales, even the liberal Slate.com says the Volt is "a rich man's ride," not the working man's transportation solution of Obama's dreams.
Now, it looks like electricity rates – the plug-in fuel source – is about to go up dramatically.