published Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Endless auto bailout

How many ways do the American people have to say “No” to taxpayer-subsidized electric and hybrid-electric cars before Washington gets it?

Sales of the cars are notoriously slow. In one month earlier this year, for instance, only about 600 hybrid-electric plug-in Chevrolet Volts were sold, compared with around 27,000 Chevrolet Silverados. The numbers were similar for Nissan’s electric-powered Leaf, though the Nissan Altima had sales of more than 22,000. All told this year, manufacturers of electric vehicles have sold only about 10,000 of the cars — or less than one-fifth of 1 percent of the car and truck market in the United States.

And that is despite the $7,500 tax credit that Congress showers on buyers of electric cars.

Now add the new electric version of the Honda Fit to the ungainly mix.

The electric Fit gets the equivalent of 118 miles per gallon — a stunning figure, to be sure, but one that comes with a sticker price nearly twice as high as the 31 mpg gas-powered Fit.

A bargain for buyers? Scarcely. Even with the subsidy, it would take an estimated 11 years before the fuel savings would make up the difference in upfront costs between the electric and the gas versions for a typical motorist. How many drivers even keep a vehicle 11 years nowadays?

Plus it takes three hours to charge the vehicle, and its range at full charge is only 82 miles. That’s not a model of convenience.

And for those who remain ever so concerned about greenhouse gas emissions, the Fit isn’t necessarily the environmentally friendly choice. In regions of the country that rely largely on coal for electricity, the Fit actually generates half again the level of greenhouse gases as a gas-electric hybrid that gets 50 mpg.

Honda itself doesn’t seem all that certain about the electric Fit’s prospects: It plans to lease only 1,100 of the vehicles in the first two years it is on the market.

Alas, the prospects that the vast majority of Americans who do not choose to buy electric cars will be rescued from having to subsidize the vehicle choices of those who do seem equally dim.

There is a lot of debate over whether the multibillion-dollar 2009 federal bailout of the auto industry was wise. An equally valid question, though, is when the ongoing, subsidy-driven bailout of carmakers’ electric vehicles will end.

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How many billions of dollars and thousands of American lives will be wasted in the Middle East before you admit that being dependant on fossil fuels is bad?

Just because you can't easily see the bill, doesn't mean there isn't one.

See how many days an Aircraft Carrier has been stationed in those waters. Charge that to gasoline-powered cars.

June 12, 2012 at 12:22 a.m.
joneses said...

happywithbeingaliar

You are really pissed at Hussein Obama aren't you? when he ran for president he was going to bring our soldiers home from the Middle East, make us less dependent on oil and cut the debt in half. Our soldiers are still being killed in the Middle East. Hussein has not made us less dependent on oil through his failed energy policy. He is on track to double the debt. He involved us in a war in Libya and another in Africa. I bet you are really pissed at him. Or are you such a hypocritical, mindless, liar you refuse to acknowledge his failures? Or is it you are not man enough to admit he lied to you? Which one is it?

June 12, 2012 at 7:03 a.m.
conservative said...

Looks like another fun day to poke fun at Liberals, Socialists and hypocrites. Yes, I know that is redundant.

I'm certain that not one of those who will display their silliness here own a Volt or Fit.

June 12, 2012 at 8:02 a.m.
stevedj_98 said...

No American soldier has ever been killed fighting for electricity. I drive a 100% electric Nissan LEAF and can honestly say it is the best car I have ever owned. 5,600 miles in one year with zero problems, and zero dollars for maintenance. I charge the LEAF in my home garage at 3 cents per mile for EPB electricity. Plus, I soon will be installing solar panels, with a 30% Federal tax credit, courtesy of the Stimulus Funds you dislike. Why don't you report some good news about electric vehicles, such as the 1,600 jobs being created at Nissan in Smyrna, Tennessee? There, the world's largest litium-ion battery plant is scheduled to be operating in August, and the 2013 LEAF car will be assembled right here in our state come December. In addition, Nissan will be building the electric drive motors at its Decherd plant, near Winchester. So near the end of the year, the LEAF will be mostly manufactured in America. The price will come down and sales will go up, because the car will finally be available nationwide. Low sales for the LEAF are simply due to supply to the USA, slowed by Dollar vs. Yen trade problems with the current single plant in Japan. Some people have been on the LEAF waiting list for 18 months. And with those detested Stimulus Funds and Tennessee state credits, a LEAF right now is about $27,000 -- not bad for a 0-to-60 in 9 seconds, five passenger car, that uses no gas, no oil, has no transmission, no muffler, and needs no emissions test.

June 12, 2012 at 8:18 a.m.
joneses said...

There has never been an American soldier killed fighting for oil as we have never gone to war over oil. That is a lie fabricated by you libturds. There is no oil in Afghanistan, there was not oil in Vietnam. If we went to war with Irag to get more oil then where is the oil? We went to war in Iraq to remove a ruthless dictator that acquired WMDs according to Bill Clinton. This thought that just because we go to war in a middle eastern country because of oil is a lie. Did Hussein Obama go to war in Libya because of oil? Is Hussein Obama in the war in Africa because of oil? Is Hussein Obama at war in Afghanistan because of oil? No.

June 12, 2012 at 10:14 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

"There is a lot of debate over whether the multibillion-dollar 2009 federal bailout of the auto industry was wise." - editor

The only "debate" about Oama's handling of the auto industry is coming from you childish pea-brained teabaggers who refuse to accept the fact that he actually did something right. No matter how you slice it, dice it, or spin it, the auto industry came out on top, countless jobs were saved that otherwise would have been lost, and that alone probably kept the country from sliding deeper into a recession or even an all-out depression. But such is your antipathy for Obama that you can't even bring yourselves to utter the word "successful" in the same sentence with his name.

As for the electric car, it is destined to be the car of the future. It's pretty obvious for most to see, but conservatives have never been known for their ablility to look ahead, even a little bit. You are doing what conservatives do best and that is to hold on to what makes you comfortable now and to lash out and ridicule any changes or threats to the status quo.

Yes, the electric car is too expensive for the average working person right now, and the technology is not where it needs to be. But it's only a matter of time before the prices fall and the mileage increases enough to make them appealing and affordable on a massive scale.

It is not reckless spending or wild, unfounded speculation for the government to invest in the future of the electric car, or any form of renewable energy for that matter. With a carefully reasoned, unified strategy and enough investment we could be weaned off of oil and coal to make us energy independent in 10 - 12 years. But of course, the coal and oil industries have this country by the cajones and there's very little chance of us getting out of their grubby, slimy clutches. And you worshipers of the status quo and big business are doing your level best to see that it stays that way too.

June 12, 2012 at 12:18 p.m.
joneses said...

rickeroo

Obama did something right by giving the GM and Chrysler over 50 billion dollars of our money? When are they going to pay it back? I thought this fool you support as president was against corporate subsidies. Oh that is only the oil companies that he actually does not give subsidies to. Would it be right for Obama to give me money I did not have to pay back to keep my company from bankrupting?

June 12, 2012 at 1:07 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Joneses, you conservatives are so fixated on the "evils" of spending that you cannot see the cost-savings accrued by that very spending. Many nonpartisan business experts have stated that the number of jobs saved from the bailout was upwards of a million and some place it even higher. It's not difficult to imagine how devastating it would have been to the country and the economy if nothing had been done and not only the auto companies themselves but the industries and businesses dependent on them would have been left to languish and die off completely.

We can never stop spending entirely. To even think of doing so is insane. The key is to spend wisely on things that can generate more money in the economy and strengthen the middle class and the average worker. That is precisely what the auto bailout accomplished, and we need to spend more money, not less, in ways that will return and grow our investments going forward.

June 12, 2012 at 1:46 p.m.
conservative said...

The frequent Liberals, Socialists, and Demoncrats who comment here often rant about "tax cuts for the rich", but they are quiet on the tax credit for these electric cars.

Perhaps the leftist websites haven't informed them that these tax credits are indeed "tax cuts for the rich."

June 12, 2012 at 2:54 p.m.
mhbraganza said...

Tax fossil fuels enough to reflect their finite suppy and real cost to society, and there's no need for subsidies to encourage electric cars or mandated mpg values. Doing this would also generate badly-needed additional revenue to pay for the things the government must spend to keep our society civil.

June 12, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
conservative said...

The tax credit is only equal to what you owe in taxes. Since about 50% of Americans pay no federal taxes,they will get no tax credit and would have to pay the full $41,000 price tag for the Volt.

That eliminates the usual Liberal Socialist whiners on this site.

June 12, 2012 at 6:16 p.m.
murpheyslawyer said...

Democrats could meet every single demand of Conservatives tomorrow and people like Joneses would still be upset. That's when we would see the real issue they have. The President is black. So there is nothing he can do to please the bitterness that infests your heart. Not your mind, because you don;t really use it. You spew hatred from the heart.

June 12, 2012 at 6:21 p.m.
gjuster said...

Why is it OK to be against the Democrat's policies and ideas when they are white - but not OK when it is Obama just because he is black. It's not racism - it's philosophy. Conservatives support Alan West, Herman Cain, Star Parker and other black Conservatives - makes no sense unless liberals have a failed argument about racism.

June 12, 2012 at 8:26 p.m.
J3rrYcid said...

Well, there has to be certain reasons why the electric car market is not doing as well as the fuel-run car market. One thing for sure, it has got to be the charging inevitability of an eletric car. Pumping petrol once a week is already considerably a hassle for drivers, what more charge the car daily before you are able to use it the next day? That is even a more bothersome chore and drivers might not even have ample time to do so amidst their busy schedules. It is so difficult to convince a higher percentage of drivers to perform the 'green' switch and taxpayers should really stop being forced to contribute to such efforts. It is the government's sole responsibility to carry out the 'green' movements and use their own funds instead. http://www.carid.com

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