Skip to comments.Obama Builds the Wrong Car
Posted on 01/29/2012 6:58:21 AM PST by Kaslin
Mr. President, you are building the wrong car.
In a May 2007 speech before the Detroit Economic Club, Candidate Obama chastised American automakers for building the wrong carswhile they were building bigger, faster cars, foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology. He stated that its not enough to only build cars that use less oilwe also have to move away from that dirty dwindling fuel altogether. He noted that the transformation of the cars we drive and the fuels we use would be the most ambitious energy project in decades. He promised generous tax incentives and more tax credits to make this happen. He believed that the additional costs are the price we pay as citizens committed to a cause bigger than ourselves. He claimed to be a leader who could make this happen as he intoned, Believe me, we can do it if we really try.
While that speech did not mention the Chevy Volt, or even electric cars, it surely laid out his ideology. For the most part, these are campaign promises he has kept. He has driven Detroit to move away from that dirty fuel altogether. He has offered generous tax incentives and more tax credits. To see the most ambitious energy project in decades become a reality his administration has handed out loans to virtually every strata in the electric cars foundation.
Hes bailed out GMwhich allowed government manipulation of the market to produce the Volt in the first place.
Hes given billions of taxpayer dollars to green energy companies who promised to deliver the electricitySolyndra is just the one of the myriad of failures in his ambitious energy project.
Beacon Power Company received $39 million of its government-guaranteed loan before it filed for bankruptcy. Beacon Power developed new technology that supposedly provides energy storage designed to help the intermittent solar and wind power be used by power grids, which need stable power to remain reliable.
Just this week, another Obama backed company filed for bankruptcy. EnerDel made lithium-ion batteries for electric cars. It received more than $100 million in government funding from the Obama administration, as part of the economic stimulus package and green energy push. One year before EnerDel filed for bankruptcy, Vice President Biden visited the plant and crowed: A year and a half ago, this administration made a judgment. We decided its not sufficient to create new jobswe have to create whole new industries. The reason for EnerDels demise? The company suffered when demand for the batteries dropped as fewer Americans than expected opted for electric cars.
Yes, the Obama administration has worked hard to line up the dominos to insure a transformation of the cars we drive and the fuels we use. They have provided generous tax incentives and more tax credits. But to what end?
The dominos have fallen, one right after the otherall the way up to the Chevy Volt and beyond.
Last week GM launched national and television print ads to try to bolster the slumping sales for the Volt. (Every time you see an ad for an electric car, think of President Obama and your tax dollars.) Dealer orders are down. They report: We just havent been seeing the interest. The cost definitely has something to do with it. GM is considering slowing production due to the less-than-expected demand and has temporarily laid-off 1,200 workers.
In 2011, instead of the forecasted 10,000, 7,671 Volts were soldwhich comes out to three-hundredths of 1 percent of US carmakers unit sales. Analysts say there has been a slow initial uptake of the first models to come on the market. Many of the Volts that were sold were to government. New York City bought 50. The city of DeLand, FL used part of a $1.2 million federal grant to buy five. Perhaps in effort to save his ambitious energy project, President Obama has committed the fed to buying 100+. Hes even pushed his Jobs Council leader, Jeffery Immelt, to buy them. GE will purchase 3000 through the year 2015.
Of course GE is one of the leading suppliers of the charging stations needed to power the Voltmuch like those removed by Costco, due to lack of use. After investing a lot of time and money on recharging stations, GE has to do what they can to not let the market slip further away.
But, remember, we can do it if we really try. From the first domino to the last, the administration has really tried. The Volt, says the Financial Times, was fast-tracked through development in a process it likened to a moonshot. Adam Jones, an analyst with Morgan Stanley, believes that they are not yet ready for prime time. Addressing the removal of charging stations at Costco, general manager for northern California, Dennis Hoover said: Why should we have anybody spend money on a program nobodys thought through? Calum MacRae of PWCs Autofacts states that electric vehicles are flawed in terms of convenience.
Citing statistics for the Nissin Leaf, Forbes Magazine counts the cost of an electric vehicle (EV): At $0.11/KWH for electricity and $4.00/gallon for gasoline, you would have to drive the Leaf 164,000 miles to recover its additional purchase cost. Counting interest, the miles to payback is 197,000 miles. Because it is almost impossible to drive a Leaf more than 60 miles a day, the payback with interest would take more than nine years. But, they state: The cost is not the biggest problem. The biggest drawback is not, range, but refueling time. A few minutes spent at a gas station will give a conventional car 300 to 400 miles of range. In contrast, it takes 20 hours to completely recharge a Nissan Leaf from 110V house current. An extra-cost 240V charger shortens this time to 8 hours. There are expensive 480V chargers that can cut this time to 4 hours, but Nissan cautions that using them very often will shorten the life of the cars batteries.
Plus, the cost of electricity keeps going up. According to the Energy Information Administration, residential electricity rates have risen from 11.26 cents per kWh in 2008, to 11.51 cents in 2009, to 11.54 cents in 2010. With the increasing regulation on cost-effective coal-fueled generation, and the proposed plant closures, that trend is likely to get even more dramatic.
No wonder initial uptake has been slow. Meanwhile, impressive advances in the technology for the traditional internal combustion engine are being madewith some outperforming hybrids. A gasoline powered Ford Focus costs about half of its electric version sibling. Remove the $7,500 US government tax credit and the EV is even less desirable.
Despite Obama telling Detroit that they are building the wrong cars, Americans dont want what Obama is selling. Washington has poured billions of dollars in making cars that people have to be paid to buy. Meanwhile, Chrysler is enjoying a resurgence thanks to Jeeps. Chrylser is adding more than a thousand jobs to build gas-guzzling vehicles like the Dodge Durango and Jeep Cherokee.
Mr. President, you are building the wrong car.
But this was before his now-public, election-year conversion experience, as expressed in the State of the Union Address. Now, leaving many in his eco-friendly base more than a little unhappy, hes touting fossil fuelsparticularly natural gas (even though Nancy Pelosi doesnt think natural gas is a fossil fuel). In the SOTU, the President said: The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we dont have to choose between our environment and our economy.
Imagine if hed had this revelation in 2007. While I oppose federal tinkering with the markets, since the Obama administration was hell-bent on spendinga so-called stimulus, what might the world would look like today if the $2.4 billion spent subsidizing electric cars and their various components had been spent on infrastructure to support vehicles powered by natural gas?
Instead, industry, like Chesapeake Energy, and investors, like T. Boone Pickens, are using their own money and are building the needed fueling stations to allow for compressed natural gas (CNG) powered trucks to crisscross the nation. Without government pressure, and without having to retool, Honda is adapting the Civic to make a CNG-fueled car with a 250 mile range that can be refueled in the same time as a gasoline-fueled automobile (rather than the hours needed for an EV). While prices at the pump have doubled since President Obama took office, and electricity rates are necessarily skyrocketing, natural gas abundance has dropped prices to the lowest in more than a decade.
On its own, the free market is going to create the transformation of the cars we drive and the fuels we use, without any help from the White House. Perhaps it is time to stop throwing good money after bad and allow the Volt to go the way of Baker Electrics carsor keep them for the rich who will buy them even without generous tax incentives.Now that President Obama has had his oil-and-gas-conversion experience and angered his green base, maybe he could go ahead and approve the pipeline. Then wed know his conversion is real and not just an election-year transformation.
Here’s the formula
Taxpayer Dollars go to “Green” companies who funnel a portion back to the Democrat party.
It’s the Democrat campaign finance program, using taxpayer money!
As electric costs rise and accessible NG supplies soar, the disparity will only increase.
Ford did the right thing when it developed their EcoBoost engines. The EcoBoost is a collection of incremental improvements to their internal combustion engine, not a technological moonshot which is the Volt. The Volt certainly saves more gasoline than a car with an EcoBoost engine, but there are only a few thousand Volts on the road, and there are now millions of EcoBoost engines on the road.
If natural gas powered vehicles are so great, how come the natural gas companies are not converting their fleets of trucks? Because gasoline works just fine and is availiable?
The guys at my local gas company tell me the natural gas vehicles are junk. That’s why they converted back to gasoline after playing with it in the 70’s.....
You use more energy with an electric car then with NG or Gasoline for that matter. Where does the electric power come from? Most electric 95% comes from Coal. Coal is a bigger polution issue to Obama then Gasoline. Why isn’t this challenged? Another thing about Coal is that ELECTRIC CARS are not paying for streets and highways as they are not paying the federal or state tax that a person buying gasoline is paying.
Another Obama failure.
A monumental increase in gasoline mileage COULD be achieved with the vehicles now in existence, without increasing the costs of new vehicles, in fact there would probably be a small DECREASE in the cost of new vehicles. I say in advance that it will never happen though because it is too simple, flies in the face of “accepted wisdom” and requires some effort by drivers.
What am I getting at? Simply that for maximum fuel economy drivers should be reeducated to STOP using cruise control and learn to drive for maximum mileage instead. Cruise control is a gas waster.
They may be "junk", but so were the "diesels" GM was using because they converted gasoline engines for diesel use instead of building diesels. There's plent of gasoline to be had for some time 9if we are allowed to get it) and it makes it impractical to shift to something else at the moment. Gasoline produces more energy than NG, but building an engine specifically designed to leverage NG might change the equation some.
“Another Obama failure.”
Not at all, another Obama success, another voter failure for electing him and all the other left wing clowns in his posse. You must remember that Obama has never intended anything but evil to come from his presidency, all these “failures” are really success for him.
I think you are assuming that everyone actually uses cruise control. I have it but NEVER use it, neither does my husband.
I bought a rotary-engined sports car for a reason. And it's not to "maximize mileage." I enjoy driving a performance car, and I'm willing to pay for the reduced gas mileage. Now get your prejudices off my car...
Not at all, I certainly don’t use it any longer, what I refer to is the fact that huge numbers of people DO use it thinking that they are getting better gas mileage by doing so, they are mistaken.
“Gasoline produces more energy than NG, but building an engine specifically designed to leverage NG might change the equation some.”
It is my understanding that gasoline offers more energy per pound than any other fuel, at least fuel that burns. Nuclear is another story altogether. If my memory is correct, then nothing’s going to change that. New designs, however, may narrow the gap, which I guess is the gist of your post.
If you want to drive a performance car that’s fine with me, I have said nothing against it. What I object to is that millions of drivers who DO want to get better mileage have been misinformed. They use cruise control on roads with steep hills and curves because they think they will get better MPG that way but they have been misled. If every road were flat and straight it wouldn’t matter but most roads are not.
I am curious as to how many people regularly use cruise control. I remember trying it out a couple of times when my first vehicle had it but I felt out of control and feared I might fall asleep at the wheel. I haven’t used it since and we have made some really long driving trips all over the country.
Exactly! That's how Hussein was able to confidently declare that he would raise $1 Billion to fiance his regime's re-conquest of America.
Besides forcing union members to contribute through their marxist, proletariat workers unions, making Hussein's welfare recipients pay "their fair share", shaking down little old ladies for spare change, zer0, Pelousy and Reid have structured organized theft of taxpayer money. The mafia would be proud.
USA needs to build a good car-—We can but we are not doing it—Obama was too brain washed by the Tree Huggers and Greenies to build the sort of car we need. Even with GM in his back pocket. OK what do we need?
a) A Three wheeled car like the old Morgan in England—low gas mileage and fast and fun. Its a supped up motorcycle you drive like a car. Mileage is like 50-60 miles per gallon and fun.
b) A good Electric for inter urban travel—Built like an old Metro—it could go 40 miles on a charge—and not burst into flames. Great car for the elderly and the young. Build them safe.
c) a Good Gas powered car—a simple car that doesn’t talk to you—or anything—just a basic car—A VW for America. Build them for the masses right here in the old USA. Sort of a Model T for the 21st Century. And make them cheap.
Three ideas—maybe you can come up with more.
He neglected to mention that the electricity to charge the biohazardous batteries in his ‘eco-cars’ require coal-fired, oil-fired, nuclear-powered, and sulfurous natural gas to produce the electricity.
Wind and solar combined wouldn’t have a measurable effect on the scale of things. A Socialist using the guise of ecological ‘Eden sans God’ to push his agenda to devolve this country and attain absolute power over everyones’ lives. It’s what socialists do.
A lot of people use it on the road, I used to use it myself on trips but when fuel prices got so high I realized that it was costing me a lot of money to use cruise control on hilly roads. Most people I have talked to accept the idea that using cruise control is the way to obtain maximum MPG and that is the advice still routinely given by a lot of so-called experts but it is wrong. “Hyper-milers” don’t use cruise control. Maintaining constant speed on hilly roads KILLS fuel mileage. Even on flat roads proper use of the accelerator pedal will give equal or better MPG. Cruise control was initially promoted as a convenience AND a fuel saver but the second benefit was purely imaginary. It might save fuel on flat roads for someone who doesn’t know how to drive for better mileage but for those who do it is a fuel waster.
Obama doesn't give a flying rip-a$$ about what kind of a car the people need. The only ones he cares about use mass transit or just boost a car when they need one for a joy-ride or to go cash their EITC check. The rest of us that have to fend for ourselves? He's just trying to make us so dependent on Government we won't fight back.
I agree USA needs a great car along the lines you mention; it would have been made already had not the Federal Government and onerous states like California fiddled with safety, emissions, and mileage requirements. The Federal Government should not be in the business of regulating designs, performance, propulsion, etc. of vehicles, period! Were this a Constitutionally-approved function, the colonial Federal Government would have regulated the hay and feed fed to horses, mules and oxen back when the Founding Fathers designed (I say with inspiration from God) this country.
“I am curious as to how many people regularly use cruise control.”
All the time, every day. I have several 5 mile sections to drive to get to town and use it then. On the freeway it is nearly impossible due to idiots.
I *like* my cruise control. When I’m driving for 8-9-10 hours at a time, the reduced fatigue using the cruise control is well worth ANY claimed (marginal) “increase” in fuel use experienced.
I do agree that using it on hilly or very curvy roads is not as efficient as allowing the car to gain and lose speed as the road profile demands.
Actually, I have not noticed any increase in fuel usage with the cruise control, but I’ve been driving only 35 years. Using it on the prairies I have gotten over 30 MPG in my 20+ year old V-8 Crown Vic.
Hyper-milers may not use cruise, but they tend to ignore MANY rules of the road as well in their quest to squeeze every last inch of distance out of their fuel. Do a search on their websites and see how inconsiderately they use the road. You’ll likely never reference them again when making a post about driving, since they are often more dangerous than drunks.
Actually cruse control saves money! Set it at the highest rate you can run without getting tickets. Tickets cost a lot more than any fuel savings and tickets are going up faster in cost than gas.
The Yugo will be the upscale vehicle.
nobama built the “right” car. EPIC FAIL car representing an EPIC FAIL president.
On flat straight roads there is only “marginal” difference but on hilly and curvy roads the difference can be major. I have owned a 1985 Crown Vic, a 1991 Crown Vic, a 1996 Crown Vic Police Interceptor and currently have the Mercury Grand Marquis 2004 model which is of course the same car. The best mileage I ever got with cruise control was 28 mpg traveling southbound on I-95 which was not hilly, it was close to flat. The best I ever got WITHOUT cruise control was 31.4 mpg with the Mercury driving in very hilly country, some of it almost mountainous. I call that more than a marginal difference. Simply put cruise control is NOT a gas saver in reality. If you prefer to use it fine, you will get no argument from me, I just want people to stop kidding themselves that using cruise control gives maximum mpg.
Diesel has more energy per unit volume, more energy per unit weight, and has potential for more efficiency because of his higher compression ratio.
If you heat the fuel before you inject it, and use a supercritical injector, you can get 20% improved efficiency.
Most engines do ‘negative work’ by compressing burned fuel (injection is before top dead center). A supercritical injector can remove that negative energy. One company that developed a patented supercritical fuel injector is
Transonic Combustion. No I don’t own stock. The above information is available off its web site.
All I was trying to put forth was my personal experience.
Your personal anecdotes are no more and no less accurate than mine. That you choose to denigrate the usefulness and accuracy of Cruise Control is not *MY* issue.
Why you want to decry ANY tool that can be a boon to those who travel long distances is most worrying, since I am shocked that you consider it your business to denigrate the usefulness of the tool.
How strange that a poster here would try to decide for others what is best, this being a conservative (leave me to my own devices) website. Nor should any worries about CC’s use by others be your concern or business!
I have driven literally millions of miles in my personal vehicles, let alone the time I have spent driving for my employers.
Cruise control is one of the most useful and time-saving tools there is for those who drive long trips regularly. You avoid tickets by staying under the speed limit, you save time by not slowing down when not necessary, and you are far less tired at the end of your 10 hour drive.
Yes some of this comes at the MINOR expense of a few ounces of fuel every dozen miles, but so what? If an additional 10 cents per mile is going to destroy your budget, you are WAY over your head at the beginning of your trip anyway!
Really, fuel savings is a very MINOR consideration when engaging cruise. That YOU bought into the fuel savings thing isn’t MY fault. I LIKE getting 30+ MPG while not getting a tired calf muscle after driving all day.
You go ahead and cramp up after 6 hours on the road, because you want to save 1 ounce of fuel every 19 miles because your foot is in constant motion. I’ll wave at you as I cruise by your rest stop at 75 MPH still comfortable and enjoying my drive while you walk off your cramping calf muscles.
You build a product the Public wants and you are successful.
This is the Ameritopia (thanks Mark Levin) the Progressives hope for.
You build a product the Dear Leader wants, and the Evil Taxpayers bail you out when you lose your a$$.
Re- education? Gah, can’t I have my coffee before I hear that word in the morning? Am I on the wrong board? Just picking on ya in fun :)
$0.10/mile is a LOT of money. Did you really mean that, or did you mean to say $0.01?
Overreact often? You seem to think I have personally attacked you. I don’t actually care if you choose to drive something that gets three MPG! I simply am tired of “experts” telling people to use cruise control for maximum gas mileage. Anyone who knows the truth knows that in hilly country it can easily cost you twenty percent or even more in extra fuel use. You may choose to believe whatever you wish but I am trying to raise awareness among those who DO want to get better mileage.
As far as the fatigue factor goes I have not found it to matter one way or the other but if cruise control allows you to be less tired then use it but don’t try to tell me that I am wrong about something I know to be true.
My reeducation will be a lot more pleasant than what Obama has in mind for you, you can take that to the bank8>)
I know diesels can be hard to start in winter. When I worked for a truck rental outlet, sometimes we had to use additives to keep it from gelling in the cold weather. My father was in Korea from 1955/56 during his hitch with the Army, he remembers starting diesel trucks on gasoline, let them idle for 30 seconds to a minute to warm up and then shifted the fuel lever to diesel and they were good to go.
The diesel truck I worked on use Cat engines, and was tested by the Army in Fairbanks. Preferred fuel is JP-8 which is aircraft kerosene with a deicer (and other additives). We had a gizmo to burn some of the kerosene to warm up the batteries before starting the engine, and to warm the engine coolant.
In CA you normally can’t employ the cruise control because no one else on our hills and valleys is using it.
You are of course free to try it, so long as you stay off folk’s bumpers.
I have used it in Arizona at night, and find it useful for keeping my V8 from sneaking too far past the speed limit, and it is a nice addition to West Texas drives.