Making Sense, by Michael Reagan
“I absolutely love my Chevy Volt.”
That’s what the smug guy in the TV commercial says when he’s praising the virtues of his plug-in hybrid and boasting that he hasn’t seen a gas pump in months.
You might love your Chevy Volt, too — if you could afford to buy one.
The GM Volt, aka the Green Edsel, is not just an overly engineered, overly expensive, overweight and impractical car than runs on electricity and gasoline.
It’s a Solyndra on Wheels. The Volt only exists because it’s been so heavily discounted by GM and subsidized by the federal government.
So far the Volt has cost Government Motors about twice as much per car to develop and make than its sticker price, which is $40,000. On top of that savings, the consumer gets a $7,500 federal tax credit for being so green — or maybe so naive.
Yet the Volt’s ultimate price — $32,500 for what is essentially an electrified and souped-up $17,000 Chevy Cruze — is still so high that only those in the top 7 percent of all income earners will buy it.
The average per capita income of Volt buyers is $172,000 — the income bracket that usually drives a BMW or a Mercedes.
In other words, the average American — who makes less than $40,000 a year — is subsidizing a bunch of rich people so they can hug themselves for saving the planet (by buying a car that runs for about 35 miles on electricity generated by coal-fired power plants before Exxon premium gas has to take over).
Despite these subsidies and low-cost lease deals, Volt sales so far in 2012 are 13,500, far below the 45,000 cars GM hoped to sell this year in America alone.
Experts say GM will have to sell about 120,000 Volts in five years to begin covering its development costs. Good luck, GM. I don’t think there are that many celebrities in Hollywood who need a third car.
After Romney replaces Obama this fall, let’s hope he’ll pull the government plug on the Volt and concentrate on making us energy independent.
Killing the Volt and any other electric-car boondoggles would be a good thing, and not just because it’d save money the federal government doesn’t have. The popularity of electric-propelled cars that raise miles-per-gallon averages has given some of our more “progressive” governments some dangerous ideas.
State and local governments worry that if gasoline sales decline they’ll be deprived of billions of dollars in revenue from gas taxes that now are used to maintain roads or subsidize mass transit.
To make up for lost revenues from hybrids and electric cars in the future, Oregon and San Francisco already have been looking into the idea of charging drivers a tax per each mile driven.
Cars would be fitted with GPS navigation systems that track how far they drive. Then drivers would be billed accordingly — about a penny a mile, depending on where and when you rack up the mileage.
Needless to say, this Orwellian idea came from Europe, and the Obama administration has been exploring it too.
So let’s see what’s going on here. The government greenies want you to pay extra to drive an electric car that’s more fuel efficient, then they charge you for the miles you drive anyway?
What red-blooded, road-loving American driver wants a government GPS implanted in his car with some bureaucrat looking at it to see how many miles he’s driving?
Not me. I own a Ford Expedition. I get 12.5 miles per gallon. I love it. When it gets too old, I’ll buy a new one.
The government is going to get us one way or the other. I say, go out and buy the biggest damn SUV you want. Enjoy your life. Light a cigar. Step on the gas. And don’t waste a watt on a Volt.
Copyright ©2012 Michael Reagan. Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan, a political consultant, and the author of “The New Reagan Revolution” (St. Martin’s Press). He is the founder and chairman of The Reagan Group and president of The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Visit his websites at www.reagan.com and www.michaelereagan.com. Send comments to Reagan@caglecartoons.com. Follow @reaganworld on Twitter. Mike’s column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For info on using columns contact Cari Dawson Bartley at email@example.com or call 800-696-7561.