Obama's Symbolic Chevy Volt Folly

Among 116 electric cars that the Obama administration intends to buy with taxpayer money, 101 will be Chevy Volts. The program will also include installing charging stations in San Francisco, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

According to USA Today, "The moves are mostly symbolic to show the government is doing its part in trying to reduce America's dependence on oil." The electric cars are projected to save taxpayers a total of $116,000 in fuel costs-presumably annually. USA Today did not specify.

With Volts currently priced at $41,000, what net "savings" will taxpayers realize? The General Services Administration did not reveal the actual price at which GM will sell the Volts to Obama. But we can make reasonable assumptions.

Most buyers of electric vehicles qualify for a federal tax credit of $7,500. Let's allow that Obama's people are persuasive enough to negotiate a unit purchase price of $41,000 - $7,500, or $33,500. And let's be charitable and assume that the five charging stations will be built for a mere ten times (probably conservative for a federal government cost multiplier) the average price currently quoted by a company specializing in the stations: 5 X 10 X $1,500, or $75,000, including any and all land purchase or site lease costs. So the total expenditures for this chapter of Mr. Obama's electric car fantasy will conservatively add up to: 101 X $33,500 plus $75,000, or $3.5 million. Bear in mind that this total does not include the administrative costs involved in making deals and managing the program.

The Volt purchase program reveals Obama's ideological zealotry in action. Barack Obama is a President who proposed a $3.7 trillion 2012 budget that would have resulted in a $1.6 trillion deficit-the highest in the history of planet Earth. With his budget, Obama also ignored the need to slash a $14.3 trillion national debt. Yet the man will happily spend 3.5 million taxpayer dollars to purchase the ability to tout a cost avoidance of $116K a year in operating expenses. At this "savings" rate, taxpayers' $3.5 million symbolic investment will require thirty years to pay back. Where is the symbolism?

Perhaps the symbolism lies in the 257 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions that 101 Volts will allegedly eliminate. Does the emissions avoidance take into account the fact that generating the electricity needed to charge the Volts will also generate emissions? The administration's analysis does not specify.

Barack Obama's symbolism boils down to something disgusting. Radical environmentalist ideology and crony capitalism are bad enough when engaged in separately. But when combined to waste taxpayer money during one of the worst economies in American history in order to symbolically reduce emissions of gases that imperceptibly affect "global warming," the effect is pure ugliness.

A writer, physicist, and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at www.chuckroger.com. Contact Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.
Among 116 electric cars that the Obama administration intends to buy with taxpayer money, 101 will be Chevy Volts. The program will also include installing charging stations in San Francisco, Detroit, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington, D.C.

According to USA Today, "The moves are mostly symbolic to show the government is doing its part in trying to reduce America's dependence on oil." The electric cars are projected to save taxpayers a total of $116,000 in fuel costs-presumably annually. USA Today did not specify.

With Volts currently priced at $41,000, what net "savings" will taxpayers realize? The General Services Administration did not reveal the actual price at which GM will sell the Volts to Obama. But we can make reasonable assumptions.

Most buyers of electric vehicles qualify for a federal tax credit of $7,500. Let's allow that Obama's people are persuasive enough to negotiate a unit purchase price of $41,000 - $7,500, or $33,500. And let's be charitable and assume that the five charging stations will be built for a mere ten times (probably conservative for a federal government cost multiplier) the average price currently quoted by a company specializing in the stations: 5 X 10 X $1,500, or $75,000, including any and all land purchase or site lease costs. So the total expenditures for this chapter of Mr. Obama's electric car fantasy will conservatively add up to: 101 X $33,500 plus $75,000, or $3.5 million. Bear in mind that this total does not include the administrative costs involved in making deals and managing the program.

The Volt purchase program reveals Obama's ideological zealotry in action. Barack Obama is a President who proposed a $3.7 trillion 2012 budget that would have resulted in a $1.6 trillion deficit-the highest in the history of planet Earth. With his budget, Obama also ignored the need to slash a $14.3 trillion national debt. Yet the man will happily spend 3.5 million taxpayer dollars to purchase the ability to tout a cost avoidance of $116K a year in operating expenses. At this "savings" rate, taxpayers' $3.5 million symbolic investment will require thirty years to pay back. Where is the symbolism?

Perhaps the symbolism lies in the 257 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions that 101 Volts will allegedly eliminate. Does the emissions avoidance take into account the fact that generating the electricity needed to charge the Volts will also generate emissions? The administration's analysis does not specify.

Barack Obama's symbolism boils down to something disgusting. Radical environmentalist ideology and crony capitalism are bad enough when engaged in separately. But when combined to waste taxpayer money during one of the worst economies in American history in order to symbolically reduce emissions of gases that imperceptibly affect "global warming," the effect is pure ugliness.

A writer, physicist, and former high tech executive, Chuck Rogér invites you to sign up to receive his "Clear Thinking" blog posts by email at www.chuckroger.com. Contact Chuck at swampcactus@chuckroger.com.

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