published Monday, March 19th, 2012

GM's suspension of Chevrolet Volt production a rebuke of federal subsidies

The free market has provided a symbol of how unpopular electric cars are despite subsidies the government showers on them to promote their development and purchase.

Washington uses your tax dollars to give $7,500 tax credits to people who buy certain electric-powered vehicles. The state of Tennessee unwisely offers a $2,500 credit as well.

But despite the government's defraying the cost of the cars, the public simply doesn't want them.

For example, in January, only 603 Chevrolet Volts -- hybrid electric plug-in vehicles that would cost a jarring $41,000 each without the tax credits -- were sold nationwide. (Sales were a slightly improved but still weak 1,023 in February.) Yet almost 27,000 of Chevrolet's popular Silverados were sold in January. Nissan, meanwhile, had January sales of only 676 of its electric-powered Leaf, compared with sales of more than 22,000 of its popular Altima.

If the grim sales figures for electric cars don't convince you of how badly received they have been, consider this recent development: General Motors is suspending production of the Volt for more than a month, because dealers can't get rid of the ones they have on their lots. About 1,300 workers at the Detroit plant where Volts are built are going to be laid off at least temporarily, and GM has walked back its optimistic suggestion that it might be able to sell 45,000 Volts this year.

But despite the fact that few Americans want electric vehicles, President Barack Obama continues to call for more "investment" of your taxes in "green energy" programs.

"Even as gas prices continue to climb, President Obama's attempt to manipulate the free market and force consumers into purchasing electric vehicles like the GM Volt has failed," Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said.

That doesn't mean that GM doesn't make good cars. But the GM vehicles that go over well with the public aren't the heavily subsidized electric ones but the traditional ones.

It is past time for the president and Congress to stop distorting the market in their quest to promote unworkable green energy policies. Consumers are capable of selecting the vehicles that they want and that meet their needs. They should be allowed to do so without having to subsidize the vehicle choices of others.

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conservative said...

No amount of common sense, reason or facts will stop the usual sheep from supporting taxpayer subsidies for technology that already exists and that was already brought into existence by private companies and not the federal government, as long as it is termed "green."

Obamination's job czar Jeffrey Immelt is reported to buy 12,000 Volts. Just another political payback like Solyndra.

March 19, 2012 at 7:59 a.m.
Plato said...

I have an idea as to how to make a profit off the Volt. The FP editors could buy a Volt and a sledge hammer, then charge every conservative $10 per swing to bash the thing. They could probably pocket at least a hundred grand profit :)

The obsession of the Right over the Volt is one of the most bizarre things I have ever seen in American politics.

March 19, 2012 at 1:50 p.m.
conservative said...

Irrational or insane instead of bizarre would be more fitting for those who constantly defend giving the rich a $7,500 tax credit to buy a car. Worse, to suggest a sledge hammer gimmick of$10 dollar in order to make a "profit", now that's bizarre!

Notice how right on 7:59 AM comment was.

March 19, 2012 at 3:12 p.m.
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