More Waste in Pursuit of Electric Car Nirvana

Right From the Start

President Barack Obama, the self-described smartest-man-in-the-room on any given subject, continues to display that sort of stubborn ignorance usually reserved for the truly stupid when it comes to the economy.  Despite the fact that Keynesian economics has failed to perform as promised anywhere in the world, and centralized planning has faired even worse, Mr. Obama clings to both like Sunset Boulevard’s Norma Desmond to her fading glory on the silent screen.

In a Wall Street Journal article, Mike Ramsey details another $1 Billion boondoggle at the expense of American taxpayers.  So sure was Mr. Obama that the federal government could invigorate a third-rate electric car industry, that he awarded over $1 Billion in grants to build factories and produce batteries for the soon to be burgeoning electric car business – led by the then government owned General Motors.

But it is the nature of free markets to upend centralized planning – particularly if the centralized planning is based on a political agenda rather than any reflection of economic reality.  And here is the crux of the matter as described by Mr. Ramsey:

“Since 2009, The Obama administration has awarded more that $1 Billion to American companies to make advanced batteries for electric vehicles.  Halfway to a six year goal of producing one million electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, auto makers are barely at 50,000 cars.”

It’s not that the American automotive industry lacks the capacity to produce the million cars that Mr. Obama envisioned, it is the consuming public that has turned its collective back on Mr. Obama and his expensive toys that have, to date, failed to perform at any satisfactory level.  The idea of paying $45,000 for a $17,000 Chevrolet Cruz that has been retrofitted to drive 40 miles on a battery powered electric engine has predictably been rejected by American consumers.

So what is the source of this prediction of demand for 1 Million electric powered vehicles in six years?  Was it based on some marketing survey?  Was there demonstrable evidence of a pent up market demand by 1 Million consumers for an electric powered vehicle?  No, there was none of that.  In fact, every marketing survey of any credibility has indicated that car buyers will accept electric cars if, and when, they perform comparably to current gas powered vehicles, when the operational cost approximates current gas powered vehicle operating costs and when the cost of production approximates the cost of current alternative gas powered vehicles.

Have we suddenly run out of fossil fuel that currently powers automobiles?  No.  In fact, new discoveries like the Bakken field, ANWAR in Alaska, and deep water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, coupled with improved recovery techniques like fracking, tend to indicate that fossil fuels remain in abundance in North America at very reasonable prices.

So what is the source of the requirement for 1 Million electric cars.  It lies solely in the whim and caprice of Mr. Obama and members of his administration.  It represents a conscientious decision to force an unproven technology on to an unwilling public.

In pursuit of this outrageous abuse of executive power, Mr. Obama and his administration have thrown billions of dollars in grants and subsidies at manufacturers in order to make something that is not profitable appear to be so.  They have consistently sought to reduce the availability of fossil fuels but have failed because technological advances have made fossil fuels abundant under private lands.  And they have created tax credits designed to overcome resistance to costly, but poorly performing, vehicles.  In that they have also failed.  A $7,500 tax credit for a $17,000 car priced at $45,000 is hardly sufficient to encourage people to buy a vehicle that delivers, at best, 40 miles to a charge.

And what is the result.  Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, it has been disastrous.  At A123 Systems, whose opening was attended by Mr. Obama, Mr. Ramsey notes:

“Getting to that electric-car nirvana is proving more difficult.  A123 is scrambling to staunch losses and raise new money to stabilize its finances.  Rival Johnson Controls Inc, used government grant to build a battery plant in Holland, Mich., but that facility is nearly idled now after its main customer went bankrupt.  Korea’s LG Chem built a plant in Michigan to supply General Motors, but that plant, which employs 220 people, hasn’t yet begun production, a company spokesman confirmed.”

Another beneficiary of Mr. Obama’s largesse, Enerl, filed for bankruptcy and the combined beneficiaries who promised to create over six thousand jobs have instead created about two thousand jobs, including those at the plants that remain virtually idle.

A billion dollars gone here, $50 Billion to General Motors, and millions more in tax credits and still no significant market for electric cars.  But that doesn’t deter Mr. Obama or his administration who recently granted Nissan Motors $1.3 Billion to build a plant to produce batteries for 100,000 electric cars a year – that despite no demonstrable evidence that a market exists for such production and that no private financial institution would be willing to undertake such a fool’s errand.

This kind of stubborn stupidity is reminiscent of the fat boy with the pig eyes in the bar who continued to shout “DID TO” ever louder when informed that Al Gore did not win the presidency.  And this kind of stubborn stupidity is made all the worse given that neither Mr. Obama nor any of his hallelujah chorus are investing any of their own money in this disaster.  But like every good liberal they are more than willing to spend your money on their great ideas.

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  • Rupert in Springfield

    BO isn’t stupid, he just isn’t all that much smarter than anyone else. The electric cars deal, indeed most green welfare programs, are intended more for paying off political cronies than to actually do anything. Is it any wonder a recent report listed fully 70% of BO’s green welfare recipients were political bundler’s for him?

    No, what appears to make BO a smart man is a strict lack of investigation of the beneficiaries of his programs, and the motivations in his oversight. If there were the kind of coverage of the absolute failure of these programs that their waste deserves one would be left with the impression BO is either totally incompetent, or using tax payer funds to pay off his fundraising buddies. I am not under the impression BO is a master of any endeavor he pursues, however I am quite sure BO is very good at paying off his political friends. The endless slew of green welfare programs, the collapse of the companies involved, an astonishing number of which seem to be headed by the politically connected is testament to that. No more complicated explanation is really necessary.

    • David from Mill City

       

       As to your observation
      that significant number of the individuals receiving “green welfare” are
      campaign supporters raises an interesting question is the President pursing his
      green agenda to reward political support or is he getting that support because
      he is pursuing a green agenda. Or to put it another way are the Republicans
      pushing tax cuts for the rich and deregulation of Wall Street to reward
      campaign money from Wall Street or is the money coming because of the Republican
      platform of tax cuts and deregulation?

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Its not really an interesting question at all. When 70% of BOs failed projects go to the biggest contributors and bundlers, especially when such projects have been specifically flagged as non viable, such as Solyndra, that’s about as clear a political pay off as you can get.

        As for Wall Street connections, sorry, that’s hardly a Republican thing. BO got way more Wall Street money than McCain the last election cycle. In fact BO got more than Bush2 as well!

        Nice try though.

        • David from Mill City

           

          Regarding Soyndra, the application process was started under
          the Bush administration, based on a Bush era law and was recommended for approval
          by the same people who were working when Bush was in office. Besides the impact
          of Soyndra on the US Budget was much less than a similar failure in Massachusetts
          under a state program when Romney was the Governor had on the state budget.

           

          As to current contributions, the ones that count in this
          election, Romney and the Republicans are getting a lot more from Wall Street
          then Obama and the Democrats.

           

          • Rupert in Springfield

            > based on a Bush era law and was recommended for approval
            by the same people who were working when Bush was in office.

            The DOE under Bush 2 turned down the Solyndra loan.

            Under BO Solyndra got approved. That was my entire point. Which you have kind of made for me.

            WARNING – You are heading into a trap for future arguments. If you are going to excuse decisions made in an administration based on that fact personnel were held over you will find yourself in deep trouble in any argument on our involvement in Iraq. Ill leave it to you to figure out how.

            That’s a freebee on the strategy tip.

            >Besides the impact
            of Soyndra on the US Budget

            Are you seriously trying to excuse political pay offs based upon their size relative to the budget?

            >As to current contributions, the ones that count in this
            election

            Oh, so the last election, where BO got way more Wall Street money than anyone ever doesn’t count?

            So when you used the past tense to describe Republicans rewarding Wall Street contributors you were really talking about the future, the upcoming election?

            Sorry – doesn’t pass the basic laugh test.

          • David Appell

            The DOE under Bush 2 turned down the Solyndra loan.

            Not exactly. It was sent for further analysis:

            “Timeline of DOE’s review of the Solyndra Loan Guarantee Application”
            https://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/Solar%20Background%20Document%201.pdf

        • 3H

          “In fact BO got more than Bush2 as well!”

          I’ll even go out on a limb and say that BO got more than Abraham Lincoln.  Of what significance is that factoid?  You’re comparing two different elections.  The important fact is, who received more money from Wall Street in 2004 – Kerry or Bush?  C’mon, take a guess.  Bush did.. more than double what Kerry received.

          • Rupert in Springfield

             > Of what significance is that factoid

            Try and pay attention. The point was Republicans are beholden to Wall Street Money. That fact is disproved by the fact that BO has gotten more Wall Street money than anyone.

            Got it now?

            I mean it’s real simple.

          • 3H

            Well….   no.  Just because Obama received more money than McCain from Wall Street does not mean that Republicans are any less beholden to Wall Street. 

            And, I was critiquing your comment about Obama receiving more money from Wall Street that GWB.  That was a useless factoid since the significant fact was that GWB received much more money from Wall Street than Kerry.

            Got it now?

            It is really simple, isn’t it?

          • valley person

             Who is wall street giving money to now Rupert?

        • David Appell

          “An analysis by The New York Times shows that fewer than half of all “contract actions” — new contracts and payments against existing contracts — are now subject to full and open competition. Just 48 percent were competitive in 2005, down from 79 percent in 2001.”
          – Scott Shane and Paul Nixon, “In Washington, Contractors Take on Biggest Role Ever,” NY Times, 2/4/2007
          https://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/04/washington/04contract.html

    • valley person

      ” BO isn’t stupid, he just isn’t all that much smarter than anyone else.”

      Degrees from Columbia and Harvard despite a humble background, editor of the Harvard Law Review, and a teaching  position at U Chicago, not to mention the first African American elected president (and with a Muslim terrorist sounding name) objectively indicate that Obama is indeed much smarter than nearly everyone else. 

      I know…I know…you said “anyone else,” not nearly everyone else. But since “anyone else” has zero meaning, I’m choosing to interpret that you meant “nearly everyone else” for the sake of preserving the English language.

      “Is it any wonder a recent report listed fully 70% of BO’s green welfare recipients were political bundler’s for him? ”

      Can you please cite that recent report for us?

      Because a very recent audit of the DOE loan guarantee program, begun under Bush by the way, says that 85% went to energy production, not manufacturing, and that ALL of those energy production projects have long term customer contracts, meaning they are at no risk of economic failure.

      But why let a little reality spoil your rant?

      • Oregon Engineer

        a degree from an IVY league school does not indicate intelligence (smart).  If it was you could say Bill C was the sharpest crayon in the box.
        It does indicate all kinds of very powerful connections with the wealthiest money changers in the world.

        • valley person

           Completing any college degree indicates more intelligence than the average joe or jane. Completing 2 ivy league degrees, and not as a legacy student, doubles that. Getting selected to edit the harvard law review suggests he was smarter than the average Harvard law student, which is getting pretty far up there. And getting onto the faculty of one of the best law schools in the nation puts him on a very selective intellectual pedestal.

          Your problem sir or madam, with due respect, is you can’t accept the obvious intelligence and accomplishments of someone you have political differences with. Politics is about values, not intelligence. There are plenty of smart and dumb people on all sides of politics. 

        • David Appell

          Even his opponents admitted Bill Clinton was one of the sharpest politicians in decades.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          Dean is confusing education with intelligence. It’s a really basic mistake, but what can you do?

          Besides, who really knows how BO did in school. He could have gotten straight C’s for all we know, and that probably is the case.

          Someone doesn’t seal their education records if they have stellar grades.

      • Rupert in Springfield

         >Degrees from Columbia and Harvard despite a humble background

        Humble background? Are you kidding?

        BO was brought up largely by his grandmother on HI. His grandmother was the vice president of a bank.

        Ok, so now you are up to speed on who you are talking about.

        • valley person

           A solidly middle class family upbringing. Like Romney or Bush.

    • David Appell

      No, what appears to make BO a smart man is a strict lack of investigation of the beneficiaries of his programs.

      “Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use,” National Academy of Science, 2010
      https://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12794

      • Rupert in Springfield

        I will give you one thing David – you are the absolute king of the non sequitar.

        What the hell does this link have to do with what you quoted from me?

        • David Appell

          It’s obvious.

  • David from Mill City

     

    Let’s see, you can’t go into the manufacture of electric
    cars without a reliable source of sufficient batteries, and it is not prudent
    for a private manufacturer to build the factory and produce electric car
    batteries without a reliable market. Assuming for this discussion that the
    manufacture and sale of American made electric cars in large quantity is in the
    best interest of the United States, then government involvement to solve the
    chicken and egg problem is reasonable and prudent.

    I am not sure that the risks associated with the petroleum sources
    you listed are acceptable, raising a question of the prudence of perusing them
    using current technology.  Besides I have
    a National-centric view on the worlds limited petroleum supply; use other
    peoples oil first so when supplies become short the United States still has
    domestic oil reserves.

    You have raised some valid points regarding the price of
    electric vehicles. But the question they raise with me is; why is an electric
    car so much more expensive then a similar sized gas powered car? Technologically
    speaking an electric car is much simpler then a gas powered car. It does not
    need cooling, exhaust, carburetion or engine lubricating systems.  The fuel system and speed control systems are
    simpler.  Assuming equal rates of production
    and component familiarity the Electric Car It seems to me should be cheaper.

    • 3H

      Economy of scale.  If you get increased demand, and the production to meet the demand, then the price would probably drop.  (Unless demand was significantly higher than supply).  Or something like that.

      • Rupert in Springfield

         >Or something like that.

        Or something like that?

        What is that? Economics with a 4:20 perspective?

        Look – You get increased demand by one thing, a superior product.

        You get that superior product by one of two things. Something that does the same thing better. Or something that does the same thing cheaper.

        How are you going to get economies of scale, and thereby lower the cost, when you have an inferior product?

        How would economies of scale result in a battery that actually gets you more than 40 miles? Magic?

        The electric car is a product that would not exist at all in a free market. It is a government creation.

        That’s not an economy of scale or “something like that” problem. That’s a problem with the basic product.

        • David from Mill City

           

          The gas powered car is a better individual choice than an
          electric car only so long as gasoline is cheap. At some point, $6, $8 maybe $10
          a gallon the optimum choice changes.

        • valley person

           “How would economies of scale result in a battery that actually gets you more than 40 miles? Magic?”

          Economies of scale can bring down the production cost of the batteries, thus bringing down the cost of the vehicle, thus making it more competitive with fossil fuel vehicles, especially when operating cost is factored in. 

          “The electric car is a product that would not exist at all in a free market.”

          Electric cars and other vehicles have been “in the market” for many years, though have captured only a small niche. Part of the problem is lack of charging stations, which is a chicken and egg issue. What the government is attempting to do is expand on that niche, not create something out of nothing.

          Be real careful making gran pronouncements about the ultimate success or failure of electric vehicles Rupert. There are a lot of variables at play here , including pricing the cost of pollution into fossil fuel vehicles. If we ever get around to doing that, which is the appropriate economic response to an externality, you yourself may be driving an electric car or hybrid before you know it.

          • 3H

            He’s getting a little pissy ’cause people actually, sometimes, check his facts: which are frequently wrong.   

          • Rupert in Springfield

             >Economies of scale can bring down the production cost of the batteries

            Which has zero relivance to what I said.

            Once again, read before responding.

            Here it is again:

            How does economy of scale make a  battery go further than 40 miles?

            Got it?

            Not how does it bring the price down. How does it make it go a useful distance?

            > Part of the problem is lack of charging stations, which is a chicken and egg issue.

            No it’s not. The problem is people actually want to go further than 40 miles.

            You could put a charging station every 20 miles, and you aren’t going to have people pull over for several hours waiting for the thing to charge.

            >Be real careful making gran pronouncements about the ultimate success or failure of electric vehicles Rupert.

            Again, read before posting, I made no such grand pronouncements.

            I said they need to either make the product better or cheaper for it to be viable.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            You know, if you would do something a little more constructive than simply waiting around for me to post so you can do the dopey insult routine, you’d probably have a brighter outlook.

          • 3H

            I admit, it’s a guilty pleasure, you’re just too easy.  LOL.. and your view is that it’s OK for you to throw out dopey insults, but no one else?  Why is that?  

        • 3H

          I was answering the question about why an electric car, at this point, would cost more to produce than a gasoline powered car.  Costs of production are frequently related to economies of scale.

          As for, “You get increased demand by one thing, a superior product”.  That is patently false.  Sometimes you get it by superior marketing. 

          Take a deep breath, untwist your undies, and enjoy the good weather if you’re having it down there. 

        • 3H

          “What is that? Economics with a 4:20 perspective?”

          Speaking of dopey insults… you’re not serving your best interests by continuting to churn them out. 

          • Rupert in Springfield

            So can you explain what you meant by your statement?

          • 3H

            I’m thinking it’s pretty clear.  Your comment about “Economics with a 4:20 perspective” was a dopey insult.  You know..  the kind of insult you accuse other people of engaging in… and which you seem to favor.  

        • David Appell

          The electric car is a product that would not exist at all in a free market.

          Neither would universal telephone service — which was why AT&T was given a monopoly for decades…. 

          • Ramalama

            And neither would gasoline-powered cars, if we paid the true price at the pump.

            Imagine if we added a war tax to each gallon. 

          • Rupert in Springfield

            It would be a lateral move, as you would simply be cutting the tax used to pay for DOD from the income tax and putting it on a gas tax. Personally Id support this in a heartbeat since I use extremely little gas.

          • David Appell

            Personally Id support this in a heartbeat since I use extremely little gas.

            Yes, I’m sure there will be silence, including from you, when gas goes to $10/gal. (Americans now use 130 Bgal/yr.)

          • Rupert in Springfield

            Id be happy to give GM a monopoly on the electric car.

    • Rupert in Springfield

       >and it is not prudent
      for a private manufacturer to build the factory and produce electric car
      batteries without a reliable market.

      Why not? Every other manufacturer does it. I do it. In fact it is the absolute foundation of capitalism and manufacturing. You run a risk introducing a new product, and that’s why you make a profit if your risk assessment was correct and people buy it.

      It is not the taxpayers responsibility to provide a reliable market for a manufacturer.

      It is a manufacturers responsibility to determine the market and manufacturer accordingly. If his determination is correct, he makes a profit. If not, he takes a loss.

      >Technologically
      speaking an electric car is much simpler then a gas powered car.

      No true at all.

      Mechanically speaking an electric car is simpler. Technologically it is more complex.

      This is why we have had cars for over 100 years but do not have a viable electric car.

      >The fuel system and speed control systems are
      simpler.

      Actually they are way more complex. This is why we do not have a battery that will last for any length of time. It is a vey complex system both technologically as well as mechanically. A battery of the sort needed is quite a complicated device.

      >Assuming equal rates of production
      and component familiarity the Electric Car It seems to me should be cheaper.

      Then its a good thing you are not in manufacturing.

      You are comparing two dissimilar things.

      An electric car goes 40 miles. A gas car goes roughly 200.

      You will never get equal rates of production because the gas car is the superior product. It costs about half as much and goes five times as far.

      Even if the two cost the same, you would still not have the same production rates as few people would pay the same for a lesser product, the electric car.

      • David from Mill City

         

        Why would any prudent company design and build a car that
        depends on a battery that does not exist? Similarly why would someone build a
        factory to make a battery for a car that does not exist?  That is not taking a risk it is potentially
        fiscal suicide.

        Given that our current transportation system depends on
        privately owned vehicles to function and that a functioning transportation
        system is essential to the nation then government action to ensure that a
        supply of non-gas powered vehicles exists when they are needed is both necessary
        and prudent.

        • Rupert in Springfield

           >Why would any prudent company design and build a car that
          depends on a battery that does not exist?

          The answer is they wouldn’t without government subsidies because no one would buy them.

          I think you have pretty much answered the question here with this one.

          >then government action to ensure that a
          supply of non-gas powered vehicles exists when they are needed is both necessary
          and prudent.

          Generally when a need exists, someone steps in to fill that need. This is the basis of capitalism.

          Obviously electric cars are not needed simply because they are either too expensive, or inferior, or both, to gas powered alternatives. When that dynamic changes, which could come with better battery development, then things will change. Until then its a sink hole.

          • David from Mill City

             

            While Electric cars may not be needed now, it is extremely likely
            that they will be needed in the foreseeable future. And when that time comes
            the need for them will be immediate and the need will be for a car that can
            replace a gasoline powered car.  Just
            like light-rail systems and high speed rail systems take time to be planned, developed
            and built-out, a functional system of non-gasoline powered vehicles with
            supporting infrastructure will take time. As large American firms seldom look
            more than one or two quarters ahead, it is likely that without government
            involvement, that vehicle will not exist when it is needed. This is why
            government involvement in the development of non-gasoline powered vehicles is
            both wise and prudent.

            A Model T ford could not compete with a modern car today, so
            why should we expect the electric powered equivalent of the Model T do so now.
            But with time and R&D it is likely a non-gasoline powered car will be
            developed sometime in the near future. Keep in mind the Tesla Sports Car and the
            battery rental operation in Europe which can change out an electric car battery
            in about 45 seconds. Solutions are out there they just need time and support,
            both public and private.

      • valley person

         “An electric car goes 40 miles. A gas car goes roughly 200.”

        How do you get by in the world when you are this fact challenged? It will remain a mystery to me. You spout off incorrect facts and draw sweeping conclusions from them. It is astounding to see from this thankful distance.

        One electric car on the market, the Volt, goes 40 miles on its initial charge. It has a backup gasoline engine that can then kick in and extend the range another 339 miles, according to the EPA .

        The all electric, no backup Leaf gets around 100 miles of range on a full charge, which is 2.5 times your 40.

        The newest Prius Hybrid has a total range of well over 500 miles.

        The gas car is the superior product? Costs half as much? Goes 5 times as far? Eeek. Does reality ever knock on your door just to pay a visit?

        The fuel operating cost of a Volt or Leaf is about 1/3 that of a gas powered vehicle.

        Exxon Mobil….EXXOM MOBIL(!)….predicts that by 2040, 50% of cars and light trucks on the road will be all electric or hybrids. 

        I’m waiting for your next big prediction so I can figure out what not to invest in. Keep them coming.

      • David Appell

        It is not the taxpayers responsibility to provide a reliable market for a manufacturer.

        It’s exactly this kind of misunderstanding and blind adherence to (so-called) free market principles that’s leaving the US in other country’s dust. 

        Because government can do (and has done) a lot to grease the rails of markets. That’s why it invests directly or indirectly in infrastructure (like the telephone network, like the highway system, like the Internet, like the Web).

        Henry Ford could have made the best cars in the world, but without roads to drive them on they would have been worthless.

        Without a guaranteed profit, it’s doubtful AT&T or anyone would have build a telephone network that reached everyone in the country.

        • Rupert in Springfield

           >It’s exactly this kind of misunderstanding and blind adherence to
          (so-called) free market principles that’s leaving the US in other
          country’s dust.

          Actually its exactly your gimme gimme gimme sort of attitude, that government should provide you everything that is probably the biggest drag on the country.

          You claim to be a physicist David – Why don’t you  come up with the great electric car that will solve all our problems.

          • David Appell

            Why reinvent what was invented long ago? 

          • David Appell

            Actually its exactly your gimme gimme gimme sort of attitude, that
            government should provide you everything that is probably the biggest
            drag on the country.

            This is precisely what is what is wrong with today’s conservatism: an inability to separate economics from moral judgement. 

            And a personal nastiness when their ideas are questioned and their facts are corrected. 

            Rupert is particularly vulnerable to this failing….

          • 3H

            Maybe ’cause it’s more likely to be engineers that design such a car, not physicists?

            Secondly, wouldn’t it depend upon the type of physicist you are?

            See Rupert?  See what happens when you engage in dopey insults??  You just end up looking foolish.

    • Oregon Engineer

      Government involvement in business is NEVER reasonable or prudent.  Just look at all the history leading up to the current levels of business and government cronyism.  government is involved in all of it.  So tell me again when is it reasonable and prudent?

      • valley person

         Government has been getting involved in business since the first caveman opened up the first mastadon burger stand.

        Private business, for all the good it does, needs a baby sitter, referee, watchdog, rule setter, FDA insurance, nuclear accident insurance, bailouts, managed bankruptcies, anti pollution laws, anti fraud laws, inspectors, health codes, fire codes, zoning codes, and God knows what else to prevent private business from killing all of its customers off.

        • David Appell

          And even still the mastadons went extinct. 

          • valley person

             That was the government’s fault.

          • David Appell

            Of course. Interference in the free market. 

          • Ramalama

            The existence of corporations is governmental interference with the “free market.”

            In a true free market, businesses and their owners would be fully liable for any damages they incur. 

            Corporations shield their owners from full liability. That shield is created by the government.

          • 3H

            And the court systems and laws that would make a business liable for damages is also governmental interference.  Laws and regulations are created by government, not by the free market.

  • Damascusdean

    ” President Barack Obama, the self-described smartest-man-in-the-room on any given subject,…”

    When did he declare this? Did I miss an important Fox News or Rush Limbaugh program?

    “Despite the fact that Keynesian economics has failed to perform as promised anywhere in the world…”

    Maybe we should actually try it first and then make that conclusion. What much of the world has tried is growth through austerity, which hasn’t worked. Obama stuck a 50′ ladder down a 100′ hole and hoped people could figure out how to make it the rest of the way on their own. Then the Republicans won the House and a bunch of governorships, cut 25′ off Obama’s ladder, and declared it a failure. 

    “Halfway to a six year goal of producing one million electric and
    plug-in hybrid vehicles, auto makers are barely at 50,000 cars.””

    Of course, this confuses half way in time with half way in production. The early part of any production program is R&D and capacity building. The latter part is getting the product on teh street. But never mind all that.

    “…tend to indicate that fossil fuels remain in abundance in North America at very reasonable prices.”

    Seriously? Every “new discovery” (ANWR?) you cite is very expensive oil to get out of the ground and transport.

    “So what is the source of the requirement for 1 Million electric cars.”

    The public interest is served by reducing air pollution. The private market has no incentive to reduce air pollution.  Is this really that difficult to figure out?

    • David from Mill City

       

       I think it is more
      accurate to say President Obama and his team crafted as tall as a ladder as
      they could to help get us out of what was thought to be an 80 foot hole.  It turns out that all they could do was a 50
      foot ladder. Has the latter was being put in what turned out to be a 100 foot
      hole, Repblican austerity measures cut 35 feet of the bottom of the ladder.

  • David Appell

    It is amazing to me how blind so many people pretend to be in order to support their politics. 

    Cars run on gasoline harm people and the environment. Is that so difficult to understand??

    The damages total at least $40 billion per year (before climate change). So some investment to build less polluting cars is well worth it.


    Calculation: A 2010 study by the National Academy of Sciences (“Hidden Costs of Energy: Unpriced Consequences of Energy Production and Use”) found that in 2005 health and other non-greenhouse gas damages from gasoline were approximately 1.34 cents per vehicle mile traveled, in 2007 dollars. 

    Convert the money and use the fact that Americans now drive about 2.9 trillions miles a year, and you get $40B. 

    The [5%-95%] confidence limit is $11-161 billion per year.

  • EVman

    I bought a Volt and feel somewhat mislead by GM. First, I can only go about 27 miles on pure electric if I am running the heater or the air conditioner. This is not the 35+ I was promised. Second, the thing cost quite a lot even with the handout from the feds. Third, the battery pack is going to last, at best, 5 or 6 years, and it costs over 16K for a new one. Would I want to spend 16K to keep a car running that is only worth about 7k? I don’t think so. So, while I am happy with the looks of envy I get from poorer greens who can’t pay the freight on this bad boy, inside I feel like I was cheated.
    I could have gotten two Prius’s and their battery packs are only about $2500 and they last 8 – 10 years! I have a sick feeling that I messed up.
    However, I will keep the car as no one in their right mind would buy it from me as they can not get the free money from the feds if they get one used. And used it is.
    Lastly, I wanted to go to LA a while back and remembered, along about the time I got to Redding, that I could not make it in this car as she flat ran out of juice even with the little engine whining away in her belly. I was stuck at a Motel 6 that did not have a charger. I stayed for over 20 hours running a cord out the room, through the window, and down to my Volt. Finally charged, I headed back home and made it to Eugene before she went dead on me again.
    Charged it at  Holiday Inn Express (better breakfast) and finally got back to PDX. High mileage, but man, that trip cost me plenty.
    I wonder why it is Japan can make a viable electric car but America simply can’t.
    Anyway, I will mostly drive my Yukon SLT with the 5.3 liter V-8 if I want to get anywhere out of town.
    My fault, too, as I blame only myself for this stupid purchase. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

  • GM

    How dare you challenge the ability of our president to design good cars. This man is a champion of the green energy movement. No one said it would be easy. But at least he tried.

  • JoelinPDX

    Don’t you just love it. The liberal jerks participate more here than they participate on Blue Oregon. I’m going to The Daily Caller where the air runs about 100 times purer.

    • David Appell

      We don’t all choose to read only sites that reinforce our points of view. Our leave just because our’s are challenged.

    • valley person

       Buh-bye Joel. Write when you find happiness in your crankiness.

    • David from Mill City

       

      Spirited Debate requires two opposing sides.  Here at Oregon Catalyst I have an opposing
      side to debate with.  Our to put it
      another way preaching to the choir is not nearly the fun of pulling a conservatives’
      chain.

  • Bob Clark

    The boom in fossil fuel supply is going to be even greater than implied here.  Because the shale reservoirs are broadly distributed across much of the globe, and this largely U.S borne extraction technology is still evolving so as to mitigate much of its associated environmental concerns.  Of course, the conniving Sierra Club can’t stand to see any form of economic success and is embarking on a campaign to deny folks of moderate and higher means the lower cost natural gas generated electricity. 

    I would also add electric-gasoline hybrids do have a certain following;  Mostly by those who want to say how much better off they are than others, by putting out the extra thousands of dollars usually charged for the hybrid over comparable gasoline fueled automobile.  “Green” is the modern day form of Veblan’s conspicuous consumption per Todd Myers, EcoFads.

    I also was at a tax scheming meeting recently where a polling outfit surveyed citizens about how much of each government dollar they think is wasted.  This polling question came in with 44 cents of each government dollar believed wasted.  I’d say this figure is probably on the rise given Obama’s legacy of waste.  Kitzhaber paying his new education Czar, a political hack from back east, over $280k per year (guaranteed) is yet another example of modern day gross big governance.

    • David from Mill City

       

      The problem with oil shale and oil sands is that they
      require a high fuel price to be economically viable. Then there is the question
      of the amount of energy needed to extract, transport and refine oil from these
      sources versus the amount of energy in the produced oil.   One of
      the big problems with vegetable based fuels is that takes more energy to
      produce then the fuel contains.

      Just because the raw petroleum exists does not mean it is
      worth producing.

    • David from Mill City

       

      Just as individuals use different types and amounts of
      government services, it is reasonable to expect they will not see the need for
      other government services. The big question is what level of agreement regarding
      which government service to eliminate is there. 
      My guess is that if the residents of Oregon were poled as to which
      services are needed and which should be cut there would be few stand out
      programs. Remember every existing government service, program or function at
      one time had the support of a majority of both houses of the legislature and
      the sitting governor (or a veto override) and currently has a constituency that
      supports it now.

      • David Appell

        Exactly. And it’s not just government services about which people can be hypocritical, but government benefits too. 

        The best example is the home mortgage interest deduction. It costs about $130 B/yr, and homeowners can easily make a several thousand dollars a year off it, for many years, especially in the beginning of their mortgage. The wealthiest 20% of Americans capture more than 80% of this subsidy — and less than 4% of it goes to the bottom 60%. And it inflates home prices. 

        Then there are deductions for second homes, property taxes ($31 B/yr), exclusion of capital gains taxes on home sales ($50 B/yr), etc. [Compare to $48 B/yr, which is the total of all HUD outlays (Dept of Housing and Urban Development)]. Deductions for purchasing health insurance, retirement savings, savings for higher education, and on and on. Little of this goes to the poor.

        The fact is that almost all those who accuse others of having their hand out, have their hand out furthest of all. 

  • MrGreenJeans

    Listen up you fools! These here electric cars are the only thing that will save us from ourselves and the big oil cartels. The ONLY thing. So quit complaining about them, the tax credits, the fact they don’t work, that noone wants them, that they are too small and slow, that they don’t really help the environment, etc.
    We just need some time to work out the little stuff and then everything will be OK.
    We must save the oil for the planes.

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