NY Times Chevy Volt Criticism Confounds Proponents

Printer-friendlyPrinter-friendlyEmail to friendEmail to friend

Volt photoThe report by the NY Times that it would take up to 27 years for Chevy Volt buyers to save enough money in gas costs to make up for the high price of the car must be very confusing for apologists of the vehicle. The normal defense for any criticism is to accuse sources of having a right wing hate of the car. But the NY Times? The very vocal Volt defenders, who are quick to attack anyone who doesn't agree that the car is a technological marvel worthy of billions of dollars of taxpayer largess, will have to attribute the left-leaning Times' criticism to something other than a political agenda.

Many stories are circulated falsely proclaiming that a "crapload" of money can be saved by buying a Volt. The Times explains the misconception stating, "So why do some buyers pay more for advanced technology that might not save them money? Many never do the math, analysts say, or they tend to overestimate how much the added miles per gallon translate into actual monetary savings."

Of course, given the political nature of the Volt, it is more likely that outright lies rather than poor math skills are leading to the flood of pro-Volt stories. I have written in the past about the simple math of gas savings for the Volt that equate to about $2 a day in fuel savings. When you have a President of the USA campaigning on the perceived success of the Volt and General Motors, it is not surprising that false reports are circulated regarding the benefits of the vehicle. The Times report is a tough one for Government Motors to counter since the old "Rush Limbaugh/Fox News/right wing lies" defense will not work.

Obama-appointed GM CEO Dan Akerson's politicically based defense of the Volt is as disengenuous as the false gas savings hype. Akerson claims that Republicans are unfairly attacking the Volt, but not the plug-in Nissan Leaf. He goes on to blame low sales of the Volt on the criticisms. GM then trumpets how many more Volts are selling than the even more dismally selling Leaf. Wouldn't it stand to reason that if criticism is determining sales that the Leaf would be outselling the Volt? C'mon Mr. Akerson, put a little more thought into your spin.

The Times story is not the only cause of inner conflict for the gullible green crowd and extreme-left supporters of the Volt. The defense of GM because they are a patriotic company producing the American-made Volt must be just as paradoxical to the side that brought us the Occupy Wall Street movement. Shouldn't they be condemning evil American companies that do not pay their fair share instead of defending them? I guess the perceived good done by attacking Mitt Romney and Republicans for the slightest of Volt criticisms outweighs the eagerness to bash American corporatism. In addition, there are all those subsidies that go to wealthy purchasers of Volts. It seems that the desire to have the rich and corporations pay their fair share only applies to the conservative wealthy populace and politically unpopular oil companies; rich supporters of President Obama's failing energy policies who buy Volts and crony company GM get a bye.

The bottom line is that the Chevy Volt is a politically motivated car that is now being used as a campaign tool for Democrats. Millions of dollars will be spent on ads (which seems to be influencing news coverage) and lease incentives to see that the car is perceived as a success, regardless of the fact that the spending causes GM to lose money for shareholders, many of whom are the US taxpayers. Another approximately $20 million in tax subsidies contributed to the vehicle selling over 2,000 units in March, a still dismally low number that is being touted as a great success. Crony corporation, GE, will play its part as they purchase an undisclosed number of the vehicles each month leading up to November elections. And Government Motors will continue to whine about right wing conspiracies to hurt the Volt, even though the facts about the over-hyped vehicle not being all it was cracked up to be is coming from those in the media with a modicum of journalistic integrity (even if that integrity is short-lived, as might be the case with the NY Times) rather than a political agenda.

Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.