We own an electric car, a Nissan Leaf. So while I'm irritated when right-wingers lie about anything, it particularly bugs me when untruths are spread about alternative energy cars -- including the Chevy Volt.
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer joined the Volt lie parade in his "Obama's Oil Flimflam." In yesterday's Portland Oregonian, I read:
Instead, Obama offers what he fancies to be the fuels of the future. You would think that he’d be a tad more modest today about his powers of divination after the Solyndra bankruptcy, the collapse of government-subsidized Ener1 (past makers of the batteries of the future) and GM’s suspension of production — for lack of demand — of another federally dictated confection, the flammable Chevy Volt.
Naturally a print newspaper doesn't have a clickable link.
But when I located Krauthammer's column on the Washington Post web site, I was curious to see where the Chevy Volt link in the paragraph above led me, because I knew that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had exonerated the Volt.
NHTSA remains unaware of any real-world crashes that have resulted in a battery-related fire involving the Chevy Volt or any other electric vehicle... Based on the available data, NHTSA does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.
lndeed, the web link in Krauthammer's column didn't lead to proof of the Chevy Volt's flammability, but to a story which said the opposite.
GM executives have said the recent frenzy over a Volt battery fire in crash tests has hurt sales. On the merits, the fires weren’t a huge concern — the Volts only caught fire days or weeks after extreme lab testing, and according to a government investigation they’re no more likely to catch fire than gas-powered automobiles. Still, panicky headlines ensued. Conservatives started denouncing the company (Rush Limbaugh called GM “a corporation that’s trying to kill its customers”).
Fox News and other conservative mouthpieces hate General Motors because it is one of Obama's big success stories. The auto industry bailout worked, saving many thousands of jobs. They also hate electric cars, because the oil industry is a big contributor to Republican causes, and alternative energy is one way to deal with global warming -- a reality that most conservatives deny.
So Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and Tea Party types have been spreading lies about the Chevy Volt, as ably documented by Media Matters.
Disgusting. As was Charles Krauthammer's piling on with his "flammable" remark. I've sent the Oregonian a letter to the editor and also emailed it to Krauthammer:
I just sent a letter to the editor off to the Portland Oregonian. You should check your facts before repeating untruths in your column. It damages your credibility on other issues where you express a legitimate opinion. It took me about ten seconds to find the NHTSA report on the Volt. Couldn't you have done the same?
Here's my letter to the editor:
"In a recent column, Charles Krauthammer repeated the Fox News myth that owners of GM's electric vehicle should fear car fires, referring to "the flammable Chevy Volt." The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission (NHTSC) says it is unaware of any real-world crashes resulting in a battery-related fire involving the Volt or any other electric vehicle.
But many times I've watched the evening news and seen footage of a gasoline powered car bursting into flames. The NHTSC concluded that electric cars aren't more prone to fires than conventional cars. Krauthammer needs to check his facts before repeating untruths spread by haters of the auto industry bailout and alternatives to fossil fuels."
The effort to popularize electric and hybrid vehicles is essentially stillborn. Not because it is a concept found lacking, but simply because nothing, but nothing, can come close to the energy density of gasoline on a cost basis - not to mention the safety factor.
Our entire way of life in America is predicated upon mobility. It is the basis of our survival as a society. It so happens that things have evolved in ways that make it necessary for people to be in various locations that are widely separated in space in order to carry out the business of living. The traveling range of private vehicles has literally shaped the environment. Most gasoline powered vehicles can travel roughly 300 miles before the fuel supply needs to be replenished. Our daily schedules are predicted upon this reliable fact. People will always be reluctant to modify their lifestyles if it involves any sort of inconvenience.
The CAFE legislation calls for vehicle manufacturers to achieve something like 60+ MPG by the year 2020. They cannot do that by simply not building enormous SUV's that get 15 MPG on the highway and manufacturing subcompact vehicles. They are going to have to produce electric and hybrid vehicles with efficiencies that magically translate into hundreds of equivalent miles per gallon of gasoline - all so they can continue to sell big SUVs.
It remains to be seen if legislation can force the lifestyle changes necessary to make electric and hybrid vehicles a good idea.
Posted by: Willie R | March 19, 2012 at 04:53 PM
ON THE SUBJECT OF OIL AND HUSSEIN OBAMA:
MY VIEW IS THAT OBAMA IS IN OVER HIS RADICAL LEFTY MUSLIM HEAD. TIME WILL TELL.
Posted by: Jerry Boris | March 19, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Mr Hines comments are dead on! I too am disgusted with the half truths and flat lies coming from so many on the "right". And these are people that want to lead our country?!! Read "Rise and Fall of the Third Reiich" if you want to see what this mind set does to a country!!!
And as for Jerry Boris comment-- See above referenced book by William Sherer.
Posted by: David Rudman | March 23, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Since republicans are so far ahead in the polls, they can afford to piss off working people that build cars, they can piss off other republicans like myself that absolutely love the Volt, they can piss off people who expect to hear the truth and not their stupid lies like Huckabee saying the car does not run, they can piss off people who want the US to be energy independent with help from electric cars, they can piss off people who appreciate US innovation.
They can do all this and they think that they will win in November.
Myself, I will never vote republican again, until all this Volt bashing stops.
They lost my vote, because I always vote republican, never again.
Posted by: Joseph W | March 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM