Tag Archives: Chevy Volt

“I inhaled”… Apparently, He Never Stopped!

In 2006, Senator Obama declared that he had “inhaled, that was the point.” In a moment of total unadulterated truth the now-president admitted to doing something illegal. But none the less he told the truth and admitted to it. Something, it seems, he has not been able to do for at least 5 years now.

The president said this past week in several “campaign-like” speeches that Washington has taken its eye off the ball. They are obsessed with phony scandals! Did he really say that? Phony scandals?

Now look, we can have two sides of the aisle. We can have different viewpoints on what went down. But you can’t have different facts on the same issue. I have to believe my friends on the left haven’t chugged so much Kool-Aid or inhaled so much of the funny weed, that they won’t admit the truth.

Which “phony scandal” is he referring to? Benghazi? The one where several military brass have been moved or shifted around and witnesses to the event aren’t allowed to speak? Where they have had over a year to produce reports on what took place and have received basically nothing?

Or is it the “phony scandal” involving the IRS where two rogue agents out of Cincinnati decided, “on their own,” to push back on a “few” conservative groups? Then, as the situation heats up, the two rogue agents come forward refusing to be thrown under the bus and divulge that the direction actually came from Washington. Wasn’t there a memo encouraging agents to be on the lookout for groups with names using words like “tea party”, “patriot”, or “9/12” that criticize how the country is being run? If that’s not a scandal then it must be just standard operating procedure for you Mr. President.

Or is it the “Operation Fast and Furious” scandal, an ATF program intended to track weapons bought in the U.S. and “walked” into Mexico? Unfortunately, the ATF lost track of hundreds of firearms, some of which were used to kill a U.S. Border agent and God knows how many Mexican citizens. And again, this “phony scandal” was back in the news on July 5th when the Los Angeles Times reported that “A high-powered rifle from Fast and Furious was used to kill a Mexican police chief in the state of Jalisco earlier this year, according to internal Department of Justice records.” To stop further investigation of the program, Obama issued an executive order! Why? If it’s a phony scandal then nothing would be found Mr. President.

Or is it Obamacare? Is it a scandal when the president says, “Nothing will change for you and it won’t cost you one dime more or add one dime to the deficit” but there’s no shred of truth in it? The GAO now says it will cost the average family almost $2000 a year more in health care costs. Additionally, most companies report they will be canceling their insurance carrier’s policies and replacing with government policies, moving us closer to that single payer system the Democrats want so badly! And if you think it won’t add one dime to the deficit… really?

Then there are the not-so-well-known “phony scandals”, like the green energy mess. This administration has made billions in green energy loans and grants, only to watch the money and jobs go overseas. For example: The manufacturer (owned by a Chinese company) that was given over $360 million to open a plant in the U.S. to make the battery for the Chevy Volt closed down without producing one battery for use. Why? Partly due to regulations and partly because it was simply cheaper to produce and import from overseas.

No one with an IQ above a single digit can say that there is not some semblance of truth in each of these “phony scandals”. This president and his staff have spit in the eye of our founding fathers, disregarding many of the truths that made this a great nation, all the while sweeping the truth under the rug and attempting to convince the American public that what they are doing is what’s best for all of us.

Mr. President, it’s time to exhale, allow the fog to lift, and get this country back on track to being the strongest nation in the world. Richard Nixon crimes were “penny larceny” compared to the theft you have perpetrated on this country.

Oh, and once, just once, I would love to hear you say that you love this country and are proud of its accomplishments around the globe.

From a very, very, very concerned citizen.

Chevy Volt: A Car Before Its Time?

When my daughter turned 16 there were many conversations revolving around buying a new car. She would watch the commercials and read all the promotions. “This one gets great gas mileage. This one is cute. This one has side air bags. We should buy a …” You name it; she was full of recommendations and would point out her favorites as we drove to school. Finally, I told her we needed to sit down and do the math.

At the time the Prius was a hot car and we even test drove one.  We all agreed it was a nice car. But then we did some calculating. Comparing the cost of the car and cost to drive versus our two year old Chevrolet my daughter discovered it would take nearly five years for the better gas mileage to pay off. That’s a long investment.

Today, with the rising cost of gas it occurred to me that many will be like my daughter, wondering if they should update to a new, better gas mileage car. For fun I checked into the cost of several new popular cars, including a couple hybrids (I consider the new Volt a hybrid as it uses a gas engine after the battery runs down.)  For the purposes of this article I used the Edmunds website as a source for pricing and estimated mpg and electric costs. Warning: Math Involved.

So what does this graph tell me? A two year old Prius might be the best deal. We are always told that a car loses a large amount of value the first year. The cost of the Volt, even figuring in the current tax credit is most costly to operate.  An interesting note: Toyota is now making a ‘plug-in’ version of the Prius which is listed at $32,000 and may be eligible for a $2,500 tax credit. It gets 50mpg in the hybrid mode.

Personally, I really like the idea of an electric car. It’s quiet and should be easier on the environment.  I do wonder about the inconvenience of plugging the car in each night. Many areas, like mine, offer very reduced electricity rates after 7 or 9pm. Will I remember to charge my car each night? Will it become bothersome to take the charge cord out of the trunk each trip? Will I have to install a new super electric panel? Living in the sprawling Phoenix area will I find that I am always using gas just to drive across town, especially because I refuse to drive without air conditioning thus increasing my costs? Can I plug it in while shopping? Or is it a car before its time?

It is remarkable that the average income of a Volt buyer is $170,000; wages well above the working class ($30-100K) who more often are living paycheck to paycheck.  Personal experience of acquaintances has shown that many prefer buying a used car due to the lower cost. Due to the Cash-for-Clunkers many have said that the used car market is a lot tighter than before. Unfortunately, friends who drove “clunkers” were not financially able to buy a new car and participate in the program. Like the tax credit rebate on the Volt, the Cash-for -Clunkers program seemed to help those already with better finances.

The decision to buy new or upgrade is not one to be taken lightly. For many the cost of a new or even slightly used car is still significant and a major portion of our budget, especially during these challenging economic times. With groceries up over 9% and the job market still unstable many are making the decision to wait a while longer before buying a new car. From my friends there is a strong feeling to wait, that while my car does become another year older at least I am not taking on more debt. A stronger economy would help. Still, should you buy a Volt? Do the math.

The Never Ending Chevy Volt Saga

General Motors (GM), or Government Motors, announced on Friday, March 2, 2012, that it will suspend Chevrolet Volt production for five weeks to “align production with demand.” GM told 1,300 employees at its Detroit Hamtramck production facility that they will be temporarily laid off from March 19 to April 23, as the company halts production of the Chevrolet Volt and its European counterpart, the Opel Ampera. The plant had resumed production on February 6, 2012, after a prolonged Christmas holiday shutdown.

Yes, that’s the same Chevy Volt that caught on fire after its batteries were punctured, that currently receives a $7500 per car purchase subsidy, and will receive, if Obama’s 2013 budget is approved, a $10000 per car purchase subsidy and that Obama said he would buy after leaving office. Our tax dollars at work!

Chevrolet sold 7671 Volts in 2011, and has sold 1626 so far in 2012. GM planned to expand production of the Volt to 60000 this year, with 45000 for the US market.

The Chevy Volt’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) fuel mileage estimate sticker provides something called an “MPG equivalent,” with an EPA rating of 93 MPG, but only for 35 miles. Its “gasoline engine only” rating is 37 MPG, and for 344 miles. The EPA’s “combined composite” rating is 60 MPG. Tony DiSalle, Volt marketing director, said owners can expect about 40 MPG in the real world. The Volt’s 1.4 litre gasoline engine that powers the generator will make enough electricity to power the car, but it won’t recharge the battery. So before an owner can drive on battery-only power again, he/she will need to plug in. The Volt saves the most fuel and emissions when used primarily on battery power.

But that 40 MPG admission presents a problem for the Volt in particular and GM in general. The Volt costs $41000 (before subsidy). GM introduced the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze, with an EPA rating of 42 MPG in some versions, yet costs about half the price of a Volt While the Cruze will probably not achieve the unrealistic EPA rating, it will most likely get 35 MPG. That will make the miles that the Volt will have to be driven to reach breakeven at somewhere about 150000 miles (assuming $4/gal gasoline price, $33500 Volt price, and $20000 Cruze price). But that calculation does not include the approximate $8000 cost of battery replacement, since the Volt battery warranty of 100000 miles is well short of the breakeven mileage.

But that’s just my opinion.

Increase The Electric Vehicle Subsidy

Hidden in President Barack Hussein Obama’s proposed 2013 budget is an increase of the subsidy for electric cars from $7500 to $10000.

In his effort to have 1 million electric, or “Advanced Technology,” vehicles on American roads by 2015, a budget document, entitled “Investing in Our Future,” discussed briefly by White House economic chief Gene Sperling, includes this goal. If that goal is reached and the new subsidy rate is enacted, the subsidy will cost $10 billion. Cars powered by natural gas are also considered as advanced technology vehicles.

But not to worry. Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf sales are nowhere near that goal. The 2011 sales for both of them combined was 30000. In fact, General Motors’ goal of selling 10000 Volts in 2011 came up 3800 short. The Toyota Prius, which has been around since 1997, sold 13650 in 2011. Still, at the current rate of $7500 subsidy per car, we taxpayers shelled out $348.75 million. Bad enough! And at a time when we are over $16 trillion in debt.

The average yearly income of Chevy Volt owners is $170000, higher than Cadillac and Lexus owners, on par with BMW owners, and exceeded only by Mercedes-Benz owners. That yearly income puts the Volt’s buyers in the top 7% of American households. The obvious question is why do these buyers receive subsidies?

An unexpected occurrence has been the advance in the traditional internal combustion engine. Ford Motor Company is ending its hybrid version of its Escape crossover vehicle, saying a new model equipped with its EcoBoost engine will outperform the hybrid. It will be most interesting to see how the Obama administration spins this situation.

So while the average yearly income for the American family in 2011 is $63091, we continue to subsidize Obama’s goal. I think former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said it best: “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”

But that’s just my opinion.

Dartboard Vetting

If you aren’t furious, you aren’t paying attention. In case you’ve missed it, your money has been the fodder for some of the most poorly vetted investments ever, and not by Wall Street or the banking industry.

Thanks in part to this article by Doug Stewart ( @dmatthewstewart on Twitter) and further conversation on the growing list of failed Green energy investment projects during a recent interview , I have become completely convinced that vetting, if any, for funding potential Green energy products was performed by a few guys eating pizza and throwing darts at applications taped to the wall.

While not the first project to fail miserably, even after an injection of stimulus funding, Solyndra is probably the the poster child for failed vetting and cronyism, that are apparantly the norm for deciding where to spend taxpayer dollars. Add in Shepherds Flat ( which, we don’t even *need* to fund since GE HAS the capital!) , SunPower’s PAC action win , the EPA approved TR Auto Truck Plaza mess, The failed job delivery and inanity of the Fisker Motors investment, the likely march of the Chevy Volt into both fiscal and progressive failure, and the likelihood that Doug is correct about Alstom, and you have a laundry list of failures that exceeds anything that can be pinned on the private sector. Each of these investments inherently contained an easily verifiable history of risk that should have been a red flag for any review panel, if they had bothered to check into them at all ( or hadn’t been told to ignore the flags) I’d be willing to bet that the woodwork is crawling with plenty more evidence of the complete waste of taxpayer money due to non-existent vetting processes.

Johnathan Silver, the Energy Department’s loan program director, has stepped down, most certainly as a sacrifice to the indignant, but there needs to be full on public rage at this outright failure and deception by our government to even attempt responsibility with our economy. Silver’s resignation is an appeasement offering, and I am not appeased. It’s time to take the dartboard away and for us to get more involved in keeping an eye on our money. I have an idea of a replacement past-time..