Clean Vehicle Tour? The Carbon Footprint of Obama’s Detroit Visit

by Henry Payne

Detroit — President Obama touts his Detroit visit to tour the new, plug-in electric Chevy Volt as our “clean energy future.” Yet, a glimpse at the president’s travel schedule Friday makes it hard to swallow this green pablum. Here’s the White House “Daily Guidance and Press Schedule” for July 30, 2010 (My comments in italic):

9:30AM: THE PRESIDENT departs the White House en route Andrews Air Force Base. South Lawn.

(This via a large military chopper to Andrews just south of the D.C. beltway. About 15 minutes burning 1320 gallons of fuel, or about 6,270 pounds of carbon.)

9:45AM: THE PRESIDENT departs Andrews Air Force Base en route to Detroit, Michigan

(This via Air Force One, a Boeing 747. Fuel consumption: A gallon of jet fuel per second. For an 80-minute flight to Detroit, that is 110,400 pounds of carbon burned. Or 220,800 for the round trip)

11:05AM: THE PRESIDENT arrives in Detroit, Michigan — Detroit Metro Wayne County Airport

(Where he climbs aboard “Cadillac One,” the biggest prez limo ever. Armored. Maybe 10 mpg. Or an armored SUV. Or he might take another chopper. Not specified. Not green either.)

11:50AM : THE PRESIDENT tours the Chrysler Auto Plant — Detroit, Michigan

(Where Chrysler makes its pride and joy, the new 2011 Chrysler Grand Cherokee. The gas-guzzling SUV America loves. The car responsible for 1,100 new UAW jobs to satisfy demand. Fuel mileage:19 mpg for the 4WD version.)

12:55PM: THE PRESIDENT tours the General Motors Auto Plant — Hamtramck, Michigan

(Finally, a clean-burning car! The electric Volt. Just plug it into Michigan’s coal-fired utility grid. Oops.)

3:10PM: THE PRESIDENT departs Detroit, Michigan en route Andrews Air Force Base

4:25PM:  THE PRESIDENT arrives at Andrews Air Force Base

4:40PM:  THE PRESIDENT arrives at the White House — South Lawn

(More planes, choppers & SUVs. Just your typical, six-figure carbon footprint commute to herald the new green economy).


Editor’s Note: This item has been amended since its initial publication.

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