Planet Gore

The Volt’s Reason to Be

Critics of the Chevy Volt rightfully point out that GM’s new plug-in hybrid is an overpriced Chevy Cruze, that it is not a revolution-in-the-making but a niche vehicle, and that it should stand on its merits without expensive taxpayer subsidies. But those critics also assume a rational world.

The world American automakers live in today, though, is highly irrational — governed by irrational Washington agencies that have bipartisan political support to draft irrational mpg mandates that force carmakers to irrationally build cars consumers don’t want to buy.

The Chevy Volt is GM’s rational answer to irrationality.

This week, the EPA announced that the Volt will get an EPA MPG rating of 60 mpg, which will go a long way towards helping the company meet the government’s absurd 35 mpg average for all the vehicles the company makes. That is, since consumers prefer cars that get 21 mpg on average (53 percent of vehicles bought today are SUVs, after all), GM can throw in the Volt’s 60 mpg to goose up its fleet average and avoid millions in federal fines and public execution by the national media.

The EPA arrives at its 60 mpg figure with a suitably obtuse averaging of the Volt’s 93 mpg on battery power alone (which it can manage for up to 35 miles)  and the 37 mpg it will get on the car’s tiny 1.4-liter gas engine once the battery runs out of juice. All of these ratings will appear on the $41,000 window sticker of the Volt in a blizzard of mumbo-jumbo that will make its rich green buyers feel good about saving the planet.

It will also make GM feel good about meeting the fed’s ridiculous rules.

And it will make everyone else feel $7,500 lighter in the wallet from the subsidy of each Volt sold.

Henry Payne — Henry Payne is the auto critic for the Detroit News.

Most Popular

White House

The Problem Isn’t Just the GOP, Mr. Comey

During a CNN town hall on Wednesday night, James Comey alleged that the Republican party allows President Trump to get away with making inappropriate statements without holding him accountable. “If the Republicans, if they just close their eyes and imagine Barack Obama waking up in the morning saying someone ... Read More
Law & the Courts

‘Judges for the #Resistance’

At Politico, I wrote today about the judiciary’s activism against Trump on immigration: There is a lawlessness rampant in the land, but it isn’t emanating from the Trump administration. The source is the federal judges who are making a mockery of their profession by twisting the law to block the Trump ... Read More
White House

Trump’s Friendships Are America’s Asset

The stale, clichéd conceptions of Donald Trump held by both Left and Right — a man either utterly useless or only rigidly, transactionally tolerable — conceal the fact that the president does possess redeeming talents that are uniquely his, and deserve praise on their own merit. One is personal friendliness ... Read More
U.S.

Columbia 1968: Another Untold Story

Fifty years ago this week, Columbia students riding the combined wave of the civil-rights and anti-war movements went on strike, occupied buildings across campus, and shut the university down. As you revisit that episode of the larger drama that was the annus horribilis 1968, bear in mind that the past isn’t ... Read More
Culture

Only the Strident Survive

‘I am not prone to anxiety,” historian Niall Ferguson wrote in the Times of London on April 22. “Last week, however, for the first time since I went through the emotional trauma of divorce, I experienced an uncontrollable panic attack.” The cause? “A few intemperate emails, inadvertently forwarded ... Read More