"Judging from the futures markets, shock at the gas pump is
bound to get worse. Maybe much worse.
"Since the beginning of the year, benchmark oil and gasoline
futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange both have increased
by more than a third, but the average retail price of gasoline
in the U.S. has risen by 22%. That bodes ill for consumers..."
Wall Street Journal: http://easyurl.net/BendOver
Unless our congress comes to its' senses and develops an energy plan instead
of simply fighting our oil development, I not only see huge price increases,
but shortages, rationing, many businesses going under, and the economy in
Many energy plans have been developed. The problem is that actual
consumers of gas and oil have not bought off on any of them by changing
their buying habits.
Recent studies have shown that fueling a passenger car costs around 30%
of the total cost of owning it, and furthermore that fueling the same
vehicle with electricity (if it were an electric car) would cost about 1/3
of what fueling it with gasoline costs. And 50% of the US electric power is
coal-generated, and we have another century of coal left, long enough
to get a large number of wind and solar projects online. Even the battery
problem has been solved with the development of large Li-Ion batteries.
It's pretty clear that if the nation's passenger car fleet was switched over
to electric, the remaining part of the fleet that drives long-haul
trucking, etc.) would be sustainable with biodiesel.
Hwever, the customers have yet to materialize for electric vehicles. It
was thought that once it was cheaper to fuel cars with electricity that
this would happen, but that time was passed years ago and it still has
Your dealing with a large amount of social inertia. And stupidity.
The other problem is that sooner or later we will pull out of Iraq and
when we do, and that money drain ceases and the budget finally gets
balanced, the dollar will begin rising in relation to other countries
currencies, and the cost of oil and gas will fall again - not to the levels
it was, but maybe from $5 a gallon back to $3.50 a gallon - and the
gasoline proponents will then immediately run around telling people
that high gas prices were just a blip, there's still plenty of oil,
yadda yadda yadda, and it is going to take another 10 years for people
to finally see through that as well.
I can't see the public not wanting a "good" electric car or a nat gas one.
The GM volt, I believe targeted for something like 2010 is to go 40 miles
with an overnight charge and then use gas. However, the current batteries
have a habit of catching fire. Anyway, if there exists good alternatives to
gasoline passenger cars, IMO these should be mandated and presented to the
public as ways to reduce our dependence on foreign oil - IMO if the plans
were good, the mandate would be accepted. Currently, it's getting difficult
to find a hybrid.
On Mon, 26 May 2008 10:00:15 -0700, "Ted Mittelstaedt"
It's not "social" inertia or stupidity. Your figures do not take into
account the most expensive drawback to a mass changeover to electric
vehicles; the cost of purchasing those vehicles. That's more of an
It is not stupidity...our head would tell us to do better, but our head
It is, to some extent, social inertia.
Every great trip starts with a single step.. My point is that there has been
no significant movement toward a liveable energy policy. As all of us have
pretty much agreed, people in the USA buy gas guzzlers because that is
what they want to buy, the expensives of owning such a beast have not been
perceived as being too great, and we really have no leadership toward, nor
feeling for, conservation.
It may take an whop up 'side the head to make Americans aware of the
bad side of energy dependence upon foreign nations.
"...According to GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, the worst decision of his
tenure at GM was "axing the EV1 electric-car program and not putting the
right resources into hybrids. It didn't affect profitability, but it did
affect image." According to the March 13, 2007, issue of Newsweek, "GM
R&D chief Larry Burns . . . now wishes GM hadn't killed the plug-in hybrid
EV1 prototype his engineers had on the road a decade ago: 'If we could turn
back the hands of time,' says Burns, 'we could have had the Chevy Volt 10
"...The car was very popular with its lessees, but it was not known if
anyone would have purchased a new electric vehicle at the time had it been
offered for sale even at a "break even" price of US$35,000-40,000. (People
will now, as is shown by the Tesla Roadster preorders.) A..."
Where I live in the Pacific NW, properly maintained cars that do not get in
accidents will easily last 40 years. But,
I rarely see a vehicle on the road that is older than 10 years old.
If GM had pushed electric cars the same way they pushed SUV's, there would
be a very large percentage of them on the road today. The first EV1 was
leased out 10 years ago.
You might more accurately have said "if the American people had wanted the
EV-1 as much as they wanted SUV's...". Car manufacturers can't push things
on a buying public and see the kind of market success that the SUV craze
saw. The only thing that can drive market success is desire on the part of
the buying public.
And that's a "Chicken or Egg" problem - Whether there are enough
people out there who will pay a premium for a Hybrid or All-Electric
car to make the engineering and production worth it. But if you never
develop the product they will never line up to buy it.
Problem is there are too many people who want one and do not have
the resources to build their own. Look at all the Eco-Nuts in
Hollywood being driven to the Oscars and Emmy's in a chauffeured Prius
or Insight to show their Eco Cred...
Many of the EV1 lessees offered to buy the cars form GM, but that
meant that GM would have to provide spare parts and technical support
for at least 12 years - and like dummies they wanted to cut and run.
G.M. learned, but it was the wrong lesson. If the market moves and
you don't, your company is soon left by the wayside. Outside of the
few Pennsylvania and Iowa areas with large Amish and Mennonite
populations, it's really hard to sell buggy whips and horse-collars.
The smart thing would have been to sell off the EV1's and continue
gathering long-term reliability data - re-engineer the components, get
them out in use and see what lasts and what doesn't in the real world.
The kind of people who would buy them would talk the engineers' ears
off with useful feedback if they had the cars. The parts supply cost
would have been nothing, most of the chassis parts are standard
Then come out with the next generation car, build a pilot production
line and make a few thousand, and get them out there to start racking
up real world test miles too. By the time you get to a Mark IV or V
they would have had a viable Full Hybrid with all the bugs out and be
ready to crank up the line...
--<< Bruce >>--
Not at all. The EV-1 never generated the interest necessary to drive it
into production. Likewise, the demonstrated intererst within the car buying
public was for SUV's. GM built tons of vehicles that got 30mpg, but what
did the consumer buy? SUV's. No chicken and egg at all. Pure market
Don't understand that point at all. Who builds their own cars? Who has
ever done so?
Dummies? There were not enough of them to warrant it at the time. Show me
another manufacturer who stepped up to building a car for a few dozen people
and then agreed to supply parts and warranty for such a limited audience.
Wrong lesson? Have you looked at the number of cars they build that rival
the mileage of the most touted cars? They simply got caught by a market
turn. Markets turn fast and companies sometimes lag in their ability to
follow. Happens everyday. I'm not sure you show an understanding of how
supply chains, engineering, and product releases work.
Maybe so - in hindsight, which is always so accurate. At the time, I bet it
did not look so smart.
Again - maybe so. And, in hindsight, it would probably have been worth an
investment. But hindsight is 20/20.
I don't disagree, but the real market has to be there for real analysis and
development. Again - you have to look at the real market forces that
existed at the time - not what could have been. The real market forces were
a consuming public that did not care about that car. They cared about
SUV's. That's what they bought and that's what their feedback was to the
motor companies. Say what you will but the sales records speak for
Mike, I could not agree with you more.
Let's do that; let's look at your "real market forces."
We'll, you're partly correct.
The consuming public wanted SUVs over Hybrids, alright, and here's
why: the SUV was good for a $30,000 tax write-off. Hybrid vehicles?
Only $4,000 tax credit.
"This is one of the most lucrative breaks in the tax code. We're
making it a fiscal no-brainer for businesses to buy giant SUVs."
- Aileen Roder. Taxpayers for Common Sense
More from Market Watch:
"In January 2003, Bush initially proposed raising the allowable
deduction from $25,000 to $75,000 . . . (but) by the time the final
draft of the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 was
put to a vote, the tax break grew to $100,000 through 2005. . . The
bill narrowly passed by a margin of 51 to 50, with Vice President Dick
Cheney stepping in to break the tie."
There's your "real market forces", Mike.
In simplest terms: "What's good for GM is good for America."
You do know that that tax break is only available to BUSINESSES that use
the vehicle FOR THE BUSINESS. You know, like the folks who use them as
taxis, limos and such.
The average soccer mom who bought an Excursion or Suburban bought it for
one of two reasons. It is far safer than the cars for hauling around the
team, OR they wanted it to keep up with the rest of the soccer moms.
This is specifically a business tax break. Has nothing to do with the
average consumer's purchases.
Not at all, since the indivdual consumer derived no benefit from these tax
breaks. I dare say that most of the moms driving around in SUV's probably
have no idea that the tax incentives for businesses to purchase those
vehicles even existed.
If you want to credibly reference these guys at least post a relevant link.
This link points to an index that requires a lot more effort to find what
you may be referring to, than I'm going to put into a search.
It is basically a question of the cost of maintaining the car.
All kinds of parts can break and it costs to repair.
Parts cost and if you do not do it yourself then a person doing the
Very often you see very large and expensive cars last very long.
Eventually the repair costs get so high that it becomes a question of
Even if great many things in the car are good.
People do the estimate all the time when the car breaks down.
Is it worth the effort to get it fixed?
It is pretty much the same with everything else.
In the past repairmen came to peoples houses to fix machines.
Not very many machines are fixed that way anymore.
GM was not allowed to sell those experimental electric cars. They were
built under an exemption from all safety and environmental laws, as test
vehicles. The cost to certify a completely new vehicle in the US, to meet
all of the all safety and environmental laws, runs into the millions. GM
used the money saved on certification to help in developing the car.
Regardless of the opinion of the conspiracy theorist GM had to maintain
ownership as was the case with Chrysler turbine powered car. Chrysler
loaned out their experimental car but GM was smart enough to lease their
experimental car, because a person who leases does not own the car the
leasor owns the car. The cars had to be destroyed after a time or GM could
not have gotten the exemption
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