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Why electric and hybrid cars won’t save Detroit
The Buffalo News / The Washington Post ^ | November 30, 2008 | Steven Mufson

Posted on 11/30/2008 9:19:37 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet

Many members of Congress believe they know what the car company of the future should look like. “A business model based on gas — a gas-guzzling past — is unacceptable,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said recently. “We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”

But the car company Schumer and other lawmakers envision for the future could turn out to be a money-losing operation, not part of a “sustainable U. S. auto industry” that President-elect Barack Obama and most members of Congress say they want to create.

That’s because car manufacturers still haven’t figured out how to produce hybrid and plug-in vehicles cheaply enough to make money on them.

After a decade of relative success with its hybrid Prius, Toyota has sold about a million of the cars and is still widely believed by analysts to be losing money on each one sold. General_Motors has touted plans for a plug-in hybrid vehicle called the Volt, but the costly battery will prevent it from turning a profit on the vehicle for several years, at least.

“In 10 years are they [GM] going to solve the technological problems with respect to the Volt? Sure,” says Maryann Keller, an automotive analyst and author of a book on GM. “But are they going to be able to stake their survival, which is really more of a now to five-year proposition, on it? I’d say they can’t. They have to stake their future on_Malibus, the Chevy Cruze, and much more conventional technologies.”

U.S. automakers face demands that they provide evidence and assurance that they would use federal bailout money to transform their companies to produce automobiles of the future, using advanced technologies and featuring hybrid or plug-in vehicles.

(Excerpt) Read more at buffalonews.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Editorial; Politics/Elections; US: Michigan
KEYWORDS: 111th; bailout; congress; economy; electricvehicles; energy; financialcrisis; globalwarming; hybridvehicles; obama; presidentelectobama
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They don't care.
1 posted on 11/30/2008 9:19:37 PM PST by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If anything - electric cars and hybrids might bankrupt them even faster. The Dems taking Congress in 2006 and their NO Energy Policy helped drive oil prices to the moon which was the last straw for Detroit. I love how O and the Dems keep blaming the auto industry execs.


2 posted on 11/30/2008 9:22:34 PM PST by Frantzie
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They’ll make it up on volume.


3 posted on 11/30/2008 9:24:14 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
“We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”

Appropriate that car of the future, like the future in general, is one that makes no money.

4 posted on 11/30/2008 9:29:53 PM PST by TheWasteLand
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
I am serious, how am I supposed to get around from state to state, fair to fair. A lot of us have large vehicles, multiple vehicles pulling trailers and what not, going from town to town, state to state. Just how am I supposed to get around with a plug in that goes 60 miles in a day? I need to go 400 miles in a day to get to the next spot.

Just how are we supposed to live out of a tiny tin car? HOw are we supposed to load our goods, pull food wagons, carry supplies with a car the size of a show-box?

These ijits just amaze me.

5 posted on 11/30/2008 9:30:21 PM PST by abigkahuna (Step on up folks and see the "Strange Thing" only a thin dollar, babies free)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

In engineering, we have a saying about managers and customers who sound like Schumer does here:

“Don’t confuse them with facts, he has his mind made up.”


6 posted on 11/30/2008 9:31:14 PM PST by NVDave
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To: Vince Ferrer

After hearing my buddies Roadrunner gulping in the garage this weekend, an entire battery operated car makes me weep.


7 posted on 11/30/2008 9:31:40 PM PST by Edizzl79 (you want my guns..come and get em...I dare ya....)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
U.S. automakers face demands that they provide evidence and assurance that they would use federal bailout money to transform their companies to produce automobiles of the future, using advanced technologies and featuring hybrid or plug-in vehicles.

What advanced technologies? There are several available alternate fuel vehicles, they are all too expensive for the average consumer. No advanced technologies are a viable business without millions in subsidies.

The other issue is fuel taxes. Right now there are several states that are eliminating all savings realized from hybrid fuel vehicles by increasing the tax on fuels. Seems that the savings to the consumer on fuel consumption, the savings that were supposed to offset the high initial cost of the vehicle, has had an unintended consequence. State revenues are declining so instead of reducing spending they are, true to form, increasing taxes to cover it.

Congress needs to address the real issue here and stop with the nonsense, void the union agreements and let the Companies get out from under the huge liabilities and liquidity issues they impose. Everything else is just bull****.

8 posted on 11/30/2008 9:32:30 PM PST by JrsyJack
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Many members of Congress believe they know what the car company of the future should look like. “A business model based on gas — a gas-guzzling past — is unacceptable,” Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said recently. “We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”

That D*LDO needs to read "The Road To Serfdom".

9 posted on 11/30/2008 9:37:04 PM PST by George Smiley (Palin is the real deal.)
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To: NVDave

Oh, sure. F you.

Get between me and my battery concrete mixer truck.

You bastard!


10 posted on 11/30/2008 9:38:27 PM PST by Leisler ("Give us the child for 8 years and it will be a Bolshevik forever. " Lenin)
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To: Vince Ferrer
Bull.

The auto industry, as currently structured, is a life support system for UAW pension and medical benefits.

11 posted on 11/30/2008 9:38:38 PM PST by George Smiley (Palin is the real deal.)
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To: JrsyJack

And much of that will not matter unless Detroit steps up and apologizes for all the clunkers they’ve unloaded on customers over the years. What you mention is necessary, but they also have to figure out how to get customers to even consider a domestic product.

There are now two entire generations of people who have never bought a domestic car and will not even consider them because of the horror stories.


12 posted on 11/30/2008 9:39:23 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: abigkahuna
Just how are we supposed to live out of a tiny tin car? HOw are we supposed to load our goods, pull food wagons, carry supplies with a car the size of a show-box?

You can purchase a team of horses.

13 posted on 11/30/2008 9:39:40 PM PST by businessprofessor
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To: Vince Ferrer
They’ll make it up on volume.

Heh ... Step Right Up

14 posted on 11/30/2008 9:41:40 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: businessprofessor

hrumph, very funny! It’ll take two weeks to get over the Skisykous!


15 posted on 11/30/2008 9:42:54 PM PST by abigkahuna (Step on up folks and see the "Strange Thing" only a thin dollar, babies free)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car

Actually, I think hydraulic hybrids are more technologically realistic.

16 posted on 11/30/2008 9:43:23 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: Frantzie

Absolutely it will. More people will flock to Japanese and other manufacturers to get the vehicles they want. You don’t market a car on the idea it will make you feel better about yourself. especially to people who don’t worship at the alter of global warming. This will be a repeat of the ‘70’s, but it will end in the demise of American auto manufacturers.


17 posted on 11/30/2008 9:44:13 PM PST by Yogafist
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

if you want an electric car then you need electricity. 50% of our electricity comes from coal. The global warmers hate coal so if you want to replace that then you need to build nuclear plants. Well, the price of oil is low and the upfront construction costs of building more nuke plants is very high so if we really want this to work then the govt will have to pitch in with the $ to pay for these plants. Then all the anti-nuke activists will complain.

So I wonder if chuckie really wants to go this route.


18 posted on 11/30/2008 9:44:55 PM PST by ari-freedom (Conservatives solve problems. Libertarians ignore problems. Liberals create problems.)
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To: Spktyr
Absolutely correct but in a free market that means failure and bankruptcy, not billions in taxpayer bailouts. Those only serve as a "get out of jail free" card and enable more of the same.

The entire industry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up: better products, more competitive labor agreements and less, not more, government interference.

19 posted on 11/30/2008 9:49:18 PM PST by JrsyJack
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
“We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”

Congress couldn't run its own post office and bank. The idea that they have a clue about running a car company and more so, what products to produce for the future, is laughable beyond imagination.

20 posted on 11/30/2008 9:49:48 PM PST by Dahoser (America's great untapped alternative energy source: The Founding Fathers spinning in their graves.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

They will fail since I won’t buy any!


21 posted on 11/30/2008 9:52:03 PM PST by dalereed
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To: Vince Ferrer
“Actually, I think hydraulic hybrids are more technologically realistic.”

I was thinking the same thing. Pneumatics are another alternative — as Tata Motors of India has already shown.

Regardless, it's nuts for any government to believe that it can pick winners from amongst emerging technologies. With such misguided central planning, the cost of being wrong will be a lot greater, than if things were left to the marketplace.

22 posted on 11/30/2008 9:55:26 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: dr_lew
General Cinema right back at you. :) I have no idea why I am posting this.
23 posted on 11/30/2008 9:56:11 PM PST by Vince Ferrer
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To: businessprofessor

“I need to go 400 miles in a day to get to the next spot.”

A team of horses isn’t going to get abigkahuna the 400 miles a day he needs. Try again.


24 posted on 11/30/2008 9:56:46 PM PST by rockinqsranch (Dems, Libs, Socialists, Call 'em what you will, they ALL have Fairies livin' in their Trees.)
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To: JrsyJack

I agree - but you should add “apologize to the buying public” to that list.


25 posted on 11/30/2008 9:58:07 PM PST by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
"Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., said recently, “We need a business model based on cars of the future, and we already know what that future is: the plug-in hybrid electric car.”"

Chuckie "Putz" Schumer is so stupid even his own mother thought that his nickname was appropriate.

If Detroit wants to save itself two things must happen:

First, match the car quality already provided by Honda and Toyota. Prove it.

Second, bust the unions. Then pay workers prevailing wages, not outrageous wages, and allow maximum use of innovation regardless of the impact on jobs.

Do I think this will happen. No. The Big 3 automakers are doomed to failure.

26 posted on 11/30/2008 9:59:10 PM PST by tom h
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Toyota's...relative success with its hybrid Prius came with massive US Government taxpayer subsidies, including taxes from the UAW workers.
27 posted on 11/30/2008 9:59:22 PM PST by ricks_place
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Any business that accepts criticism of their ‘business model’ from the likes of schumer deserves to vanish.


28 posted on 11/30/2008 10:01:17 PM PST by Seven plus One
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To: abigkahuna
Just how are we supposed to live out of a tiny tin car? HOw are we supposed to load our goods, pull food wagons, carry supplies with a car the size of a show-box?

LOL! My point exactly on the last thread. Wait till they try to throw a ladder rack and a unit of plywood on one of these roller-skates. Or haul a family of 6 and a 4 horse trailer 600 miles.

City folks live in an entirely different world, it seems. They must think this stuff just happens with fairy dust or something...

29 posted on 11/30/2008 10:03:53 PM PST by roamer_1 (Proud 1%er... Reagan Conservatism is the only way forward.)
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To: Vince Ferrer
Wow, another stab from the past ... they used to rule the theaters.

Went bankrupt and got bought out by AMC in 2002, I see. I'd forgotten all about them.The future's so bright ...

30 posted on 11/30/2008 10:05:33 PM PST by dr_lew
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Many members of Congress believe they know what the wagon company of the future should look like. “A business model based on horses alone — a hay-guzzling past — is unacceptable,” Sen. Charles E. Shroomer, D-N.Y., said recently. “We need a business model based on wagons of the future, and we already know what that future is: the hybrid horse/internal-combustion buggy.”

But the wagonmaker Shroomer and other lawmakers envision for the future could turn out to be a money-losing operation, not part of a “sustainable U. S. carriage industry” that President-elect Garfield and most members of Congress say they want to create.

That’s because wagon manufacturers still haven’t figured out how to produce horse-drawn/engine-driven vehicles cheaply enough to make money on them.

After a decade of relative success with its hybrid Nag-o-Sake, Japan’s Yoyota Wagon and Carriage Concern has sold about a million of the hybrids and is still widely believed by analysts to be losing money on each one sold. Studebaker has touted plans for a horse/motor hybrid vehicle called the Colt, but the costly two-stroke gasoline engine will prevent it from turning a profit on the vehicle for several years, at least.

“In 10 years is Studebaker going to solve the technological problems with respect to the Colt? Sure,” says Maryann Keller, an carriage-industry analyst and author of a book on Studebaker. “But are they going to be able to stake their survival, which is really more of a now to five-year proposition, on it? I’d say they can’t. They have to stake their future on buckboards, sulkies, and much more conventional technologies.”

U.S. carriagemakers face demands that they provide evidence and assurance that they would use federal bailout money to transform their companies to produce wagons of the future, using advanced technologies and featuring hybrid animal/motor draft vehicles.


31 posted on 11/30/2008 10:08:33 PM PST by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Give us LNG turbine-electric, please?
32 posted on 11/30/2008 10:12:12 PM PST by Carry_Okie (If Barack Obama is Vladamir Lenin, Bill Ayers is Leon Trotsky.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
plug-in hybrid electric car.”

Plug into what? We cannot build power plants so there will be no electricity to recharge the batteries.

33 posted on 11/30/2008 10:26:17 PM PST by verklaring (Pyrite is not gold))
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To: NVDave

What amazes me is these dingbats taht hate coal, which helps produce electricity are for electric cars.

Obama says he want to raise coal so it puts the out of business and so that electricity raises 3x it precent rate AND they want us us to use electric.

I swear these people can’t be this dumb can they ...


34 posted on 11/30/2008 10:31:43 PM PST by genxer
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the Sierra Club will become the new CEO’s of GM.

They’ll build Ford style Cooper Minis by Gubmint edict.

I won’t buy it. I want something that goes real fast and gets real shitty gas mileage.

They have ways of trying to make me change my behavior. Tax incentives to buy green cars, luxury tax on gas guzzlers.

They can lick my hairy beanbag. I promise to buy something to piss them off even if it costs more money.


35 posted on 11/30/2008 10:32:44 PM PST by Eric Blair 2084 (Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms shouldn't be a federal agency...it should be a convenience store.)
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To: Dahoser

You are correct, but you must also add that the senate could not run its own restaurant, it gave that up this year.


36 posted on 11/30/2008 10:33:45 PM PST by JoanneSD (illegals represented without taxation.. Americans taxed without representation)
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To: JrsyJack
The entire industry needs to be rebuilt from the ground up: better products, more competitive labor agreements and less, not more, government interference.

It's called bankrupcy

37 posted on 11/30/2008 10:34:03 PM PST by genxer
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To: Frantzie
I love how O and the Dems keep blaming the auto industry execs.

The say way they keep blaming the Republicans for the Banking Fiasco that they created under their "fair housing act". One day the bulk of America is going to wake up and realize the Change Obama promised was actually complete Mafia control of America.

38 posted on 12/01/2008 1:36:33 AM PST by American in Israel (A wise man's heart directs him to the right, but the foolish mans heart directs him toward the left.)
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To: Frantzie

My son is an auto technician whose specialty is fuel and engine effeciency.

He says hybrids are extremely dangerous and a fad. He says one of the most underreported stories now is how dangerous they are and how many mechanics get hurt on them.


39 posted on 12/01/2008 2:08:01 AM PST by I still care (A Republic - if you can keep it. - Ben Franklin)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Considering the history of the auto industry, it is more likely that the big three will just fail period. There are already electric car companies popping up all over. One is building a plant in my county. They can make the product much cheaper and more efficiently than Detroit, and since they can probably afford to exist on relatively low sales, Big Auto won’t be able to compete. Let’s face it, for alternative fuels to work, gas stations all need the equipment to fill or charge these new cars. Until that happens you won’t have massive sales without a mandate, and tax incentives for stations owners to upgrade.


40 posted on 12/01/2008 2:36:09 AM PST by ritewingwarrior (Just say No.)
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To: ritewingwarrior

The failure of the biggest and best funded of those startups, Tesla motors, says you’re wrong.


41 posted on 12/01/2008 3:52:34 AM PST by saganite
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To: roamer_1; abigkahuna
City folks live in an entirely different world, it seems.

Well, yes, sorta.

As my life is presently configured, I could live entirely without a car, and once did so for about five years (aside from an occasional rental). I rode my bike a lot, and didn't have kids. I want a car now -- I like to roll around a bit on the weekends, cart the kids to soccer and skating, and wouldn't want to lug the groceries home on foot.

But even including those applications, I average probably 20-30 miles a week for "baseline" driving. That's mostly dropping off and picking up the kids at school; for my own part, I walk and take metro to work. (When the girls are older, they can walk too.) I have only one regular trip (kid's soccer) over 2 miles. With a plug-in hybrid, my gasoline usage would drop to near zero except for vacations and occasional weekend road trips, which account for the great bulk of my mileage.

70% of Americans live in major metro areas and a fair number have driving profiles not unlike mine. Even more could/would if people got more sensible about living closer to their work. Multiply me by several tens of millions of these folks, and we can kick OPEC where it hurts.

I agree that people who need big vehicles and/or who have to drive -- e.g. people in rural areas and people with serious hauling needs -- shouldn't be hamstrung by government edict. But we still shouldn't dismiss the enormous reduction in gasoline usage that hybrids will make possible once the price point is right.

42 posted on 12/01/2008 4:07:16 AM PST by sphinx
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To: abigkahuna

“These ijits just amaze me.” ... I am real sure that I would say ‘amaze’ but it is appropriate. Most of the proponents of cars that have no power or range are pony-tailed metrosexuals that live in a hovel behind their candle store/factory. The sum total of their lives is layed out in a six mile circle around them ... free clinic, whole food store, coffee house, etc. They never venture out into the world taking instead the data from MSNBC as gospel. Their friends live as they do and believe as they do. They need nothing else and believe that anyone who desires more is the enemy. They preach tolerance but are anything but.

You see a lot of that attitude on Democrat Underachievers.


43 posted on 12/01/2008 4:32:05 AM PST by ByteMercenary (9-11: supported everywhere by followers of the the cult of islam.)
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To: Frantzie

Yes, it will bankrupt them even faster. No matter what people say about how “green” they want to be, when push comes to shove, they’ll opt for the more convenient, powerful, and (yes) cheaper gas vehicles. Why? Because at the end of the day, they’re not insane.


44 posted on 12/01/2008 4:33:12 AM PST by rbg81 (DRAIN THE SWAMP!!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Schumer couldn't run a lemonade stand and he sits and pontificates on what the auto industry must do.

Man, do I loathe these damn politicians.

45 posted on 12/01/2008 4:39:32 AM PST by Ditto
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Toyota has sold about a million of the cars and is still widely believed by analysts to be losing money on each one sold.

Based on 2009 model year MSRP and MPG, a five year/75,000 mile economic life and 8% cost of money, I figure the break even point in the choice between a Corolla and Prius is when gasoline is above $6.00/gal. This analysis ignores maintenance and up keep which are assumed to about equal. We are a ways away from economical hybrids/electric cars.

If you really wanted to make a fuel efficient car, you'd be making diesel hybrids anyway. But the typical Prius buyer thinks that air passed through the alimentary canal of a Prius comes out with Pine Fresh aroma, sort of the way they view their own alimentary canal.

46 posted on 12/01/2008 4:41:27 AM PST by Lonesome in Massachussets (The Democratic Party strongly supports full civil rights for necro-Americans.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Don’t you have to plug these things in?? Where’s that electricity coming from if Oshamba is going to destroy our coal plants???


47 posted on 12/01/2008 4:43:21 AM PST by freemike (Alas, how many have been persecuted for the wrong of having been right? --Jean-Baptiste Say)
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To: JrsyJack
What advanced technologies? There are several available alternate fuel vehicles, they are all too expensive for the average consumer. No advanced technologies are a viable business without millions in subsidies.

Actually, clean diesel technology is a cost-effective alternate fuel, and automakers are selling cars in Europe right now using this technology, cars which can get 60mpg combined in a full-size sedan.

But why isn't this available here in the US? Because of government regulations prohibiting it.

Government, once again, is a disease masquerading as its own cure.

48 posted on 12/01/2008 5:29:08 AM PST by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: rbg81
No matter what people say about how “green” they want to be, when push comes to shove, they’ll opt for the more convenient, powerful, and (yes) cheaper gas vehicles.

But when push really comes to shove, Congress will effectively force them to buy the "green" vehicles through a system of taxes and mandates, whether they want them or not.

When your entire business model depends on how well you can suck up to Congress, things like "convenience," "power," and "cost" are virtually irrelevant tertiary considerations.

49 posted on 12/01/2008 5:31:13 AM PST by mvpel (Michael Pelletier)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
As a former GM driver, there is little they could do to make me want one of their cars other than maybe a Corvette.

After years of being nickle and dimed fixing things that shouldn't have broken in 100,000 miles rather than the 40K to 50K that was the norm, I gave up on them as they have given up on quality and on the people who bought their cars.

I took a lot of grief from people who told me it was unpatriotic to buy a Toyota or a Honda, but the real lack of patriotism was from the Americans who built crap and stuck a "Made in the USA" label on it.

My Tacoma was made in Fremont, California and is the absolute best vehicles I've ever owned. Who needs crap from the Big 2.5 when I can get a competitively priced, fantastic, reliable car or truck made right here in my country by my fellow Americans?

50 posted on 12/01/2008 6:44:24 AM PST by GBA
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