Tuesday, March 6, 2012

More Government Knows Best

Volt Problems Could Hurt Obama's Electric-Car Plan provides another example of government knows best. Here's what it says:

"General Motors’ announcement Friday that it would halt production of its plug-in hybrid car, the Volt, for five weeks figures to threaten President Obama’s stated goal of seeing a million electric cars in the U.S. by 2015.

That goal assumed that the Volt would become the industry leader and that GM would have produced 505,000 Volts by then. Another mainstay of the president’s electric-car plans, Fisker Automotive’s Nina plug-in, is also on hold. The federal government is not advancing new loan payments because Fisker didn’t produce and sell as many of its first-generation cars as it promised.

The government has made several investments to promote the electric car industry, including granting GM $105.9 million to help it produce battery packs for the Volt, and $151.4 million in a grant for LG Chem to produce battery cells for the Volt. The government also gives buyers of electric cars a tax credit.

The company said on Friday it will halt production of the Volt and lay off about 1,300 workers at its Hamtramck, Mich., factory over the next couple of months. The company sold just 7,700 Volts last year, below its 10,000-car target, which was already reduced from 15,000.

GM initially set a goal of selling 45,000 Volts in the U.S. in 2012, but the company needs to work through inventory it built up, as cars are not being sold as quickly as hoped.

The Chevy Volt . . . can run on both batteries and on gasoline, preventing chances of being stranded if the battery taps out. It costs $40,000 before the tax credit of $7,500. . . .

General Motors also suffered from an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over fires in a Volt during crash testing.

The decision to halt production will undoubtedly affect several sectors and companies, from Volt suppliers such as battery-maker LG Chem, to other companies that bet on a fast-growing electrification of transportation.

Several companies, such as Ener1, a battery company that went into bankruptcy, and A123 Systems, a battery supplier to Fisker that is struggling with that car’s high costs and slow sales, are already seeing hopes for a quickly growing electric-car market, at least in the U.S., dashed...."

Here's the same old question; When, if ever, will the elitists in government stop spending OPM in an attempt to pick "winners?" Will they ever acknowledge that the market knows best?

And that even if the market doesn't know best, at least it knows more than the bureaucrats know. Besides, the market knows all we need to know, and it doesn't charge us when it's wrong.

The question of how we'll solve our energy problems won't be answered by taxpayers' subsidizing electric cars that consumers don't want to buy.

What we should do instead to address our energy needs is let companies drill, extract, distribute and allow supply and demand to set prices. Then if enough of us want to buy electric cars that somebody wants to make and try to sell at whatever price they select, so be it. And if not, that's ok, too.

We'll just keep driving something else. Besides, that's how it's going to work in the end anyway.

Somebody needs to tell all this to the politicians, please, before they decide in their infinite wisdom to "help" us some more.

Thanks. Bob.

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