s General Motors tries to sell American drivers on its first mass-market electric car, the Chevrolet Volt, the beleaguered automaker has run up against a loud and powerful foe — Rush Limbaugh. The king of conservative talk radio has dismissed the Volt as a government-subsidized folly that "nobody wants" — calling its 40-mile, battery-powered range too limited and its price, $41,000, too high. GM says critics should bear in mind that federal tax credits will bring the price down to $33,500, and that the gas engine that kicks in when the battery runs dry increases the Volt's range to more than 300 miles. Whom should Americans believe: Limbaugh or GM? (Listen to Rush Limbaugh's Volt rant)
Listen to Rush — the Volt's an "overpriced lemon": By offering a $7,500 tax break on the Volt, President Obama is essentially admitting that nobody will want "this turkey," says Barry Popik at RedState. The Volt, which only seats four people, has all the roominess of cars that cost a third as much. This is what happens when the government — which, of course, owns GM after a massive taxpayer bailout — meddles in private industry.
"Friday NY Times rare gem: 'G.M.'s Electric Lemon' (Chevy Volt)"
This so-called "boondoggle" deserves a chance: Limbaugh's argument is that "no sensible company" would have built the Volt if the government hadn't forced it to, says Jonathan Cohn in The New Republic, and, while the car certainly has its share of critics, plenty of reviewers, including Consumer Reports, have given it a thumbs up. Maybe the Volt's innovative battery-gas combo — neither a conventional hybrid, like Toyota's Prius, or all electric, like Nissan's new Leaf — is just what Americans need.
"Rush Limbaugh v. the Volt"
Limbaugh's real target is Obama, not the Volt: Limbaugh, who knows nothing about cars, is only trying to "help GM fail" to make the Obama administration look bad, says Joseph Romm at Climate Progress. As the price of gas goes up and the cost of electric-car batteries goes down, Americans will see that President Obama "has given the U.S. auto industry a fighting chance" by prodding it to produce the Volt and other plug-ins and EVs. For the sake of the environment and energy independence, we have to kick the gasoline habit.
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