Secretary of Energy Stephen Chu is a PhD and Nobel Prize winner in physics. He has been focused like a laser on ridding the nation, and the world, from the yoke of fossil fuels for cars and trucks by moving America's fleet to battery-powered vehicles.
There are 250 million cars and light trucks on America's highways. Even if we could get a million Americans to purchase a battery-powered car, that would amount to 1/250th of the fleet or four tenths of one percent.
Not exactly a game changer.
Not only that, but you have to have additional electricity production to have something in the socket when those million battery-operated cars are plugged in. In order to do that, without increasing the use of natural gas or coal, the Administration promoted more nuclear powered generation plants.
Nothing wrong with that on its face, but the Tsunami in Japan last year made it far more difficult to move out smartly on that front - at least for now.
Solar power and wind farms are pleasant thoughts as alternative sources, but (a) you have to build them somewhere where people aren't; (b) you have get the electricity from where they are to where it is needed; and, (c) the wind doesn't always blow, nor does the sun always shine.
So, battery-powered cars may have been a bad bet. After planning to sell 10,000 Chevy Volts in 2011, General Motors admitted it sold only about 6,200. As 2012 opened, Chevrolet had to bite bullet and shut down the Volt assembly line for at least five weeks until inventories are sold off.
I'm not cheering for the demise of battery-operate cars, but they are not a solution to $4 gasoline any time in the foreseeable future.
President Obama is correct when he says there is "no silver bullet" to quickly bring down gasoline prices. Fair or not, the guy behind that big desk in the Oval Office gets the blame.
This time, it's Barack Obama.
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