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Dear GE, GM and Obama: We're Not as Dumb as You

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

When GE announced at the end of February that it would be bailing out General Motor’s green car strategy by ordering 12,000 electric-gasoline powered Chevy Volts for their fleet, it was more than just Government Electric doing a solid for Government Motors doing a solid for the Government Owners in the Obama administration.

Rather it was an admission of failure by the monetization arm of the Green Conspiracy to control market behavior.

While GM bet that Volt would be “a magnet around everything we are trying to do to showcase our brand,” so far it’s been a millstone for the government-controlled car company. GE, for their part, has been buying up alternative electric schemes around the country to support what they suppose will be burgeoning demand for electric power, fueled by electric cars, fueled by federal tax dollars.

Yet new data indicates that consumers are getting tired of the green-sales hard-sell by corporations, governments and general do-gooders.      

Because, despite years of governments, corporations and general do-gooders spending huge dollars on marketing, public relations and soft sales to get consumers to accept “green,” it turns out that 99% percent of Americans still do what makes the most economic sense for themselves and their families.  

And economic sense doesn’t include buying electric cars, despite the huge government subsidies involved in trying to offset total ownership costs.

While it’s true that you can toddle down the road cheaper in a car that buys its fuel per kilowatt hour than you can on a car that runs on gasoline, when you figure out total cost of ownership, including battery depreciation, electric vehicles, as represented by the Chevy Volt, are 43 percent more expensive to operate than gasoline alternatives.

That partially explains why Government Motors decided not to initially market their cars to hard-bitten fleet managers who pay attention to the bottom line and nothing else.

But, unfortunately for Obama, consumers can do math too.

“Consumer support for clean energy concepts,” reports Fierce Energy, “from renewable energy to alternative fuel vehicles to smart grid technologies -- has declined significantly between 2009 and 2011, according to a new survey from Pike Research.”

The survey polled 1,000 adults and found that support for 13 clean energy concepts dropped from 50 percent in 2009 to 43 percent in 2011. And while 7 points may not seem that big, the survey only measured verbal support for clean energy concepts, not economic support for them.

By any economic measure, alarm bells ought to be going off for all the Big Generals in on the Big Government scam.

Fleet World, the publication of professional fleet managers, says that electric vehicle (EV) sales haven’t kept up with the rosy predictions for the EV market made by people who are paid to make rosy predictions on clean energy trends.

“Prior EV market predictions by leading consulting and research institutes have been proven wrong by the slow sales of EVs in the market,” says Fleet World. “Analysts have now begun to re-evaluate their judgments for market trends, presenting a more realistic view that the global EV market will probably endure slower growth in the near future.”

Slower than what? Slower than the already glacial growth?

Fleet World reports that “cars21.com...the industry platform for electrified vehicle experts worldwide” has completed a new study that has analysts slashing expectations for electric vehicle sales by 50 percent or more through 2025.

IDTechEX, for example forecasted that “35% of all cars sold would be electric vehicles” by 2025, while Pike Research believed the EV market would grow to “2.9 million vehicles by 2017.” In the wake of poor sales, however, analysts are taking a hard look.  

“Boston Consulting Group revised its prediction for electric vehicles to make up between 6% to 8% of overall vehicle sales in 2020, [and cut it] to now 5% or even less. Morgan Stanley reduced its forecast for global EV market shares by 2025 from 8.6% to 4.5%.”

In fact, 65 percent of auto executives surveyed by Cars21 “don’t expect sales of electrified vehicles to exceed 15% of annual global auto sales before 2025.”

That’s because despite much ballyhooed research efforts, significant advances in the economics of the battery technology that powers electric vehicles have remained elusive.

While some, like Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk thinks that battery costs will drop under $200 per kilowatt hour by 2015, for now, prices of batteries are closer to $400 per kilowatt hour, with a replacement Volt battery coming in relatively cheaply at $8,000 compared to $31,000 for the Nissan Leaf.  

So, in the best case scenario, we’re three years away from the next big break for EV batteries. And now that the federal government is involved you can count on that we’ll always be “just three years away.” 

Because we’ve given it three years and, according to Obama, we’re still three years away from seeing the benefit of the feds being involved in General Banks (TARP), General Houses (FHA), General Colleges (Sallie Mae) and General Healthcare (Obamacare), as well as General Motors and General Electric.

When running for president, Obama said fixing the economy would be a one-term proposition. Then just last year, in March of 2011, Obama said it would “take us several years for us to get back to where we need to be." Now he’s claiming privately that it will take another year or two.

With the economics surrounding all the “general” brands that the government is supporting -with tax dollars that neither you nor I can afford to pay- we’ll always remain “just three years away.” 

And thus, Obama might be the first president to run for reelection under the slogan, “Three more years, three more years, three more years!”

If only.

Update:  A group of European journalists voted today to give the Volt the car of the year award. I guess they showed us dumb Americans a thing or two- way to stick that thumb in our eye,  morons.

Writes Wired: "Still, the fact that the car is selling slower than expected didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the 59 judges, from 23 European nations, who gave the Volt and Ampera top honors. The car is, frankly, an engineering marvel and a true technological step forward, points the judges made."

Yeah. So was the Paige Typesetting machine. Never heard of it? Thought not.

But seriously, the world wide elite is much stupider than we give them credit for. Their stupidity however is surpassed by their venality and arrogance.

And that's what makes them so dangerous, not just to America, but the entire world.   

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