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Obama's Energy Plan: Chevy Volt

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

Three years ago, the national average for a gallon of regular grade gasoline was around $1.70. The price climbed to $2.60 in 2009 and $2.80 a year later. As of November 11, 2011, gas rose to an average of $3.45 per gallon, roughly twice as much as what we were paying in 2008.

When gasoline prices hit their peak at around $4.00, Democrats were demanding Bush’s head on a platter, but under Obama the higher prices are simply the new normal. Rather than take steps to curb rising fuel prices, the administration is waging its own ideological war - against energy independence - by drilling regulations and moratoriums that, according to Steve Forbes, “is fueling an energy crisis that could bring this nation to its knees.”

We hear much these days about all the jobs “saved or created” but hear little about jobs slashed or destroyed. In many ways, the Obama administration has become a job-wrecking machine. According to Forbes in the same Politico op-ed piece, the six-month gulf drilling moratorium alone cost 8,169 jobs and $487 million in wages, not to mention the sweeping effects on the trucking and agriculture industries.

In this struggling economy, the obvious solution would be to reduce regulations and tap into our own natural resources, which would strengthen our economy on many levels. But, for liberals, it is less about jobs and more about pleasing environmental constituencies. What is Obama’s grand plan to get America back on the road to energy independence? One million electric cars on the road by 2015.

Money is tight as we enter this holiday season, so few of us will wake up on Christmas morning to find a Chevy Volt, wrapped in a large green bow sitting in our driveway. But, that may be a good thing, considering recent incidences involving Volts or their chargers, catching fire. One such fire in North Carolina nearly burned a house down. On the up side, this could be the answer to many upside-down mortgages across the country - buy a Volt and plug her in.

The Volt was supposed to be the bright and shining symbol of the Obama administration’s green energy revolution, but instead has become a reminder of what happens when the federal government oversteps its Constitutional boundaries to meddle in private industry.

Like most ideas coming from the ideological left, electric cars are great in theory but fall short in application. For one, the people who need them most can’t afford them. Even with the $7500 (taxpayer-funded) federal rebate, thousands of unwanted Volts, priced from $32,000 to $57,000, remain parked on dealership lots across the country. Many more would be sitting on those lots, were it not for Obama’s buddy, General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt’s decision to purchase twelve thousand Volts. Immelt also joined Obama’s electric car revolution with the development of the GE WattStation electric vehicle charger.

The Volt, just like everything else the government produces, underperforms and is overpriced. (I cannot wait for Obamacare!) In an op-ed piece for the New York Times, automobile expert Edward Niedermeyer wrote the Volt “offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car.”

Niedermeyer claims the Obama administration knew from the get-go that the Volt would likely be a financial flop. Nonetheless, with pockets stuffed full of taxpayer funds, the administration merrily doled out Energy Department grants and loans, and in essence, chose for us the type of cars they believe we should drive. On a positive note, the electric vehicle industry might have the unintended consequence of creating more jobs as fire stations hire more firefighters to handle the increased workload.

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