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At this point, it's no secret that the Chevy Volt and other plug-in vehicles are not going to come cheap. About the least pricey full-speed electric vehicle may very well be the Nissan Leaf, which after incentives may be in the $27-28,000 range before the extra cost of leasing the battery. While the operational costs of these cars should be substantially less than any internal combustion vehicle, customers rarely think that far ahead when signing up for a car loan. That's especially true when gas remains well under $3 a gallon here in the US.
Speaking at the Business of Plugging In Conference in Dearborn, Michigan this week, GM's VP of Global Program Management told the audience that incentives will need to be increased for plug-in vehicles to start gaining a real foothold in the US market.

Although GM won't announce pricing until its launch a year from now, most observers expect the Volt to run about $40,000. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, it will still be well over $30,000, which is very expensive for a compact car. Unless gas prices get significantly higher or incentives are increased, most buyers are unlikely to find this or other plug-ins to be a good economic proposition.

[Source: Detroit News]


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  • 35 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      We need significantly higher gas taxes. That's the only way to get people to a) realize the true cost of gasoline and b) change their consumption habits to reflect this.

      Every time gas goes up, sales of more fuel efficient vehicles skyrocket. And to the naysayers: there's no reason "efficient" and "fun" can't co-exists. Anyone remember when the EPA era began? And then the VW GTI was introduced? Necessity breeds innovation...and fun cars.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Paul - so what about people like me that take an extra two hours out of my day to take public transit to work, even with low gas prices, and treat my daily driver as a weekend car?

        I changed my consumption habits before buying something entertaining, sure the environment benefits too... but high gas prices isn't the only solution. Let's give everyone STIs!
        • 5 Years Ago
        folks don't seem to be seeing many more dollars in their pay. Nor do I see more in mine. I have been salary frozen, FAR below cost of living increases, for years now.

        Just to clarify a garbled sentence above...
        • 5 Years Ago
        You do understand where electricity comes from? Wake up. There are a lot of people in this world all consuming resources and it is not going to get less by getting rid of fuel.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Polly Prissy Pants

        "Then watch the free market react. If you demand a free market then you should demand paying the true cost for gasoline as well."

        Umm, having the government raise gas taxes to make you choose a more expensive/less beneficial option is not the free market.

        Gas prices, excluding taxes, DO reflect the true cost of the product, i.e. the cost of extracting it from the ground, transporting it, refining it and delivering it to the end user. All you other justifications are just social engineering. Want to reduce our trade deficit and the money going to Wahabi, terrorist supporting Saudis? Drill here in the US.

        Urban sprawl? Then move back into the city, and leave the rest of us to make our own free choices (at least while we are still allowed to do so).

        Pollution and health effects? How long is the average life span now, compared to, say, 1890, before we had the internal combusion engine in wide use?
        • 5 Years Ago
        I actually agree with you, to a certain extent. While I don't want to see gas taxes raised astronomically I would like to see the federal gas tax raised up to the level that diesel is currently taxed at, and stop subsidizing e85 ethanol as well. Not only will this motivate buyers to consider fuel efficient vehicles but diesel cars will finally have the opportunity tht they deserve here in America.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "We need significantly higher gas taxes"

        Yes we certainly do. The price of that gallon of gas should reflect ALL costs associated with delivering it to your local 7-Eleven. Pollution, including the health issues it causes. War in the Middle East, and the terrorism it breeds. The trade deficit and the damage that causes. Urban sprawl. All of it. Then watch the free market react. If you demand a free market then you should demand paying the true cost for gasoline as well.

        But nobody wants to give up the sweetheart deal they're getting today. "We can't afford it" and "That's Socialism" and all that noise. Call it a tax, call it paying for the actual cost, whatever, the bottom line is that $2.50 gallon of gas really cost all of us at least twice that much to acquire and once we start paying that at the pump the free market will undoubtedly take care of the rest.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree that Paul and Polly Prissy Pants need _their_ gasoline taxes raised.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am sorry, and I don't mean to insult you... but that is an idiotic, and horrifically short-sighted idea. You should return it to the source you got it from.

        Do you honestly think there is an endless supply of money in the average american's pocket, that they can just foot more bills at the gas pump, solely for the purpose of social engineering?

        People are losing jobs, and getting pay cuts, and the dollar is worth less every day. What exact value pool is going to pay these new taxes, AND get people to buy new cars?

        There is no free lunch, there is no money tree, and the government printing it as fast as the presses can go, just means that each dollar means that much less, while folks don't really seem to be seeing all that many more dollars in my pay.

        Government is not a vehicle for social engineering. That is called tyranny.

        If you want to pay more for gas, feel free to leave a big tip at the gas station, or send it to your local representative. Not all of us can afford that, nor should we have it seized from us.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I agree. we end up paying for GM's little pricing game.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Screw "getting out of gas powered vehicles"........
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'll never own a hybrid unless they sound like REAL engines, because I love the sound of power. I NEVER turn on the radio or listen to Cd's unless the passengers insist.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why should taxpayers have to provide incentives - GM you incentivize yourself! Take away the free "PEP" cars and free gas - take away the (still) way too many layers of matrix management and their 5 or 6 figure bonuses.

      Unfortunately once the government starts handing out money - just like welfare - everybody lines up. DISGUSTING.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "If it doesn't sell on it's merits, at a reasonable price, subsidize!"

      How about NO!

      How about the technology not being ready yet. How about the INFRASTRUCTURE not being ready yet.

      How about the energy accounting not working out in favor of electrics, and barely being acceptable for hybrids.

      How about not sticking your hand out for more of people's money... then expecting them to buy your product as well. Partial seizure of money, is still seizure via government.

      How about come back and talk when you have something ready for market that people will be willing to BUY, without a subsidy.

      This is turning into such utter stupidity, corruption, and covetousness. Coveting other people's money, that you didn't EARN by selling them something worthwhile.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm way ahead of you. In fact, we should take that to an extreme. Lets eliminate all local taxes that go towards local road projects. Lets get rid of all federal money that goes towards local roads. If you want to use a road, even the road in front of your house, then you should pay a toll, or perhaps a use tax based on your vehicles record keeping. Only those people that actually use roads should pay for them. Those that use them the most should pay the most.

        My point is that our whole automotive based society is already heavily subsidized in many direct and indirect ways, including not just taxes but through zoning and even the prices you pay at your local strip mall. If we made people pay for things directly, it might change a lot of expectations and attitudes toward transportation.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Come on, Riverblue.

        That is a red herring, and you KNOW it.

        Subsidizing individual products (certain cars) that businesses sell over other products (other cars) is IMMENSELY DIFFERENT than providing basic local infrastructure.

        Maybe if the bullcrap of stealing from Peter to pay Paul via government taxation would LOWER the tax burden, and people wouldn't MIND so much paying a reasonable, and rational amount for government to do ONLY what it is supposed to do. Nobody has asked for anarchy, and asking for SANITY is not akin to asking for lawlessness, or a complete lack of public infrastructure.

        Red herring arguments just make you look desperate, or on-the-take. How about some HONESTY in discussion of public policy for a change.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Do you think gasoline isn't subsidized?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gasoline is already taxed. It simply isn't taxed as highly as some other countries, like western europe, and other locations with higher costs.

        Gasoline is not heavily subsidized, otherwise, we wouldn't be talking about RE-RE-Taxing it.

        It makes no sense to subsidize gasoline, and then tax it again. They would just cut the subsidy.

        There are figures that show how much of a gallon of gas goes to taxation. Gasoline is regulated up the wazoo, which raises costs... Where are the figures that show a subsidy to lower gas prices at the pump?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Another GM clown trolling for tax payer dollars, and sucking up to Obama.

      Let the market place decide when or if we switch away from gasoline powered vehicles.

      More GM gimmie, gimmie gimmie from a guy that probably couldn't make it anywhere but at GM.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The Volt... is NOT, a compact car. It's quite big.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And, the price of a comparably equipped Prius (according to GM) costs $32K
        • 5 Years Ago
        The compact Volvo S40 goes for about $30k. I am sure something as unique as the Volt can fill a similar type of market niche at $30k.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It is a compact according to the EPA classification system.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A gas tax would be political suicide.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Unless gas prices get significantly higher or incentives are increased, most buyers are unlikely to find this or other plug-ins to be a good economic proposition."

      Right. That's the law of new technology and cars. That's why toyota sold the prius MkI at a loss, to establish it and build a market for profitable forthcoming models. That’s what companies do when they have money to R&D and plan past 2 years.

      You guys are spot on, it'll be a hard sell at 30k, not impossible, but hard. Maybe since this car isn’t GM’s magic silver bullet to save the company it can be sold at a loss to make it more palatable and begin opening the market for an MkII Volt. Since that seems to be how this sorta thing has been done successfully by most car makers to date.
      • 5 Years Ago
      If GM were to bring the Volt in at somewhere in the low to upper $30K range after all the $40K speculation, it would seem like a bargain..
      • 5 Years Ago
      The volt is $40,000. This $7500 rebate, where does that money come from? The sky? There is no free lunch. The taxpayers will pay $40,000 for each Volt sold - $32,500 from the tax payer who buys it, and $7500 from the taxpayer who doesn't. If incentive is the reason for the rebate, why not just give them away with a $40,000 rebate? Why stop at $7500?

        • 5 Years Ago
        they price it at 40,000 for a reason. That is so when no one buys one they can rebate it from the factory 5000. Its overprice like every gm vehicle. They build as many as they can, ignore demand, overprice it, then rebate the hell out of it so someone will buy it. Then a year from the day you buy it there is a used one at every used car lot in town for half the price you just paid a year ago for it. Make sense??????? Not really but quite a few buyers out there get sucked into the whole process. Dodge, chrylser, GM, Ford, all the same thinking and they wonder why there resale is so bad.

        Why should the govt help them out in the whole procees?????????????
      • 5 Years Ago
      You could start by ditching the creepy 70s porn 'stache.
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