• Jan 11th 2010 at 10:03AM
  • 28
The 2010 Detroit Auto Show kicked off this morning with a positive little speech by United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood. Speaking about the coming electrification of the automobile, he said that "this is what the American people want." When asked how much money the government would pay over the next decade for a plug-in vehicle infrastructure, all he would say is that the costs would be shared between industry and government.

LaHood also praised the assistance that Obama gave to the domestic automakers, especially General Motors and Chrysler, calling it a lifeline that was very much needed. When LaHood visited Detroit last October, he spend half-days with each of the Big Three, and came away from GM with the impression that the Chevrolet "Volt is obviously the kind of green car Americans are looking for." So says the guy who works for the government that owns 60 percent of the company that will sell the Volt.

The new CAFE standards were a major achievement for the Obama Administration, especially since they came so early in the administration. LaHood said he doesn't expect any push back from the automakers on higher standards in the future, since they were present with Obama when he made the announcement and worked together on the details. That initial agreement also began what LaHood called a "special relationship" between the government and the auto industry, one that he promised would be "long lasting."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh wonderful(!). Now we have the Obama administration pushing the Volt (an administration I personally do NOT trust on ANY issue) and the government thinks it can 'push' buyers into either considering or purchasing the Volt? Ha! Not me, I promise you!!!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Every time I see anything about the Volt, it makes me think of all the tax dollars that are being pissed away to make a POS like that.

      Will anyone actually be stupid enough to buy a bloated little turd of a car like that?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yep, the $40,000 Prius, exactly what America has been clamoring for....
        • 5 Years Ago
        Its true! The Prius is a hatch. Americans love having less luggage space.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I love how Govt. Hacks always say "This is what the people want."

      It should be translated as,... "This is what you'll get because we know better than you do so sit down and shut up."

      ok rant over. sorry about that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "obviously the kind of green car Americans are looking for".....hard words to chew and the hype by GM is setting them up. Someone will buy it hopefully, however were there is a big push there could be a large failure. I wish them well, i really do but sorry if it was my money looking for a new vehicle i will save it and buy the good looking focus, support a company that isn't run by the government, and have relatively cheap maintenance. I don't have hatred for GM and actually like there products and wish them well HOWEVER i am like most America's and when i purchase a vehicle i want it for the most value for money now and in the future (not maintenance cost out the butt whole to "feel" green). Slightly less than unconfirmed price of 40,000 dollars, the volt is a technology marvel that the American public say they wanted however ill believe it when they put there money were there mouths are.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Obviously ???
      • 5 Years Ago

      Neither LaHood nor the Administration more broadly have shown any real interest in the easiest and most effective way to get off oil short to mid term as EVs inch down in price: alcohol fuel in fully flex fueled vehicles (the tech costs a measly $130 per car). Obama in the Senate was a co-sponsor of the Open Fuel Standards Act, a bill to mandate that most new gasoline cars sold in America be flex fueled, able to run equally easily on gasoline or any alcohol fuel (ethanol, methanol, propanol, butanol), and promised to support such a mandate in his presidential run. But that vital key promise was just one bullet point buried in a long laundry list of far less relevant and useful distractions, and has apparently been forgotten since.

      CAFE is a useless burden. CAFE caused an increase in average mileage from 13 MPG to 20 from 1976 to 1990. But being able to drive the same distance on less fuel did NOT result in lower fuel use; in the same timeframe gasoline use went up from 89 to 103 billion gallons. Population and economic growth swamp efficiency gains.

      Even if fuel use had gone down, OPEC can just cut production to match and spike the per-gallon price, making just as much money as before on reduced sales volume. Thus the extremism, terrorism, nuclear programs, etc. roll on utterly unimpeded regardless, as they always have.

      The key is NOT conservation or reducing fuel use, which is impossible, and useless even if it does happen.

      They key is fuel SUBSTITUTION; finding an affordable clean fuel that does not fund the crazies.


      A focus on EVs and PHEVs is vastly preferable to the prior Administration's focus on the Hydrogen Hoax, a convenient dead-end to divert all the post 9/11 anti-oil momentum. Indeed W.'s first term Energy Secretary is now a registered paid agent of the Saudis; would he have gotten that cushy job if he'd been pushing a real threat to oil?
        • 5 Years Ago
        You make a false equivalency. You don't know fuel use wouldn't have been even higher without CAFE.

        Also note the population of the US went up 11% in this time frame. This wipes out most of the fuel use increase. And none of this counts the increase in number of women in the household working.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Of course fuel use would have gone up even more had it not been for CAFE; that's not the point. It would also have gone up even more if half that 14 year span had not been in recession or stagflation (and indeed it hit 140 billion barrels by 2005).

        The point is that even at its best, CAFE is a strategy for failure. Driving somewhat more slowly toward the cliff is still going in the wrong direction.

        Now look at the explosion in oil demand. China just passed us as the world's biggest car market. Even if we reclaim the title as the recovery gains strength, it won't be for long. China had 8 cars per 1,000 residents in 2007 (compared to our 800), and that was a quadrupling over just a few years. India is building the Tata Nano etc. When people can afford to buy cars, they buy cars, and two new oil consumers the size of the US walking into the room is going to put huge upward pressure on the price of oil, and the budgets of the world's petro-tyrannies and terrorist funders.

        We can't afford another 15 years of timid dithering half measures and congratulating ourselves on inching up MPGs. We need to GET OFF OIL ASAP without destroying our economy. The way to do that in the short to mid term is alcohol.
      • 5 Years Ago
      When has government , no matter who the leader is, said anything that is halfway believable. I don't remember one instance. This is the classic case of them hyping up something that are very, very, invested in. What else is he going to say after the money that was pumped into them? He's going to say, "this car sucks?", " American's will never buy this crap?" He's doing his job, which right now is being a salesman.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Most of us, I gather, would be willing to give the Volt a shot. . .but the talk of it being a "peoples car" forged with the synchronous might of industry and government is frankly a little unsettling.

      And, as mentioned above, it DOES look like a $40k Dodge Stratus.
      • 5 Years Ago
      No one wants this Car or Electric cars in general

      Drill Here Drill NOW!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'll take an electric car if they mate a manual transmission to it, too bad those damn engines create max torque at a low rpm though, thus requiring like 2 gears.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Talk about putting the cart before the horse. The car isn't even out yet!
        • 5 Years Ago
        You look for something until eventually you find it. How is that "cart before the horse"?
      • 5 Years Ago
      How does he know it is the kind of green car Americans are looking for? Has there ever been a survey to find out if it is so?
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