• Feb 24th 2012 at 2:01PM
  • 58
"Nonsensical," "unrealistic" and "not reflective of current norms."

Those are just some of the words that Snopes uses to describe some of the "facts" that can be found in a spam email that is circulating about how absolutely awful the Chevrolet Volt is. Using a recent and flawed Fox News "review" of the Volt as a starting point, the email claims that the Volt costs 74 cents a mile to drive and takes 14.5 hours to go 270 miles. This is based on the crazy ideas that someone is paying $1.16 per kWh for their electricity and that you need to fill up the battery when you fill up the gas tank. Regular readers will note instantly that somethings fishy there, but chain emails don't exactly work on the educated, which is why Snopes does its debunking.

The email must be penetrating deeply into people's inboxes, since GM felt the need to put up its own demystification post on Chevrolet Voltage. There, GM's Rob Peterson writes, "Recently, there have been some numbers circulating online about the cost to drive the Volt that are flat wrong – either the person doesn't understand how the Volt works or they are paying roughly ten times the national average for electricity (in which case, they have other issues)."

GM may not have designed the Volt to be a political punching bag, but that's what the car has become, as the original email makes clear (again, using faulty logic): "So Obama wants us to pay 3 times as much for a car that costs more than 7 times as much to run and takes 3 times as long to drive across country. REALLY? No wonder GM is having trouble selling the Volt!"

REALLY? No, not really. GM is not selling as many Volts as the company publicly hoped for – and just restarted production after a two-month shut-down – but the reasons cited in the email are not in any way responsible.


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  • 58 Comments
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      The opposition in the US, to GM's Volt just gets weirder and more rabid all the time. From spurious stories about mysterious fire's "involving a Volt', that turn out to be utterly inaccurate, to insubstantial 'Safety ' investigations, equally overblown, there is a real fringe group of very loud GM Volt haters. Although the Fox channel has eclipsed most other ranting foolishness in sheer volume, (and offensiveness) the Volt was originally greeted with a good deal of old fashioned EV purists, and leftist critic's, who thought that GM Volt was green "heresy'. (And GM was always run by Satan). A positive, (if unintended' ), result of the Fox led madness, has led to a dying up of these criticisms, in the wake of the GM Volt becoming politicised, (extreme right or left ) ! When all the heat and fury of an election year fades away, hopefully GM Volt will be once again regarded as a well made, attractive automobile, with a lot of clever US technology, that will prove a major innovative evolutionary, step in EV development. The Volt will be seen in it's true light as a milestone in US industrial recovery, employing US workers, and earning valuable export income. (Oh, and reducing gasoline consumption) By then Fox and others will have moved on to some new, but equally silly controversy, and Voltec technology will be powering the latest Cadillac becoming the darling of flag-waving right-wing patriots. All forms of EV's will prosper under the 2016 election victory of President George Clooney and Vice-President Di Capprio's new US, "Looking good, but really, really ,serious Party" ! :)
        Spec
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        You are starting to get an understanding of our right-wing. Listen to Rick Santorum talk about birth control and Satan, listen to Newt talk about magic $2.50/gallon gas, listen to Mitt talk about trees of the 'right height' and your understanding will improve further.
          Spec
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          @sirvixisvexed Yes, there are some of those. They are called 'libertarians'. But they are a small slice of the right-wing in the USA. And even the supposed Libertarians are often really not Libertarians. Ron Paul seems to be the person most people know as a Libertarian and he is anti-choice (The Libertarian position is pro-choice.) Ron Paul also tries to dismantle the separation of church & state with his 'We the People Act'. That is amazingly anti-Libertarian.
          sirvixisvexed
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Spec, you can be an economically conservative Ayn Rand type and not have any ideals like the ones you just listed, and yet still be "right wing". If it was pre 1964 and all of the religious nuts were democrats again, would you still be with them? All you're doing is spouting hate, you might as well be saying "every time you see a black person commit a crime, your understanding of black people will improve".
      VoltOwner
      • 3 Years Ago
      With gas prices rising, the Volt is looking better and better! I have used less than 2 gallons since June 2011 and driven over 5000 miles (up to 40 miles) on clean domestically produced electricity, for less than a dollar a day. Smooth, quiet ride? Nice. Fantastic comfort and built-in cell phone? Very nice! Driving past gas stations (and waving at Pious drivers) ? Priceless! Being able to just keep driving on gas when the battery is finally exhausted, (at 40MPG) if I have to is a plus too.
      EZEE
      • 3 Years Ago
      Snopes rocks. Anytime anyone sends you one of those internet only stories - especially if they are too good to be true, check Snopes out first. They are usually on top of stuff...
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Something mentioned in the Detroit News story that's good to hear: GM said it has seen some "positive momentum" on Volt sales in February — as it puts distance behind the NHTSA investigation. Good to hear that. Here's a link to the Detroit News Story: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120223/AUTO0103/202230472/1361/GM-restarts-Chevrolet-Volt-production
      The Libertarian
      • 3 Years Ago
      >>> GM may not have designed the Volt to be a political punching bag Yeah, well, that's what happens when you screw your bondholders, take a $95 billion dollar welfare check and accept a big sloppy kiss from Obama in exchange for your union votes. You become political. I practically wet my pants laughing every time I see one of those GM commercials where they claim "We're not afraid of a little competition." I have news for them, the competition is over and the market spoke: You lost. Nobody wanted your products and you went bankrupt, remember?
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @The Libertarian
        Republican Loser, the Auto Industry was bailed out to STOP a MidWest DEPRESSION that could have dragged the whole country down with it. The Obama administration Restructured GM JUST LIKE a Bankruptcy. But, if you read the WSJ you knew that. Or do you just listen to the fat dumb drug addict. "For 2011, GM's profit jumped 62 percent to $7.6 billion. It was the company's first full year of operations since its initial public offering in the fall of 2010." GM Sales and Profits up. The MidWest Not in a Depression, the US Economy Recovering. Obama and the Democrats FIX another Republican F-Up.
      Santosh Kumar Pandey
      • 3 Years Ago
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      Santosh Kumar Pandey
      • 3 Years Ago
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      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nice to hear that production is going again. Whether its the constant barrage of Fox News slanders of the Volt (which is expensive and time consuming to do on Fox for something not newsworthy), the Republican slanders of the vehicle or other things like this moronic email - something obvious is happening here, the image of the Volt is being torn apart - by propaganda - to a big chunk of the market. This is a PR war against this vehicle (and EV's overall). I hope GM management has the chops to ride this out as the price of oil will overcome all this - but big oil does not want this car to succeed and is going all out with the tools at its disposal to tarnish the vehicle.
        KSMITHSPECTRUM
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        GM should give back the Blood Money they stole from the Seniors. Funny how the Senios got screwed and the Unions came out whole plus some. Can you say corruption.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM "GM should give back the Blood Money they stole from the Seniors" The current GM, the manufacturer of the Volt, stole no money from anyone! If you don't understand the legal principles of commercial bankruptcy, then you should take a couple of hours on google, and get back to us.!
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          Oh KSMITHSPECTRUM don't worry man - we'll actually be getting nearly all of the money back from GM, it was all in loans or stock which the government is selling when the price gets high enough (GM reported record earnings for last year). But i know what you mean, when George Bush bailed out the automakers back in 2008, that was just tough duty.
          Nick
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          KSMITHSPECTRUM Time to check yourself into soylent green.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          Please be careful about your medications.
        theflew
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        I agree... I can't believe Fox (Republican candidates) slander so much against an American car, built in America. Bailouts or no bailouts the hand has been dealt. Get behind an American product that the world actually likes. Would we be any better off with no Volt, the plant it's built at, and the plant the pack is assembled all closed? I'm sure there are several thousands of jobs related to the Volt.
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @theflew
          I think the Volt is the perfect example of Republicans showing that they do NOT stand for America, or American Economic Greatness. They're goal is only to run interference for whomever pays for their elections. And that would be the Presidents of Exxon, BP, Chevron and Wall Street's JPMorgan, Chase and Goldman Sachs. Republicans are not attempting to place the blame for rising gas prices on Obama, when the above mentions Presidents are the true parties responsible for rising gas prices. Pure Political and Economic BS to STOP any criticism of the oil and financial industries.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @theflew
          @Fordinsight Could you explain again why Chevron, with more than 75 billion invested in generating electricity, would want to suppress an electricity user?
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @theflew
          Excellent points theflew. Big Oil who is paying for the advertising and lobbying would be happier without the Volt (and based on GM's past actions it make me nervous to see the GM Execs under so much direct pressure - I'm sure they would be richly rewarded on Fox, by GOP etc. if they dropped the car and I'm sure that's been communicated to them) and its alot more than several thousand jobs regarding the Volt. I totally agree fordinsight. Funny on the GOP with regards to the blame... ;-) US oil production hasn't been this high since 2003 (or earlier) and we have more oil wells going than ever (both have risen every year since Obama was in office and he approved 2 previous tar sands pipelines from Canada in summer of 2009), but they'll still bang that tagline (cause if you say something often enough, even if its completely false, people who don't question that easy sounding nonsolution will believe it).
          Ford Future
          • 3 Years Ago
          @theflew
          Edit: Republicans are NOW attempting to place the blame...
      • 3 Years Ago
      I can't wait to see what kind of Volt comments people will come up with when gas is $5 per gallon.... MrEnergyczar
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      This Volt email is as accurate as GOP front-runner Rick Santorum's crazy rant about euthanasia in Holland. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/euthanasia-in-the-netherlands-rick-santorums-bogus-statistics/2012/02/21/gIQAJaRbSR_blog.html Why do people continue to listen to people who are proven liars?
      KSMITHSPECTRUM
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Volt is a product of a discrimitory government that had no problem stealing Elderly Retirement savings to pay their Unions and give the company to them. Maybe Volt needs to prove their claims that it is a good car first. And the Federal government needs to give back the stolen funds to the senior s. Then maybe I would listen to the lies being told at GM.
        Ford Future
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KSMITHSPECTRUM
        Retired people should worry about Real Wall Street Fraud, rather then waste their time making up lies. Retired people should worry about REAL Climate Change, Real World population growth of 6 Billion more people in 200 years, the Carbon Bubble we're living in, Peak Oil, Cancer from Fracking, Peak Water, and the US and World Drought. The control of our political process by a few insane billionaires, like the Koch Brothers. The pollution of our air waves by right wing crackpots that STEER the Elderly into Economic and Political Delusions, like KSmith's example above.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KSMITHSPECTRUM
        People, Please don't feed the Ksmithwhatever troll.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KSMITHSPECTRUM
        I hate discrimitory governments, especially ones that steal elderly retirement savings and then give companies to their employees. Fortunately that's not what's happened here in the US with GM. The US government money was in loans and stock (which the US government is selling when GM's stock price is high enough, they've sold a good chunk already) and with GM reporting record earnings for last year (phew) you can relax KSMITHSPECTRUM, we'll get nearly all that money back. Cool eh? Now with regards to the Unions at GM (unions now comprise 11% of the US workforce compared to ~50% about 50 years ago) the company hadn't funded their pensions (retirements) fully (by alot - sounds like stealing elderly retirement savings to me) - even though they are supposed to - and as part of the bankruptcy GM agreed to give them stock to cover that huge deficit for those folks pensions. I don't know what happened to GM's non union employees pensions, without a union to lobby for them I wouldn't be surprised if GM just tossed them all (as underfunded as they might be to the Pension Benefit and Guarantee agency or whatever its called) which is bad (but standard bankruptcy business practice in the US). Now normally in bankruptcy a company will plan on and throw the employees pensions to the Federal Pension Guarantee fund (i.e. transfer the private deb of their employees underfunded pensions to public debt) that you and I pay for and it often results in people who get the pensions not getting as much (sometime by alot) as they were promised (happened to my dad). This has happened to virtually all the airlines (with American Airlines being the most recent) and many other companies - and is something that should be outlawed (pensions should get full funding first during a bankruptcy before all other creditors in my opinion - only then if there isn't enough money should it be allowed to be tossed to the Feds step in). The GM bankruptcy avoided this transferring the old GM Union unpaid pension debt to the Federal government. And the federal government will get nearly all the money back from GM that it loaned it. while its been tough and the Unions took it in the teeth during the bankruptcy for many other things, it looks like it will all work out and we'll have a stronger auto industry to boot. I guess George Bush's call to bail that industry out turned out okay considering the alternative (no US auto industry other than foreign corporations - Ford testified that if GM and Chrysler were not bailed out, their suppliers, which they all share, would go bankrupt and then Ford would go down as well since they were just on the edge during that time).
        Chris M
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KSMITHSPECTRUM
        The Volt project started in 2006, long before the "auto bailout", it isn't a "government product". There was no "stealing", as others have pointed out, workers pensions were protected. Granted, some retirees had invested their retirement savings in GM stocks, and lost money when GM went through bankruptcy - but stocks have an inherent risk, they can lose value, and even become valueless if a company totally fails. Any reasonably knowledgeable investor knows that, some are willing to accept the risk in exchange for potential profits, others prefer less risky but less profitable investments. If you knowingly run the risk, gamble and loose, it's nobody's fault but your own.
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @KSMITHSPECTRUM
        KSMITHSPECTRUM 1) No money was stolen from retirement savings, that is a LIE. 2) Unions took a cut in 2008. They're less powerful now. 3) The Volt is an excellent car that saves money and reduces the trade deficit. What is there not to like about it?
      Lou Grinzo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I try to tell myself that idiotic efforts like the e-mail in question are so transparently stupid that they will only convince the kind of people who would never buy a Volt or even a plain old Prius in the first place. I'm not sure I actually believe that, which is why I'm glad to see things like this get thoroughly debunked and ridiculed.
        KSMITHSPECTRUM
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lou Grinzo
        When do you think consumer reports will provide the test. Like to see how a 40,000 car stacks up. Costs of operation and effectency. I'm planning a trip to Colorado and wonder what the gas economy will be on the drive. With that electric motor it should be sweet. I think it's about 1,220 miles in 2 days. about 600 miles a day.
          marcopolo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          @Sasparilla Fizz Nope, News Corp has no Arab Princes of any description, on the Board of Directors. An Arab Prince may feel a little uncomfortable along side real News Corp directors, such as News Corporation, James W. Breyer ,Joel I. Klein, Arthur M. Siskind, Stanley S. Shuman (Director Emeritus). The three branchs of the Murdoch family are the largest shareholder's. owning more than 46%, however these are all voting class shares, not ordinary shares. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, through his Kingdom Holding Company, owns 6.7% of News Corp.'s ordinary class shares. This is about the same level of interest as his stake in Citigroup, Twitter, AOL, Apple Inc., MCI Inc., Motorola etc. In none of these investments has he taken an active role in the business.
          MTN RANGER
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          I had a perfect test this last weekend, a long drive mostly on cruise control with climate on fan. I got 39.5MPC and 38.5 MPG at 70MPH/60F on level terrain. On the return trip, 37.2MPC and 38MPG, the temp dropped to 39F, heated seats on. Granted if I was doing 60 or 65MPH, my MPG would have probably been around 40-41.
          Chris M
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          Consumers Union (publisher of Consumers Reports) has already started testing the Chevy Volt, initial results were quite favorable. For long distance trips like the one you mentioned, a Plug-in Prius would get better fuel economy. It's electric only range is less than the Volt, but the fuel economy when running on gasoline is much better. Must be a glutton for punishment, driving 600 miles a day would be an endurance event!
          Sasparilla Fizz
          • 3 Years Ago
          @KSMITHSPECTRUM
          Fuel economy depends KSMITHSPECTRUM. For the first 40 miles or so after a charge you can drive electric (at basically $1.20 a gallon equivalent gasoline costs) then the gas engine switches on and the mileage will be in the high 30's or low 40's which is pretty good. And when you fill up with electricity (plug-in), besides being way cheaper than gasoline (so you have more money in your pocket) none of your money will go to Hugo Chavez or Saudi Arabia (like it does when you fill-up with gasoline) and your money won't go towards making the oil portion of the US trade deficit (oil is 50%) larger and you'll keep that money you spent here in the US close to home). Saudi Arabia is also where the Prince (of Saudi Arabia) that is on the board of directors for News Corp. (Fox News) comes from, he's the largest shareholder behind Rupert Murdoch and publicly boasts about affecting programming (its amazing, you can't make this stuff up). Its little wonder plug-ins and the Volt in particular are consistently attacked on that channel.
        Sasparilla Fizz
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Lou Grinzo
        Totally agree Lou. Based on the media reach of the folks waging an active war against this car in particular you can bet those lies reach alot more than just the folks who wouldn't get a Volt anyways. A car that doesn't send money to Hugo Chavez, or Saudi Arabia or increase our trade deficit (50% of which is oil imports) and keeps money close to home are actually very conservative benefits of plug-in cars and would appeal to alot of conservative leaning folks - but if the bug can be put in their head that the Volt is xxxxx before they ever see one, alot less will consider it....at least till the price of oil goes high enough. ;-)
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