• Apr 16, 2012
Bob Lutz is not going to take the attacks on electric cars lying down – the closest he'll come to that is doing push-ups on The Colbert Report. After spending a few of his Forbes' columns laying into right-wing pundits for their attacks on the Chevrolet Volt, he is switching to a positive message about how plug-in cars can help with American national security. It is not surprising that Lutz, a former Marine, co-authors the article with two former U.S. Marines commandants and the CEO of FedEx (the three are all members of Securing America's Future Energy's (SAFE) Energy Security Leadership Council). The gist? Well, here's part of the opening paragraph:

When ... threats exist because the United States is the protector of the world's global oil supply lines, it is a clear illustration of how our nation's over-reliance on a single, globally-priced fuel impacts our national and economic security.

American addiction to gasoline costs the government billions of dollars a year, $80 billion, in fact, to guard the sea lanes, including one little area by Iran:

From a national security perspective, the U.S. military is forced to protect the world's vital oil infrastructure. The single greatest chokepoint is the Strait of Hormuz, through which 17 million barrels of oil per day passed in 2011 – 20 percent of global supplies. Protection of the sea lanes of commerce has become an American burden and will remain so, costing the United States Treasury an estimated $80 billion per year while taxing our military, which is already engaged on multiple fronts.

It's arguments like this that have made the recent right-wing criticism of the Volt such a mystery. If we use less gasoline, we can spend fewer lives and less treasure importing the fuel (of course, we don't lose many lives at the Canadian border, which is where most of our imported oil comes from). The Army says that today's soldier uses an average of 22 gallons of gasoline a day.

Lutz and his co-authors are quite clear that high gas prices are hurting Americans' pocketbooks, "essentially" wiping out tax cuts that Presidents Bush and Obama put into place. That's why, they say, "government action is needed to mitigate the risks of oil dependence, because there is no free market for oil." This intervention contains both expanded domestic production and – surprise – plugging our light-duty transportation fleet in as much as possible and feeding our big trucks lots of natural gas. To that end, they write:

Regarding electrification, the beauty of plug-in hybrids and pure electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf is that they are powered by electricity, which can be generated from many sources: nuclear, coal, natural gas, and renewables. Best yet, these are all domestic energy sources, meaning OPEC won't be able to corner the market. And the retail price of electricity is far less volatile that the price of oil.

Hard to disagree with that. There's more at Forbes.


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  • 57 Comments
      Ford Future
      • 2 Years Ago
      LIberal's are the new true conservatives. Here's another example of the results of right wing mis-management of the economy. http://economistsview.typepad.com/economistsview/2012/04/the-us-has-the-highest-share-of-employees-in-low-wage-work.html The 1% is Incompetent.
        throwback
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ford Future
        Are you saying there are no liberals in the 1%?
          brotherkenny4
          • 2 Years Ago
          @throwback
          Greed has no ideology, whether the monster states that is does or not. Every word is calculated to manipulate , not educate. See where the money could possibly be and you understand the intent of the statement.
      sirvixisvexed
      • 2 Years Ago
      From the article: "(of course, we don't lose many lives at the Canadian border, which is where most of our imported oil comes from)" Just because it isn't MANY, it doesn't mean that the soldiers who we lost fighting the Mounties in North Dakota and Montana to ensure optimal oil flow don't deserve a proper recognition. I honor those on both sides. AMEN! EH MEN!
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sirvixisvexed
        ROFL!!! Thank you Sir Vix...I really needed that laugh.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sirvixisvexed
        So how many oil rig injuries/deaths were there? How many pollution related health problems in the Canadian plains have there been?
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm glad he is saying these things. This is an area where he can be useful . . . point out the economic security and national security case for the electric vehicles.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 2 Years Ago
      I saw Lutz and the former FedEx CEO on CNBC this morning - they were interviewed by the main host of the Squawk Box (show on before 9am EST) - anyways the main host (Joe Kernan) is a real tool of the Republican political machine and was immediately hitting Lutz and the FedEx CEO with the trumped up rhetoric he parroted from recent Republican political and Fox News attacks on the Volt. Lutz and the former FedEx CEO kept their cool (I was impressed as it had to be hard) and kept banging away at the facts and came up looking pretty good - it was hard for them to get any momentum with the CNBC host constantly throwing out red herring's often the same ones. Everything Lutz and Co. were saying was common sense and delivered well. Nice to see, game on Bob.
        GR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Sasparilla Fizz
        Thanks for the tip on the interview. Here's the link: http://www.cnbc.com/id/47062294
          Rob Mahrt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @GR
          In the middle, where the commentator continues to hit the $250,000 from the govt per Volt... why not just defend this as R&D, who the hell values an entire R&D budget after 1 year of production. In 1950 did anyone say, "Can you beleive the government is spending a million dollars to build this highway and only 10 cars drove on it the first day it was laid?!"
      Chris
      • 2 Years Ago
      As a pretty dedicated conservative, I have been dumbfounded at the attacks by the right regarding electrification. I have followed the Volt's development since shortly after the GM-Volt web site was established and counted down the days with anticipation. For the largly liberal audience here, please know that opposition to reliance on foreign oil is something we should ALL agree on. I have never understood why some don't
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      Anti-EV Repukes are traitors and should be thrown to the dogs as far as I'm concerned.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        When you use terms like "Repukes" then you already lost the argument.
        Nick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        marcopolo Thank you. Yes, I do not turn away when I am faced with a brain damaged anti-EV, anti- domestic energy moron. I fight him with fists, hammers, power-tools, or anything that can annihilate these scumbags. :)
        marcopolo
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        @ Nick It's good to see you haven't lost those quiet, tolerent, kindly principles...
          Edge
          • 2 Years Ago
          @marcopolo
          And this coming from a guy who had a personal war against another user on this blog, thinking the best policy was to hound him from thread to thread.
      harlanx6
      • 2 Years Ago
      Still don't want one, Bob.
      PR
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sock it to em, Bob!!
      Nick
      • 2 Years Ago
      20 Volts driven in EV mode 50% of the time, save enough gas money in 1 year to buy 1 Volt.
        Mark Schaffer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        Hmmm...Maybe Volt owners could donate a share of their savings to helping others kick the oil addiction?
          Nick
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Mark Schaffer
          You need to ask Volt owners about that.. It's even more striking with the Nissan Leaf because it's 100% electric, and can litterally save owners thousands every year (depending on where they get the power from).
      Tweaker
      • 2 Years Ago
      $80 billion is completely under estimated. We would not be in either Iraq1, Iraq 2, Libya or Afghanistan if not for oil (bin Laden hated us for our presence in Saudi Arabia, why were we there?). We would not have this 'War on Terror' if not for oil. Nor does it account for the effects of $400 billion/year leaving the country. And much, much more....
      Warren
      • 2 Years Ago
      Of course, EV's will have a tiny impact on these numbers for decades. These are really much better arguments for a 55 mph speed limit, mandatory gas rationing, nationalized, premium quality, bus service, bike lanes, car free cities, etc.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Warren
        Or maybe they could inspire you to go buy an EV?
          Warren
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Already have 3,000 miles on mine. A human/electric hybrid bicycle. Over twenty times more efficient than the best electric cars available. They are not the least bit serious about efficiency yet.
      goodoldgorr
      • 2 Years Ago
      Please follow his advises and add hydrogen too and the mad max movie with mel gibson will not happen in reality.
        Dave D
        • 2 Years Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Oh come on guys, don't vote gorr down for that one! He even mentioned the original Mad Max, the good one! It wasn't like he cited Thunderdome or something :-)
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