GM and Chrysler may have gotten government help totaling almost $40 billion, but that money does not come with strings attached demanding that the two companies build electric or high-mpg cars. Government task force head Ron Bloom told Reuters that, "We obviously would be very happy if Chrysler and GM were making lots and lots of high mileage cars. It's not a prerequisite. It's not an obligation."
While the U.S. as a whole would benefit if the cars on the road were more efficient, the government's stance is understandably self-serving. The market for EVs isn't that big, and if the U.S. wants the loan money returned, they need GM and Chrysler to build vehicles they can sell. Another reason is that the government doesn't want to get involved in making specific business decisions, and is deferring to the management teams at both companies on these issues. Chrysler's team has decided to disband its ENVI group while GM keeps moving forward with the Volt program. One way the government can get cleaner cars to the market is to raise CAFE standards, which they did earlier this year.