I have to hand it to General Motors and those Chevy Volt supporters who continue to come up with creative ways to espouse the virtues of the slow selling and heavily subsidized vehicle. They just won’t give up. The latest figures being presented in political fashion utilize large numbers that, on the surface, appear impressive. When analyzed, the figures give more insight into just how much taxpayer money is being wasted on green subsidies, particularly on electric vehicles (EVs). Sound the trumpets! According to Green Car Reports, the Chevy Volt has saved 17 million gallons of gas to date.
Now it’s time to break down what the numbers really represent. Let’s start with what it cost taxpayers to save the wealthy owners of President Obama’s favorite car 17 million gallons of fuel. The estimate for total cost to taxpayers to produce and subsidize the Volt is about $3 billion. That includes all initial grants for production along with ongoing federal and state subsidies. Congratulations America, you just bought 17 million gallons of gas at the price of $176 a gallon. Only extreme left-wing ideology and logic would consider that something to brag about. Unfortunately, Republicans on the right don’t seem too concerned with ending the waste either.
Even excluding grants and the state subsidies, the federal subsidies alone ($7,500 each for the approximate 50,000 Volts on the roads) amounts to $375 million or $22 per gallon of gas saved. This subsidy is ongoing and is not slated to stop until GM sells its 200,000th Volt. At the current pace we have about eight years and over $1 billion of federal subsidies to go.
Let’s look at the gas savings’ numbers another way to see what we are getting for our huge investment in the Volt. According to the US Energy Information Administration, America used roughly 400 billion gallons of gas in the three years that the Volt has saved 17 million gallons. We were able to reduce America’s gas consumption .004% at the cost of $3 billion. America uses 17 million gallons of gas in about one hour. $3 billion for one hour’s worth of gas. Only GM and our free-spending government would think that this was taxpayer money well-spent.
So when you see the next article bragging about how much Americans have “saved” with the Chevy Volt, you will be a little more informed than the masses that get the spin from politically influenced sources. GM continues to spew deceptive data on the Volt as taxpayers continue to foot the bill. A logical assessment of what we are spending to force the current generation of EVs on the public through subsidization that benefits only the wealthy purchasers of such vehicles can lead to only one conclusion. The $7,500 federal tax credit for EVs should be ended now.
Mark Modica is an NLPC Associate Fellow.