Thursday, June 23, 2011

Obama Blunders on Batteries Badly

Obama Blunders on Batteries Badly
By Bob Beauprez

One of Barack Obama's favorite fantasies is that Americans will soon abandon their SUVs and pick-ups in favor of battery operated cars. Implementing energy policies to "boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe" is part of his overall plan to force us to go green.

The supposed upside is the standard line of worshippers of the green god – reduced greenhouse gas emissions and a cleaner environment.

But, like so much of the hope-and-change agenda, the electric car idea isn't off to a very good start, and new research finds it may not be so green after all either.

Obama hasn't been shy about pitching plug-in technology, even dedicating part of his State of the Union address to a prediction of a million battery cars on the road by 2015.

And, he's put your tax dollars behind making his prediction come true, too, with $240 million in grants to General Motors for the Volt in addition to the $50 billion bailout (takeover), not to mention another $150 million to the Korean manufacturer of the batteries.

After all of that we're left with "a vehicle that costs $41,000 but offers the performance and interior space of a $15,000 economy car" as one industry analyst put it. So, Obama threw in another $1.5 billion in subsidies to buy down the price of each car.

In the March issue of A Line of Sight we documented that sales of the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf were happening by the dozens per month rather than the tens of thousands some had predicted.

Consumers are hard pressed to warm to a $41,000 four seat compact that needs to be plugged in every 30 miles to recharge the battery. Even the $7,500 taxpayer subsidy can't pump up sales.

While the urge to be the first early adopter on the block will spur a few sales, even the liberal says the Volt is "a rich man's ride," not the working man's transportation solution of Obama's dreams.

Now, it looks like electricity rates – the plug-in fuel source – is about to go up dramatically.

The Chicago Tribune reports that new regulations being implemented by the Obama Administration are forcing the closure of large numbers of power plants across the nation.

As new plants are opened or existing ones converted to a more expensive fuel source, the higher costs will be passed on to consumers in their electricity bills. The Tribune says the Illinois Power Authority "estimates that by 2017 the energy portion of bills could jump by 65% from today's rates."

That kind of price spike will cause one to pause before recharging the battery.

Just as his policies are an intentional effort to drive up the cost of fossil fuels, he intentionally set out to drive up the cost of electricity to consumers, as well.

Candidate Obama in 2008 said, "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

Obama also made known his animosity for coal, the least expensive fuel source for power plants, saying his plan "will bankrupt" anyone who even thinks about operating a coal fired plant.

His cap-and-trade legislation failed to pass a vote of Congress, but that hasn't stopped Obama. Through the EPA, he is implementing the new regulations by executive fiat.

Then there is a just released study conducted by the British Government (who is also heavily subsidizing battery technology) and the car industry that blows apart the claim that battery cars lower greenhouse emissions.

"Electric cars could produce higher emissions over their lifetimes than petrol (gas) equivalents because of the energy consumed in making their batteries," according to the analysis.

The study found that a battery car would need to be driven over 80,000 miles just to break even with total emissions produced by a gas powered car. While driving of the electric car produces less emissions, the problem is that emissions produced in "manufacturing electric cars are at least 50 percent higher because batteries are made from materials such as lithium, copper and refined silicon, which require much energy to be processed."

If the need for a second battery replacement is factored into the equation, as well as the disposal of old batteries, total emissions far more than double for a plug-in electric car.

The President and his Central Planners have a big grudge against traditional energy – oil, natural gas, and coal.

They also drank full of the green Kool-Aid and are committed to forcing America to transform to alternative energy sources. The problem is we get stuck with the bill and will end up with a whole new – and maybe even worse – set of problems.

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