‘Green’ cars can create different foreign dependency

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 11, 2009

For years, without success, efforts have been under way to try and create a national energy policy so as to relieve our nation of its dependence on foreign oil.

Now, the push is on to move from gasoline and diesel powered vehicles to those more green. These vehicles would be powered by a combination of enegry sources — battery, solar and internal combustion.

One, Chevrolet’s Volt, is even claimed to deliver 230 miles per gallon city in some early tests. Imagine, driving from New Orleans to Alexandria on less than a gallon of fuel!

Even with that good news, there are a coupkle of drawbacks to the Volt. First, Chevy’s only making 10 a week. Second, they are projected to cost $40,000 which, even with a $7,500 tax credit, is still a pretty hefty price. (No. 3 will follow)

There seems to be some mumbo-jumbo in the comoputation of the mileage — and least to the layman. You see, the battery gives you 40 miles per 10 hour charge and, if you drive further than 40 miles, you start burning gasoline.

According to an article on CNNMoney.com: “When gasoline is providing the power, the Volt might get as much as 50 mpg. But that mpg figure would not take into account that the car has already gone 40 miles with no gas at all.

“So let’s say the car is driven 50 miles in a day. For the first 40 miles, no gas is used and during the last 10 miles, 0.2 gallons are used. That’s the equivalent of 250 miles per gallon. But, if the driver continues on to 80 miles, total fuel economy would drop to about 100 mpg. And if the driver goes 300 miles, the fuel economy would be just 62.5 mpg.”

Third, since the Volt requires fuel to go beyond 40 miles and it has to be plugged in to the electrical grid to recharge, it’s not as “green” as it would seem.

There’s at least one or two more concerns about America’s rush to battery power we’ll address here. While it might actually help us alleviate our dependency on foreign oil, it simply switches it to a dependency on foreign-made batteries, as the very great majority of them are built oversees … and what do we do with these batteries when they start to wear out and need replacing?

Surely that is something the “greeners” have thought of, because it is certainly a problem we will face as the technology moves forward, the prices on these vehicles drop and they begin to hit the roads.

We simply need to think ahead, rather than be reactionary to the results created by our actions.