Jan 30

California Air Resources Board passes ‘historic’ emissions mandates

 

And now, the state that once legislatively fostered General Motors’ EV1 electric car – that was prematurely “killed” and now witnessing “revenge” by the Chevy Volt – has ratcheted up its strictest-of-all emissions laws yet again.

In a unanimous ruling Friday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) approved standards for combustion-powered vehicles beginning in 2015 through 2025. In the same pen stroke, it required from 2018-onward a ramping up of zero- or very low-emission vehicles with the goal that by 2025 they comprise 15.4 percent of all vehicles sold – up from less than 1 percent today.

Described as a “historic” decision by board Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols, California’s vision for its “advanced clean car rules” actually extends 38 years into the future, and is intended to complement if not amplify pending federal emissions and mpg rules being set by the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.


Blue skies ahead for cars that stand to wean society off of oil.

Although California has been known to modify such dictates on the fly to keep expectations within reason, the board estimates annual “clean car” sales will increase to approximately 1.4 million in state by 2025. Of these, 500,000 would be battery-electric or fuel-cell vehicles, with the balance being plug-in vehicles that qualify as transitional zero-emission vehicles.

Taking effect sooner is the mandate to slash emissions from gasoline and diesel automobiles, SUVs, minivans and pickups. Effective from 2015-onward are to be incremental cuts in smog-forming emissions leading to 75-percent reduction by 2025 and for this same period, decreasing of CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent.

“Today’s vote to adopt the package of clean-cars standards represents a new chapter in California and the nation,” said Nichols.

Nichols said “the nation” because California swings an especially big stick, and knows it. Its emissions standards have in past years been mirrored by Washington, Oregon, Arizona, New Mexico, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York.

Thus far, 10 of these states including New York and New Jersey have said they intend to adopt the latest California standards, and these would reportedly mean that state mandates will call for more than 3 million “clean cars” by 2025.

In previous years California’s emissions guidelines have effectively created a second set of standards alongside federal emissions guidelines.

This time around, California’s regulators collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 13 automakers, and other stakeholders so when federal CAFE rules pass later this year, they will match to create one national emissions standard.

Although California’s new rules are not without critics, opposition appears to be less than it has been for its previous environmental mandates.


Pending 2013 Spark EV.

Some automakers expressed concerns, while most have said they will go along, and for their part, General Motors and Chrysler could not directly oppose if they wanted to.

As a condition of federally assisted bankruptcy restructuring, GM and Chrysler agreed to not sue California to block any new rules. So even though they do have some concerns, they will air them via other channels – like through third-party advocacy organizations, among others.

CARB’s emissions rules differ from federal rules in that CAFE stipulates emissions plus fuel efficiency at “54.5 mpg” which winds up being in the low 40s on the sticker.

Note California’s tighter guidelines include not just gas and diesel cars, but also larger vehicles including pickups and SUVs. Although these rules pertain to emissions, they will also effectively speak to vehicles’ mpg.

Fact is, a large part of engineering tweaks to decrease emissions involves increasing mpg.

Over the weekend we were not able to get commentary on whether CARB rules may or may not create a narrower mpg hoop for light-duty trucks to jump through compared to pending federal CAFE mpg rules which also set limits on trucks.

What is more clear is motivation behind what critics might describe as activist regulators in California – who are also sympathetic with sensibilities held by European regulators and those in the Obama administration – is all about reducing oil usage.

“The steady drumbeat of the need to get off the dependence on petroleum is really what is driving this,” said Nichols. “It’s taken longer than we’ve hoped.”

CARB’s 9-to-0 vote in favor of stricter mandates has heartened its members that they are using their position to leverage broad policy ramifications.

The program actually goes beyond federal goals that look to 2025, and projects all the way to 2050. CARB’s actions on Friday thus ambitiously set the foundation for a goal to see 87 percent of the state’s new vehicles propelled by electricity, hydrogen fuel cells or other clean technologies by mid century.


Ford Focus Electric.

“This regulation is planned over a 40-year horizon, and that is extremely unusual,” said board spokesman David Clegern. “But it gives us time to put the pieces in place with no surprises. The individual companies can plan for changes and develop the technology, and over the long haul, it will shift us away from reliance on petroleum.”

So if California gets its way, it has effectively given notice to OPEC and other foreign oil producers that the day is coming when their products will no longer be required.

Thus while CARB is “green” legislation, it is also targeting energy independence. This therefore means people who focus on curtailing global warming and people who focus on national energy security are actually kissing cousins, whether they see eye-to-eye on the details or not.

But political sentiment leading to potential sweeping reforms cannot escape scrutiny from those who say government is overstepping it bounds toward what are also marketing and engineering decisions to be made by corporations trying to succeed.

Among critics is the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee headed by Republican U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, who last week headed a House subcommittee inquiry into alleged improprieties surrounding the Volt.

Issa has launched an investigation into CARB’s new rules and contends that because it worked closely with the Obama administration, CARB has effectively been setting fuel economy standards in violation of federal law.

“Your refusal to subject yourself and your office to congressional scrutiny is emblematic of the core concern that many in Congress share … that CARB, as a state actor, is unresponsive to congressional concerns and unappreciative of congressional priorities,” Issa wrote.

Nichols has countered by citing a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding California’s right to regulate greenhouse emissions.


Cadillac ELR.

Issa gave the board until Nov. 23 to answer specific questions and provide documents, thus the inquiry’s outcome is to be determined.

More certain is that CARB’s requirements will jack up car prices just like CAFE will. In question is by how much, and will manufacturers be left with unsalable vehicles?

Foreseeing this objection, the California air board predicted technologies needed to meet its new standards will add $1,400-$1,900 to the price of a new car in 2025. But this will more than pay for itself, CARB said, by being offset by $5,900 in estimated fuel savings over the life of the vehicle.

Hence CARB effectively says it is benevolently imposing top-down policies that will bring more choices to the public that are both sustainable yet cost-effective.

“The fact that we are going to change what consumers can buy is one of the most important things we can do,” said board member Ken Yeager.

But on these assertions also, it’s unlikely everyone will agree. We recently saw similar cost/benefit justifications refuted at a federal CAFE hearing by the National Auto Dealers Association.

The NADA’s Don Chambers, chairman of its government relations committee, contradicted U.S. EPA assertions that a 2025 vehicle would cost $2,023 more, but save $6,600 in fuel costs over its lifetime – a statement close to what California is making.

Chambers cited an NADA study showing CAFE will raise average prices by up to $5,000 per vehicle, so do not be surprised if we hear higher estimates for California’s proposal as well.

And what ever cost/benefit scenarios prove to be, some in the auto industry say they are doubtful they will be able to adequately sell ultra-clean vehicles if made at the government’s behest.

“Automakers are mandated to build products that consumers are not mandated to buy,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokeswoman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Chrysler Group, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. “If the electric vehicle infrastructure is not in place, consumers may be reluctant to buy these technologies.”


Nissan Leaf.

Further, Jack Nerad, a market analyst for Kelly Blue Book, predicted “the added expense and lesser versatility of the ‘environmental’ vehicles” will continue to make them less desirable.

Automakers may be required to lose money in order to sell clean cars, Nerad said, and “buyers of conventional cars will pick up the remainder of the tab.”

But overall, automakers – including GM, Ford and Chrysler – have spoken in qualified terms in favor of CARB’s rules, as have others, including Toyota.

“Yes, the cars will be lighter, compact, far more fuel efficient,” said Toyota spokesman Michael Dobrin, “That’s what the mandate will be. It’s not enforced by the government but really by the economics of the future.”

And as one would expect, environmental advocacy groups have largely applauded the CARB rules, saying they are feasible and necessary. Some even note a weakness that could give automakers an easy way around the guidelines.

One concerning clause stipulates earlier years, credits will be granted to automakers who reduce their fleets’ greenhouse emissions more than required. These credits would then reduce the required number of electric, fuel cell and plug-in hybrids the companies otherwise might have had to offer in California.

Plug In America’s Legislative Director, Jay Friedland, said this clause is “a loophole you can drive a truck through” and will therefore undermine the goal of 15 percent ultra-clean cars sold in California by 2025.

So while CARB’s rules are touted as a big step forward for advocates, as always, time will tell how they play out, whether opposition will prevail, or if standards will be “watered down” as 1990s mandates were said to have been.

Regarding hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for which California also intends to pave the way, oil companies will be required to install hydrogen pumps at existing gasoline stations no later than when a certain minimum of FCVs is reached. The air board estimates each pump could cost $1-2 million.

Affected oil companies include BP Plc, Chevron Corp., Tesoro Corp., ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp.

CARB board member Hector De La Torr said he’d prefer to see voluntary hydrogen pump installations sooner rather than when absolutely required.

“I hope the oil industry will get on board rather than dragging its feet,” La Torr said.

Oil industry representatives however said CARB may yet find itself having to defend itself in court, according to Businessweek, citing this assertion from Cathy Reheis-Boyd, president of the Western States Petroleum Association, a trade group with some members that would have to comply.

“We strongly oppose the clean fuels outlet requirement,” Reheis-Boyd told the board Friday.

 

As for automakers, clean car rules starting in 2018 apply to the six largest, all from the U.S. and Japan. Mandates will in time apply to the top 12, including German and Korean automakers.

Failure to meet regulations could be dealt with by fines, and as an extreme measure, California holds out the right to set sales limits for automakers who do not comply.

HybridCars, LATimes.

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This entry was posted on Monday, January 30th, 2012 at 5:55 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 61


  1. 1
    Eco_Turbo

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (6:07 am)

    So much for regulations. Once the public gets their head around electric drive, they’ll demand that all cars have it.


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    James McQuaid

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (6:26 am)

    This is good news. The 9 to 0 vote is also very encouraging. Congressman Issa has no authority to scrutinize the CARB for any reason. He stinks of treason.


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    nasaman

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (6:27 am)

    I sometimes hastily skim a lead-in article in my haste to see what other bloggers have said….. but
    let me suggest that today’s topic is so important, engrossing and timely as to justify careful reading.


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    Jason M. Hendler

     

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (7:43 am)

    It looks as though the automakers and CARB learned from their previous mistakes, as documented in “Who Killed The Electric Car”. Automakers aren’t boasting about what they do, and CARB isn’t blindly following them. Today, CARB has allowed GM a full year of EREV sales, allowing GM the time to prove the viability of their configuration, and the market’s willingness to buy it, before passing legislation mandating the sale of such vehicles.

    I still don’t agree mandates are the right policy, as it violates property rights (government shouldn’t set wages, prices or product mix). They should keep channeling money into lowering the prices of the vehicles. I believe unit costs of vehicles will be much higher than the $1,900 max CARB estimates – I bet it will be a good $5K – $6K for a vehicle with equivalent utility and performance, if not more.

    I will be surprised if the hydrogen pump mandate holds up in court, again, property rights (government shouldn’t tell business what to sell, or the mix of products – either it’s legal to sell or not, but it’s not illegal to not offer it).

    Does any of this cover commercial vehicles? When are those going to be improved? There are so many companies offering technologies for these vehicles – hydraulic hybridization, battery hybridization, PHEV and FCV – that it is not unreasonable to start pushing the upgrading or replacement of current fleets.


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    Mark Z

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (8:07 am)

    So much has changed since the early EV-1 years. You can BUY an EV or E-Rev and plug it into a standard wall socket. Range anxiety is history with Volt and Karma. Tesla’s 300 mile Model S provides range confidence for the daily commute. Public and private charge stations are being installed daily and HOV lanes in California encourage the purchase of clean transportation.

    There will always be opposition to more government regulations, so stand by for the news media to have a field day with this. The golden EIB microphone may melt from the blast of hot air on this subject!


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    Roy_H

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (8:35 am)

    As a condition of federally assisted bankruptcy restructuring, GM and Chrysler agreed to not sue California to block any new rules. So even though they do have some concerns, they will air them via other channels – like through third-party advocacy organizations, among others.

    It was GM and Exxon Mobile who brought the suit against CARB and got their mandate overruled. GM will welcome this ruling this time around as they want to promote EVs. But the oil companies will fight it (probably via Darrell Issa).

    The oil companies want the government to pay for hydrogen pumps, but it is they who will profit from these pumps and are well able to pay for them. They do not need public funding. As batteries get better, the case for hydrogen fueling gets weaker. Hydrogen will always cost much more than electricity, so the consumer has to decide if the extra price and extra time of charging at a hydrogen station is better than plugging in at home. Well to be fair, this really only applies to longer trips, so the consumer has to decide if the extra charge is worth shorter stops for re-fueling.

    My prediction is that the hydrogen economy will fail, and any government money spent on it will prove to be a bad investment.


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    ronr64

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (8:38 am)

    I feel so free…

    I know I speak to the wrong crowd here but I for one will not applaud yet another government mandate telling private manufacturers what they must build – regardless if there is a market or not, telling private service station owners what they must install – even if there is no customer base and at a great cost and finally telling private consumers what they must buy or pay more for the alternative to subsidize those who do buy the “preferred” vehicle.

    I love the technology of electric vehicles and I think the Volt is best piece of engineering to come out of Detroit – ever, but I am vehemently opposed to the destruction of freedom that these government mandates represent. If this was it I suppose I could tolerate it but it seems it merely paves the way for more and more. Think SOPA and PIPA just to name one example.

    I am guessing most on this site, and I include myself in this statement, consider these vehicles (Volt, Leaf, Tesla, Fisker etc.) to be superior to the current gas only vehicles. Am I right? Then we don’t need govt mandates pushing them onto people. It may take longer at first but without a backlash, acceptance will come quicker. No one forced you to put a microwave oven in your home did they? Imagine the resistance and the wacky claims about radiation if the govt mandated microwaves as an energy saver over stoves and ovens!


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    Jim in NJ

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (8:54 am)

    ronr64 “I for one will not applaud yet another government mandate” ,

    ronr64, I totally agree. Mandates like CARB are such a disaster because they impede the free market and cause many more unintended consequences than problems that they solve.

    CARB and CAFE mandates are, like Bob Lutz said, trying to solve obesity by making smaller clothes and changing the size labels. In the end, for clothes and cars, people are just going to buy the size that fits.

    Getting rid of all energy subsidies would help boost electric car sales. And if California were really serious about moving people to alternative fuels, all they have to do is phase in a net-zero gas tax, which would allow the free market to decide winners and losers:

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/015/949rsrgi.asp


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    Loboc

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (8:58 am)

    Where is the tax increase on gasoline in this mix? Make oil cost- prohibitive and all of these goals become price driven.


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    nasaman

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (9:13 am)

    ronr64: I feel so free…

    I know I speak to the wrong crowd here but I for one will not applaud yet another government mandate telling private manufacturers what they must build…

    Freedom, free enterprise & capitalism are the very fabric of democracy. Yet none of these is perfect.

    Thus freedom without reasonable constraints like laws & law enforcement —mandated & operated by government— results in excessive crime in any society. Witness democracy in its infancy in Iraq, where crime is still out of control. The same is true for free enterprise/capitalism, where inadequate regulation of banking has brought the economies of the entire world’s nations to their knees!

    And more to your point, simply step off a plane in Los Angeles, Mexico City or Beijing (as I’ve done recently) and you’ll immediately be repulsed by the very air you’re forced to breathe. Although residents of smog-laden cities become less & less aware over time of the smog’s intensity, their cancer deaths, COPD and emphysema are significantly higher than their countrymen living in the smog-free countrysides suffer from. Government-mandated air quality controls are needed in high-smog areas to minimize death and disease caused by severe breathing disorders —which would run rampant if no air quality controls/enforcement existed.


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (9:22 am)

    I just have a real problem with CARB or any other gov’t. agency dictating their own standards. I thought Obama had fought hard (and won) the ability to have one, single standard for the Automakers to follow when it came to efficiency? And wasn’t CARB involved with that standard when it was settled upon?

    So why are they beating their drums again? I value EV’s as much as anyone here, but it’s time they stand on their own. If that means minimal sales for a time, than so be it. The price of EV’s needs to come down and people should see in time, on their own, that it is better way to make a car.

    Just my opinion.


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    kdawg

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (9:39 am)

    Loboc: Where is the tax increase on gasoline in this mix? Make oil cost- prohibitive and all of these goals become price driven.

    That’s basically my reaction to CARB & CAFE. If you want people to use less gas, just make it more expensive. Everything else will happen on its own.


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    flmark

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (10:21 am)

    ronr64: “Then we don’t need govt mandates pushing them onto people.”

    How many people would PURCHASE a catalytic converter if it were optional equipment?

    Nope, unchecked capitalism is not the answer to every problem.


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (10:22 am)

    A pure free market ideology, like that expressed by ron64, would have obstructed the progress we’ve seen in the last century, things like roads, bridges, public utilities, environmental cleanup, national parks and public lands, protection of species, food and product safety standards, etc., and there’s every reason to believe that the middle class would have never formed at all. A government can accomplish things that no profit-oriented free market entrepreneur can. I strongly oppose this re-energized free market idealism (really the ideological engine powering the “tea party”) that’s very demonstrably false, and also led to near global economic collapse just a few years ago. The irony is that the right, rather than admitting that its policies of deregulation directly led to this near catastrophe, has taken on the “sucker is born every minute” chutzpah to spin it the opposite way, suggesting that the real problem wasn’t the free market at all but rather the market wasn’t free enough! The sickening thing is that so many people actually buy into it. IMO, it’s for the most part a fiction created by the same power brokers who are really just looking out for their own interests, and will say anything they often don’t really believe (like oppose abortion or gay marriage, or question a birth certificate) just to line up a power base. We live in a country where 400 people, yes just 400, now control more than 50% of the national wealth. Just think about that, 400 on one side, a few hundred million on the other side, and the 400 actually have more. And you can be quite sure that’s exactly how most of them like it and do what they can to keep it that way.

    Good book laying it all out:
    http://www.amazon.com/Pity-Billionaire-Hard-Times-Unlikely-Comeback/dp/0805093699

    One of many references on the “400″ statistic:
    http://www.good.is/post/the-400-richest-americans-are-now-richer-than-the-bottom-50-percent-combined/


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    Nelson

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (10:26 am)

    Roy_H: As batteries get better, the case for hydrogen fueling gets weaker. Hydrogen will always cost much more than electricity, so the consumer has to decide if the extra price and extra time of charging at a hydrogen station is better than plugging in at home.

    I see the manufacturing of hydrogen for use in fuel cells as a form of electricity storing. I’ve read wind turbines in the Midwest, are shut down at night because they generate too much electricity that’s not used and can overload the grid. If they take all that surplus electricity created by wind and use it to make hydrogen then you’ve essentially stored that surplus electricity for latter use in fuel cell cars.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    nasaman

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (10:26 am)

    Great News: Automotive News reports that 10 additional states (Connecticut, Oregon, New Mexico, Maryland, Rhode Island, Maine, Vermont, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York) can also be expected to adopt these updated CARB standards.

    Video at: http://www.autonews.com/article/20120130/VIDEO/301309826/1439Automotive


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    steve

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (10:44 am)

    ronr64,

    Every one gets told by the goverment what they can or cannot do what makes you think corporations should be any different


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    Loboc

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (10:55 am)

    Schmeltz: The price of EV’s needs to come down

    The relative price between an ICE and EV needs to be normalized. The easiest way to do this is to make gasoline expensive. Probably though taxation. (Or subsidize EVs.)

    Government doesn’t have the cajones to dictate oil pricing. It is much easier, politically, to mandate changes to manufacturing than to do the sensible action of taxing either imported oil or gasoline.

    The problem is that increasing taxes is political death. Increasing costs to manufacturing is relatively safe politically. Any kind of subsidy is seen today as a political football as well. Since Big Oil basically owns government, oil (in some form) will be the mainstay for years to come. Unfortunately.

    What we really need is an Energy plan for the next 5, 10, and 20 years with goals. Very difficult to do when the head honcho changes every 4 years. The Chinese will probably lead the way since we are in political gridlock.

    The other thing we need is high-performance EVs. As long as an ICE can easily blow away an EV in day-to-day driving, they won’t sell. It’s possible today to jack Volt’s torque to 400lbft for short bursts. GM won’t do this because they are using Volt as a green halo instead of doing what they do best. Make SS cars.


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    Nelson

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (11:02 am)

    ronr64: I know I speak to the wrong crowd here but I for one will not applaud yet another government mandate telling private manufacturers what they must build – regardless if there is a market or not, telling private service station owners what they must install – even if there is no customer base and at a great cost and finally telling private consumers what they must buy or pay more for the alternative to subsidize those who do buy the “preferred” vehicle.

    Government mandates are not intended to harm us. In fact most mandates protect the public from dangerous products that manufactures would use regardless of harm causing effects. Since the early 20s lead was blended with gasoline to boost octane levels but with the discovery of the extent of environmental and health damage caused by the lead, the government mandated the use of lead-free gas in the 70s. Why did the United States banned the use of CFCs in the late 70s, such as Freon in aerosol cans, and began a series of regulatory actions against their use? I don’t think the intention was to put DuPont out of business. I can’t think of one mandate that was not conceived with the public’s best interest in mind.

    NPNS!
    Volt#671


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    BLIND GUY

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (11:07 am)

    Our kids and grandkids will thank us. No matter what your reason is for getting off oil for fuel; it’s all good and needs to happen ASAP. With the help of Federal projects; it will grow more jobs in Clean Energy and make it attractive for the market quicker. Hydrogen should continue to take a back seat to Natural gas for the near future and NG needs to be used in more commercial trucks; like more and more city buses are being updated.


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    Steve

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (11:20 am)

    I have my doubts that CARB really understands the engineering, etc. required to meet their regulations they are setting for 2025-2050.

    I also somewhat resent the other side of Continentnt apparently having so much more influence on regulations that also impact me.

    I think the supreme court isn’t entirely correct in this matter.


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    CorvetteGuy

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (11:25 am)

    Upside: CARB helps pave the way for EREV cars… Yay!
    Downside: What remains of California manufacturing will move out of state due to choking restrictions… Boo!

    Result: If you still have a good job in CA you can probably afford a VOLT or ELR.


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (11:50 am)

    Loboc: Government doesn’t have the cajones to dictate oil pricing. It is much easier, politically, to mandate changes to manufacturing than to do the sensible action of taxing either imported oil or gasoline.

    #18

    That’s exactly right. +1

    I can totally buy into the idea of raising the price of gas, to say European levels, to force this from the other direction, but it’s not gonna happen. So the CARB approach is the only way to make progress. I applaud CARB for its great political courage. Mary Nichols is an amazing woman for sure.


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (11:59 am)

    CorvetteGuy: Downside: What remains of California manufacturing will move out of state due to choking restrictions… Boo!

    22

    I don’t think so. Contrary to such urban legend, the Los Angeles area remains one of the largest manufacturing centers in the U.S. And with a population of 14 million + it is bound to remain so in IMHO

    I spent a LOT of money last year to upgrade my tiny “manufacturing” operation in the face of all of the dreaded regulations and alphabet agencies which we have to navigate, not to mention the Bush “great recession”. I have lived in SoCal almost all of my life and most of my customer base is here. I am NOT ABOUT to move away. And plenty of others feel the same way. A non-problem, again JMHO.


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (12:04 pm)

    I think that all of this just makes GM look brilliant. They are the only ones with a viable EREV working. They are so far ahead of the competition that the competition will never catch up if GM just keeps pushing the envelope the way they have been the last few years. This market is obviously guaranteed to explode now.

    And one more tip of the hat to all of you in the Volt Nation. You guys are truly the point of the spear of positive change in the transportation industry.

    Well done GM. Well done Volt Nation. If you want to see the future, just look in the mirror!


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    Truman

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (12:09 pm)

    Aren’t the people who hate Federal regulations the same people who stand up for State’s Rights?

    Texas gets to decide to lower taxes by having tiny Fire Departments and not planning ahead for drought and huge fires – fine. They attract some businesses by having low taxes, then get nailed during an historically dry year that burns every county and destroys their agriculture and cattle grazing.

    California wants to embrace future technologies sooner than the more primitive states, so they tell vehicle manufacturers what they require. If BMW doesn’t want to play, fine, stay in Germany and Europe, CARB doesn’t care what you do THERE.

    After the next $3 trillion war in the Middle East, Americans might figure out that works out to $9,000 for every man, woman and child in the USA. A family of six might start to realize that $54,000 every decade is a lot to keep the world oil markets flowing…


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (12:10 pm)

    nasaman: And more to your point, simply step off a plane in Los Angeles, Mexico City or Beijing (as I’ve done recently) and you’ll immediately be repulsed by the very air you’re forced to breathe. Although residents of smog-laden cities become less & less aware over time of the smog’s intensity, their cancer deaths, COPD and emphysema are significantly higher than their countrymen living in the smog-free countrysides suffer from. Government-mandated air quality controls are needed in high-smog areas to minimize death and disease caused by severe breathing disorders —which would run rampant if no air quality controls/enforcement existed.

    #10

    Again, I have lived in SoCal most of my life and I can only testify to the truth of what you are saying. +1

    I have fought in the “diesel wars” for years, and the impact on the “health endpoints” you cite are truly frightening. I feel pretty good about driving and electric car around in the dirtiest air basin in the USA. The air will be a lot cleaner here with a few hundred thousand Volts on the road.


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    Gieso

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (12:54 pm)

    Loboc,

    I agree completely. The main reason the cars in Europe (and most of the rest of the world) are smaller and more fuel efficient is because gas/diesel is much more expensive.


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    George S. Bower

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (1:06 pm)

    Loboc:

    What we really need is an Energy plan for the next 5, 10, and 20 years with goals. Very difficult to do when the head honcho changes every 4 years. The Chinese will probably lead the way since we are in political gridlock.

    Great comment Loboc.

    I upped it to +4


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    George S. Bower

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (1:08 pm)

    Our political system is broken.

    We need scientists and engineers to be steering this country…..not fat cat, rich, lawyer politicians.


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    James

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (1:17 pm)

    ronr64:
    I feel so free…

    I know I speak to the wrong crowd here but I for one will not applaud yet another government mandate telling private manufacturers what they must build – regardless if there is a market or not, telling private service station owners what they must install – even if there is no customer base and at a great cost and finally telling private consumers what they must buy or pay more for the alternative to subsidize those who do buy the “preferred” vehicle.

    I love the technology of electric vehicles and I think the Volt is best piece of engineering to come out of Detroit – ever, but I am vehemently opposed to the destruction of freedom that these government mandates represent.If this was it I suppose I could tolerate it but it seems it merely paves the way for more and more.Think SOPA and PIPA just to name one example.

    I am guessing most on this site, and I include myself in this statement, consider these vehicles (Volt, Leaf, Tesla, Fisker etc.) to be superior to the current gas only vehicles.Am I right?Then we don’t need govt mandates pushing them onto people.It may take longer at first but without a backlash, acceptance will come quicker.No one forced you to put a microwave oven in your home did they?Imagine the resistance and the wacky claims about radiation if the govt mandated microwaves as an energy saver over stoves and ovens!

    Ron – I’m with you — But I’m not. This is the ONE issue that drags at my conservative – Tea Partyesque heart. I’ve been on this website since 2007 and being here has changed me. I first watched Who Killed The Electric Car and realized to be a wrench-head, car nut from the past was like being a dinosaur, ready for extinction. The oil crisis is really a crisis and it requires faster turnover from conventional automobiles than your example of a microwave in every home. My family was not poor – and I remember the Amana “Radar Range” on our kitchen counter – purchased soon after they became available. It was costly compared to other kitchen gadgets just like an LG OLED flatscreen TV would be to you and me today ( $8,000+ for a 55″ in. as of July ). OLED TVs will be mainstream in 3 years and the price will be relative to today’s edge-lit LED/LCD. Microwaves came down in price due to economies of scale but they weren’t a major home purchase or necessity like your car is.

    Republicans are wrong on this issue. Issa is a con-man. Imagine what our economy would be like if we weren’t all over the globe protecting our access to foreign sourced fuel. It’s physically impossible to place an exact figure on what percentage of each drone, aircraft carrier, fighter plane and missile system is related to energy protection, but it is incredibly high. Higher than you know. We know a higher gas tax and consumer market driven answers are superior. But we’ve hashed out in here that a gas tax hike will never happen ( political suicide ) so the next and ONLY step is government mandate. The industry is too old, too established in old tech, and too stuck in union muck to just voluntarily start making clean vehicles – it’ll never happen because the market driven demand will NEVER be there without pain at the pump.

    VOLT, MORE DRIVE – LESS FILLING! ,

    James


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (1:20 pm)

    George S. Bower:
    Our political system is broken.

    We need scientists and engineers to be steering this country…..not fat cat, rich, lawyer politicians.

    #30

    Jimmy Carter was/is an engineer. I really like him, but it didn’t work out too well politically, LOL

    I’m and engineer, and I actually agree with you, but I’m just sayin’……………….. +1

    Steven Chu is a NOBEL LAUREATE scientist, who I really like as well, but look at how much respect that gets him in DC.

    I would l would LOVE to have engineers and scientists running the show, but they’re too literal minded and honest to stay in office, even in the unlikely event that they got elected, hahah.


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (1:23 pm)

    James: Republicans are wrong on this issue. Issa is a con-man. Imagine what our economy would be like if we weren’t all over the globe protecting our access to foreign sourced fuel. It’s physically impossible to place an exact figure on what percentage of each drone, aircraft carrier, fighter plane and missile system is related to energy protection, but it is incredibly high. Higher than you know. We know a higher gas tax and consumer market driven answers are superior. But we’ve hashed out in here that a gas tax hike will never happen ( political suicide ) so the next and ONLY step is government mandate.

    #31

    Alas, too true. +1


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    kdawg

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (2:30 pm)

    Noel Park: #30
    Jimmy Carter was/is an engineer. I really like him, but it didn’t work out too well politically, LOL
    I’m and engineer, and I actually agree with you, but I’m just sayin’……………….. +1
    Steven Chu is a NOBEL LAUREATE scientist, who I really like as well, but look at how much respect that gets him in DC.
    I would l would LOVE to have engineers and scientists running the show, but they’re too literal minded and honest to stay in office, even in the unlikely event that they got elected, hahah.

    That’s why the President needs to surround himself with good people (engineers/scientists) people that will give honest answers. Keep the lobbyists out of Washington. Don’t allow Congress to receive any gifts from any lobbyists or coporations. Repeal Citizens United. Outlaw superpac’s and 501(c)(4) contributions.


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    James

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (2:30 pm)

    To be realistic, I don’t think anyone here over 18 believes that GM, Ford, Chrysler or Toyota would step up and just make an electric or hydrogen vehicle because it’s great, and we need them. Manufacturing decisions are based upon – will people buy them. Like all new technology, green or clean tech is much more expensive. Unlike all tech, automobiles and their fueling infastructure leaps to new categories of sheer expense and scope.

    Volt, Leaf, iMiev and all the rest are here because C.A.F.E. put them here. Green, clean or oil-miserly cars and trucks are just like solar panels, wind generators or geo-thermal. The entire useability model is based upon a huge upfront payout, and a long, gradual timeframe to debit-nuetral, and then practicable profit.

    This isn’t something the drive-thru, instant gratification generation is friendly with. Today, most of us want or need the freedom and versatility to relocate. Green tech for our homes works best if you live in the same place for the long haul. Diminishing returns come from green tech when we sell our homes. It’s a selling point – but the buyer wants a bargain. Same with cars. The personal profit model of an EV/EREV/PHEV makes most sense to people who really think out how they will use their cars ( most don’t ) and are honest with themselves. Even then the high upfront cost just doesn’t compute to the masses.

    There’ll be massive push back to these new standards from countless sources. One has to remember the sheer massiveness of the ICE parts replacement industry. There’s so much money there to pay lawyers and politicians to ply their case in court. Oil companies, paid-off politicians and ignorant broadcasters will help fuel the flames of protest. My guess is that the hydrogen requirements to oil companies will be dropped completely – and perhaps that is a sacrificial lamb in order for the higher C.A.F.E. and C.A.R.B. numbers to remain more in tact. There is no doubt that a Democratic administration for a minimum four more years will give these mandates a better chance of surviving in some form that closer reflects these suggested numbers.

    Car companies don’t want to comply, they’ll put on a green face, while using backdoors and corridors to soften these numbers substantially. The greenhouse emissions credit loophole is too big to ignore. Carmakers will leverage this and I wouldn’t be surprised if Ford and GM bought out companies like VIA and Alt-e. Perhaps we’ll see $57-65,000 EREV trucks in dealer lots and large fleets counting down efficiency credits…

    Seeing the dreadful potential candidates for the G.O.P. presidential run means that I will not vote for president this time, and temper my Congressional votes also, whilst gritting my teeth and taking a moral kick in the rear to all the social issues and taxation woes I’m temporarily turning my back on. For me it’s a best of two evil’s voting era. I steadfastly believe the USA needs to be weened off dependence upon nations that can damage us – and oil dependency means a much weaker America for my children and their children’s children.9-11 would not have happened if we did not need Saudi Arabia and other Islamic states. This is debatable, but I feel it’s undeniable.

    RECHARGE! ,

    James


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    flmark

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (2:46 pm)

    James: “Republicans are wrong on this issue. Issa is a con-man. Imagine what our economy would be like if we weren’t all over the globe protecting our access to foreign sourced fuel. It’s physically impossible to place an exact figure on what percentage of each drone, aircraft carrier, fighter plane and missile system is related to energy protection, but it is incredibly high”

    Amen and Amen.

    Before (and since) the start of the SECOND Gulf War, I continued to point out one undeniable truth- we KNEW WMD were in N Korea, but did we invade that country? Nope; no oil. Bush paid lip service to WMD before going into Iraq, but IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE OIL. Horrific baby killing regimes in the Horn of Africa? No oil, no problems. People have to be real Gasholes to state that our recent military actions were for any REAL reason other than oil.


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    jim1961

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (3:02 pm)

    I’ve said this before on this site and I hope I’m not boring people with repetition. I believe the main reason CARB is so aggressive on regulating pollution is the special case of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has something called the “inversion layer” which traps pollution. Even before modern times Native Americans referred to the area as “The Valley of Smoke” because the inversion layer trapped dust particles. L.A. is home to 14 million residents, more than a third of the population of California, and has the worst air quality of any U.S. city. The air pollution is so bad that on most days the beautiful mountains that surround L.A. are not visible. I don’t believe in unnecessary regulations but some regulations ARE necessary. Most private businesses will not voluntarily limit pollution and most consumers will not choose less polluting technology if it’s more expensive.


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    MrEnergyCzar

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (3:07 pm)

    Great article Jeff. It’s interesting that the auto companies can’t sue them..

    MrEnergyCzar


  39. 39
    flmark

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (3:31 pm)

    jim1961: “Most private businesses will not voluntarily limit pollution” [True]

    ECO 101: If the competitor charges less than you do for the same product, you can’t stay in business. Unless EVERYONE in the industry chooses, or is forced, to benefit the environment, you can’t compete unless the buying public is willing to pay more for increased price- and knows that they are doing so.

    In our case, we ate the cost of being the good stewards
    http://sensitivedentistry.net/green.html#a2

    Fortunately, our business is something that provides latitude based on getting what you pay for. But for many manufacturing and retail businesses, government mandate is the ONLY way to save the planet! As I said in #13, unchecked capitalism simply cannot solve all of our problems.


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    George S. Bower

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (3:42 pm)

    Noel Park: #30

    I would l would LOVE to have engineers and scientists running the show, but they’re too literal minded and honest to stay in office, even in the unlikely event that they got elected, hahah.

    Good one Noel. That got me laughing …thanks


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (4:03 pm)

    jim1961: I believe the main reason CARB is so aggressive on regulating pollution is the special case of Los Angeles. Los Angeles has something called the “inversion layer” which traps pollution.

    #37

    Very true +1

    And not only that, but the southern San Joaquin Valley, including, but not limited to, Bakersfield and Fresno, are now even worse. The prevailing winds blow pollution south and east from as far away as the San Francisco Bay area, not to mention all of that generated in the Valley itself. All of this gets trapped by the mountains at the south end and just sits there. A situation not unlike that of LA in some ways. On many days Fresno and BFL are worse than LA.


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    anonymous

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (4:39 pm)

    (click to show comment)


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    Noel Park

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (5:04 pm)

    anonymous:
    I’ve been a huge fan of the Volt for a long time… up until a few minutes ago when I read the following quote from Bob Lutz, “Let’s leave the ‘invention of facts’ to the left-wing climate-change alarmists.”

    “invention of facts” is another way of calling someone a liar. I don’t like being called a liar, especially by someone who has no formal science education. I hope the Volt fails miserably and I will never buy another GM product.

    #42

    Well I obviously can’t agree with your last sentence, which I would charitably characterize as throwing the baby out with the bathwater, but I do agree with your outrage at Mr. Lutz’s comment. And it’s hardly the first time. And I’m quite sure that a certain percentage of Volt buyers will be similarly put off by such stupidity.

    Ignorance and arrogance make a dangerous combination. Somebody here, and I won’t risk naming the wrong person, used to comment fairly frequently, “friggin’ Lutz”. Alas, too true.

    So I gave you a +1 to offset the +1 that was up there, even though condemning the Volt for the stupidity of Lutz is much like shooting oneself in the foot climate change wise.


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (5:11 pm)

    Since Bob Lutz has called me a liar perhaps I should tell people the Volt is a very dangerous fire hazard.


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    flmark

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (5:16 pm)

    anonymous,

    I agree with most of Noel Park’s assessment of your comment, except by degree. You come off JUST as ignorant for lumping the product in with the commentator. I believe the old ‘cut your nose off to spite your face’ fits very well with the conclusion you jump to. Either you want to help the environment OR YOU DON’T!!!


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (5:32 pm)

    flmark:
    anonymous,

    I agree with most of Noel Park’s assessment of your comment, except by degree.You come off JUST as ignorant for lumping the product in with the commentator.I believe the old ‘cut your nose off to spite your face’ fits very well with the conclusion you jump to.Either you want to help the environment OR YOU DON’T!!!

    You are exactly right. I will probably get over it but right now I’m really pissed off… and there are plenty of choices when it comes to green cars. I’ve been a defender of GM ever since I saw the conspiracy theory film, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. I’ve been a fan of the Volt since it was introduced as a concept car. I’ve put a LOT of effort into saying good things about the Volt on this and other blogs and then Bob Lutz calls me a liar.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (7:02 pm)

    nasaman: simply step off a plane in Los Angeles, Mexico City or Beijing (as I’ve done recently)

    I’m sure you take precautions, but please be careful in Mexico City, Nasaman. GM-Volt needs you posting!


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (7:09 pm)

    Mark Z: HOV lanes in California encourage the purchase of clean transportation.

    Maybe California should change the HOV lanes to EV lanes. No electric drive?…then stay to the right.


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    Kickincanada

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (7:56 pm)

    I’m Canadian and am happy our financial sector was regulated. Unfortunately the U.S. suffered due to its belief in completely free market approach. CARB is doing the right thing – our children and their health will benefit.

    As for Lutz – you need to put it aside. I watched “who killed the electric car” in 2007 and was dreadfully fearful that I would never have chance to drive an electric vehicle. And now I own a Volt! and there are Leaf’s, iMiev’s, ]Tesla’s and others on the road. We’ve come a long way and we will move forward. CARB will help – that’s the bottom line.

    anonymous: You are exactly right. I will probably get over it but right now I’m really pissed off… and there are plenty of choices when it comes to green cars. I’ve been a defender of GM ever since I saw the conspiracy theory film, “Who Killed the Electric Car?”. I’ve been a fan of the Volt since it was introduced as a concept car. I’ve put a LOT of effort into saying good things about the Volt on this and other blogs and then Bob Lutz calls me a liar.

    flmark,

    flmark:
    ronr64: “Then we don’t need govt mandates pushing them onto people.”

    How many people would PURCHASE a catalytic converter if it were optional equipment?

    Nope, unchecked capitalism is not the answer to every problem.

    flmark:
    ronr64: “Then we don’t need govt mandates pushing them onto people.”

    How many people would PURCHASE a catalytic converter if it were optional equipment?

    Nope, unchecked capitalism is not the answer to every problem.


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (8:54 pm)

    Lutz has said some dumb things. “Global warming is crap” is one of many….

    but just remember he is the father of the Volt and he came up with the concept during the Bush administration. So cut him some slack.


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    George S. Bower

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (9:04 pm)

    Noel Park: #30

    Jimmy Carter was/is an engineer.I really like him, but it didn’t work out too well politically, LOL

    I really don’t think Carter is typical of the way most engineers think.

    If you remember he killed the B1. I remember because I worked for the company that built the secondary power system. ( AiResearch—now Honeywell).

    Then Clinton killed the IFR program (Integral Fast Reactor) after over 10 years of development. So It’s a mixed bag on energy issues when you put nuclear into the picture.

    IMO we should be pursuing these options not abandoning them. It is extremely illogical that the “environmentalists” are so anti nuclear. It makes no sense.


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    Eco_Turbo

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    Jan 30th, 2012 (9:04 pm)

    George S. Bower: but just remember he is the father of the Volt and he came up with the concept during the Bush administration. So cut him some slack.

    Hey, the possibility of 1000 lb/ft of torque without supercharging 8 big fat cylinders should get anybody’s attention. Oops, sorry, I meant 40 miles gas free.


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    Jan 30th, 2012 (9:08 pm)

    “Your refusal to subject yourself and your office to congressional scrutiny is emblematic of the core concern that many in Congress share … that CARB, as a state actor, is unresponsive to congressional concerns and unappreciative of congressional priorities,” Issa wrote.

    Good for CARB ! Stand up against a congress that has only shown us how vehemently it puts down progress and space exploration, and supports the very rich to ensure they get even richer.


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    Jan 31st, 2012 (12:42 am)

    Why not tell the auto industries to increase the prices on there conventional gas cars and trucks with tax credits.

    While lowering the prices on BEV, EREV, and PHEV vehicles with no tax credit at all that sure would drive up the sales like crazy instead of hiking up the gas prices.


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    Jan 31st, 2012 (9:20 am)

    Excellent topic and outstanding dialogue today!

    As I read articles about the Chevy Volt, EV’s in general, and other related topics, and then peruse the ‘comments’ section, it quickly becomes clear that there are two factions of commentators: Those with first-hand experience with EV’s over an extended period of time and those who only know what they’ve heard or read.

    Unfortunately, most automotive writers and general media journalists are in the latter category of writing from the perspective of what they’ve heard or read. Thus, the cycle has been a self-fulfilling prophecy: write mis-informed dribble over and over and people start to believe it.

    Fortunately for all of us, this GM-Volt.com website has been a source of facts and a way to share real-world experiences.

    Also, fortunately for the future of EV’s is the fact that the group of writers and commenter’s with first-hand experience is growing every day and as FACTS and real-world stories spread, the voice of those mis-informed journalists and commenter’s will grow quieter over time. This won’t happen overnight – but we each can have an impact on the speed with which this happens. I know it has been said before on this site, but I challenge each and every one of you to take FIVE MINUTES EACH DAY TO WRITE POSITIVE COMMENTS ON ANY ARTICLE YOU FIND DOES NOT PORTRAY THE FACTS. It is up to each of us to set the record straight – one opinion at a time!


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    Jan 31st, 2012 (10:27 am)

    flmark,

    How long did we ignore conditions in South Africa? As long as the free flow of strategic minerals to the United States business interests was maintained. Why do we support change in South Africa? The new regime allowed strategic minerals to keep flowing.

    Why support the Shah and depose his father? To keep the oil from the Axis nations. Why topple Mossadeq and re-install the Shah? The General that agreed to keep the oil flowing was assassinated.

    Why intervene in Afghanistan? Cut off Russian access to the Mideast Oil. Secure potential access to minerals. Eliminate a hiding place for those disaffected Saudis and Arabs who would cut off our access to Mideast oil because would tolerate monarchies and dictators who maintain our access to oil.

    Why put up with Caribbean regimes that drive their countries into the ground? To prevent cane sugar from driving down corn and sugar beet prices and making even federal greater subsidies necessary.

    Do we need to talk about Bananas and Central America? Or maybe the collapse of Europe and American economies after Germany could not maintain reparations for World War 1?


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    Timaaayyy!!!

     

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    Jan 31st, 2012 (1:27 pm)

    volt11,

    My first reaction is I’d love to be part of the 400.


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    Jan 31st, 2012 (1:58 pm)

    George S. Bower: It is extremely illogical that the “environmentalists” are so anti nuclear. It makes no sense.

    #50

    Two words. “Fukushima Daiichi”


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    Jan 31st, 2012 (1:58 pm)

    Roy_H: Good for CARB ! Stand up against a congress that has only shown us how vehemently it puts down progress and space exploration, and supports the very rich to ensure they get even richer.

    #52

    Amen! +1


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    Jan 31st, 2012 (2:01 pm)

    Timaaayyy!!!,

    Where ya been man? Don’t be a stranger.


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    Feb 5th, 2012 (7:07 am)

    Magnificent website. Lots of useful information here. I’m sending it to several friends ans also sharing in delicious. And obviously, thanks for your sweat!