Wednesday, August 13, 2008

On the Nonsense of Hybrid Cars Solving the Energy 'Problem'

Robert Samuelson explodes the myth:

It's easy to exaggerate how quickly new technologies can improve our situation. Obama says that we can have a million plug-in hybrids averaging 150 miles a gallon on the road within six years (plug-in hybrids run on electricity and gasoline). Sounds impressive. But that would be less than one-half of 1 percent of all vehicles, and the forecast is probably a stretch. The battery technology required for plug-in hybrids is still not competitive, adding $7,000 to $10,000 per vehicle, says Brett Smith of the independent Center for Automotive Research. Obama would address this problem by providing a $7,000 tax credit (in effect: a rebate) on plug-in hybrids. These subsidies might go mainly to upper-middle-class buyers, permitting them to flaunt their "green" credentials

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