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Rush Limbaugh and the Chevy Volt

J. Mijin Cha

Credit: Flickr/trisI don’t get it. Do conservatives want American jobs and products or not? Their relentless campaign against GM’s hybrid car--the Chevy Volt--led by the upstanding Rush Limbaugh, significantly contributed to GM announcing it was temporarily laying off 1,300 workers. Rush and company seized on isolated battery problems to call the cars “Obama mandated death traps,” even though the Volt was declared as safe as any gas-powered vehicle. Is the company laying off 1,300 workers a good thing? Given the right’s opposition to the successful auto bailout, they may very well say “yes.”

As part of the attack on the Volt, GM’s CEO Daniel F. Ackerson was called before a Congressional hearing to explain the few battery incidents. Like Secretary Chu before him, taxpayers’ money was wasted trying to uncover the Obama Administration’s nonexistent deep green conspiracy.  And, like Secretary Chu, the hearing came up empty--except for the part where Ackerson said that GM planned to export the car to Europe and China due to interest there in the technology. So again, like solar panels, due to politics here, Americans don’t get the benefit of technology we’ve developed. Other countries do.

In the meantime, electric cars continue to show great promise. While conservatives were railing against the Volt, it was named European Car of the Year. The EPA just certified the Ford Focus Electric as the most fuel-efficient five passenger vehicle with an impressive 110 miles per gallon in-city rating. The Focus’ stellar fuel efficiency will save drivers nearly $10,000 in fuel costs over five years. In 2010, the DoE guaranteed a $465 million loan to Tesla Car Company to help develop their electric car. With that loan, Tesla was able to open a manufacturing plant in Fremont, California that not only created jobs but also hired many of the workers that were laid off from a neighboring Toyota plant.

Despite these gains, conservative leaders seem hell-bent on ensuring Americans don’t benefit from green technological advances. If there are any conservatives reading this, a friendly word of advice: Don’t look to the man who called a woman who uses contraception a “slut” for innovative policy ideas. Spend more time here on PolicyShop. You won’t regret it.