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(CAFE) I already have a golf cart, I don’t need another one

May 25, 2009 by Mark Polk · 58 Comments 

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I read in our local newspaper that one promise President Obama made was to have 1 million plug-in hybrid electric cars on the road by 2015. He can make that 999,999 because I already have a golf cart and won’t be needing another one. Where I live, an electric car that can go 40 or 50 miles before it needs to be plugged in and charged will hardly get me to the grocery store and back before it loses its charge.

The really sad thing is these plug-in hybrid cars, designed to save money by eliminating fossil fuels, will cost the consumer way more to buy than the trusty old comparable gasoline model. Geoffrey Styles, founder of energy consultants, GSW Strategy Group, said it will take a minimum of six years for drivers to recoup the differential between a Chevy Volts projected price and that of a Toyota Prius — even assuming $4 per-gallon gasoline. That brings a question to mind, how long do you keep a car before trading it in? I average about 4 years, so would never recoup the money I spent, even with a government tax rebate, for buying one of these electric hybrid cars. I paid less for my 2500, 4-door Dodge Ram hemi than one of these electric Chevy Volts will cost, and I want to see them load the Volt up with some 4 X 8 sheets of plywood and 2 X 4’s.

The Federal government bails out the automakers and once in control passes new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. Obama’s new standard requires fleets to average 35.5 MPG by 2016. The way I see it is for automakers to meet this standard it will require much lighter, smaller cars that will pose more of a risk to those driving them. And if people decide to buy these more efficient vehicles the price of fuel will be lower making bigger less fuel efficient vehicles more attractive because of the higher price you pay for the new hybrid models. The cycle goes on!

I really don’t see any significant savings or any real benefits for the environment. If there are over 1 million electric cars driving around the country there will be millions of depleted lithium-ion batteries to dispose of not to mention that electric cars need coal fired electric power plants to make them go. Last I heard coal fired power plants weren’t doing much good in the way of the environment.

So what do we get for our money in say the year 2012? We get a less powerful vehicle at a much higher price that really isn’t safe to drive and you constantly have to find a place to plug the #&*! thing in.

I want to know what is happening to the free market and choice in America? There are hybrid cars out there right now that can get the same mileage dictated by the new CAFE standard for people who want them; so why is our government making it a standard. In doing so it only means myself and other business owners like me will be required to pay much more money to buy a truck that can do the job I need it to do!

That brings me to the RV side of this. The RV industry will be hit the hardest with new CAFE standards. Even with downsized, lighter versions of towable trailers the owner will pay dearly for a vehicle that can safely tow it. Motorized RV’s will be downsized and powered by more fuel efficient engines. There is nothing wrong with this, but if I work hard and am successful and choose to buy a 35 foot type A motorhome I should be able to do that and not suffer because the government forced the automaker and RV manufacturers hand to produce smaller, lighter vehicles and RV’s

Don’t get me wrong, I am not against government. The Federal government does and always will have a role to play in our society. With that said the American government should not force its various economic and political socialist leaning goals on American citizens. We were built on Democracy, Capitalism and free market. That is what I defended for all those years in the military and that is what I will continue to defend now. We should have the choice and the right to select and purchase the vehicle of our choice, to meet the requirements we have for said vehicle, and not be punished in doing so.

These are just my thoughts, what are yours?

Mark Polk

RV Education 101

RV University

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