Either marketers are getting smarter or people are getting dumber.

I vote for the latter (as dually self-deprecating as that sounds), and one reason is all the bullshit surrounding hybrid and fully electric cars.

Hybrid cars are pricey and nobody is 100% sold on the financial overage vs. environmental evangelism. So what do the auto-makers work on? Electric vehicles, like the Chevy Volt.

The Chevy Volt

Where do you think electricity comes from, numb nuts?

Sure, it boasts ZERO emissions from it’s electric engine that you charge by simply plugging it into any regular socket in your wall. Great! No more lining up to pump liquid gold into the tank! But wait a minute…  it still has a small gasoline engine inside that kicks in to generate electricity when the battery is low to keep the thing rolling… Huh? So, I still need to feed this “fully electric car” with gas from a pump?


To get around this apparent contradiction, GM says that the gas-powered engine never actually propels the vehicle, but that it just generates power for the battery.

Ooooh! I see. Well, shit, that was close! I thought for sure you had pulled one over on me there, GM! I mean, I bought this car so as to alleviate my dependence on carbon-producing fossil fuels… and then you tell me it still needs gas, even though it’s electric… hang on (and here’s where the people-are-dumber part comes in)…

Where does the power that goes into the battery (streaming out of my wall) come from?

Oh, that’s right, FOSSIL FUELS.

So where’s the freaking environmental savings there? What’s worse:

  • emissions from burning gasoline,
  • or emissions from burning coal and oil to produce electricity?

The Volt marketing message reads: Charge the battery, change the world. Honestly, people, is this what we’re swallowing now? I’m not blaming the marketers at GM – they’re doing exactly what they’re supposed to be doing: convincing the market that their product is going to solve problems and make their consumer’s lives better.

No, I blame you, the consumer for not thinking.

Lode of coal

Don't kid yourself - coal powers everything.

88% of all the coal in the United States is used to produce more than 57% of the Country’s electricity. Oil produces a further 40%.

Therefore, 97% of the electricity pumping out of your walls, and into your emission-free-electric-world-saver is produced from burning fossil fuels (unless, of course, you’re one of those lucky folks who have their whole roof covered with solar panels, each corner of your house has a wind turbine swooping away , and instead of a chest freezer in the basement you’ve got yourself a small fusion reactor).

Where the Jeff are the environmental savings there? There go all the carbon-footprint-reduction points you might have scored by upgrading your furnace and A/C for those new ones (at twice the price), and that new on-demand tankless hot water heater (that isn’t really all that great anyway, is it?), and even trading in your filament-based light bulbs for all those CFL bulbs – way to go, champ! Sure, your energy consumption may be down a few percent from last year, but try plugging in your CAR overnight and see what happens to your bills.

And isn’t THAT where the emphasis for supposed environmentally conscious consumers really lies: the dollar saving?

Be honest, it isn’t really about saving the environment, is it? How can it be if you’re only swapping gas for coal as an energy source? It comes down to reducing the “apparent” amount of money you spend month to month.

How do you calculate the MPG of an electric car that runs on coal- and oil-produced energy (and still needs gas anyway)?

I call bullshit.

I hope, but I won’t bet, that people will get smarter and start thinking before lining up for a “green” vehicle.

Looking for a real green vehicle? Try carpooling. Or better yet, get off your ass and engineer a transporter for Pete’s sake!

Star Trek teleportation

If people are so smart, why the hell do we still drive cars?