General Motors, the world’s largest car manufacturer, announced yesterday that over 40 percent of their sales in March came from fuel efficient vehicles that get at least 30 miles per gallon. That figure is dramatically higher than just four years ago, when only 16 percent of GM’s sales were attributable to fuel efficient vehicles.
Yet despite the success of these cars, Republicans continue to demonize the technology. And no model has been the poster child for these unprecedented attacks more than the Chevrolet Volt, a car that makes use of both a rechargeable battery with a 40 mile range and a normal gas-powered engine for when the battery runs out.
Yesterday in Wisconsin, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took another shot at the Volt:
“I’m not sure America was ready for the Chevy Volt. I mean, I hope it does well, I don’t want to disparage any product coming out of Detroit. But I think instead of having politicians tell us what kind of cars we ought to make, we ought to let the people who are trying to understand the market make that decision.”
This is not Romney’s first critique of the Volt. In December, during a radio appearance on a Boston station, he laughingly dismissed the Volt as “an idea whose time has not come.”
The Chevy Volt was first introduced as a concept vehicle in January 2007, fully two years before President Obama took office. And the substantial tax incentives for purchasing high efficiency and plug-in vehicles like the Volt were passed under President George W. Bush. Former President and Romney campaign surrogate George H. W. Bush just this past week bought a Volt for his son Neil.