JOHN RANSOM: As oil thrives, the Chevy Volt dies

January 6, 2018

JOHN RANSOM: As oil thrives, the Chevy Volt dies

The long overdue end for the Chevy Volt is in sight.

After a decade of futile work to find practical “alternatives’ to fossil fuels for transportation, the Barack Obama administration had very little to show for the billions in taxpayer money spent, the lecturing done and the bullying attempted by his administration to bolster electric transportation. The Chevy Volt, the car upon which Obamanauts at General Motors (GM) were going to redesign the company — using government money — may shutter production as early as 2020 after ten years of futility.

That’s right: The best-selling electric vehicle in the U.S., the Volt, is a failure.

GM never sold near the 60,000 cars per year they needed to to make money, peaking at about 22,000 cars per year. And half of those plug-in vehicles were sold in one state: California.

Of course, California wants to be free of carbon emissions, so the Golden State has adopted some draconian regulations aimed at achieving the goal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they soon include a prohibition on breathing. Electric vehicles in the U.S. — despite Obama’s promise to put 1 million of them on the road by 2015– remain a plaything for the rich who want the guilty pleasure of plugging their car into an outlet powered by a coal-fired electric plant each night, while still feeling “green.”

In many ways the Chevy Volt represents the variety and quality of the U.S. economy Obama built under Democratic hegemony: one part wishful-thinking, two-parts union graft. leavened by a heavy dose of unreality.

Alternatively, when Donald Trump announced this week the expansion of offshore drilling in the United States, he was following one of the few proven examples of how Washington can actually create jobs and improve the economy while giving a boost to transportation — and amplifying the efficiency of free markets. All without government subsidies.

Despite opposition to hydraulic fracturing by the Obama administration, the oil and gas industry’s use of “fracking” at that time helped propel the United States to the first position in energy production worldwide. Almost half of the oil and two-thirds of all natural gas produced in the US today is by fracking, a recovery process that was largely ignored by the country since the 1980s shale bust.

Opening the waters of the United States to oil and gas exploration, similarly, will help give the oil and gas industry a further boost, solidifying the U.S. as not just the largest producer of oil, but also the largest exporter of oil worldwide as well. It would be awfully nice if we could get some of the dollars we are exporting out of the U.S. back into the country with oil and gas exports. A report prepared by Quest Offshore on the expansion of America’s offshore potential says that over 800,000 jobs can be created by Trump’s policy, producing 3.5 million barrels of oil per day with a net benefit to the government revenues of $200 billion annually.

Beyond the direct economic benefits, there are big strategic benefits as well. Who really believes that continued dependence on foreign oil, especially from the Mideast, is in America’s best interest? Without oil, the Middle East’s biggest export would be rhetoric, not terror.

Already, the official mouthpiece of the Kremlin, RT.com, is frantic to create domestic US opposition to the Trump plan, hyping the risks of another Deepwater accident. That’s because Russia can not afford the competition that more US oil and gas will mean once we open up 90 percent of offshore sites currently closed to drilling. They can’t afford it economically or strategically.

In my lifetime, the strategic outlook of the U.S. has never been so positively affected as it has been by the decade-long revolution in the oil and gas industry we have just witnessed. Oil prices (up or down) benefit Americans now, not the dictator states.

Opening domestic waters to drilling will keep that revolution going.

In contrast, nothing has proved so futile economically as the attempt to force electric cars on U.S. consumers. The Obama policy represented failure and uncertainty; the Trump policy represents success and security.

It just feels good to know that while oil thrives, the Chevy Volt dies. Both circumstances are long overdue.


John Ransom

John Ransom is a politics and economics writer and editor with offices in Washington DC and Singapore. Previously he was a regular contributor to the Daily Caller and Finance Editor at Townhall.com. His work has appeared on The Street.com, IBT.com, the LA Business Journal, and other outlets. Ransom has appeared with Steve Forbes on the Money Show, Fox Business with Stuart Varney and Charles Payne, and regularly hosted his own syndicated radio show in 25 cities on the Wall Street Business Network, a Salem Network.