Between automakers, their banks, suppliers etc. the government is into the US auto industry for 0 billion+. Additionally, the government is handing out billion in loans to help automakers increase fuel efficiency. On top of that, if a Committee OK on hybrid research passes through Congress, another 0 million will go to hybrid research.
Why? Is there really any mystery?
No. I’m not referring to the fact that Toyota has sold more than a million Toyota Prius hybrids. Regardless of Toyota’s Prius success it’s obvious that hybrids and electric vehicles are over-hyped niche vehicles. They are going nowhere fast.
Unless gas prices rise significantly. How much more research do we really need to validate that point?
Without massive, long term government incentives (including tons of pork and waste) or much higher gas prices, these vehicles will not achieve sufficient economies of scale for many, many years. Ultimately, America’s energy policy simply does not support the costs of developing efficient technologies in the real world.
Yet, the cost of gas, for instance, is far higher than the pump price. Why? Unfortunately, it’s far easier to spend an extra 0 million on top of tens of billions than it is to show some political courage and to confront the tough issues. It’s all about incumbency anyway, right?