5 percent plug-ins by 2020 or bust! Taking a few pot shots at plug-in advocates

It's great that a few plug-in vehicles are becoming available to consumers, but they have an extremely long war to fight before they offer any effective path towards foreign oil independence or serious emission reductions.

It coulda been a contender? Not.

What about foreign oil independence or serious CO2 emission reductions?

“Plug In America initially started protesting to keep all the carmakers from throwing out the California electric cars,” said Chris Paine, maker of the film Who Killed the Electric Car and at whose house the event was held. “And now they've just become a pure advocacy group. It's funny; everybody's mixing with industry now because we're on the same page. That's pretty awesome. It doesn't happen very often.”

So, Plug-in America and major automakers are on the same page?

I'm not sure what page that is, but I'm ready to burn the book regardless.

5 percent plug-ins by 2020 or bust! Seriously? That's something to be excited about? That might not be what Plug in America is advocating for, but that's pretty much what automakers are going to give the world.

I'm sorry. I know it's Friday, but if you've read this far, and you read my earlier post, then you know my guns are loaded.

Sellouts. Bang!

Posers. Bang!

Greenwashers. Bang!

Sure its great that the government is giving out billions of dollars to automakers to build plug-ins bought with billions more in tax incentives so that mostly older, college-educated, upper class Americans can purchase plug-in technologies that science and consumer studies demonstrate will do nothing to effectively reduce either foreign oil dependence or global warming emissions for decades, minimally.

Oops. I forget, this is America and perception, not reality, rules. Right? Bang!

Don't get me wrong. I have great respect for those buying plug-ins. I really do, just as I respect those buying hybrid cars. Nevertheless, what's the point of buying a hybrid or a plug-in hybrid? How long can 3 – 5 percent of us continue to do our part when, collectively, nothing is being achieved? Yes, our consumerism might one day lead to a mainstreaming breakthrough, might. But, if that breakthrough is almost certainly decades from effective change, should we really be celebrating?

Seriously, is an automaker converting 5 percent of its fleet into plug-ins really that much different than a tobacco company donating 5 percent of their profits to lung cancer research? Bang! Bang!

I could go on, but I only brought my six-shooter today.

Certainly, Plug-in America and Chris Paine deserve kudos for the attention they've generated around this issue, just as do plug-in buyers, but getting a few plug-ins on the road is the easy part – automakers proved that years ago. The real issue has always been – and continues to be – mainstreaming plug-ins because only then can issues like foreign oil independence and emission's reductions be effectively achieved. Until then, small battles might be won, but the war is far from over and embracing a few self-serving olive branches from automakers is ill-advised.

As Sun Tzu states, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. It seems automakers have played that move perfectly.


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