Allahpundit throws some cold water on the excitement being generated by the new Chevy hybrid the Volt before he gives us his take on the upside:
.... If it's true, then you're looking at the first car with triple-digit gas mileage, fully four times the amount of its nearest competitor. Actually, it's even better than that: It can run on electricity alone for up to 40 miles, so if your round-trip commute's within that range, you don't need gas at all. Thrilling news, not because the Volt's going to solve America's dependence on Middle Eastern oil overnight but because the baseline technology's now not only available but almost cost-effective.
Why do I say almost? Let's do the math. Initial sticker-price estimates are $40,000; assume it'll be a bit more than that, then deduct $7,500 for the federal tax credit you'll get for buying one. Let's say that leaves us with a cost of $35,000. Figure a new car with standard fuel efficiency will get 20 mpg and run you $18,000. Now assume gas prices of $3 per gallon. Buying the cheaper car will save you enough money to afford 5,667 gallons of gas, which, at 20 mpg, means it would be a better deal than the Volt for the first ... 113,000 miles. That also doesn't account for (a) the (comparatively tiny) cost of electricity to charge the battery, (b) the headaches for apartment-dwellers in finding a place to charge the thing, (c) the possibility of higher maintenance costs as the Volt's new technology suffers glitches, and (d) the strain on urban electrical grids a decade or two down the road when these suckers become popular.
There are, of course, some definite positives to cars like the Volt and some of these are mentioned at the link. I just wish it wasn't government-owned GM that's come out with the darn thing.RLC