December 30th, 2010

Want a Chevy Volt?

If you do, be prepared to pay a $41,000 sticker price (you’ll get a $7,500 tax credit) for a blah sedan that can go about 50 miles on batteries if you charge it overnight, or can use conventional fuel.

How much money you save in gas costs depends on how long your trips are and how expensive your electricity is. But the car’s not primarily about savings (with a price like that, most people will never recoup their initial extra outlay), it’s about self-righteousness. My sentiments are with commenter “Lincoltf” at Althouse:

Who would’ve ever thought that the AGW cult would’ve thrown their lot behind a coal-powered car? Or maybe they’re all too stupid to realize where all that magical electricity comes from?

Nah, that couldn’t be it. They’re all wicked smart, just ask them.

The phrase “wickd smart” marks Lincolntf as a likely New Englander, although properly pronounced it’s “wicked smaaht.” Case in point (stay with it till the last line):

Of course, Damon himself is another case of “wicked smaaht” being awful dumb sometimes.

Gee. All roads seem to lead to Sarah Palin, even when you start out driving a Chevy Volt.

55 Responses to “Want a Chevy Volt?”

  1. helvetica Says:

    Possibly related:

    http://jerkonomics.blogspot.com/2010/12/new-oil.html

  2. Baklava Says:

    Matt is really full of hate.

    Wow.

    He pulls some stuff from the Internet and is ‘scared’.

    What has Obama run Matt? What gives anybody the belief that Obama can face down Putin any better?

    That he was a community organizer is good enough for you but that fact that Palin (yes -she has a weak resume compared to most Presidents) couldn’t face down Putin when she’s had infinity times more executive experience.

    0 times infinity is still 0 btw.

    The double -standard is blatant.

    I’m frustrated with people like Matt because their hatred is driven by the fact that they can’t read or see alternative view points.

    Sure Sarah isn’t the smartest bulb. Neither was George W.

    But Al Gore flunked out before he got his masters and Bush got his masters. Sarah Palin has a WORLD of experience more than Obama and has actual executive experience.

    We got the candidates we got. We have to accept that. Between the two – Obama referred to 57 states and had some gaffe’s but Matt wants to focus on some dumb ass stories on the Internet about Sarah and ask, “Does she really think dinosaurs existed 4,000 years ago”.

    Does Matt really think he can act or form an educated opinion. I think he might.

    I reserve my hatred for people like Matt. That wasn’t a gaffe like Obama or Sarah emitted. That was a full on hardcore dumb ass 2 minute diatribe that got my fist cocked ready to go towards Matt’s face.

    All I ask for is to TRY to look at both sides of the story people.

    Sarah had the economic prescription (capital gains, corporate and individual tax rate cuts) and Obama had the economic virus (taking of oil profits, raising capital gains tax rates, estate tax rates, individual rates on people earning over $250,000)

    Matt – how about letting us confiscating your earnings so you can’t employ any more dumb as* thoughts.

  3. Colin Says:

    I rather liked the concept. 50 miles round trip is usually within the average person’s commute distance. I can honestly say I’d like the idea of going on a single tank of gas for half a year, particularly with $5/gal gas being predicted for the near future. It avoids the pitfall of the pure electric vehicles by having a decent range. The only inordinately bad thing about it seems to be the price, which puts it firmly in the luxury category price range while lacking any of the polish. The only people able to afford it will be those who probably could care less about gas budgets.

  4. Baklava Says:

    That got me off track –

    The Chevy volt is – a GM product.

    If one looks at Consumer Reports reliability ratings on GM products there are few red dots.

    Ford is the only hope for a domestic manufacturer. There is a line up of cars that have red dots.

    There are few shining stars in the line up.

    There is actually technology and research and development that brings Ford products a whole generation ahead of GM.

    For example – The Ford trucks produce more power and can tow more and yet they do it with 10% more MPG. This is done with no tricks and gimmicks. It is hard work these days to squeeze more power out of a gallon of gasoline than the competition. In the 70′s it was easy. Go to fuel injection, go to computer management, etc.

    These days – you have to rework transmissions, the entire engine, air flow, structural integrity and weight are factors, every piece of the puzzle is looked at.

    Enviro-nitwits who believe in the religion of 100 mpg trucks or cars must understand that it takes a lot of energy to move 2 tons (or in the case of trucks 3 or 4 tons) a mile with the performance that is acceptable.

    Sizable battery packs – (with materials from China – how good is that for the environment?) can only store enough Kilo Watts to move said vehicle 50-100 miles.

    And to charge those battery packs it requires 1500 Watts (an regular 120 volt outlet in your house) 12 hours or so!!! Imagine running your hair drier 12 hours every day and then looking at your electricity bill the next month.

    Magical electricity is not magical. It is power. It is not an efficient method to move 2 tons at 60 miles per hour.

    The only way electricity makes sense if it’s created by power companies using nuclear reactors.

  5. Baklava Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2010/09/17/17climatewire-gasoline-trumps-electricity-in-fuel-efficien-46638.html

    Yes, from the New York Times!

    Then he realized something: The Chevy Volt, a plug-in electric car, travels 40 miles on electricity, thanks to a battery weighing 1,000 pounds. Meanwhile, his Volkswagen Jetta travels 40 miles on a gallon of gas — about 9 pounds.

  6. Baklava Says:

    Off topic:

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2010/12/30/wash-posts-ezra-klein-laments-confusing-nature-old-constitution

    To satisfy anybody’s Ezra Klein fetish

  7. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    Of course, Damon himself is another case of “wicked smaaht” being awful dumb sometimes.

    Actually a pretty good actor, who is living proof that being good at one thing doesn’t mean having a clue about anything else.

    In my post A Boy and his Vampire (about movie remakes), I noted this about Damon;’s inclusion in the new remake of True Grit…

    Matt Damon is the Texas Ranger La Boeuf, and while Damon can make me want to throw things at him when he opens his mouth politically, as an actor he has a lot more going for him than did singer Glen Campbell in the original.

    (BTW – They did a hell of a job with this remake; maybe the best of 2010, so far.)

    Gee. All roads seem to lead to Sarah Palin, even when you start out driving a Chevy Volt.

    If not her, then George Bush. They are determined to bury him with a stake in his heart.
    -

  8. Paul_In_Houston Says:

    Baklava Says:
    December 30th, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    I reserve my hatred for people like Matt. That wasn’t a gaffe like Obama or Sarah emitted. That was a full on hardcore dumb ass 2 minute diatribe that got my fist cocked ready to go towards Matt’s face.

    I know where you’re coming from.

    I stand by my assertion that he is an excellent actor, (Hereafter being a fine example) but this other side of him is nothing new,

    I’ve seen him in interviews many times, and in an Actor’s Studio episode devoted to him, and he seems absolutely incapable of speaking for long without managing to take a cheap shot at someone (Bush and Palin being, by far, his favorite targets).

    I think the jury’s still out on whether this is truly motivated by hate, or by just being an a**hole.

    -

  9. Baklava Says:

    BTW, I watched True Grit with my girlfriend and knowing what is on Matt Daemon’s insides makes the movie almost unwatchable.

  10. Gringo Says:

    Matt Damon in a brown shirt ripping into Sarah Palin.
    Just sayin’

    As I have gone nearly a decade without paying for a movie, I am pleased that I haven’t put any money in the pockets of the like of Matt Damon or Sean Penn.

  11. Curtis Says:

    “I don’t know anything about her.”

    And proceeded to state everything he did “know” about her.

  12. Occam's Beard Says:

    The Victorians had it right. Actors, prostitutes, thieves, and other lowlifes are not fit company for polite society.

  13. IgotBupkis Says:

    > I rather liked the concept. 50 miles round trip is usually within the average person’s commute distance. I can honestly say I’d like the idea of going on a single tank of gas for half a year, particularly with $5/gal gas being predicted for the near future.

    Demonstrating the dangers of basic mathematical ignorance.

    Colin, do you grasp how much the gas used by a typical car costs in a year? Have you got brains enough to grasp that this is a fairly calculable number for most people?

    Allow me to state it another way — it is DEMONSTRABLE that the Prius — costing about US$6k more than the erstwhile Honda Civic HX with a VTEC engine it “replaces”, does NOT pay for itself within the typical FIVE YEAR ownership period unless gas prices EXCEED ELEVEN DOLLARS A GALLON for the ENTIRE term of ownership, and that’s based on all mileage at the original EPA 60mpg Hwy, not on realistic numbers.

    … that Prius costs US$26k.

    So what, praytell, do you think gas prices would have to be for that idiotic Volt to be an economically sensible choice?

    The Volt, like the Prius, is a political statement, and it translates out of the libspeak as “I am an economically and mathematically illiterate DUMBASS — as are all the friends whose opinions I pay attention to.”

    It’s a freakin’ car, not a billboard. Cars are for transportation. Save your money and use a billboard for your political statements, like a sensible person does… even if you aren’t thus encumbered.

  14. Baklava Says:

    OMG !

    http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/558189/201012291905/Why-Jobs-Leave.htm

    Obama might be headed towards the economic prescription after meating with 20 CEO’s…

    Let’s demonize him Matt Daemon !!!

    We can’t have prosperity for the commoners can we??? We should only allow elites like Matt to make money – who cares about jobs for Americans???

    Well… finally Obama might care.

  15. Baklava Says:

    Ford Fiesta gets 41 mpg and only costs $13,000

    If you drove 20,000 miles per year for 10 years you couldn’t add up enough gas to save for the thunderVolt.

  16. Wm Lawrence Says:

    With regard to the videos: It looks like Matt could profit from reading over some of his old scripts before opening his mouth…

  17. IgotBupkis Says:

    Neo, the problem with “wicked smaaht” is that it’s only one form of understanding of the world.

    IQ is something most libtards have in spades — look at Noam Chomsky.

    We lack, however, a “Wisdom Quotient” metric — a test which measures “common sense” — the ability to learn from experience, as opposed to books. Better yet, from observables about the experiences of others.

    “Fools say that they learn by experience. I prefer to profit by others’ experience.”
    – Bismarck -

    Were such a “Wisdom Quotient” test to exist, I’d strongly suspect that, while liberals probably trend on the upper side of the IQ bell curve, they average three-sigmas down the lower side of the WQ bell curve. Most of them are, in fact, “WMorons”, if not “WIdiots”.

    This explains their tendency towards magical thinking, and, more critically, how it is that a century of communism can kill upwards to a quarter of a billion people, and it and socialism enslave more than half the world’s population, and yet the answer to its blatant failure on all levels is “it just hasn’t been done right”.

    Rather clearly, the only way to “do communism/socialism ‘right’ is to not do it at all.

  18. Tatyana Says:

    the difference btwn videos: in 1st Damon was just parroting somebody else’s words, in 2nd he spoke from his own heart.

    all other questions – is he a good actor, bad, what color is his shirt (Gringo, I LOVE brown, it suits me – but strangely, I’m the opposite of nazi. Just saying) – have very little relevance.

    Also: I don’t understand this teennis-ball accusation of “hatred” Oh, gee, he is full of hatred – no you are -no you too!

    For myself, I don’t hide under sanctimony of Christian love towards my enemy. Yes, I hate socialists. I’m full of hatred towards the Left. [there is a long list, actually. Available on request.] They try to turn this country into one I was so happy to leave behind. So yeah, I am full of hatred. Just as they hate me, I hate them. That’s how it should be.

  19. IgotBupkis Says:

    OK, this is long, I wrote it in 2009, and I’m not going to re-write it specifically for this forum — it was written for elsewhere — if you want to read a justification for the above claim, that the Volt is a fiscally, economically, mathematically imbecilic purchase, this breakdown of how bad the Prius is holds true in spades for the Volt. It provides all the rationale you need for figuring out at what miles-per-year/price-per-gallon the Prius or Volt begins to “make sense” … I contend that if you apply the below correctly, there is absolutely no rationally likely price point for either to make sense for the Volt, and not much of one for the Prius, either.
    ================================

    –How long the average car is kept with the same owner, from new?

    It is generally agreed that new cars are kept an average of 5+ years.
    The best statistical analysis available on the web seems to be a study
    of the Salt Lake City market by the local newspapers. It shows that
    53% of buyers expect to keep a car longer than 5 years; 42% longer
    than 6 years. The statistical average in the survey was 5.5 years.
    Newspaper Agency Corporation “Motor Vehicles” (2002)
    http://www.nacorp.com/NAC2/pdf/Vehicles.pdf

    =================
    MPG –

    These appear to be the best-MPG cases for the non-hybrids of each model year of civic coupe:

    2003 HONDA CIVIC 4 cylinder 1.7 liter R (M5) Manual MPG: 36c-44h
    2004 HONDA CIVIC 4 cylinder 1.7 liter R (M5) Manual MPG: 36c-44h
    2005 HONDA CIVIC 4 cylinder 1.7 liter R (M5) Manual MPG: 36c-44h
    2006 HONDA CIVIC 4 cylinder 1.8 liter R (M5) Manual MPG: 30c-38h
    2007 HONDA CIVIC 4 cylinder 1.8 liter R (M5) Manual MPG: 30c-38h
    2008 HONDA CIVIC 4 cylinder 1.8 liter R (M5) Manual MPG: 26c-34h

    Note the recent drop-off — Near as I can discern, they are boosting the performance of the low-end “standard” hondas and letting their civic hybrids take over the high-mpg end.

    So the fact is, the idiots buying the overpriced hybrids are killing the availability of the FAR more cost-efficient non-hybrids.

    Also note:
    The 2008 Toyota Prius’ 1.5 Liter 4 Cylinder engine is mated with an Automatic (CVT) transmission. The new EPA estimates for the Prius are 48 MPG city, 45 MPG highway, and 46 MPG combined, running on regular gasoline. (The old EPA estimates for the Toyota Prius are 60, 55, and 51, respectively.)

    Honda has a Civic Hybrid — The new EPA estimates for the Civic Hybrid are 40 MPG city, 45 MPG highway, and 42 MPG combined
    (NB Note: also down by almost 10mpg from previous estimates — see source linked below)

    Reality appears to be that the actual MPG is, as is the case in pretty much every instance, not quite the optimum specified.
    Source for above:
    http://www.mpgomatic.com/best_gas_mileage_car.html

    ==========================

    So — assume you split the difference on a cost-effective civic with the same mileage class as the 2003-2005 1.7L civics, and list them at 40mpg avg use. We’ll also be generous with the Prius, and assume it’s actually getting 60mpg — real numbers are likely to be a good 10+mpg lower (we’ll look at the affect of those numbers, too).

    2009 Honda Civic Coupe 1.8L engine Base Price, $15k — call it 18k with reasonable add-ons. Note — THIS model only gets 26 city, 34 hwy, 29 combined mileage. Again, I arguee that this reduction in MPG is due to the hybrid models chasing away the “best standard models” from the market. So this price is designed to show the expense of an equivalent “standard” engine model. (for comparison — 2005 Honda Civic EX sedan — $17,410) NOT to say that you can actually get that “best” standard performance right now. But if the hybrids weren’t pushing them out of the market senselessly, you can attain that kind of mileage with a “standard” car.

    2009 Toyota Prius Base MSRP $23,375.00 — Note that I’ll lay odds that you’re going to pay MORE for the Prius than for the Honda — You’ll get discounts on the Honda but the demand for the Prius (thanks to the preponderance of damnfools) will be higher, thus the discounts will be less. So this difference in price is probably going to be GREATER, not less, than shown.

    So — difference in price — > 18k vs 23.5k

    LOAN COSTS –
    actual price is going to vary. Assume we’re going to be aggressive paying it off (@ 36 months), and have a decent, if not phenomenal, interest rate of 3%:

    23500 == 36@683.4= actual price of $24,600 — other numbers: 36@6%=36*714.91=$25,740, 60@3%=60*422.26=$25,340, 60@6%=60*454.32=$27,260

    18000== 36@523.46= actual price of $18,840 — other numbers: 36@6%=36*547.59=$19,710, 60@3%=60*323.43=$19,410, 60@6%=60*347.99=$20,880

    Price difference, after loan, from $5,760 to $6,380 — let’s be generous and use $5800.

    Note also that you might get 0% on the Honda, but with demand what it is on the Prius, probably not. But even if you paid 0%, we’re still talking $5500 difference

    FUEL COSTS –
    Avg usage in miles, per year — typical person — 10k-12k miles per year. This is very much an industry standard, so I’m not going to justify it. We’ll use the higher figure. 5.5 years at 12k miles == 66,000 miles.

    Prius — 66,000/60 mpg = 1100 gallons
    Honda — 66,000/40 mpg = 1650 gallons
    — Difference/savings in five years — 550 gallons
    Prius RW (“real world”) — 66000/46 mpg = 1434 gallons
    Honda (RW) — 66000/30 = 2200 gallons.
    — Difference/savings in five years — 766 gallons

    Now, let’s suppose gas price is at $5 per gallon, which is actually higher than it has EVER been.

    Fuel costs:
    Prius — 66,000/60 mpg = 1100 gallons @$5 == $5,500
    Honda — 66,000/40 mpg = 1650 gallons @$5 == $8,250
    — Cost Savings — $2,750
    Prius RW (“real world”) — 66000/46 mpg = 1434 gallons @$5 = $7,170
    Honda (RW) — 66000/30 = 2200 gallons @$5 == $11,000
    — Cost Savings — $3,830

    Now let’s see how it does if prices look positively European, at $7/gal

    Fuel costs:
    Prius — 66,000/60 mpg = 1100 gallons @$7 == $7,700
    Honda — 66,000/40 mpg = 1650 gallons @$7 == $11,550
    — Cost Savings — $3,850
    Prius RW (“real world”) — 66000/46 mpg = 1434 gallons @$7 = $10,038
    Honda (RW) — 66000/30 = 2200 gallons @$7 == $15,400
    — Cost Savings — $5,362

    Still less than the added $5,500 purchase price of the car.

    SUMMARY –

    Note for the purposes of the “real world” estimates above I also used the EPA’s exact revised estimates, while deprecating the Honda’s by 30%. By a truly fair argument it might have been better to set the Prius’s fuel usage based on something more like 35 mpg. But even giving it that GREAT mileage — the argument still holds:

    Prius ownership is a tax on being economically, fiscally, and mathematically challenged.

    In short, unless gas was AT THE PRICE of $7 per gallon, for the entire length of ownership, the higher price for the car doesn’t even come close to paying for the extra fuel expense.

    In reality — gas is on the close order of $3 per gallon right now. I’ll let you do the numbers as to how many years the average person would have to own a friggin’ Prius with gas at that price in order to justify it. Will it stay at $3 per gallon? Of course not. But it does say that the car, for most people — isn’t a good purchase if the price of gas isn’t WELL OVER the highest price it has EVER been in the USA, and very likely to stay that way for the entire time of ownership.

    It’s not even CLOSE until you get to the vicinity of $6 or $7 a gallon such that higher typical usage or long ownership can possibly make it pay off.

    And I’d also cite that one consider the fact that, as far as long ownership goes — these cars are a new design, are more complex, and thus more likely to have expensive mechanical, electronic, or other problems tied to design flaws or weaknesses during the course of long ownership. And all that has to be added to the argument as to which is a better, more sensible purchase, especially if you’re going to use longer ownership as a part of ones argument for the ROI. The cost of replacing those batteries isn’t going to be cheap, the cost of disposing/recycling the ruined ones isn’t going to be cheap. And if you have the car for more than 5 years, the chances of that as a problem are hardly small.

    Also, how many mechanics out there can work on a Prius? After 3-5 years, are you still going to be stuck using the dealer’s mechanics?

  20. Colin Says:

    IgotBupkis

    For the record.

    I do not particularly like the Volt as an economically wise vehicle to buy. I mentioned as much towards the end of the post. I do not plan on buying one, even if I was of the political persuasion that found it some sort of eco statement, which I do not. The core idea of a battery powered vehicle with an extended range is, however, a good one. Assuming, always, that it can be kept to a reasonable cost. Hence liking the “concept”. You’re on a bit of a hair trigger, ease up.

  21. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Since electrics are next to silent, they are potentially dangerous to pedestrians crossing streets, especially those with vision handicaps.
    So there’s a move to have them make artificial noise.
    Somebody suggested a recording of “smug, smug, smug, smug, smug”.

  22. Occam's Beard Says:

    I’ve seen him in interviews many times, and in an Actor’s Studio episode devoted to him, and he seems absolutely incapable of speaking for long without managing to take a cheap shot at someone (Bush and Palin being, by far, his favorite targets).

    An actor wants to rip on stupid people and he has to go that far afield? Hell, in Hollywood he could probably swing a dead cat and hit half a dozen people who make Bush and Palin look like geniuses.

    Btw, thanks, IgotBupkis, for your comments re the Volt. I started to make the same point (albeit not as well as you did), but decided not to. And every time I hear about the X mile roundtrip range of an electric car, I think of ending up X-1 miles away from home when the battery becomes exhausted (I know, the Volt can use gasoline as well).

    Plus, let’s face it, the X mile range requires a vehicle in perfect operating condition, with a brand new, fully charged battery, driven at an absolutely constant speed, downhill, with a tailwind. In a conventional car, who gets the mileage claimed by the manufacturer?

    On the other hand, electric vehicles definitely have a place. The golf course leaps to mind.

  23. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    the difference btwn videos: in 1st Damon was just parroting somebody else’s words, in 2nd he spoke from his own heart.

    Actually, no. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting themselves. They did a decent job of it, too.

    But check out the part later in the movie, when Robin Williams asks Matt Damon which books he’d recommend. Damon responds with… Howard Zinn, “A People’s History of the United States”. And that he did write himself.

    Q.E.D. The man is as dangerous off script as our President is.

    respectfully,
    Daniel in Brookline

  24. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Sorry, I phrased that badly… I mean that Matt Damon himself wrote the line that his character spoke, recommending Zinn’s book.

    You could say, if you like, that he was portraying an Irish Catholic kid from Southie, who might be expected to be a blue-collar hard-core Kennedy Democrat. Except it seems that that’s who the actor is, too, or at least thinks he is.

  25. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    I just acquired a new car in November. I’ve been driving a Honda Accord, which got a combined 24MPG. It was on a 36 month lease and I paid $325/mo. I could have turned it in and done the same deal on a 2011 Accord which got about the same mileage. The Accord was a good car, but not a great car. Before the Accord I had driven cars like the VW Golf, Nissan Protege, etc. Small cars with good gas mileage and excellent handling qualities were my preference. But I decided to move up to a more comfortable ride three years ago in the Accord.

    Anyway, I shopped around a bit and decided on a 2011 Toyota Camry. Much quieter and more comfortable than the Accord and about the same mileage. Then the salesman showed me a 2010 Camry Hybrid they had left on the lot and were anxious to get rid of. I liked the test drive and we worked out a deal where I got it for the same price as the 2011 non-hybrid. I’m paying $325/mo. on a 3 year lease. Have filled the tank twice since taking delivery and combined mileage has worked out to 33MPG. And the car isn’t even broken in yet. In addition, I am enjoying this car as much as any car I’ve ever owned. It’s quiet, smooth, comfortable, and even handles passably well on mountain roads.
    The instrumentation that shows what is driving the car (electric or gas), real time mileage, outside air temps, compass heading, etc. feels like I’m back in the cockpit. Add to that a dual heating system (my wife adores that!) and the keyless door operation. It is a lot of fun and I getting good gas milleage too.

    The downside is, I would not want to own the car and eventually replace the battery. I’m on a lease so that’s not a consideration. However, I think the battery life and disposal will be one of the major drawbacks to hybrids. It’s even worse with the all electrics like the Volt.

  26. SteveH Says:

    I thought Matt was a decent actor till i watched the Goodwill Hunting clip. I mean i saw the movie. I just don’t recall the hokey dialogue hovering somewhere between what you’d hear on Matlock or Murder She Wrote.

    I’m filing that movie in the same category i put I Dream of Genie. Both being things i can watch now and wonder what the hell i ever saw in them.

  27. Richard Aubrey Says:

    J.J.
    Have you been able to figure out the additional electrical bill?

  28. Richard Aubrey Says:

    J.J.
    Sorry to have missed a possibility. Some of a hybrid’s energy is that reclaimed when you take your foot off the accelerator. Instead of wasting the energy in engine breaking, a generator picks up the revs and charges the battery.
    You can brake once in fifty miles on the highway and pick up a portion of the acceleration cost, or brake every two blocks in town, getting back some of your acceleration cost. Same thing.
    Difference is the energy cost to sustain one’s speed for fifty miles makes the recovery irrelevant.

  29. neo-neocon Says:

    Matt Damon was actually very good in “The Talented Mr. Ripley.”

  30. Tatyana Says:

    Daniel: I didn’t know he and Affleck were writing the script for the movie. But …can you be absolutely sure the monologue in the clip is written by Damon himself?

    II watched the clip again and it all sounds so infantile…like a variation of Skitt’s Law. Or a kettle/black tournament.

    I could never understand why Damon is considered attractive. He has a face like unbaked and slappily-peeled potato.

  31. strcpy Says:

    “Note the recent drop-off — Near as I can discern, they are boosting the performance of the low-end “standard” hondas and letting their civic hybrids take over the high-mpg end.”

    Umm, those numbers changing drastically happen at the same time the EPA changed how they rate vehicles MPG and hit near right on what they estimated mileage to drop. The article you link specifically mentions the major drop off in 2008 is due to change (EPA estimated a 20-30 percent drop in standard gasoline engines). Even the small longer term drop is irrelevant. You can’t compare MPG ratings over much time as how it is calculated changes from time to time.

    Further the other issue is that MPG sucks as a rating, gallons per 100 mile is MUCH better. the Civic and such fare badly on costs because they are so fuel efficient anyway.

    For instance to take a large gasoline engine that gets 8 mpg and through hybrids and drivetrains get it to 16 mpg: that is only 8 mpg difference – not much right? Wrong, BIG jump and will save a great deal of money. You go from 12.5 gallons/100 mile to 6.25 gallons/100 mile). In that 100 mile stretch you save over *6 gallons*. Further this is a realistic jump in a great deal of large vehicles.

    If you go from 35mpg to 55mpg – which is FAR more than any of the small vehicles jump going to hybrids you go from 2.85 gallons/100 mile to 1.81 – you save a whopping *single gallon* of fuel in 100 miles. It takes a lot of those to cost thousands extra.

    The real problem is that they are only putting hybrids on small efficient vehicles. People look and think “Wow – 20mpg difference – I’ll save a TON!” when they will not. It is certainly one thing the Europeans got better than us (they rate in gallons per 100k), if we rated vehicles in gallons per 100 miles hybrids wouldn’t be near as popular as they are, or rather where we are currently putting them would be different.

    You are, in effect, doing this type of calculation too – your just doing it over 12000 miles and have it buried in a formula to figure up costs. Making high efficiency cars more efficient really doesn’t help a whole lot even if the MPG rating get a big scalar boost – it is ultimately the percentage increase that matters (and thus why a gallons per mile rating make better sense).

    As of now the only ones that make anything close to any sense are the larger ones. Something like a Ford Escape may – well if you can still get one of the multi-thousand dollar rebates from the govt or if you drive closer to 20000 miles a year (or more) and keep vehicles for a long time.

    An Explorer or full sized pickup truck would be great in one, they’ve made them in the past as concept vehicles and the attitude of consumers was basically why spend 10k more for a lousy 8 MPG even though that “lousy” 8 MPG would result in actual savings.

  32. SteveH Says:

    What is it with the eco liberal types and their insistance that technology’s direction is something you impose on society without regard to cost? Only in the world where liberals live is it considered more efficient to make a car go a little further for a lot more of a money.

    Since when did cost in human labor get left out of the equation in determining if a product or technology is efficient? By those standards washing clothes by hand in a creek is more efficient than a washing machine.

  33. Kurt Says:

    Daniel in Brookline beat me to it in pointing out the Howard Zinn reference that comes later in the movie. Basically that tells you what you need to know about Damon’s politics; I seem to recall both he and Ben Affleck had talked admiringly about Zinn on some other occasions, as well. A quick google search turned up this article about how both of them were to be featured in a documentary based upon his “People’s History.”

  34. Susan in Seattle Says:

    I haven’t much to say about the Volt; I drive a MINI Cooper (complete with a “Who Is John Galt?” bumper sticker) and I adore it; 38 mpg.
    Re: Matt Damon. I have seen several episodes of “Inside the Actor’s Studio.” The one with Ben Affleck was particularly painful – and then Matt Damon showed up. Their conversation was so laced with F bombs as to be unbearable to listen to – and typically I don’t flinch. Any respect I had for either one of them got flushed that evening despite having liked “Good Will Hunting” and “The Talented Mr. Ripley. “

  35. strcpy Says:

    “Only in the world where liberals live is it considered more efficient to make a car go a little further for a lot more of a money. ”

    To be fair it isn’t to make it go a little further, it is to make things “cleaner”.

    Not necessarily a bad goal, but they also totally fail in making that point. For whatever reason they decided to hitch that pony up to Global Warming – something that was obviously pseudoscience from the beginning to now. Even were it *true*, carbon emissions aren’t where you should be focusing time, it would be on methane and excess water vapor. Both of which are like the MPG vs GPM argument I presented above – a 50% reduction in carbon emissions will have less effect than a 10% reduction in methane, the latter is doable, the former isn’t.

    Carbon, while abundant, is *not* a major green house gas and lots of life on this planet does *better* the more their is (it is food). Methane is poison, stays in the atmosphere longer, and is 20 times more potent.

    No, what they want it is to *look* like they are doing something. Hybrid cars, solar panels on your house, bragging about your geothermal air conditioning, and all those things are a drop in the bucket in greenhouse effect but are really high in the “Look at how wonderful I am” effect.

    Heck, even lets assume that carbon emissions *are* the place to go – again switching from coal to nuclear would be MUCH MUCH MUCH larger an impact than even cutting all our cars out (especially when you move into second and third world countries that have none of the cleaner technologies we do). Technologies that are not seen or real sacrifices (say, limit flying) are off the table because saving the planet is only secondary (cost is so far down the list to be irrelevant).

    Had they phrased it as a quality of life – make us breath better, look better, and smell better than they would probably have gotten further. But it is much better on the whole “Look at how much I *care”" factor if you are saving all life on the planet. Hybridising the larger less fuel efficient vehicles would have resulted in less percentage increase in cost (another 5000 on a 45000 dollar truck isn’t like another 5000 on a 12000 dollar car), might have actually saved money over the life of the vehicle, and been MUCH more effective in cleaning the environment. But then they wouldn’t get the warm fuzzy feeling (also known as “smug”) which is what they are really paying for. Even at that switching out coal for nuclear would do more for it than if we all simply quit driving.

  36. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    Richard Aubrey,
    There is no electrcity cost to the Camry hybrid. The batteries don’t require charging like the all electric vehicles do.

    The instrumentation on my vehicle shows when the electric motor is powering the car, when the gas engine is powering, when they are both powering and when charge is being returned to the battery. It also shows real time fuel consumption. On the highway at 70 (the speed limit here in Washington state) the real time MPG average is about 40. It goes as high as 60MPG going down hill and as low as 20MPG going up hills. Another neat aspect is the low gear ratio. It provides nice engine braking for steep hills and gets 60MPG until you get over 40 MPH.

    The small town where I live is hilly and has aggressively enforced 25MPH speed limits everywhere. (Yes, it takes a while to get anywhere.) So, I use the low gear braking, vice the brake pedal, quite a lot. Going uphill is almost all on the gas engine and it shows 15-20/MPG, but 60MPG going downhill makes up for it.

    I agree with strcpy that big vehicles like trucks and SUVs are better candidates for the hybrid program. There is, percentage wise, more MPG gained. The program is in its infancy. With the new CAFE standards put out there, the companies are going to have to use either hybrids or high MPG diesels to meet the standards. I have no doubt that the systems will get better and less expensive as time goes by.

    We will have to transition, over the next 50 years or so, to something other than fossil fuels for transportation fuels. Not because of Global Warming, but because the oil deposits are finite while the demand is increasing worldwide. Modern civilization depends on reasonably priced, secure energy to maintain living standards. If we fail to find a successor fuel, the future will be bleak. Horses and sails await, if no replacements are found.

  37. Daniel in Brookline Says:

    Tatyana: no, I can’t be sure that any part of the Good Will Hunting script was written specifically by Matt Damon or by Ben Affleck, since they’re both listed as co-writers of the script.

    As such, however, I think it’s safe to say that, even if Ben wrote a particular phrase, it met with Matt’s approval.

    Personally, I’ll always have a soft spot for GWH, if for no other reason than the blink-and-you-miss-it appearance of some guys I know early on in the movie. (I’m referring to the barbershop quartet, known locally as Northeast Connection. They’re nice guys.)

  38. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    ” But the car’s not primarily about savings (with a price like that, most people will never recoup their initial extra outlay), it’s about self-righteousness. ”
    ======================

    Somewhere around the interwebs I have already seen these referred to as “smugmobiles”.

    Heh-heh…

  39. A_Nonny_Mouse Says:

    Occam’s Beard Says:
    December 30th, 2010 at 5:36 pm
    ” Plus, let’s face it, the X mile range requires a vehicle in perfect operating condition, with a brand new, fully charged battery, driven at an absolutely constant speed … ”
    ==========================
    Again, recently I read a comment on somebody’s blog asking “OK, say you have a Volt, and you’re in New York City, and it’s 10 degrees out and snowing like crazy. How long can you run your little eco-car with the windshield wipers and heater going, when traffic is backed up as far as the eye can see and a normally 30-minute commute takes 2-1/2 hours? (Include in your calculations the fact that battery output is reduced in cold weather.) ”

    Progressives: “On the Wrong Side of Reality for Over 100 Years!”

  40. SteveH Says:

    “”To be fair it isn’t to make it go a little further, it is to make things “cleaner”.”"
    strcpy

    Further has to be an artifact of cleaner. Otherwise, you’re not achieving less fossil fuel consumption per mile which is ultimately the only path to cleaner. I just detest the whole exercise of seeking cleaner at higher cost of human labor to purchase it and calling it more efficient.

    It’s not energy efficiency to figure out how to consume half as much energy while disregarding paying four times more for the energy you do consume. In any other subject besides energy, we curiously call that losing ground. Or at least we call it less efficient.

  41. strcpy Says:

    “It’s not energy efficiency to figure out how to consume half as much energy while disregarding paying four times more for the energy you do consume.”

    Technically it *can* be if we are using “clean” as the metric for efficiency.

    Lets say you have half the energy output for four times the monetary cost all powered by waste materials that we have no other use for. Further lets say your output is clean drinkable water. With respect to “clean” that is *highly* efficient and worth the cost.

    That is, of course, a contrived example but there is no particular reason why it could not be true someday. After all go back 20 years and everyone was wondering what to do with radioactive waste from nuclear reactors – today we produce those same isotopes and let the energy (heat) whirl away because the “waste” is worth more money than the energy. 20 years ago I would have been laughed out of *anyplace* for suggesting that, today I would be rich if I had offered to “store” it, heck I would have been *payed* to store it until someone figure out it was useful.

    Still, not that what the eco-nuts want makes any sense either, but it could certainly well make sense over all to spend more on less energy if there are other reasons to do so. It would depend on those other reasons – health concerns with atmospheric pollution being a fairly large one.

    It’s probably not too hard to link pollution in many areas to a drive to cheap power and have the total over all cost be cheaper to have somewhat more expensive power (it takes a great deal of consumption to even equal the lost costs of one less year of productive life of the average person). There are few studies – well or poorly done – that explore this idea because things like “Global Warming” are more topical, yet the former is a MUCH better reason to justify these monetary costs. The latter also are not as good on the whole “I care” metric too.

  42. expat Says:

    This is not related to fuel efficiency or cost, but to reputation and status re cars. Amomg our small circle of friends, 2 BMWs and one Mercedes, standard midsize rear wheel drive vehicles, have been sitting under piles of snow because they cannot be steered or climb hills under slippery conditions. I guess because of global warming it was decided to omit a warning label that such cars cannot be counted on in winter. Apparently, the more expensive 4 wheel drives do better, but no one told us.

  43. br549 Says:

    There are 42 gallons of crude in a barrel of oil. We need oil (as grease) to lubricate wheel bearings. Oil lubricates transmissions, electric motor bearings, hybrid engines, etc. Lubricants are a small portion of what comes out of a 42 gallon barrel of oil. Plastics anyone? The very same plastics replacing metals in automobiles so as to lighten the load, making them more fuel efficient.
    The highest percentage single refined item? Gasoline, at 18.5 to 19 gallons out of every 42.
    If we quit using gasoline, but still need oil as a lubricant (we will always need lubricants as long as we need rotary motion) what about all that gasoline? There are web sites one can visit to see the breakdown of products refined from crude. I wonder how modern civilization can survive without it.

  44. br549 Says:

    I mean, oil. It’s right up there with thumbs.
    Dolphins are smarter than humans, right? So it’s gotta be thumbs.

  45. Richard Aubrey Says:

    J.J.
    The law of conservation of matter and energy has not been repealed.
    There are two benefits to your vehicle. One is that it is more efficient, as are most new designs. The other is that you reclaim some of your accel cost by braking, which is not done in conventional cars. That is the only advantage of a hybrid and its value varies accordingi to the kind of driving one does.
    The amount of oil may be finite, but the limit has not yet been found.
    “reserves” is a formal designation, including discovered, assayed, and permitted. It is not economically worth it for oil companies to have reserves beyond about twenty-five years’ worth. That’s why our reserves have been going to run out in twenty-five years since at least WW II.
    Batteries requiring charging, which yours is not, are now coal-fired vehicles with electricity serving as the transmission mode.

  46. Gringo Says:

    Richard Aubery
    “reserves” is a formal designation, including discovered, assayed, and permitted. It is not economically worth it for oil companies to have reserves beyond about twenty-five years’ worth. That’s why our reserves have been going to run out in twenty-five years since at least WW II.

    While this is true, bear in mind that US production of oil is about half of what it was 40 years ago.

    Batteries requiring charging, which yours is not, are now coal-fired vehicles with electricity serving as the transmission mode.

    Good point. The current administration is trying to do away with coal-fired electricity via regulation, without resort to a current high-volume cost effective alternative.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_Oil_Production_and_Imports_1920_to_2005.png

  47. SteveH Says:

    The only reason people in the slums of New Dehli are horrible gaurdians of the environment is because they can’t afford to be overly concerned about it. Which is a similar effect eco liberals are knowingly or unknowingly imposing on affluent parts of the world.

    We’ll end up with super fuel efficiency for the very few elites and more waste and pollution from the vast majority. And the libs will scratch their heads at what went wrong that people just don’t care.

  48. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Gringo.
    I know about US oil production. See Congress and the greenies for the reason. Still, I suppose using somebody else’s oil for a bit, saving ours for when our lampposts are supporting the ‘crats and we will be finally drilling out own is a good idea.

  49. SteveH Says:

    “”The current administration is trying to do away with coal-fired electricity via regulation, without resort to a current high-volume cost effective alternative”"
    Gringo

    They have an alternative. It’s called no more high volume energy and the people make do with that reality. And the miracle of nuclear energy also being curtailed pretty much proves it’s not about fossil fuel depletion.

  50. Occam's Beard Says:

    To be fair it isn’t to make it go a little further, it is to make things “cleaner”.

    To be precise, hybrid cars make the air cleaner. But current (no pun intended) hybrids use nickel metal hydride (and to a lesser extent, lead-acid) batteries, which are about as “ungreen” as one would care to imagine.

  51. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Occam.
    There’s supposedly a “dead zone” around an Ontario nickel mine at,iirc, Sudbury. Then the stuff has to be refined and shipped and manufactured.
    And disposed of.

  52. J.J. formerly Jimmy J. Says:

    br549 said, “There are web sites one can visit to see the breakdown of products refined from crude. I wonder how modern civilization can survive without it.”

    Yes, we make many things – plastics, lubricants, medicines, fabrics, paving, and much more – from oil. It is, however, the primary transportation fuel. We can make bio fuels, but presently only sugar cane derived ethanol is somewhat efficient as a biofuel. Corn based ethanol represents a big energy loss to produce it. We can fuel our vehicles with natural gas, of which we are finding huge resserves here in the U.S. At present the best way to utilize natural gas is for truck/bus fleets that leave a central yard each morning and return in the evening. ie School buses, utility fleets, trash trucks, etc. That doesn’t require a widespread natural gas refueling infrastructure. We can make diesel from coal. It’s not an energy efficient process, but if you are out of oil as the Germans were in WWII, it makes sense to go that route. There are also huge reserves of shale oil that are not economical to turn into fuel yet, but their day will come.

    Richard Aubrey said, “The amount of oil may be finite, but the limit has not yet been found.” Very true. And, as demand goes up and prices rise, more reserves will be tapped. See my reference to oil shale above. Many people are persistent in predictuing “Peak Oil,” that point at which demand exceeds possible supply. With China and India fast becoming modern nations, their demand for petroleum products is increasing much faster than ours. Other third world countries are increasing their demand as well. We will be well past Peak Oil before we realize we’ve passed it. It makes sense to try to stretch our supplies through more efficient vehicles, and encouraging the search for new fuels. Some people believe we can make oil from algae, others are working on biofuel from switchgrass and other biomass. Some believe the hydrogen vehicle wil be the path of the future. We need to find that alternative fuel some time in the next 50 years, IMO. If we don’t, we will eventually to using horse and sail power.

    The ecoterrorists are not so concerned about maintaining our economic viability as they are about stopping the industrial revolution. Protecting the environment by stopping oil/gas drilling, coal mining, hydro power, nuclear power, logging, etc. is a sure fire way to kill this country’s economic system. Making fossil fuel burning the villain in “Global Climate Change” is nothing more than another way to stop the industrial revolution. For some reason they don’t realize that what they have done to this country via environmental regulation over the last 30 years is one reason we are beholden to others for our energy, lumber, manufactured goods, and more. We have become a service economy that is very vulnerable to perturbations in financial issues. The Endangered Species Act and the EPA musty be changed so that they are not damaging our economy or we can never recover fully from our present financial problems.

  53. Occam's Beard Says:

    Some people believe we can make oil from algae, others are working on biofuel from switchgrass and other biomass. Some believe the hydrogen vehicle wil be the path of the future.

    Speaking from a position of unalloyed ignorance about the proposals, I nevertheless default to skepticism about biofuels. Such biological products as cellulose and ethanol are oxygenated, i.e., partially oxidized already, and thus have lower energy content on a molar basis than comparable hydrocarbons. Fats are much closer to hydrocarbons in this respect, but it’s hard to see them making much of a contribution to the energy economy.

    I also don’t get (and haven’t studied) the “hydrogen economy” proposals. Its proponents do realize, don’t they, that they’re in essence proposing a different working fluid, not a new source of energy? Addressing energy needs by switching from oil to hydrogen is like addressing a water shortage by switching from pipes to buckets. The problem isn’t how you work with the stuff (energy or water), but where you get it in the first place.

    I may not be giving enough credit to those making hydrogen-based proposals, but I’ve read numerous suggestions that we could solve our energy problems with batteries, and those people indubitably lack any clue.

  54. david foster Says:

    The creation of a large/affluent middle class was very largely due to the availability of broadly-distributed and reasonably-low-cost energy, particularly in the form of electricity. The destruction of America’s energy industry that is now being engineered by the “progressives” will also largely eliminate this large middle class, although a substantial aristocracy will still remain.

  55. jack Says:

    The Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and the rest of those fugly electro saviors will fail miserably in sales.

    Why? If you can afford 41k for that fugly piece of engineering you can easily afford a Tesla coupe.

    Come on … really! Place them side by side and which electro are you going to be seen driving!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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