It was only a few years ago that Ford, Toyota and a few other automobile manufacturers began to produce a number of plug-in all electric cars such as electric Ford Escorts when California enacted some tough new air pollution rules. But then lawyers for the oil and auto industry sued the State Of California in court to overturn these tough air pollution rules, and companies like Ford and Toyota ordered owners of these electric cars to return them to the manufacturers and began crushing them down and destroying them, thus keeping polluting oil burning cars on the road when viable nonpolluting replacements were available. The oil industry and the auto industry conspired together to keep America hooked on oil.
But now that Detroit is facing a life or death financial struggle to survive, some companies like Ford are once again promising to market all-electric cars because the politicians in Washington want to hear forward-looking talk like this. Ford and other auto executives even rode to Washington in hybrid cars today in a show-event to soften up Washington's hearts like the pathetic panhandler holding out the tin cup only to fuel his own addictive appetites.
This is unfortunately the way of Detroit and the auto industry in general including the imports. The technology is there to produce nonpolluting, and basically trouble-free electric cars that could have reduced America's dependence on oil, but instead both the auto and oil industry only wanted to keep America buying oil and used tons of money to pay lawyers to beat down any environmental laws that pushed America towards using less oil.
Now Ford claims that by 2011 it will once again market an all-electric model, and expressed concerns that it will take until 2011 for American auto sales to rebound, expecting the depression in auto sales to drag on for at least that long.
Some states are almost willing accomplices in all this in that they have licensing laws that make it difficult to register all-electric vehicles as well. There are some all-electric moped scooters that use lightweight lithium batteries that only have to be replaced once every seven years, can go 55mph, and can travel between 55 to 75 miles per charge, but some states make it very difficult to register these vehicles. Licensing laws in many states seem bent towards keeping high oil burning vehicles on the road where complicated laws deter many persons from buying such vehicles.
Why does America have such a high appetite for oil that has created both trade deficit problems, air quality problems, and even helped to drive oil prices up until the recession drove prices back down once again? Lawyers for the auto and oil industry have often been just as important to these industries as actually building new vehicles.
Unfortunately Detroit only seems to respond with nonpolluting vehicles when really forced to. And when wiggle room remains, squirm from such duties or else use lawyers to escape. It's all a very disappointing message from an industry that is now asking the taxpayer for a big life preserver to survive. Damned be the public, except when this industry is standing on the cusp of financial damnation themselves. Then the boys in Detroit are suddenly the good guys.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!