The Chevy Volt supposedly can get 230 MPG city. In reality, it’s nowhere near that. On the other hand, it is nice that environmentalists assume that all of that energy coming from the coal plant firing is “free” and that the toxic hazards arising from these batteries is “free.” Political Calculations also points out circumstances under which an electric car may be less energy-efficient than an internal combustion auto. Remember: it’s not enough to compare miles per gallon; you have to compare energy expended per fixed distance.
On the other hand, I am glad that private enterprises, as well as Government Motors, are coming out with new technologies. If electric cars are going to be a viable technology and companies can get past the first- and second-generation problems (including the condescending attitude held by a number of owners, who think that just because they can’t do faster than 55 on the interstate and are in an ugly little bubble, they’re better than everyone else), it will at least provide good competition. The trick is, however, not to have the government do the picking. When the government tries to pick winners, there’s one guaranteed loser: the taxpayer.