Joe Nocera, one of my favorite financial writers, wrote a great piece for the Times this morning on the Chevy Volt, check it out.
As someone who wants to be really green, but fails often, I was excited by what he wrote about the Volt and then let down. Look, just by living in NYC I am one of the most carbon-friendly people in the country, but when I leave the city, I drive long distances--in rental cars.
1) NYC rental cars rarely have fuel efficient vehicles. Everyone asks for them, and they're always sold out. I've only ever managed to get prius twice. The new Obama gas regs have helped a lot, I use a lot less fuel on these nine hour trips, but its still cruddy that I want to use such a vehicle and cannot. Why they don't have more cars in their fleet? I don't know. I've asked. Sometimes its supply problems, sometimes its having a variety of small-to-midsize cars. I don't know. Garages are crowded, and they're filled with Kias and other crap cars.
2) The Volt sounds great. We may have to leave the city sometime soon. Anywhere else but NYC we're going to have to buy a car. It is unlikely that I'll be able to afford a Volt. Not yet, but there again. I am exceedingly likely (if I remain on the East Coast) to take drives of three hundred miles or more. The Volt turns into a regular car after the first 100 miles. I suppose its still fuel efficient at that point, but it still sort of sucks.
Anyway, food for thought. Hopefully Michael Lind's fracking dream doesn't nip this in the bud.