Motor Mouth: Electric cars have dirty little secret

I think the enviroweenies are getting nervous. U.S. President Barack Obama recently tabled a budget for 2013 that bumped up the incentives for buying an electric car. Or, as they say in congressional legalese, any vehicle that “operates primarily on an alternative to petroleum,” which, with apologies to those shilling natural gas, really means anything that plugs in.

The Democrats’ provisional budget — and, if you were shilling for Republicans Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum, that adjective would be altered slightly to “delusional” — sees the maximum incentive for the purchase of EVs increased to $10,000 from $7,500.

Dress it up any you want, but even the shallowest of car salespeople knows that you only put incentives on vehicles people don’t want to buy. And you only increase already substantial subsidies if the consuming public seems particularly reluctant.

Ten big ones is extremely strong medicine, usually reserved for hard-selling luxury sedans long past their due date. Indeed, there’s no way to dress up $10,000 “on the hood” of a $35,200 Nissan Leaf as anything other than desperate measures.

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