Following up on EPA administrator Lisa Jackson’s statement that “what this country needs is a one single national road map that tells automakers who are trying to become solvent again what kind of car it is they need to be designing and building for the American people,” the Washington Post‘s Charles Lane reports on the practicality of one of the Obama administration’s preferred models, the electric car:
Though Obama promised to have 1 million plug-in hybrids on the road by 2015, the dream of a mass-market electric car remains implausible and probably will be for years.
A 2009 study by Boston Consulting Group found that the five-year total cost of owning an electric car would remain “relatively unattractive to consumers in 2020, unless its cost is subsidized.”
And that’s in Germany, where high fuel taxes give drivers much stronger incentives to use alternative-fuel vehicles than in the United States. So if the electric car isn’t practical in Europe’s biggest car market, it’s even less so in the States.
In fact, Boston Consulting Group found that the total cost of ownership of existing hybrids and advanced internal combustion engine cars is more attractive than that of electric cars as long as oil prices are below $280 a barrel. Oil is trading at around $49 a barrel today; in the United States, gas costs about $2 a gallon.