Latest GOP Slap At Volt: Can't Hold A Gun Rack (Hint: Bad Idea, Boys)

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Real Americans only drive pickup trucks (imported oil be damned).

It's obvious because slaps at green cars and fuel-economy rules have become a staple of political campaigning among certain candidates.

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich mocked the current Administration's promotion of fuel-efficient cars in a speech at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

According to Talking Points Memo, Gingrich said, "Let me start from a simple premise that Oklahomans will understand: you cannot put a gun rack in a Volt."

It's eerily reminiscent of then-Texas Governor Rick Perry's July 2008 sneer that you can't put hay bales in a Toyota Prius hybrid.

Because, y'know, every American needs those abilities in every vehicle he buys.

Rhetoric v facts

With this kind of red-meat rhetoric, a little fact-checking is usually in order.

In the Perry hay-bale case, Austin American-Statesman humor columnist John Kelso borrowed a Prius from a coworker and filled it with five hay bales.

So much for that.

Hay bale in Toyota Prius, from Austin American-Statesman

Hay bale in Toyota Prius, from Austin American-Statesman

As for the Gingrich gun-rack contention, it took Volt owner J.T. McDole less than a day to prove Gingrich wrong. Watch his video, above.

Not that it's likely that hunters would take a Volt off-roading into the back country to go hunting anyhow. But never mind that.

Gun racks: 'bad idea'

High Gear Media's resident gun expert, Kurt Ernst, said experienced firearms instructors (he is one) consider gun racks "a really, really bad idea" in general.

Guns openly mounted in vehicles pose an obvious and severe theft risk.

And the racks are aftermarket accessories, of widely varying quality, whose significant weight and sharp edges can be dangerous in a severe accident.

Ernst comments: "With the rear seat folded down, the Chevy Volt's cargo bay has plenty of room to transport as many securely cased long guns as the owner wishes."

Volts un-American?

Of course, just as the Prius was the subject of sneers, taunts, and misinformation a few years back (which hasn't hurt its sales, projected to grow to a new record in 2012), the Volt is this year's political whipping boy.

2012 Chevrolet Volt

2012 Chevrolet Volt

Enlarge Photo

Decoded, Newt's comment really meant, "REAL Americans, who drive full-size pickups and sport-utility vehicles, don't want to be forced into buying a Volt or a plug-in car."

Luckily, no one is forcing them to do so.

And, funny, we didn't hear Gingrich say anything about displacing the oil we have to import from foreign countries that don't much like us by not burning it in the first place. His focus was on drilling.

For the record, the 2012 Chevrolet Volt is rated at 37 miles per gallon when running on its range-extending gasoline generator.

That's the highest gas mileage of any vehicle built by a U.S. carmaker in the United States.

Just make it stop

But then the campaign trail is rife with confusion and those pesky little factual errors.

We're already eagerly looking forward to Wednesday, November 7, when the presidential election will be over--one way or another.

How about you?


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Comments (17)
  1. Yes! November 7th is a great day to look forward to, and let's hope that none of those anti-clean energy, anti-environmental conservatives are elected to any government office; if they are, the Volt will cease to exist and all the other electric and hybrid vehicles as well. America will be plunged back into the fossil age.

    The conservative scare tactics did not work in 2006 and 2008. I wonder why they think it will work in 2012. They do suffer greatly from that "convenient memory loss", don't they?

  2. "That's the highest gas mileage of any vehicle built by a U.S. carmaker in the United States."

    Wonder if the Ford Fusion hybrid at 39 mpg combined is the sole exception to that statement.

  3. All 2012 Ford Fusion models are built in Mexico.

  4. Ah, guess that explains it.

  5. Does the current talk about Iran's oil export issue cause anyone else to flash back to the 1974 oil embargo? I get so tired of people claiming hybrid or EV technology requires Americans to compromise too much. I think we might already be compromising too much, with the middle east.

  6. @John. Yes, I thought the same thing. One difference, though, is we actually import far less oil from the Middle East than we used to, and far more than 99% of Americans realize. The only countries in the top ten importers to the US in the Middle East are #2 S. Arabia and #7 Iraq. Canada is #1, Mexico is #3, etc. Yes, Venezuela is #4, too. Still, though, wherever the origin, buying less and polluting less is better, of course.

    Hybrids were a compromise when choices were very limited. Now, not so much IMO. Hybrids in many categories now, of course.

    Is compromise always bad? If less power and better mileage is a compromise, can't it be a good one? Not for everyone, of course, but for many, of course.

  7. I do recognize that the USA does not get much oil from the middle east. Unfortunately, in a global market place, the price we pay for oil is still impacted by instability in that area.

    Also, I think we are in a better position now than in 1974 regarding our oil importation and usage, but it seems to be at the expense of playing nice with Saudi Arabia.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that hybrid and EV technologies give us even more isolation from the middle east, and that alone has to be worth something to Americans. I would love to have an EV and be able to tell other countries we don't care about their oil.

  8. Well said John, we need independents not dependence. Someone should tell Newt and the rest of his party that the 1950's ended quite sometime ago.

  9. Excellent point, but it's hard to notice that the 1950's have ended when a good part of the conservative moment is based on an impossible return to those days.

  10. Well stated, John, and yes, it's all connected in the end. It's a shame that we can't use more NG for the next 20-30 years, at least for fleets (I know it's increasing somewhat, but...) while we work out the EV's initial struggles.

  11. Why do republican's think that all Americans are gun toting super religious hillbillies? That to me is an offensive portrayal of American people. And it's true why would anyone display something that could be so easily stolen and then used to commit violent crimes against innocent people? Newt that is one of the worst attempts to falsely attack the Volt yet.........congratulations Lol! Idiot

  12. I've got intelligent moderate Republican friends, too, but let's face it, much of the raw base of the current Republican party is exactly that, gun fanatics, anti-government extremists who often tend to be super religious. Note the guy who wrote a post here the other day stating that he'd refuse to drive in EV mode for the Volt, just to prove a point. What point, again...?

    I'd be tempted to put a fake gun rack on my Volt just to show 'em... Not really, of course, but Newt, that's the mind that made you a Professor?

  13. Sad to say a car salesman said something similar to me about the Crown Vic not being able to support a gun rack so I needed a Truck/SUV instead. I laughed and said since I don't own a gun there won't be a need for a rack.

  14. I should get a Leaf, stick in a gun rack, paint a confederate flag on it, mount a longhorn rack on the hood, then drive it around and watch republican heads explode.

  15. Another ridiculous article. I love electric cars. I love this website except when it ventures off into these political sideshows. I actually think this just hurts the eCar industry when we venture into this political carping. I hate to break it to the people who get into this, but Republicans love clean air, electric cars, a lack of dependency on foreign oil, etc. I suspect just as much as their democratic friends.

    Stop the political sniping and stick for the real reasons people come to read this website. Enough with the immaturity.

  16. I beg to differ. My gop colleagues seem incredulous when I mention to them that our ground forces overseas are going green, mostly because our exploding fuel transports make such wonderful moral boosters for those who oppose us, and it happens on such a frequent basis. Losing our carbon based fuel habit is just one of the smartest things we can do on so many levels.

  17. Yeah, but I'll bet you can't fit a Newt Gingrich in the back of a Volt.

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