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

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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