Conservation Theater

Recently-elected Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) recently conducted an odd stunt to promote some electric car technology apparently being developed in his district. He wanted to drive an electric car from his district to his swearing-in at the Capitol in D.C. Problem is, the distance between those two points is out of the car's range. So here’s what he did:

Massa drove one fuel cell car while a hybrid SUV towing an additional SUV followed along. Once he got half way, he switched to new fuel cell car. The empty fuel cell was then towed back by the first SUV. As he continued on his journey, the second SUV followed. Once Massa arrived in DC, the second SUV then towed the second fuel cell car back to NY.

So Massa wasted several times the amount of energy he needed for 300-mile trip . . . in order to make a point about the importance of conservation and alternative energy. Sadly, Rep. Massa's capacity for theater and obliviousness to reason likely means he's on his way to a very successful career in politics.

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  • ||

    Oh, come on. Tell me I'm not the only one who giggled his way through that article...

  • Guy Montag||

    Mike,

    No, there is another.

  • Guy Montag||

    Someone needs to learn that Massa fellow the word "HEMI".

  • ||

    Yep, this guy will 'serve' as long as he wants, and his feckless constituents will salute his smarmy 'ecological-ism'. We truly get the govt we deserve.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Guy,

    You fool! This only accelerates the coming Revolution! Soon I will driving through the wasteland in an armored up Camaro with an empty sawed off shotgun in a never ending quest for gasoline.

  • Guy Montag||

    Wow, I stupidly assumed that this was a Ron Bailey article!

    Good show Radley Balko! And I will leave off my "for a Saab driver" qualifier too.

  • Guy Montag||

    NS,

    At the least I would suggest stopping at The Wal~Mart for a case or two of shells.

  • Neu Mejican||

    [sigh]

    Not helping Massa...

    Not helping.

  • ed||

    That's ok. The new Chevy Volt (available, they predict, in 2010, for $35,000) will get me as far as my job, where I'm sure my employer will allow me (and all the other enthusiastic Volt-owners) to plug in to the company outlets in order to get back home again. That's voltage we can believe in!

  • Guy Montag||

    NM,

    Why don't you help Massa out with some sort of organic bean-kurd dipping sauce fuel or something?

  • Paul||

    Why don't you help Massa out with some sort of organic bean-kurd dipping sauce fuel or something?

    Maybe we could introduce him to Charles "Switch" Grassley. I've heard they're making biofuel out of the Senator from Iowa.

  • Guy Montag||

    Maybe Soylent Diesel is really in our future?

  • jbk||

    Soylent Diesel is people, not Senators.

  • Naga Sadow||

    Stealing a line from Pro Lib . . .

    We should hook Massa up to a generator. The spin he produces could power a thousand suns!

  • ||

    The longer I live, the more I realize that environmentalism is nothing more than empty symbolism. This is just another in a long line of hollow theatrical performances.

  • Guy Montag||

    Brandybuck,

    It peaked for me when I was about 25 and has just been a steady drone of "I can't believe I used to believe that bullshit. the only thing they recycle is words and myths".

  • Paul||

    The only electric car worth considering.

  • ||

    So what's more remarkable, how stupid Massa is, or how stupid he thinks all the rest of us are?

    Paging PT Barnum...

  • Guy Montag||

    Shelby,

    I am down wit how stupid he is.

  • Elemenope||

  • Michael Ejercito||

    What is it with environmentalists anyway?

  • ||

    """The only electric car worth considering."""

    Bah. They have no idea on the range of the car and it they say it will charge over night. I wonder how many hours that will be. No electric car will be popular unless it has a similar range as current cars and charging isn't a hassle. It looks cool though.

    Electric cars with short ranges and long charge times will never work as our primary mode of transportation. There are tens of thousands of that type of car already in use where they work best. The golf course.

  • ||

    Bwah-hah-hah-hah-hah! Someone should offer to show Massa the Great Egress!

    /from NY
    //voted with my feet
    ///live free and stay offa my lawn!

  • cunnivore||

    I used to live in what is now his district. I can't believe he finally won (he's been running every two years for god knows how long). I met him at an anti-war rally during his '06 campaign and from the couple of minutes talking to him I can totally see him doing this.

  • cunnivore||

    This reminds me of that Berkeley-sponsored "emissions-free" vehicle race, where some contestants were cutting down trees along the way to use for fuel.

    Perhaps these are good object lessons for the fact that it's possible to damage the environment even without producing emissions.

  • Lefiti||

    it's possible to damage the environment even without producing emissions.

    Yeah we could be poisoning the earth with killer radiation. So that our n-th generation descendants will have to battle skyrocting rates of breast cancer and giant atomic spiders all at the same time.

  • johnl||

    So there aren't electric car charging stations near DC?

  • EcoDude||

    The Atomic Spiders rock!

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I can't believe I finally agree with Neu on something.
    Technological innovation (absent government subsidies, of course)is surely the answer to problems of peak oil and climate change. But guys like Massa just make everyone attempting "evironmental-friendly" solutions look stupid and open them to ridicule.

    And you got a problem with Saab drivers, Guy? Bring it on, baby.

  • ||

    Aptera? What about the Tesla Roadster? (http://www.teslamotors.com). That would be sweet to own! If only I had $100,000, anyway. Although I do actually drive an PEV for my commute, it's an all electric moped, top speed 40mph, range of around 45 miles (my commute is only 12 miles to the office, so I have plenty of charge to spare without having to find a plug at the office) and takes about 2-3 hours to fully charge at a cost of around $0.15, all of that with no oil changes an virtually no maintenance. Works great for that relatively limited purpose and getting around town while keeping up with traffic. Strictly an urban commuter, though. And at $4,000 the price was good enough to make it worth it. Plus it's pretty darned fun. Plenty more two-wheelers are working their way into the $3k-10k range with better speeds and ranges than we've seen so far as folks start moving to newer battery technologies like LiFePo over the older Silicon Lead-Acid batteries. (Look up things like XM-3500Li, XM-5000Li, EVD or Vectrix for a sampling of the newer electric 2-wheelers coming out.)

    Now that doesn't make Rep. Massa any less of an idiot, of course, but it does mean that Plug-in Electric Vehicles are definitely progressing, despite what others in the comments here might have you believe.

  • ||

    Massa's got it all wrong. He should have had a semi with a portable nuclear powerplant following him. You just have to be careful not to get the extension cord tangled up with the other cars.

  • ||

    Bumper cars. Just hang an electrified grid 7 feet off the ground all over the nation and we can go anywhere we want. Deaths from auto accidents would plunge. You could express road rage in a socially acceptance manner. Sure it'd be ugly, but the sky is so overrated as is.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    """The only electric car worth considering."""

    ...Would be one powered by it's own miniature nuclear fusion reactor that could run forever with zero fuel costs and no maintainance - and doesn't cost one cent more than a gasoline powered car.

  • ||

    Electric cars with short ranges and long charge times will never work as our primary mode of transportation.

    Except for the marginal cases (people who will never drive them beyond half of their range), and barring a technological revolution (e.g., miniature fusion reactors), of course.

  • ||

    This time, with Extra Added Preview!

    Electric cars with short ranges and long charge times will never work as our primary mode of transportation.

    Except for the marginal cases (people who will never drive them beyond half of their range), and barring a technological revolution (e.g., miniature fusion reactors), of course.

  • ||

    If his point was that the technology for practical electric cars is not there yet, well then,,,,,Point well made!

  • ||

    As long as people pay attention to these tawdry gaffes, we'll have to read and hear about them.

    The headline ought to read: Dimwit Pol Fails Self-Promoting Ecological Stunt.

  • ||

    Sorry, but I'm sticking with my land yacht. The Lincoln gets 20 something MPG, and carries pretty much anything. Beats the old Z that held 3 people(uncomfortably if you're more than 5 feet tall) and a bag of groceries.

  • ||

    "You will adopt these new electric cars!"

    "Yes, Massa! Right away, Massa!"

  • ||

    LOL, I thought you meant Filipe Massa, the Formula One driver.

  • ||

    "Paging PT Barnum..."

    Wasn't it H.L. Mencken who said something like, "No one ever went broke (or lost an election) by overestimating the stupidity of the average American"?

  • ||

    But look at the upside -- both cars cost only $110,000.00 and only used $12.00 of electricity. I'm sure the person who drove the other car back was an unpaid volunteer!

  • Guy Montag||

    CN,

    And you got a problem with Saab drivers, Guy? Bring it on, baby.

    Are you talking about this? And I will leave off my "for a Saab driver" qualifier too.

    Why would you think my Saab driver qualifier means I have some sort of problem with them?

    Male Saab drivers are the sweetest men out there. Those cars are just so gender neutralizing that pharmacutical companies should be afraid.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that.

  • economist||

    The idiocy and hypocrisy of many enviro-nuts has been duly noted here before. We really need some new material.

  • Guy Montag||

    economist,

    I disagree. This stuff never gets old. I wish it would stop happening, but when it does I get to bust a gut reading about it.

  • ||

    Guess I'll stick with my Prius for now. But I do give Eric credit for trying out the new technology. We are too dependent on oil!

  • ||

    ed:

    With the Chevrolet Volt, you will be able to go much further than the advertised 40 mile range on electricity. The on-board engine will start when the batteries reach a predetermined level of discharge. The combined range is said to be 620 miles.

  • Steve||

    Yeah we could be poisoning the earth with killer radiation. So that our n-th generation descendants will have to battle skyrocting rates of breast cancer and giant atomic spiders all at the same time.

    I think the real question here is:

    Does giant spider flatulence contain more or less methane than cows and can we use them for a food source?

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