volttop.jpgBack in May, I was seduced by GM’s seeming sincerity in developing a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Chevy Volt. We must always remember, however, that GM is a master greenwasher.

An article in Edmunds, “Chevrolet Volt Goes to Washington To Underline GM’s Anti-CAFE-Increase Argument,” suggests GM is using the Volt the same way it used fuel cell cars to kill the electric car in California (as the movie explains):

General Motors’ North American operations chief, Troy Clarke, is meeting with legislators on Capitol Hill today, and he’s bringing along the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid prototype. GM hopes the Volt will help convince lawmakers that electric and alternative-fuel vehicles are the route to energy independence. The Big Three have strenuously opposed a proposed increase in CAFE standards, saying the cost of meeting higher mpg averages would take away resources that could be put toward development of alternative-energy vehicles.

Sad. If the Volt is mostly or even partly a head fake, then Toyota will win surely win the race for the car of the future.

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At the same time, the automakers may be winning the fight against the Senate CAFE bill, according to the Wall Street Journal (subs. req’d) and E&E News (subs. req’d), excerpted below:

… the effort to include CAFE in the summer energy legislation appeared to be floundering, with supporters appearing unlikely to secure the 218 votes needed to assure passage. Even Markey and his House allies told reporters earlier this week that their goal was simply to get a CAFE increase on the president’s desk “this year.”

Both Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) told reporters earlier this week that CAFE likely will not be part of the summer energy package.

But environmental groups and other advocates of the Markey bill are continuing to press for a vote next week and say they believe they can pick up enough support to pass the legislation.

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“We are working on the expectation that it will come up next week,” said Dan Becker, a CAFE expert with the Sierra Club. “We’re working to get the votes, and I think we will win them in time to get a vote.”

Auto industry representatives — who backed an alternate version put together by moderate Democrats and Republicans — also say they have received no indication that CAFE is off the table for next week’s debate.

“It’s just so hard to say that we’re just acting under the assumption that it will come up,” said Gloria Bergquist of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reiterated last night that no decision has been made about whether there will be a CAFE vote before the August recess.

Potentially very sad, indeed.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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