President Obama’s promise to have 1 million electric or hybrid cars on the road by 2015 has been an abysmal failure, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg, as private and government purchases of such vehicles have only reached 31 percent of the president’s original goal.
Obama made his promise in 2009, but as it became clear electric and hybrid car sales would never reach one million units the president scaled back his ambitions in March. Though, Obama has failed to even meet his scaled back goals, according to Bloomberg.
“The U.S. bought about 24,816 electric and hybrid vehicles during Obama’s presidency, or about 7 percent of government purchases in that time,” according to government data obtained by Bloomberg. “U.S. consumers bought about 286,814 of those models from 2009 to 2014, or 3 percent of overall sales.”
In total, electric and hybrid car sales have only hit about 31 percent of Obama’s original goal of having 1 million such vehicles on the road by 2015. He’s still about 690,000 vehicles short — if government purchases are included.
“The zealots, the hypesters, the enthusiasts created an environment that wasn’t ever going to be a reality,” Brett Smith, the sustainability director at the Center for Automotive Research in Michigan, told Bloomberg.
“This got going in the summer of 2008 when gasoline was $5 a gallons in California. The world expected gasoline prices to go up and up and up and technology to solve it. Two of those things didn’t happen,” Smith said.
Obama made his promise to get more alternative vehicles on the road as gasoline prices were climbing up during 2009. In the following years, gas prices remained relatively high due to turmoil in the Middle East and rising demand. But in the last year prices have collapsed because of weaker demand and booming U.S. shale oil production.
As of Friday, the national average gas price was about $2.74 per gallon, down from about $3.65 per gallon just a year ago. With gas prices so low, many consumers have opted to trade in their electric cars and buy SUVs.
The auto-research group Edmunds.com found that “22 percent of people who have traded in their hybrids and [electric vehicles] in 2015 bought a new SUV.”
Edmunds.com reports that only “45 percent of this year’s hybrid and EV trade-ins have gone toward the purchase of another alternative fuel vehicle, down from just over 60 percent in 2012.”
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