UNDER President Barack Obama's new fuel standards, working families in Oklahoma could soon be forced to indirectly pay a portion of the tab for the trendy car purchases of movie stars.
Obama's standards call for the U.S. vehicle fleet to average 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. Under the rules, however, companies making alternative-fuel cars can obtain credits and sell them to traditional carmakers that fail to meet the unrealistic standards.
The Wall Street Journal notes, “That could be a boon to electric carmakers such as Tesla Motors Inc.”
In plain English, people who buy traditional vehicles will be subsidizing cars sold by Tesla and similar companies. After all, the money used to buy credits will come from the wallets of those purchasing gas-fueled cars.
Tesla electric vehicles start out at a sticker price of $57,000 on the low end (using that term loosely), but can run well over $100,000. A Tesla is the kind of thing you'll see in multimillionaire actor George Clooney's garage. In fact, Clooney recently placed his 2008 Tesla Roadster up for auction. It was expected to sell for $125,000.
According to the Census, Oklahoma's median household income was $42,979 in 2011. That means it would take two to three years for a majority of Oklahoma households to save enough money to purchase a Tesla car — and only if they did without food, clothes, or housing in the meantime.
Even if price was not an issue, it is unlikely most Oklahomans would want a Tesla. The company's $57,000 model can travel only 160 miles before it requires recharging, which is not a fast process. Using a 240-volt home charging station, Tesla officials say the company's Model S takes about five hours to recharge.