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Automotive Traveler Magazine: 2012 03 Fox News Vs Chevy Volt Page 2

us believe? This much-maligned vehicle has won seven major "car of the year awards," including the 2012 European Car of the Year, the first time a U.S.-built vehicle has ever taken that coveted spot.

So much for the critics. But what of those who know the Chevy Volt best --the consumers who purchased the Volt with their hard-earned dollars? When Consumer Reports surveyed Volt owners for its annual April 2012 auto issue, it found that 93 percent were extremely satisfied.

Chevy Volt owner and local NBC 4 (Detroit) news anchor Devin Scillian has driven his Volt nearly 15,000 miles in 12 months while using only 78 gallons of gas. His fuel costs total $300. Add this to the $480 he's spent on charging his Volt and the cost to drive his Volt comes to just over five cents per mile. Compare that with about 19 cents per mile for a similarly sized Chevy Cruze.

Evidence in favor of the Volt's value is not all anecdotal, however. A recent study by Dr. Chris Kobus, director of engineering and energy education for Michigan's Oakland University, projects that, after eight years, a Volt owner can save about $25,000 over a vehicle that averages 20 miles per gallon.

Yet on a recent Dollar Signs segment, Stewart Varney quoted Consumer Reports as saying the Volt "just isn't worth the money."

(I could not find the quote Varney cites in any of Consumer Reports' coverage of the Chevy Volt. Nor could a representative of the magazine itself point me to these words, referring me instead to what they have published on the Volt since its introduction. The Volt, which is on the Consumer Reports list of "recommended" vehicles for 2012, received a "Very Good" overall road-test score.)

Varney then goes on to say that if one takes the hybrid component out of the car and looks at the price; it is simply a very expensive, small car.

Never mind that the Volt isn't technically a hybrid (it's an extended-range electric vehicle), is it "just" an expensive small car? Not really. The Volt costs about the same--$45,000 before tax credits--as a similarly sized BMW 335i, a car that certainly lacks the Volt's cutting-edge technology under the hood.

The Volt isn't for everyone, nor was it designed to be. It was developed as a solution for the roughly 80 percent of the driving public with daily commutes of 35 miles or less. If you're in the market for a four-seater in the $40,000 price range, the Chevy Volt will allow you to get to and from work without directly burning a teaspoon of petroleum. (And while intending to build a daily commuter for the 21st century, GM engineers actually ended up building a car that can be driven from coast to coast, averaging 35 miles per gallon and without any range anxiety.)

Lambasting the Volt out of disdain for the president is not the way to solve our dependence on imported oil. And spending precious airtime disparaging "Government Motors" in an effort to connect the dots between the automaker and President Obama is not just disingenuous, it's dangerous. Millions of people tune in every day for Fox News' trademark fair-and-balanced coverage. If they're not getting it with the Chevy Volt, won't they wonder on what other topics the network deserves to lose their trust?

Fox News hosts should focus on the election and stop using the Chevy Volt as a political football. They owe it to their viewers to set the record straight with some old-fashioned reporting, or stick to editorial commentary on subjects about which they are better versed.

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