The reason I didn't buy an electric car when they were first introduced in
California was because I couldn't. The manufacturers were gaming
California's mandate to produce 10% of their output as no-emission vehicles
by 2003. To control a situation they never wanted to comply with, they made
their EVs available only on a lease or loan basis, giving them the right to
recall the entire fleet at will.
Recall them they did, just as soon as the political winds shifted in their
favor. There wasn't so much lobbying going on since the tobacco wars.
Instead of the smell of exhaust we were getting a putrid whiff of a rat in
the organs of government, proving how closely allied and entangled our
lawmakers are with the organs of big business. Absolutely nothing else can
explain the total destruction of cars people were clamoring for.
A single specimen may have escaped the attempt to secretly, clandestinely
tote the fleet to a car crusher/grinder plant in the Arizona desert while
people were demonstrating to prevent it. The one vehicle that escaped the
crusher/grinder silently sits in a car museum, gutted--nothing more than a
shell and a nostalgic remembrance.
This documentary is fine tuned. It recalls and details the entire episode
from the early 90s to 2003. It balances all the forces, with interview
contributions from the auto industry, the energy lobby, environmentalists,
activists, politicians and journalists. Both sides of the issue are included
and the perspective balanced. All the more worthy of its condemnations and
exposures. Given the current prices at the pump (substantially over $3 at
the time of this writing), it's a good time to shine a spotlight on the
covered up conspiracy that has kept us reliant on oil for so long. This
is a snapshot of raw, blatant power governing our choices and the air we
This concentrated exposure of blatant manimpulation by the automotive and
energy industries is enough to make me mad as hell. I'm not a conspiracy
theorist but it's evident to me that the one to defeat progress is no longer
theoretical, and it's been fouling progress for a very long time. Did the
people who voted Republican in the last election sign on for this kind of
self-interest and control? If the storied American auto industry disappears
like so much ground up EV1's I'll be the last to mourn. The corporate
paragons of greed and power don't deserve last rites, driven as they are by
leeches, not leaders. And, if my support of Toyota over this country's cabal
of automotive/political self-interests means I'm less patriotic because I
drive a Prius, I'll take the hit. But, it isn't so.
Chris Paine's documentary goes beyond the occasional nit-pick by the usual
suspects, and his examination encompasses all aspects of a technology big
business has been conspiring to put down since the model-T. My hope is that
it raises a stir on the scale of Katrina in the grass roots and halls (and
balls) of Congress and that California will again lead the nation in
re-writing its original mandate in a corruption-proof package.
Of course, the information here isn't new--it's just a very good compilation
of historical evidence and observation of big brother's control. In an
article some months ago, the L.A. Times reported on "quiet protections" of
industry by various branches of the federal government. "The highway safely
agency, a branch of the Dept. of Transportation," it reported, "is backing
auto industry efforts to stop California and other states from regulating
tailpipe emission they link to global warming. The agency said last summer
('05) that any such rule would be a back door attempt by states to encroach
on federal authority to set mileage standards, and should be preempted."
What's helping to defeat this misuse of power is the progress being made
outside the reach of Washington, Detroit and Texas. Toyota's next tier of
Priuses is an example full of hope. As shown here, this excellent company is
working on an upgraded model with plug-in recharging and a greater driving
reliance on battery power than on fossil fuel. The goal is 90 mpg average.
If the American manufacturers and energy suppliers won't, others who
understand the concepts of progress and conservation better, will. Like
water and gravity, consumers will seek their level of desire and reward the
manufacturers who provide it while downsizing and punishing the shortsighted
~~ Jules Brenner