CA Loses $727K on Green Car Flop

John Seiler:

Governments almost always lose money when the try to out-guess market demand by investing the taxpayers’ money in a product. It just happened again as the city of Salinas lost $540,000 it invested in a green car company that failed — and the taxpayers of California lost another $187,000.


The city of Salinas had invested more than half a million dollars in Green Vehicles, an electric car start-up company. 

All of that money is now gone, according to Green Vehicles President and Co-Founder Mike Ryan.

The start-up company set up shop in Salinas in the summer of 2009, after the city gave Ryan a $300,000 community development grant. 

When the company still ran into financial trouble last year, the city of Salinas handed Ryan an additional $240,000. Green Vehicles also received $187,000 from the California Energy Commission.

Total lost to taxpayers in California: $727,000.

According to the Green Vehicle site, Triac 2.0 Electric Clean Commuter costs $25,000 and can travel 100 miles without a charge. That’s pathetic. No wonder it crashed and burned.

The state taxpayers’ money was blown, of course, under deluded green Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger — even though he, personally, drives a gas-guzzling Bentley or Mercedes. And I’ll bet he sure didn’t invest any of his own money in Green Vehicles. No. Only our money, forcibly extracted from us at gunpoint through taxation, was used.

City leaders wooed Green Vehicles to jump-start the sputtering local company and turn Salinas into an “electric valley.” Donohue and Weir both voiced their high hopes for Green Vehicles. 

The start-up company promised city leaders that it would create 70 new jobs and pay $700,000 in taxes a year to Salinas.

This, in microcosm, is the folly of “green” technology. Left to itself, only the best such technology would make it in the free market. Instead, with government subsidies and mandates — like AB 32 — massive private and taxpayer funds are wasted.

Just think how many private-sector jobs that $727,000 could have created if the tax money had been left with Salinas and state taxpayers, instead of being wasted by Schwarzenegger and the Salinas city council.

July 19, 2011

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  1. Eric
    Eric 19 July, 2011, 17:19

    Yikes! I can imagine Steve Urkel driving around in a car like the one pictured above. But just barely!

    You would think that more people in California would understand the wisdom of allowing the free market to choose the best in green and other technologies, instead of trying to force a certain outcome through government subsidies and mandates. But this mistake, alas, is going to be repeated in California many, many more times. Neither our pocketbooks nor our environment will benefit.

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