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Reason Foundation

Conservation Theater

As green as an SUV tow truck

Radley Balko
April 29, 2009

Newly elected Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) wanted to promote the alternative energy being developed in his district. So when it was time to be sworn in, he decided to drive a prototype fuel cell car, General Motors’ Equinox, from his home in Corning, New York, to the U.S. Capitol. The problem was that the distance between those two points is 280 miles, and the car’s range tops out at 250. 

So Massa drove one fuel cell car to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and had an SUV tow a second fuel cell car behind him. He then switched cars and continued to the nation’s capital while the SUV towed the first car back to Corning. Once Massa arrived in Washington, D.C., in the second fuel cell car, a second SUV towed that car back to Corning.

In other words: To make a point about conservation and energy efficiency, Massa made the equivalent of three trips from Corning to D.C., two of them involving an SUV. A Massa spokesman told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle this was all part of the plan: “This was totally designed to raise awareness of the issue. The big point was to draw attention to this technology of the future and say we need to build the infrastructure to support it.”

This column first appeared at Reason.com.


Radley Balko is Senior Editor


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