Obamateurism of the Day

Yesterday, readers voted Barack Obama’s Marie Antoinette moment on gas prices and new cars as the OOTW, but it actually gets better. Let’s first remember the advice that Obama gave the man with 10 children who couldn’t afford to fill his gas tank:

“If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting eight miles a gallon–(laughter)–you may have a big family, but it’s probably not that big. How many you have? Ten kids, you say? Ten kids? (Laughter.) Well, you definitely need a hybrid van then.”

Since President Obama decided to act as Car Salesman in Chief, perhaps he’d like to recommend a model for the man who can’t afford to buy gas? Actually, that’s a trick question. As it turns out, no one makes a hybrid van for sale in the US (via Instapundit):

Putting the political aspects — a foreign-owned wind farm employing 800 people at the same site which used to employ 8,000 with US Steel, the merits of having more than a single designer baby in one’s comfortable middle age, the idea that the President thinks there are a lot of 8mpg vehicles out there — it does make one wonder: Why doesn’t anybody make a hybrid van? Is there any reason that Toyota sells two entirely different Hybrid Synergy Drive systems in their Camry-based SUVs but doesn’t offer one in the Camry-based Sienna? What about Nissan? Hyundai? Could the Escape’s powertrain move a Flex?

And those are all so-called “mini” vans. Surely the Tahoe Hybrid’s two-mode system could also shove a Chevrolet Express Van down the road to church. Mercedes has been showing a diesel hybrid Sprinter for some time. Why not put hybrid drivetrains in the vehicles where they could do some of the most “good”? In the meantime, families approaching the five-passenger Prius limit may want to consider purchasing the most effective birth control method known to man: a “World Of Warcraft” subscription.

And it’s worth pointing out that hybrids still have to have gas tanks that get filled.  Toyota actually makes a hybrid minivan (which wouldn’t help a family with 10 children) for sale in Japan, which gets 40 MPG, or somewhere around what my old Datsun 210 manual transmission sedan got back in 1981.  No one makes a hybrid van of any kind for sale in the US, and no one makes a large-scale “hybrid van” for common consumption in the world at all.  (There are hybrid SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander, but they only carry seven people, not 12.)   Obama’s “hybrid van” is sheer fantasy, which reflects his energy policy as well.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!

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