NY Rep. Eric Massa, From Fuel Cell to Fool Sell

The newly sworn-in Democratic Representative from New York’s 29th District, Eric Massa, has apparently made a fuel of himself… and of those that elected him. And the amusing thing is he did it on the way to his swearing in ceremony. No waiting to actually take office for Massa. No, this man thinks BIG!

With great fanfare from local and regional media, Massa announced that he would drive a GM Hydrogen fuel cell car to Washington to “highlight new industries” and green fuel technologies. It was supposed to be a feels good move to garner the new Congressman some face time on TV and the golly-gee-wows of the country.

Then reality came a’knockin.’

The distance that Massa had to travel to get to the federal capitol was about 282 miles. Unfortunately for Massa, the GM Equinox can only travel between 150 and 200 miles before it is hors de combat and in need of a re-charge of its batteries.

No problem, thought the erstwhile greenie from Corning. If one hydrogen fuel cell car is good, why not get two for the trip? So, that’s just what he did. Once Massa got to Harrisburg, he hopped out of the spent green wonder and into the waiting second tech-wow-mobile to finish his trip to the Capitol steps.

After he got to D.C. he happily announced how great the trip was in his green machine.

So, what became of the two cars? Why a pair of Chevrolet Tahoe hybrid SUVs were used to cart them back to GM.

The prototype that Massa drove from Corning to Harrisburg was towed back to Honeoye Falls, south of Rochester, where General Motors builds the fuel-cell stacks that go into the cars. The other vehicle was returned to Washington, D.C.

But, it is even funnier. You see, one SUV was used to tow the other until the towed SUV was needed to tow the second Equinox back to green-central. The Tahoe gets about 20 miles to the gallon, but less when towing another SUV.

In the end, Massa’s trip was neither emissions-free, nor low on the use of standard gasoline. In fact, it was far more expensive than if he’d just taken any old regular car on the market today and driven himself to D.C.

Naturally, Carolyn Markey, the GM spokesman for the stunt, said it was all part of the plan… or so goes the Malarky that Markey ladled out to the press on January 8.

It was all a show best seen as a Saturday Night Live skit gone stupid. Good choice, New York. Another fine, fine Congressman sent to D.C.

(Original Photo by Mark Finkenstaedt for General Motors that I sort of helped along)