Earth to Congressman Massa: That’s Not What “Efficiency” Means

Last week, Famous DC was the first to report on New York’s recently elected congressman Eric Massa’s poorly-conceived environmental publicity stunt.  Massa’s plan was to drive from his congressional district in New York to Washington DC in a hydrogen fuel-cell powered car.  In other words:  an efficient, leisurely, and environmentally responsible drive across 300 miles of the American Northeast.

“What,” you may be asking, “could possibly go wrong?”


More on why we should never, Never, NEVER elect public officials who are bad at math after the jump.


First off, the fuel-cell car that Massa selected to drive the aforementioned 300 miles only had a range of 175 – 200 miles (depending on who you believe), and there were exactly zero (0) hydrogen fuel cell filling stations en route.

Not to let silly little obstacles like “numbers” get in his way, the good congressman decided that he could solve this problem.  He’d simply drive two (2) hydrogen fuel-cell powered cars to DC.  (!?)

I think it happened like this:  with the range problem solved, Massa could focus on the second logistical barrier standing in his way.  Namely, that he had to switch cars somewhere between New York and DC.  Massa, now faced with a problem he could understand and wrap his brain around, decided that the best way to make sure the second car would appear when he needed it was … wait for it … TO TOW A SECOND FUEL-CELL CAR BEHIND A FULL-SIZE SUV! (!!?)

Problem solved!

All Massa had to do now was get the second fuel-cell car back home to New York.  What he needed, then, was … wait for itw a i t f o r i t … A SECOND FULL-SIZE SUV!

That’s a fuel-cell powered car driving approximately half the distance from NY to DC, followed by a full-size SUV towing a second fuel-cell powered car, and a second full-size SUV to tow the second fuel-cell powered car back home.

SO, that small fleet of 3 vehicles (with 1 in tow) drove 200 miles each under their own power (600 total driven miles), then one of them drove 200 miles back (800 total driven miles).  The second car drove 100 miles under its own power, followed by the second SUV (1000 total driven miles), then the second SUV drove back to NY (300 more miles, for 1,300 driven miles), which means this caravan of four (4!) vehicles traveled approximately thirteen-hundred (1,300!) total miles to deliver one (1!) freshman congressman from New York to Washington DC.

No word yet on how Massa plans to get home.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.