General Motors Corp. recently announced that it would be discontinuing the Hummer, the biggest and most controversial part of its fleet. GM made the announcement after its attempt to sell the Hummer to a Chinese company, the Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company, fell through.
Hummers have long been condemned by environmentalists for their gas-guzzling capabilities, which give it an EPA estimated 12 to 18 miles per gallon, depending on the model. With gasoline prices increasing by nearly 50 percent from February 2000 to February 2010, the increases in gas prices affected the popularity of the tank-like vehicle. Hummers saw a sharp sales decline in recent years, dropping by a staggering 51 percent in 2008 alone.
The demise of the Hummer comes at a time when electric cars, like the Nissan LEAF and the Chevy Volt, are rolling into the limelight. The LEAF, running 100 percent off electricity, will be able to travel up to 100 miles per charge, according to Nissan. It plans to sell the first of the vehicles in the United States late this year. According to Chevy, the Volt will drive 40 miles on a single charge, then automatically switch to a gas-powered electricity generator – allowing drivers to go another several hundred miles before recharging. The vehicle’s launch is slated for November.
GM said it would continue to provide service and maintenance for current Hummer owners and continue to honor warranties.