You can buy a lot of car for $41,000. A BMW. A Mustang GT convertible. Even a Mercedes. Or you could shell out for a brand-spanking-new electric-powered Chevy Volt and do your part to “save the environment.” Government-owned General Motors is counting on the government to encourage you to do the latter.

According to a New York Times report, GM spokesman Greg Martin said in an e-mail:

Policy makers can do their part to speed the market acceptance of these vehicles as part of a much broader energy policy that sends a market/economic signal that places a premium on fuel efficiency. Could a carbon price be a part of such a policy? Yes. As well as consumer tax incentives.

Those tax incentives are already coming to bear, at least for the Volt. Barron’s reports that with a federal subsidy, the Volt’s price could be as low as $33,500, after a $7,500 tax subsidy financed by the American taxpayer under President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill. That might sound a bit more affordable, but the subsidy masks the true $41,000 cost. If you contrast that with other new offerings (take the highly fuel efficient, $13,320 Ford Fiesta, for example), that’s a steep price.

But your bottom line doesn’t matter to the eco-left. For them, less isn’t more. More is more. More regulations. More taxes. Less money in your pocket.

What additional energy costs might you expect to see from this Congress? Take the Waxman-Markey jobs-killing environmental legislation. According to Heritage research, the bill would cost a typical family of four $829 per year in additional energy-based utility costs, increase gasoline prices by 58%, and increase average household electric rates by 90 percent.

There are other ways your tax dollars are being spent to bring electric cars to market. Apart for the government offering tax incentives to encourage you to buy electric vehicles, the U.S. government has also shelled out $2.4 billion in grants for advanced battery and vehicle manufacturing. The government may be a major consumer of those vehicles, and it may foot the bill for creating infrastructure needed to charge them. The kicker? Even with all that money being spent, electric cars may not succeed, at least according to one electric vehicle battery manufacturer. The New York Times reports:

One battery manufacturer, Boston-based A123Systems, has received hundreds of millions in government aid to set up a new plant in Livonia [Michigan]. Les Alexander, the company’s general manager of government solutions, said federal spending on manufacturing and research is helping, but “if we do not have the vehicles being built, or customers buying those vehicles, it’s a risk that this industry will go away.”

That’s one expensive ride for what could be a very short trip.