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Burning Gas

April 8th, 2012 · 7 Comments

I took a trip out to see Richard and Dianna today in my Volt. They are staying near the village of Congress, about 90 miles from my house. I was interested to see how the Volt did on a longer trip. Here are some numbers:

First a summary:
— It cost the same to make the trip as if I was driving a pure gas car that got 52 miles/gallon, figuring the cost of electricity and gas.
— I drove 53 miles on battery alone, and 127 on 3.27 gallons of gas.
— Pure gas mileage was 39 miles/gallon
— Altogether, since buying the car I have driven 512 miles on 3.7 gallons of gas, leaving my tank still over half full.
— We ate a very good (and spicy!) homemade tomato soup and Mexican cornbread for lunch. Thanks Dianna!

Some Details:
I made it about 38 miles from home before I ran out of battery and the car (automatically) switched over to gas. After charging at Richards, I added about 15 more miles coming home, so for the 180 mile round trip I did about 53 of them on electricity alone. The remaining 127 were done on 3.27 gallons of gas, for a pure gas mileage of 39 miles/gallon.

The pseudo mileage (total distance/total gas) was 55 miles/gallon, but that is calling the electric miles free, which isn’t quite accurate. To make it a little more complicated, since electricity costs about 1/4 of gas for equivalent miles driven, the cost of driving on electricity is the same as the cost of gas at 155 miles/gallon. So 155 miles/gallon for 53 miles, and 39 miles/gallon for 127 miles gives an equivalent to 52 miles/gallon. In other words, if I had a car that got 52 miles/gallon, it would have cost me the same to make the trip as it did in the Volt. It’s about how well a Prius would do.

For shorter trips, especially where I never use gas, the cost is the same as a car that gets 155 miles/gallon. As trips get longer, the cost approaches that of a car getting 39 miles/gallon. So if you frequently drive long distances and your main goal is to save on fuel, get a Prius. If most of your driving is around town and you usually drive less than about 40 miles in a day, a Volt will be cheaper to operate (though not cheaper to buy). Having driven both I have to say that a Volt is more fun to drive.

Tags: Computers, Tech & Science · Family Updates

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mom // Apr 8, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    My scooter runs for free. I don’t pay for my electricity at all. OK, maybe I don’t go as far or as fast as you do, but it works for me.

  • 2 Richard // Apr 9, 2012 at 7:02 am

    Thanks for the final numbers. Pretty impressive.

    One thing not included in electric numbers is the road taxes paid on gasoline. I know there is quite a debate about how to account for that. They have it handled for diesel, gasoline, propane and LNG but have not figured out electric cars. I wonder how that will all shake out in the future.

  • 3 Daryl // Apr 10, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    Gas tax is a good question. I think for now, while they are trying to encourage more electric vehicles and they are still such a small fraction of a percent of the total cars on the road, it isn’t significant. But there could be lost revenue in the future if more people electrify.

  • 4 Dale // Apr 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I just did 72 miles on 0 gallons / 0 electricity. Pretty slow though.

  • 5 Donna // Apr 10, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I want one.

  • 6 Mom // Apr 11, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I think that you should report that it costs about a dollar a day to completely charge the battery. I have heard people surmise that that cost might be high.

  • 7 Daryl // Apr 11, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Actually, in the winter it costs about 80 cents to fully charge. In the summer it’s closer to $1.10 – $1.20, as electricity is more expensive in the summer. Either way, it’s good for about 35 – 40 miles per charge.