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Chevy Volt Miles Per Gallon Summary – First Gas Station Visit

Chevy Volt Low Fuel Warning Dash

1131 Miles – This was how far I made it in my Chevrolet Volt before I had to buy my first drop of gasoline.  In my most recent 55 mile trip down the peninsula of the SF Bay area I managed to turn the Chevy Volt’s Gas light on.  This happened right as the Volt hit 30 estimated miles remaining as the gas icon normally followed by an estimated range remaining turned yellow and stopped giving you mileage.  It was replaced instead by a slightly ominous and all capitalized “Low Fuel” Indicator.

In addition to the dash display indicating a low fuel state, the center console display give an interface allowing you to search for the closest gas stations and from there plot a GPS course to a gas station of your choice.  I can only imagine how often and how frequent you would get this warning in a Leaf, not to mention the fact that charging stations are fewer and far between!

Chevy Volt Low Fuel Warning Center Console Chevy Volt Low Fuel Warning Intrument Panel

Fortunately for me this was essentially a non-event as I drove about a mile from when my low fuel light came on to the closest Chevron Station (Of which I have $750 in gift cards that I won not too long ago…)

Chevy Volt Taking on 5.3 Gallons of Gas

I swiped my gift card, selected premium gasoline (The Volt actually requires premium gasoline), and proceeded to put $20 in the tank.

Premium Gas for Chevy Volt Going the Distance on $20 in Gas

You might be thinking that $20 is not enough to top off the Chevy Volt’s Gas tank, which is 9.3 gallons and you would be right – but given that I’ve been able to drive about 7 weeks and over 1100 miles on the first tank, I think that putting just a half tank in would keep the gas fresh, and also reduce the weight (albelt by only 20-30 pounds of so) that the Volt needs to schlep around.

Premium Gasoline in California was $3.78 today, so my $20 – ok I missed, $20.01. Bought me 5.29 Gallons of Gasoline, now extending my expected range from “Low” to 211 Miles.

Chevy Volt After Gas Fill Up

We now consider how far does $20 take you on gasoline alone.  One might say that the $20 bought me about 180 miles in range – or about $.11 per mile.  However those $.11 per mile is of course only for extended range.  Looking at my usage to date you can see of the 1134 Miles driven – I had an effective 124.4 Lifetime MPG when you blend electricity and gas usage.

At 124.4 Effective MPG, the $20 in gasoline (5.29 Gallons) should get me another 650 or so miles before my next gas station visit.  At 35 mpg (which is about what I’ve been getting to date) – that would equate to 185 Miles on Gasoline and 465 Electric Only Miles.  Currently that means about 71% of the miles I drive are electric only.  Given that I pay about 5 cents / kilowatt hour on the electric portion, and I get about 3.33 miles per Kwh – that gives me an energy cost of $.015 a mile in electric only mode.

So the combined math -

Electric Only Cost per Mile: $0.015

Electric Only Usage: 71%

Gasoline Only Cost per Mile $.11

Gasoline Mode Usage: 29%

Gives me an average cost of $.043 per mile given my everyday use.  Compare that to driving a gasoline only car that gets 35 MPGs - or a Volt driven only on gas (why would you do that?) I would save about 6.8 cents per mile at current gasoline costs.

Assuming Gasoline price does not go up (haha…) that means to recover the investment in my battery of the Volt (lets call it $10,000) – I would have to take the Volt to 153,846 All Purpose miles with my current driving habits to break even on the battery.

While the economics may not be there today, I’m still enjoying everything there is to driving an electric car.  More on that to come.

5 Responses to “Chevy Volt Miles Per Gallon Summary – First Gas Station Visit”

  1. JeffU says:

    This seems to be more or less an average Chevy Volt owner story. I fine it amazing that with today’s gas prices this story is not a headline on network TV news.

  2. JeffU says:

    Over 2000 miles on my Volt #349 and I haven’t bough gas yet!

  3. Grant says:

    I wonder what the cost per mile would be if you figure in the cost of a new battery and divide the cost by the estimated milage at which the battery will need to be replaced. You may not consider this but at some point, someone will be paying for a battery.

  4. Al says:

    In ten years, the battery will be cheaper…

  5. Bill says:

    Driven almost 2500 miles now and still have not bought a drop of gas. I have had my Volt for 3 months and love it!

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