Math for Progressives

    How to Save gas money with a Chevy Volt.

    I recently watched a report by Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel’s Follow the Money) on test driving the new Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors. Then I received an e-mail report based on this that blasted the Volt for high energy cost. Snopes then blasted this report for being highly overstated because it was calculated using excessively high electricity prices. Really confusing,so I refigured it using the real electricity cost in my area.

    According to Eric’s report,for several days in a row,the fully charged Volt battery lasted only 25 miles before the car switched to the reserve gasoline engine. Once,according to him it did this in the middle of the Lincoln tunnel! According to his calculations the car averaged 30 mpg on premium gasoline including the 25 miles it ran on the battery,(or about 27mpg on gasoline only.) The total range of the vehicle including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh battery is approximately 270 miles.

    It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. If you add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical cross country road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be only 20 mph. Snopes also poo-pooed this because most folks would not pause to recharge the battery on longer trips,so I also calculated the fuel cost for operating on the gasoline engine for a long trip.

    If you did not recharge the battery at fill-ups you would average only about 27mpg,which is 15% less than with the cheaper gas powered vehicle and would also require the more expensive premium gasoline. Total fuel cost would be about 30% more given the higher cost of premium fuel and the lesser fuel economy of the Volt driving on gasoline. Given that most people require more than 25 miles per day traveling when they use their car any real savings operating on battery will be quickly overcome by the higher fuel cost when operating on the gas engine.

    According to General Motors,the Volt battery holds 16 kwh of electricity and that battery is warrantied for eight years or 100,000 miles. It takes about 10 hours to charge a drained battery. Figuring an average electricity rate of $.10 per KWH (Common rate in DFW area). (The e-mailed report I saw used $1.16 per KWH or nearly 12 times true costs.) 16 kwh x $.10 per kwh = $1.60 to charge the battery. That’s pretty reasonable.

    $1.60 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.064 per mile to operate the Volt

    using the battery only. Not bad if you only drive 25 miles a day or less. Compare this to that similar size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg on REGULAR,not premium gasoline. $3.50 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.11 per mile. A savings of $0.046 per mile for the Volt.

    The similar gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000. So considering the fuel savings of using electric only and being restricted to a total of only 25 miles a day driving you could save a great big old 5 1/2 cents per mile. Whoopee! At that rate you would save enough to cover the cost difference to drive a Volt in only 674,000 miles! Have you ever kept a car for 674,000 miles? Know anyone that has?

    Given that with a 25 mile per day restriction you could only drive 9,000 miles per year or so that means it would take you 75 years to get enough in gas savings to save the difference in cost. Keep in mind this savings requires you to NEVER drive more than 25 miles a day!

    Of course that still doesn’t take into consideration the fact that you will have to replace the batteries in the Volt in about 125 thousand miles at a cost of about $8000. So in those 674,000 miles you would probably have had to replace it about 4 times at a cost of another $32,000 bucks. Oh well,we will just drive another 75 years to save that.

    As I see it,Obama apparently wants us to pay 3 times as much for a car that costs about the same to run and takes 3 times as long to drive across country in fuel saving mode and has to be supported by the taxpayer by a $7500 rebate to encourage purchases. In addition,other government subsidies for the production and design of the car and its electric batteries add up to a total of $250,000 PER VEHICLE produced in total taxpayer subsidy to date! Sounds like another typical Obama Green Energy achievement to me.


    Comments are closed.