This weekend I burned through my first 100 gallons of fuel at 12,540 miles. Of course, we love the cars and they are a joy to drive, but with this milestone I got to thinking how are the economics of the car doing? So I pulled out my OnStar reports etc. etc. a did some quick calcs. Based on what I pay for fuel (I have estimated $3.40 since I have owned the car including my Kroger discount), what I pay for electric (just a smidge under 10 cents including taxes, fees etc.) and then I did some comparisons. Drumroll for those who are interested...
Cost to date is $642 or 5 cents/mile for fuel.
I have gotten 38.4 mpg in CS mode and 34.5 kwh/100 miles on EV mode.
I have gone 69% on EV (8,650) and 31% CS (3,890)
So, I wondered, how does this compare to the BMW 328i (which I think - like US News - is the most comparable car on the market)? Assuming the 328 achieved its promised 22 mpg, it would have cost me $1,938 in fuel so far. By this measure the Volt saved almost $1,300 to date or running just about $2,000 a year cheaper.
Of course, the original purchase price on the Volt would have been a bit higher with the Volt at $44,339 vs the BMW $42,424 (same equipment as much as possible) but thanks to tax credit it was $5,500 lower.
All-in-all the Volt is shaping up to be about $15k cheaper over five years than the BMW. (I guess I should also count the value of the faster 0-60 times. Assuming I need to get from 0 to 60 mph as fast as possible a 3-5 times a day, the BMW will also save me a theoretical 10-15 seconds a day of commuting time.)
The BMW data is nice to see, but here is the surprise: I also compared it to the Prius (not the PIP just the regular Prius IV comparably equipped) and I find that I am saving about $550 a year in operating costs (fuel, oil changes, Toyota Safety Connect) based on our real-world 48mpg experience.
Of course, the Volt is more expensive than the Prius, but after all the tax breaks etc. I figure the Prius is about $4,300 cheaper than the Volt so the net difference is about $1,700 over five years. At least from my perspective, that is a bargain given how much more I like this car than the Toyota.
The emissions profile is also really nice to see. At 19.4 pounds per gallon (EPA see link) my Volt produced just under one ton of CO2 (I use wind power for electricity). The Prius would have produced 2.5 times that amount and the BMW more than five times that amount (11,000 pounds versus 1,900). For those of us who worry about this sort of thing, it is nice to see that I can run both of our Volts with a lower emissions profile than one Prius. I was also reminded that the 10-15 seconds a day of German acceleration is coming a pretty high cost in terms of emissions.
As I reflect on having gone more than 20,000 miles in our two Volts, with mine running 125mpg and my wife's running 135mpg, the car really is delivering on GM's promise in every way. I just hope the constant drumbeat of misinformation from the Neil Cavutos and Mark Modicas of this world don't discourage people from checking it out for themselves.