The VOLLLT Chronicles. Volume 2

I’m Charged Up About My Chevy Volt!


I get a kick out of glancing down at the mileage indicator on my Chevy Volt and seeing 250+ MPG. It’s a real rush. Most of my driving is local and I rarely go over the 40 mile range/electric charge. Once in a while I have a heavy-carpool or errand day and I exceed the range by a mile or two. To date, I’ve owned the car for about 3 months, driven about 2,000 miles, and used less than 8 gallons of gasoline. In fact, I haven’t yet filled the tank. (Note to self: check whether the gas tank is on driver’s side or passengers’ side – eventually will need to pull up to the pump.)

According to Dominion Power Company, I’m spending about 89 cents per charge (one charge will take me 40 miles). If I deplete the electric range every day and charge fully every night, annually, I will spend $324.85 on electricity. Compare that to an estimated 3 gallons per day I used to go 40 miles per day in my Honda Pilot. Based on $3.80 per gallon I was spending. That amounts to $11.40 per day, or an annual cost of $4,161.

Granted, I haven’t factored in the cost of filling the tank of my Volt on occasion. However, based on my current usage, I would estimate I’ll wind up using somewhere between 3 and 4 tanks of gas per year. It’s an eleven gallon tank and I’ll need to use Premium gasoline, which is more expensive per gallon. (Because the gas can sit in the tank for months, you must use higher octane gas to avoid separation). So, pad the cost per gallon a bit ($4.29 per gallon), and use the more liberal estimate of 4 fill-ups per year. That means, I’ll spend an estimated annual gasoline cost of $188.76 (total estimated annual cost for gas and electric = $513.61 for a savings of $3,647.39).

My husband (and others who know stereotypical attorneys/English majors should not be doing financial comparisons) might laugh at these financial acrobatics as justification for making a seemingly extravagant purchase such as a state-of-the-art electric vehicle. But I’m not alone in doing this. In Nore Ephron’s book I Feel Bad About My Neck, there’s an essay that struck a chord with me. She writes about justifying the cost of paying a hefty realtor’s finder’s fee to move into her dream apartment, explaining that if she broke down the cost over time, it would amount to the cost of one cappuccino per day for the next umpteen years. She points out in the end the one problem with her analysis. “I don’t even drink cappuccino!”

Aye, there’s the rub. When it came down to it, I love the car. I wanted it. And I found a logical way to justify the splurge of spending more than I would have on say, a Prius,  a Honda Civic, or a cappuccino.

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