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March 22, 2012


Eric Bolling (Fox Business Channel's Follow the Money) test drove the Chevy Volt at the invitation of General Motors.

For four days in a row, the fully charged battery lasted only 25 miles before the Volt switched to the reserve gasoline engine. Eric calculated the car got 30 mpg including the 25 miles it ran on the battery. So, the range including the 9 gallon gas tank and the 16 kwh batery is approximately 270 miles. It will take you 4 1/2 hours to drive 270 miles at 60 mph. Then add 10 hours to charge the battery and you have a total trip time of 14.5 hours. In a typical road trip your average speed (including charging time) would be 20 mph.

According to General Motors, the Volt battery hold 16 kwh of electricity. It takes a full 10 hours to charge a drained battery.

The cost for the electricity to charge the Volt is never mentioned so I looked up what I pay for electricity.

I pay approximately (it varies with amount used and the seasons) $1.16 per kwh.

16 kwh x $1.16 per kwh = $18.56 to charge the battery.

$18.56 per charge divided by 25 miles = $0.74 per mile to operate the Volt using the battery.

Compare this to a similar size car with a gasoline engine only that gets 32 mpg.

$3.19 per gallon divided by 32 mpg = $0.10 per mile.

The gasoline powered car cost about $15,000 while the Volt costs $46,000.

So the government wants us to pay 3 times as much for a car that costs more that 7 time as much to run and takes 3 times as long to drive across country.


Even adjusted for today's gas prices, the Volt looks like a bad deal.

tucson, you've been taken in by Fox News lies. I can understand why you'd believe Bolling's report, but it's thoroughly false.

Which is the rating Snopes gave to it: FALSE. See:

Bolling made many mistakes. He obviously doesn't know much about the Volt, or purposely lied.

As the Snopes piece correctly says, the average price of electricity per kwh in the US is more like 12-13 cents, not $1.16. Here in Oregon, where I live, we pay 6 to 7.5 cents per kwh, depending on how much electricity is used. Our Leaf costs about 3 cents a mile to drive. The Volt would be the same, albeit for only the first 30 to 40 miles a day, which is how far most people drive.

At $4.00 a gallon, a car that gets 40 mpg, like the Prius, costs 10 cents a mile. So our Leaf is getting the equivalent of about 120 mpg, as will our Volt, if we end up selling the Leaf and getting one.

The Volt doesn't have to be plugged in and charged, even on a cross country trip, It has an "engine," aka generator. The Fox News piece got that completely wrong. Read the Snopes debunking. Also, an informative article by Chevy that gets the facts right:

It bugs me when people purposely lie about the Volt, and it sure sounds like that's what Eric Bolling did. Either that, or he's an incompetent car reviewer and should never take on that job again,

One thing that really rankles me in this whole hybrid/electric vehicle miasma is people's reasoning for buying one.

All of the tailpipe emissions that do not come out of a hybrid or electric vehicle have already come out of other tailpipes and various exhausts that went into the making of the vehicle. And that is over and above the emissions involved in producing a conventional vehicle. Just what do you think you are paying for?

Honestly - if you think that driving a hybrid or electric vehicle is good for the environment, you are just fooling yourself.

Wille R, no car is good for the environment, in the sense that walking or riding a bicycle would be better. But if someone is going to have a car, a hybrid or electric vehicle is going to be environmentally better, even considering production costs.

There are claims to the contrary, but they've highly dubious.

See, for example, this persuasive response on Slate to the weird claim that a Hummer is a greener car than the Prius. No, not true. See:

I dunno, Brian. It just seems so obvious that movement requires energy. The energy must be paid for - thermodynamically, loss is inexorable; and fiscally, money must change hands. It does not matter where along the line the expenditures occur. It costs "X" amount of energy to move a specific mass a specific distance - in your Leaf or the Governator's Hummer.

The proliferation of modern civilization was spurred by the burning of hydrocarbons. The end of burning hydrocarbons is the end of civilization "as we know it".

I guess we have to start somewhere. Hope springs eternal, they say.

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