Chuck Rogers’ drive home to York Township after picking up his new car in Gaithersburg, Md., was about 70 miles. In making the trip, Rogers used only one gallon of gas.
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Rogers’ new car, a Chevrolet Volt, does not get 70 miles per gallon. Instead, it made most of the trip running on electricity alone.
The car can travel for 25 to 50 miles on electricity before its gas tank kicks in.
Someone recently stopped Rogers’ wife in a parking lot to marvel at the new vehicle.
It does exist, the person mused, according to Rogers.
The Volt can travel “totally gas and tailpipe emissions free” for between 25 and 50 miles on a single charge, depending on the temperature, terrain, battery age and how a person drives, according to Chevrolet. After that, the car runs on gas, getting about 37 mpg, Chevrolet said.
Rogers charges his car in his garage. Being retired — and using the car primarily for running errands, driving to church and visiting family — he rarely has to tap into its gas reserves, he said. He used to work at Peach Bottom Atomic Power Station. He noted that, if he still worked there, he would probably be able to charge his car at the plant while he worked, then charge it again when he got home, thus negating his need for gasoline almost completely.
Still, Rogers saves money and feels better about his treatment of the environment by relying on electricity over the gas pump, he said. He pays about 12 cents for every kilowatt hour of electricity he uses, he said. To fully charge the car takes about 12.5 kWh, thus costing him about $1.50.
Rogers figures that, during the course of a year and the temperature fluctuations that follow, he’ll get about 40 miles per charge.
“You’d have to have an 80 mpg car in order to match that at $3 a gallon,” he said.
For local drivers, $3 a gallon is wishful thinking these days. The average cost of a gallon of regular gas in the York area was $3.12 as of Sunday afternoon, according to www.yorkgasprices.com, a website that tracks local gas prices. Several outlets sold regular gallons for $3.07 Sunday afternoon, the lowest price in the area, the website said.
For Rogers, the gas pump will be a much less frequent part of his routine with the Volt. As of last week, he had only had to tap into the car’s gas tank twice, he said.
He’s hoping that trend continues.
“We definitely have to slow down using the oil,” Rogers said.
About the car
The Chevrolet Volt became available in select markets — California, Connecticut, Washington, D.C., Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Texas — in limited quantities at the end of last year, according to the company.
It is expected to be available in all 50 states between the end of 2011 and midway through 2012.
The car, which can travel between 25 and 50 miles on a single charge before its gas tank kicks in, retails for as low as $40,280, the company said. Its owners can also qualify for a $7,500 tax credit, Chevrolet said.
– story by Kevin Horan