Chevy Volt Owner Averages 459 MPG Over 12,000 Miles…Is This the Norm?

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 17

Average. There's nothing about the Chevy Volt that's average, not even if its mpg.

Approximately two years ago, retired airline pilot Jeffrey Kaffee became the first consumer to buy a Chevrolet Volt.

Now, Kaffee’s Volt shows nearly 12,000 miles on its odometer.  Since purchasing the Volt in December of 2010, Kaffee has burned through only 26.1 gallons of gasoline.  Conventional math tells us that Kaffee’s Volt has returned a lifetime average of 459 miles per gallon (use of electricity will be purposely excluded throughout this discussion).

The question is whether or not Kaffee’s 459-mpg mark is exceptional, the norm or subpar.

Remember when Jay Leno made it known that his Chevy Volt had covered 11,000 miles on just 4.65 gallons of gas?  That’s 2,365 miles per gallon and Leno is certainly not alone in this over-2,000-mpg club.  And yes, some Volt owners claim to have even broke past the 3,000-mpg barrier.  Though we can’t verify it, the current record supposedly sits at 6,200 mpg.

The window sticker for the 2013 Chevy Volt.

But what’s the norm?  According to General Motors, the average Chevy Volt owner drives for 30 days and 1,000 miles before refueling.  If we assume these “average” owners require 8 gallons of gas (the Chevy Volt gas tank holds only 9.3 gallons), then the “norm” is approximately 125 miles per gallon.

Even GM has difficulty providing an exact number as it’s not possible for the automaker to monitor precisely how much fuel is added when Volt owners stop to gas up.  GM instead provides a miles-driven-between-fill-ups number, which doesn’t truly help us to pinpoint an average mpg.

So, as the saying goes, “your mileage may vary.”  And in the case of the Volt, this means it could theoretically range from lower than 38 mpg (that’s the EPA’s combined mpg figure for the 2013 Volt) to near-infinite mpg (the Volt automatically consumes gas at times for various reasons).

Turning our attention back to Kaffee for a moment, it seems he will soon be looking for a second plug-in vehicle, but what will it be?  Well, he’d love a Tesla Model S (wouldn’t we all), but might instead settle for the less-costly Ford Fusion Energi.

via FoxNews

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17 responses to "Chevy Volt Owner Averages 459 MPG Over 12,000 Miles…Is This the Norm?"

  1. Christian says:

    why doesn’t he purchase a full EV,
    then he has no gas at all ..

    1. Thomas J. Thias says:

      Electric when I want it- Gas when I Need it! Lol

      Since March 2012, 10987 miles driven and still have 3 Dealer Gallon’s unused in the tank.

      This fact is verifyable over at our favorite OnStar approved Data Dump site- You will find me hovering bout #33 on the Volt ‘Insane Fuep Economy ‘ Leader Board!

      Best- Thomas J. Thias


      The Amazing Chevy Volt EREV- Facts Guy

    2. NDHawk says:

      All electrics are not functionally equivelent. At any time, he may need to go on a long trip, or a storm knocks out electricity for a few days.

    3. bibes1949 says:

      As a Volt owner for more than 1 year, I get 146mpg.
      MPG in the Volt reflects more the length of your trips than the cars efficiency.
      If more of one’s trips are short, mpg approaches infinity.
      If more trips are long, mpg approaches 38-40 mpg (what the car gets driving on gasoline.
      In my view, people with the very high mpg ratings bought a car with too much battery. They might have done quite nicely with the Ford CMAX or Fusion Energi.
      Even the Prius plug in might work for some people, though trips would have to be very, very short in the Prius.
      For me, with a 25.6 mile round trip to work, the Volt is a great car. I can go to work with miles left to run errands after work. I used 109 gallons of gasoline to go 14,300 miles the first year. Most of the gasoline was used driving to our cottage in the summer. Since closing the cottage in mid-Oct., I have used 2 1/2 gallons of gasoline in the past 2 months.

  2. vdiv says:

    Yeah, not sure why this is news for some people. And others still don’t believe it.

  3. Spin says:

    I hope you guys are adding Stabil to your gas

    1. vdiv says:

      Not needed. The Volt uses premium/higher octane gasoline that is more stable. The fuel tank is pressurized preventing moisture from getting in and gasoline vapor from escaping. The Volt also has fuel maintenance modes that force the engine to run to burn the gasoline after a year. These along with the engine maintenance modes are often the only reason why many Volts burn gasoline at all.

      1. bibes1949 says:

        Actually, I think the monitor acts to ensure that the average age of the gasoline in the car is 6 months.

  4. Bob HOdgen says:

    I’m only getting a little over 250 mpg with my Volt. Of course, I’ve taken a couple of 500 mile road trips.

    I did go over 6700 miles on the last fill up.

    Very happy with the car.

  5. Cog says:

    MPG is meaningless for an EV. The Volt, and others should be scored on “cost per mile”, or “miles per kwh” because that’s how the EPA rates regular cars. Instead, consumers face “kwh per 100 miles” and other crazy represnetations of the efficiency of what plug-ins they may consider.

    The Volt gets better than 3 miles per kwh, for many, and its gas-only numbers are there on the sticker. Average kwh rates are 10 cents, through you’d be advised to look your own up, and whether you have access to “off-peak” rates. Happy math!

    1. vdiv says:

      Indeed, it is hard to understand why GM did not include a mile per kWh measurement in the Volt. Two sources of energy — two metrics for efficiency, how hard is that?

    2. bibes1949 says:

      Six months a year, I get just over 4 miles/kwh in my Volt. During the winter, it falls to about 3 miles/kwh.
      I get discounted electricity, 6 cents/kwh, if I recharge during the night. My Volt is set to recharge from 2-6AM every night.
      Doing the numbers, for 6 months I go the 25.6 miles round trip to work on exactly 6kwh of electricity, which costs me 36 cents. Thats about 1 1/2 cents a mile. In the winter, it rises to 2-2 1/2 cents a mile, depending on how cold it is here in Michigan and how much heat I use.

  6. mark w says:

    Well I am way down in the pack at 204 miles per gallon over the last year. Since getting my volt back in November 2011, 15,500 km buring 167 litres of gas. But I live in Toronto and every time it drops below -5C or so the engine starts up to keep the battery pack warm, plus I do a long haul 150+ km drive every now and then between airports ( I am a pilot as well).

    The best car I have ever owned… and the first american car in 17 years. Never would have beleived it if I wasnt driving it!

  7. WhiteVolt says:

    I am averaging 225 miles per gallon in mine with 1 year of ownership. I usually go 3.5 or 4 months between gas fill-ups (that’s 3 fill-ups a year at $30 per fill-up). I only pay $45/month in electricity to charge it. Best car I’ve owned, period. People don’t want to believe that a car can be this good. Yes, it is this good! You just have to own one and drive it daily to understand. I hate it when critics write about this car being so “inefficient” when they do not own one or worse yet, have never driven one. Ludicrous!

  8. DrInnovaiton says:

    Nice article. But in this case using the “average” is an incorrect measure if one is asking about the “norm”. For that, using the mode or median would be a appropriate measure. Mode is the most common measurement, medial would the MPG level for which 1/2 of the people get .. MPG is a non-linear metric and so one person getting a low MPG (such as a measly 50mpg), has a discorporate impact on an arithmetic mean. Taking all miles / all gas used gives an geometric average, but it is highly biased by the car that is using more. Consider 5 cars, 9 of which are getting 1000mpg, and one getting 50mpg, and all going 10,000 miles in a year. 4 of the cars used 10 gallons each, and the remaining car uses 200 gallons. The “average” is only 208mpg, but the “norm” is clearly the 4 out of 5 cars getting 1000mpg.

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  10. Marco Llanos says:

    I got about 1900 miles out of my first tank of gas from the dealer but I spent most of that driving short distances.
    I just had to make a couple of 200 plus mile round trips so my average went down but I’ve been very happy with this car.
    I’m averaging between 45 and 54 miles on a charge here in Southern California and this morning the battery was at 54 miles.
    I’m lucky as well because we have two free chargers at work and I also have a free charger across the street from my house.
    I’ve only charged the car at home a couple of times when I just wanted to get home and go to sleep.
    The car has been wonderful so far!