A while back Chevy began circulating reports that its 2011 Chevrolet Volt earned an estimated 230-mpg. Months later, the EPA came out and pretty much said that this three-figure mark was far from the truth. As such, there has been much debate and more than a little anticipation to see just where the Volt would land in terms of mpgs. Well, the EPA has finally announced official fuel ratings for the Chevy Volt. However, the unique build of the Volt means things aren't as cut and dry as a simple city and highway rating.
As it turns out, the Volt will deliver highly variable gas mileage depending on a couple factors. As Chevrolet reports, "The Volt uses two energy sources, electricity from the grid, and gasoline from the pump, with the mix depending on how far you drive and how often you charge the battery."
Because of the two engines, the EPA decided to give the 2011 Volt two different mileage ratings. The first calculates the vehicle's miles per gallon when operating solely off of the gasoline engine. The second calculates the Miles Per Gallon Equivalent (MPGe) of the vehicle when operating solely off of the electric engine.
So what are these figures exactly? On full electric power, the Chevy Volt earns an estimated 93-MPGe. Of course, no gas is actually burned when in full electric power - this figure simply attempts to equate the total amount of electric energy used to comparable mpg fuel burning. However, for comparison it should be noted that the all-electric Nissan Leaf recently posted a 99-MPGe total by the EPA (making it the more efficient EV vehicle).
When operating on full gasoline power, the Chevrolet Volt delivers an estimated 37-mpg. Compared to other all-gas compacts, this figure is still pretty good.
Out there in the real world, however, actual mileage will vary considerably. Officially, the Volt has an all-electric range of 35 miles (though Chevrolet suggests a range of 25 to 50 miles). As such, many drivers will be able to get their daily driving done while operating completely on full electric power (and achieving somewhere around 90 MPGe). Others will rely heavily on the extended range capabilities of the Volt, which function around the 37-mpg EPA rating.
In an effort to provide a more real-world rating, the EPA lists a composite rating of 60 mpg for the Chevrolet Volt. This figure might be viewed as a "combined mpg" rating, and is as close a guess as one can get to answering the question of what exactly the long-term gas mileage for the vehicle ends up being.
So, while the Chevy Volt doesn't come close to matching that early 230-mpg figure initially quoted, a 60 mpg combined rating is enough to make it the most fuel-efficient compact vehicle on the road that makes use of a gas engine.
If you are interested in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt, then you may want to compare it to the 2011 Nissan Leaf. As a full-electric vehicle, the Leaf offers an EPA-estimated range of 73 miles. Given that this figure is around twice as high as the Volt's all-electric range, it may prove to be the more eco-friendly option for your needs. However, with a total extended range of 379 miles, the Chevy Volt may prove to be the more practical model for your needs.
Find a 2011 Chevrolet dealer in your area.