US EPA Web Site Says Chevy Volt Gets 744 mpg

Of course the official government ratings are a more realistic 98 miles per gallon equivalent in all-electric mode, and a not-even Prius beating 37 mpg combined, 35 city, and 40 highway in gas-only operation.

So what’s with the sensational headline? It’s not a lie, and you can verify that for yourself.

Volt drivers are actually reporting 744 mpg and much higher on other sites, and the official federal government site fueleconomy.gov is allowing them to as registered users.

It’s all part of the government’s My MPG program.

“We’ve created ‘My MPG’ to help you calculate and track your fuel economy and compare it with EPA test ratings. You can also share your MPG with other users,” says the government’s explanation that mentions all info shared is strictly anonymous. “If you register, you will be able to save your MPG information and view, edit, or update it later.”

Should the federal government’s Web site now be held as suspect as “facts” presented on open-source and editable Wikipedia?

The disclaimer says: "Not comparable to EPA fuel economy because these estimates do not include electricity use." ...Correction, EPA: The wild estimates actually rely too much on electricity use. Notice the range estimates is not as high for other plug-in cars, but a tendency to go upwards is there.

The disclaimer says: “Not comparable to EPA fuel economy because these estimates do not include electricity use.” …Correction, EPA: The wild estimates actually rely too much on electricity use. Notice the range of estimates is not as high for other plug-in cars, but a tendency to go upwards is there.

But not so fast, say Volt owners.

Their claimed “mpg” has in previous instances been backed by General Motors’ OnStar software, and naturally, the “mpg” includes longer spans than government tests include of gas-free driving under all-electric power.

And before we start to suspect foul play by Volt owners, that’s not quite true either.

Really, it’s a case of extreme fans enthusiastic for a car that’s topped Consumer Reports’ owner satisfaction survey ahead even of the Porsche 911.

Yes, what we have here are phenomena that go deeper than merely folks living in an ethical netherworld and gaming the system.

2011-volt_230mpg

If you recall, before the Volt was launched, General Motors wanted to list the Volt as having 230 miles per gallon thus making it the first Volt owner that had to be asked to curb its enthusiasm.

Now individual Volt owners, under less restrictions, and with no corporate legal department advising them that we know of, remain devoted and are happy to spike the numbers because they may feel there is a measure of validity to them.

And if you think a 744 mpg claim is pushing the bounds of reality, Voltstats.net lists the highest Volt owner – SuperVolt9000 – as having achieved 25,187.45 mpg after 20,689 miles of driving.

Huh? Isn’t that like negative mpg?

Top 10 best scoring Volts registered with VoltStats.net.

Top 10 best scoring Volts registered with VoltStats.net.

The Volt has a special pressurized steel gas tank that holds the premium petrol for extended periods of time, and a computer monitors when it was deposited. After several months it will turn the gas generator on to burn the gas after its freshness date expires.

Mega EV mile Volt drivers are actually draining the gas or otherwise bypassing the system, to stay in the Volt’s finite 25-55 mile electric range so they can score a zillion mpg.

Their gas engines may have a few hundred miles worth of driving time on them after thousands of road miles traveled.

What it means

One simple fact can be said with no exaggeration: Cars that can run on electricity use no gasoline and perhaps some folks already cognizant of this would like others to grasp this reality.

The Volt was a political football during its first year and a half, and haters are still lurking, waiting to be proven right that their prediction was true that the Volt is as big a loser as certain presidential hopefuls have said.

Volt fans know this.

If they are guilty, they’re as guilty as sports fan who say a given team is the greatest in the world.

chevy-volt-charging

Chalk it up to the human circus in this fun-filled world we all get to share.

Another fact is this: Assuming average electric utility rates, cars that run on electricity cost maybe one-quarter to one-third per mile driven and offer myriad other benefits besides.

This is true not just for the Volt, but any all-electric or plug-in hybrid electric car.

Staying in the green zone thus saves emissions and petroleum burned, which is a fact the market shows some folks are still either unaware of or waiting things out before they go electric.

So it is what it is.

If you agree, perhaps you’re happy to see wild estimates on a federally approved information portal?

If not, you can do like a lot of people, and blame it on the government.