Volt's 230 MPG Number Not EPA-Approved

Volt230 As soon as GM launched its now-ubiquitous marketing campaign trumpeting the Chevy Volt’s 230 mpg city mileage, the EPA — you know, the organization that actually measures a car’s fuel economy numbers — was quick to release a statement saying the 230 mpg figure was not EPA-approved.

The EPA will not test the Volt for a while, but GM has said it stands by the methodology it used to come up with 230 mpg. Basically, the city mileage will depend on how often the driver plugs in to recharge. Some drivers may never touch the gasoline engine, while others might not get a chance to recharge at all. GM took the average of these two extremes to come up with 230 mpg.

Obviously, once the EPA decides how it will calculate figures for plug-in hybrids and electric cars, this number could change, but GM seems confident it will not disappoint customers or Volt fans by touting 230 mpg in a massive marketing campaign.

This begs the question, does GM risk a backlash if EPA findings lead to a drastically lower mileage number? What if the Volt’s city mileage turns out to be 120 mpg? This would be incredibly impressive, yet it would also leave GM with egg on its face after having hyped the higher number and sent expectations soaring.

Needless to say, we and every other car blog eagerly await the Volt’s EPA testing.



Okay, so let me get this calculation right. [(40 MPG)*highway miles + (infinity MPG)*city miles]/[total miles] = 230MPG?


Amuro Ray


Worst part is - Butt kicked badly on those who were so "pro" GM's claim y'day, Let's see how they are gonna back this up now. Very interesting...


However the numbers turn out, it still got you and just about the rest of the blogosphere in a tizzy...pretty effective publicity.


All this nonsense could go away if we went with a rating system like the European rating system - volume of gas consumption for a specified range i.e. liters/100 km.


i don't see this as a downer for gm at all. it just shows the problem with calculating the fuel economy that is going to be more and more common with this type of hybrid (one in which the primary drive systems is the electric motor).

in theory, you could never fill up if your daily driving is short. even if the gas engine kicks in to generate electricity, the fuel economy numbers should still be impressive.


so, I guess the 300+ mpg for the Leaf is in question too.



i think GM should post up big numbers so give the car industry something to strive for.. why not have ford and Honda etx.. try and match this?

Bring on the overhyped campaigns and money saving ideas.. why are we bashing a positive direction here?


How to calculate 230MPG for a Volt:

EPA rules on average fuel efficiency are 55% city miles, 45% highway. Say all city trips are under 40 miles round trip. These use no fuel.

Highway trips are where you use gas. If on average you travel 12,000 miles a year, 45% of that is 5,400 miles.

If those 5,400 miles come over 83 trips during the year, then your average highway trip will be 65 miles. The first 40 of those are on electric, so you'll only use gas for the last 25 miles.

If you multiply those 25 miles per trip using gas by the 83 trips you end up with 2080 miles on gasoline.

At 40MPG you'll use 52 gallons over the course of the year.

Divide the 12,000 total miles traveled during the year(remember all those city miles, and the first 40 miles of any highway trip on pure electric) by those 52 gallons, and you end up with 230MPG.

I'm not saying any of these assumptions are reasonable or unreasonable, but these are the assumptions that would need to be made to get to that number. (83 highway trips a year, 65 miles per trip on average, city trips are under 40 miles)


No wonder GM went under. They can't even do simple math.

Doug G

EPA numbers have no actual effect on the mileage your car gets.

Bottom line, if you drive this car around 40 miles a day you get very high MPG. Regardless of any spin or denials, you will very rarely find yourself standing at a gas pump, even compared to Prius drivers.

Dave Wuss

GM's Phony Math Exposed:


Every now and then you get a reminder of why GM can never be trusted. I never associated mistrust with any of the Japanese brands and now more recently Ford. Kudo's to Ford for rebuilding their reputation in the marketplace. GM could learn many lessons from Alan Mulally and Co.


Read your link as I'm interested in how the math works. Unfortunately it doesn't explain anything. Did you mean to post a different link?

And I've noticed the opinion of Ford has improved significantly on this blog, particularly among the import flamewarriors, ever since the auto bailouts. It appears that people are viewing them as a higher quality product purely because they didn't take a government loan. This would obviously be a terrible logical fallacy. So I'm curious, as someone who clearly feels that Ford has built their reputation lately, what else have they done to do so that GM or Chrysler could emulate?


And GM said their Vega was "The little car that does everything well"...
Hopefully no sane person back then believed it either..


I remember GM marketing for months and months and months that the Cobalt was going to be a game changer. I didn't trust them before and I certainly don't trust them today. Government Motors is what they are and I fully expect the Chevrolet Volt to fall flat on it's face.


40 thousand dollars for an econobox with unproven technology from a brand(Chevy)not known for the best quality is not a recipe for success

Especially when one can by a Toyota Prius which is now on it's third iteration, has a proven track record of good quality, rock solid reliability and dependibility and can be had for a price in the low 20's.


To answer your question Dan; I trust Ford more than GM for several reasons-

-I've owned both GM and Ford products in the past few years. The Chevy was a lemon and had to be bought back. The fact that it was a lemon didn't annoy me so much, but it was the service department at several of the Chevy dealerships I went to that bugged me. They couldn't care less and shrugged me off when the car was new and under warranty. When the car was given back to GM, the sales department had the nerve to call me that same day to see if I wanted to buy a new one. The Ford's I've had have been more reliable and the quality of service has been more consistant, caring, and helpful.

-IMO Ford's have been more appealing. I've owned only small cars and currently have an '06 Focus. At the time, it was a much better car than the Aveo, Cobalt, and God-awful Ion that GM was selling.

-Like Carl said, GM is notorious for starting a heap of hype over nothing. How long have we been hearing about the new Camaro? Maybe three years or so? And it still has quality issues. Remember the much advertised "American Revolution" back in 2004/5? The Aveo, Cobalt, Colorado, and Equinox were going to be game changers but ended up being mediocre products. People are sick and tired of being miselad by it. Ford did some sneak peeks for the new Mustang, but ussually keeps the advertising and bragging down until the car is almost road-ready. To me, GM is like the movie "Cloverfield". A lot of build up in the previews and excitement, but extremely disapointing when it debuts. The Volt could be no exception

Post a Comment 

Please remember a few rules before posting comments:

  • If you don't want people to see your email address, simply type in the URL of your favorite website or leave the field empty.
  • Do not mention specific car dealers by name. Feel free to mention your city, state and brand.
  • Try to be civil to your fellow blog readers. This blog is not a fan or enthusiast forum, it is meant to help people during the car-buying process and during the time between purchases, so shoppers can keep a pulse on the market.
  • Stay on topic. We want to hear your opinions and thoughts, but please only comment about the specified topic in the blog post.
view posting rules

If you have a TypeKey or TypePad account, please Sign In

Search Results

KickingTires Search Results for

Search Kicking Tires

KickingTires iPhone App