November 26, 2010

Volt Bests Prius In Fuel Economy Ratings

There is a new king of fuel economy, as General Motors (GM) announced on Wednesday that their Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid car will carry a better efficiency rating that the Toyota Prius, which had long been recognized as the industry leader in the category.

The announcement comes after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) handed down three different mileage ratings for the Volt, based on how it is driven. This marks the federal agency's first attempt to hand down a miles per gallon equivalent or MPGe rating, according to Sharon Terlep of the Wall Street Journal.

"The Volt sticker prominently displays 93 as the miles-per-gallon equivalent when the car is driving on the battery alone; 37 miles-per-gallon is the figure when the gas engine is delivering power to the electric drive system. In smaller letters, 60 miles per gallon is listed as the comparable to other compact cars," Terlep wrote in an article published Thursday.

That 60 MPGe rating is what has GM declaring the Volt as the new fuel economy champion. According to David Bailey and Kevin Krolicki of Reuters, the 2011 model-year Prius has been given a 51 MPG rating for in-city driving and a 48 MPG rating for highway driving. Furthermore, the Volt has been dubbed both the Green Car of the Year and the Motor Trend Car of the Year, according to Reuters.

The Volt will go on sale in select areas, including New York, California, and Washington, DC, later this month, and will be available nationwide in 2012. However, the Chevy hybrid already faces stiff competition from the Nissan Leaf. The Yokohama, Japan-based auto manufacturer has said that their 100 percent electric Leaf will display an MPGe rating of 99 miles to the gallon, and that it will have more than twice the range of travel per charge (73 miles) than the Volt (35 miles), according to Terlep.

Furthermore, Bailey and Krolicki say, "As a pure-electric car, the Leaf tops the Volt in the category on the EPA label that tracks greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle"¦ Since it carries no combustion engine, the Leaf has no such emissions although greenhouse gases would be produced by the power plants used to recharge the car. The Volt is rated at 84 grams of carbon dioxide per mile, less than one-tenth of the industry's worst-performing vehicle on that score."


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