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I bought a 2017 Volt in early July, put about 700 miles on it making sure to use the ICE, then hit the road on August 11 for what turned out to be a 3858.9-mile trip from Los Angeles CA to Northern California, Idaho, Yellowstone, Casper WY, Alliance NE (for the total solar eclipse), Denver CO, Santa Fe NM, and Sedona AZ.

The Volt was the best road car I've ever driven! The competition isn't keen, though: a Toyota pickup, a Honda Element, and a Uhaul Truck. :)

The Volt exceeded my expectations for both smoothness of the ride and power. I knew that the Volt's top speed was around 100 mph, but what made my jaw drop was how quickly and smoothly it would get there... or thereabouts, I should say. I had to remind my wife and co-driver a few times, "Honey, you're going 94...." Getting up to those speeds while passing was so effortless and quick that we had to look at the speedometer to realize just how fast we were going--as fast as 99 once ("Honey....")

The Michelin Energy Savers hugged the road admirably and seemed reasonably quiet, but again, I can't claim much experience with passenger cars on interstate highways. Twice, a certain road surface resulted in a whine like a jet plane taking off, alarming me the first time it occurred as I worried that some component was failing catastrophically or that we were about to be transported into the future, but the car kept going and as soon as we hit a different kind of pavement the sound vanished.

We spent most of the trip, by far, in ICE mode. I charged up only twice, both times in Northern California. Once was at the Placerville Transit Station, at a free L2 charger. This station was relatively convenient as we were going to the Farmer's Market a short walk away. Charged for about 90 minutes. The second charge was at our relatives' house at 110 overnight.

I didn't have any other convenient charging opportunities. By convenient I mean... REALLY convenient. I wasn't going to use PlugShare to find a station and plug in and hoof it five blocks to my hotel. None of the motels we stayed at had L2 stations or outside 110 plugs near our room. I asked a time or two but no one had a clue. We stayed in a cabin at a place called "Hibernation Station" in West Yellowstone but there were no outside plug-ins; a block away, at the Grizzly & Wolf Discovery Center, there was a bank of eight Tesla stations--and no Teslas.

In fact, once we left the Los Angeles metropolitan area where EVs are common, I only remember seeing one EV on the whole trip, at a hotel in Sedona NV--a Tesla.

There was a ChargePoint L2 station outside the Petrified Forest in Arizona. We were stopping at the Visitor Center for lunch so I decided to plug in. I pulled out my ChargePoint card, which I'd used twice and which should have had $15 or more available balance, but the station told me that my card was only good at free stations. I called the 800 number for help and was told that I was #5 in the queue. I blew it off.

As we approached Yellowstone, at about the 2000-mile mark (overall mileage), the Check Engine Light came on. I called Onstar but couldn't connect after four tries. When I finally connected in West Yellowstone, they basically recited the paragraph from the manual that we'd already read for ourselves. I asked for a service code but they just read that paragraph about it being an "emission problem" and advised me to take the car in within 7 days. After a little research on this forum and elsewhere, I decided to let the problem ride. The next day, and about 50 miles later, the light went out on its own.

I'm suspecting some cheap gas I bought in Lovelock, Nevada, at a gas station that was the model for every small town horror story ever written. After that unnerving experience (the CEL light, I mean, although stopping at Lovelock was pretty unnerving in itself) I bought only name brand gas and, when in doubt, went for 88 and, at one particularly dodgy station, 91 octane. The CEL never reappeared.

I seemed to stop for gas pretty often, but then again, I only let it drop to one bar once. Generally I added gas when we stopped to switch drivers at the halfway-full mark or better.

There were only two of us on this trip, and frankly I don't see how any more passengers and their luggage would have fit once you add the requisite cooler and snacks and then accumulate ropes of red chiles and such.

We used my iPhone for navigation, linked through CarPlay to the infotainment center. That and the music interface worked fine with only a couple of glitches on the navigation. I highly recommend paper maps as back-ups!

Air conditioning kept us cool even as outside temps hit 119 outside the ironically-named town of Blythe in California's Mojave Desert (STATE PRISON FACILITY, DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS warns one sign). Overall gas mileage was 37.8 mpg.

Overall the Volt proved to be an excellent road car! It never struggled for power when driving up hills or when passing or when passing while going uphill (on a divided highway, of course). I'm so happy to have a car that does it all.
 

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I only run Shell in my Volt to avoid the gas problem you had. In the past I have actually had to take cars into have their fuel systems completely cleaned out after getting just a single tank of bad gas. Your experience with long road trips is about the same as mine. At the higher speeds in the west (75 & 80 MPH) speed limits I see 37-38 MPG as well. You also ran into the same thing I've run into on my two road trips (4,100 and 1,000 miles) - once you leave the coasts ICE rules. I ask at every hotel and so far have only been able to charge at two of them. Both were 120V but I was able to use 12 amps at both as the outlets were designed for heavy "handheld" power equipment.

I carry an ODB adapter in my glove box so I can read any codes I receive. I learned a long time ago to not depend on OnStar for code reading.

I agree that putting more than two in the Volt for a long road trip is probably not going to work. For more than two you really need a mini-van or SUV designed to carry seven plus luggage.

Did you enjoy your trip?
 

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I would venture to say your CEL was from overfilling the tank passed the first shut off click and adding more fuel. When you overfill the tank it causes the emissions vacuum canister to throw a code.
 

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I would venture to say your CEL was from overfilling the tank passed the first shut off click and adding more fuel. When you overfill the tank it causes the emissions vacuum canister to throw a code.
Nope. I never fill past the first click, but it's good to know that I shouldn't. I did check the gas cap, too, as I saw that that was sometimes a cause of the CEL.

Before this trip, I didn't realize there was such a thing as 85 octane gas. I never used it, but it made me wonder if some of the 87 octane I was buying wasn't really up to snuff. I used 88 and non-ethanol when available.
 

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Did you enjoy your trip?
Very much! I HIGHLY recommend making the trip to experience a total solar eclipse. There's another one here in the USA in 2024... make your reservations early! Traveling in the Volt was great.
 

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I would venture to say your CEL was from overfilling the tank passed the first shut off click and adding more fuel. When you overfill the tank it causes the emissions vacuum canister to throw a code.
Without the actual code you we can't make any statements like this. I "overfilled" my 2017 Volt by over a gallon and then let the gas sit in there for 20 days before using it. No CEL. The EVAP control system will not throw a code due to overfilling. It will throw a P045x code for various issues, but one of them is not "overfilling" the gas tank.

On the other hand I have had had bad gas throw CELs and cause enough other problems that I had to get the entire fuel system cleaned from tank to injectors. This is why I stay away from off-brands of gasoline.
 

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Nope. I never fill past the first click, but it's good to know that I shouldn't. I did check the gas cap, too, as I saw that that was sometimes a cause of the CEL.

Before this trip, I didn't realize there was such a thing as 85 octane gas. I never used it, but it made me wonder if some of the 87 octane I was buying wasn't really up to snuff. I used 88 and non-ethanol when available.
85 octane is a result of not needing higher octane at high altitudes. Older engines designed to run 87 at sea level will run just fine on 85 at altitude. Don't put 85 into the newer (2010+) GM Ecotec engines - they really don't like it. And yes, the 2nd Gen Volt uses a 1.5L NA (Naturally Aspirated) Ecotec engine. I suspect it's the same base engine as the 1.5L Turbo-charged engine in some of their other cars but with different control programming.

Octane is a measure of resistance to predetonation in the engine. Higher octane is more resistant. Diesel fuel is 10-15 octane, which is needed for the pressure generated combustion used by diesel engines. Altitude lowers the overall air pressure so lower octane will work in a naturally aspirated engine. In turbo charged engines you can't drop the octane without serious engine control code to prevent predetonation from damaging the engine.
 

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Thanks for spending the time to tell us about your trip. Great news that you found it a smooth quiet highway vehicle. I am looking forward to a long road trip in the Volt next year but for now I suspect we will be 90% electric driving. Your experience with charging stations and their locations is exactly what I suspected and why I would not want a purely electric vehicle - at least, not yet. They are simply not yet widespread nor convenient enough and hotels/motels are not yet generally with it!
 

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.... as I worried that some component was failing catastrophically or that we were about to be transported into the future, but the car kept going and as soon as we hit a different kind of pavement the sound vanished.
Don't worry, there's no flux capacitor onboard. But to be sure, maybe you should keep it under 88 mph.
 

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Don't worry, there's no flux capacitor onboard. But to be sure, maybe you should keep it under 88 mph.
What, and get run over in Utah, Wyoming, or Texas? These three states have 80 MPH speed limits and 88 is close to the median speed there.

And if you'll remember, when I posted about my trip from Denver to New Hampshire and back my only real complaint was the gaud awful tires on the car. Driving through Ohio they sounded like the tread was separating because of the pavement. They're not quite as loud now but still crappy tires.
 

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You gotta be careful; some of those small towns' main source of income is a speed-trap where they pull over any car with out-of-state plates going 70 mph+ They haul you into the sheriff station and then fleece you for a $300 fine or whatever they think they can get out of you.
 

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I am surprised that I have not run into you with my 2013 Volt. Last summer, I did a 4,000-mile vacation through the northern Rocky Mountains as far as Jasper, with fuel economy above 40 MPG. This summer, in the intense heat wave above 100 degrees, I did a 4,000-mile loop from the Sawtooths of Idaho to Mount Hood in Oregon; Redwoods, then Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen in California, with fuel economy around 37 MPG. High-speed freeways and use of air conditioning both tore down fuel efficiency. If not for my free charging station to supply my daily commute, I should have kept driving my 2007 Prius.
 

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You gotta be careful; some of those small towns' main source of income is a speed-trap where they pull over any car with out-of-state plates going 70 mph+ They haul you into the sheriff station and then fleece you for a $300 fine or whatever they think they can get out of you.
In all my decades of driving through rural towns I have never run into a small town speed trap as you describe. Maybe it's a state specific thing. Many small towns can't even afford to hire their own police force and depend on the county to cover them. The County I live in has so few sheriff's deputies that they are busy enough responding to accidents on the interstates and periodic calls to handle neighbor's complaints that they don't have time to setup a speed trap.
 

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In all my decades of driving through rural towns I have never run into a small town speed trap as you describe. Maybe it's a state specific thing. Many small towns can't even afford to hire their own police force and depend on the county to cover them. The County I live in has so few sheriff's deputies that they are busy enough responding to accidents on the interstates and periodic calls to handle neighbor's complaints that they don't have time to setup a speed trap.
You haven't driven through Hartsel, Fairplay, or Alma, Colorado then. All three of these towns, plus quite a few others in Colorado, have one cop (Fairplay has half a dozen actually) who sits where he can clock people still slowing down from the posted 65 MPH speed limit to the town's 25 MPH speed limit. You'll get pulled over if you pass the sign at 26 MPH and get hit you with what works out to be a $100 ticket once all the fees are tacked on. Colorado did alleviate this by passing a law that requires a gradual slow down of no more than 10 MPH per sign so now you see a 45 MPH sign before you actually hit the 25 MPH sign. As long as you pay attention to the earlier signs you won't have to stand on your brakes to get to 24 MPH before hitting the 25 MPH sign. This law was opposed by these towns. Once passed CDOT went out state wide and posted the signs as fast as they could.
 

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We have both a 2016 Volt and a 2010 Prius. High speed driving takes a toll on mpg's for both. 70 - 75 mph will get you low to mid 40's with the Prius, and low 40's for the Volt when running on gasoline of course. Now in secondary roads, speeds 25-55 mph like Highway 101 that goes along the Oregon Coast, 50+ mpg on the gas engine is normal for both the Volt and Prius when of course running just on gas for the Volt.
 

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Last week, I did a 1600mi eclipse trip as well. Dallas to St. Louis and back. We observed the eclipse in Chester, IL. Pretty good show by Ma Nature!
 

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Should we talk about the "best kept secret." Again. This is what I wrote about my Volt when I first got it back in 2016 (Note: this is back before the ACC and lane departure):

I recently traded in my gen 1 Volt on a gen 2. I just returned from a 200-mile trip and I'd like to share my initial impressions. First of all, my 2016 Volt has every option available as far as I know. I can't think of any it doesn't have. It pampers occupants with very comfortable leather seats, Bose sound system, lots of warnings about potential hazards like a vehicle in your blind-spot, and so on. Every trip is comfortable and almost effortless. My 100-mile-one-way trip seemed to pass very quickly and comfortably.

The ride of the gen 2 is improved a lot. It is always very controlled. The handling is nimble. The gen 1 seemed to bottom out quite a bit and there was lots of small twitchy body movements. The gen 2 handles the extra mass of the battery almost flawlessly.

Another aspect of the gen 2 that permeates the entire automobile is the blurring of the boundary between electric and gas operation. The styling no longer screams "quirky electric". The displays and messaging delivers information impartially about total vehicle propulsion. The text and graphics are small and appropriate and conveys a lot of information per screen. The new gas generator is so quiet and well behaved that on the freeway even a Volt veteran can hardly tell if electricity is propelling the vehicle or gas (with the sound system on). The Volt handles the complex propulsion system so competently that the driver doesn't even need to think of it. You just drive the car. The Volt feeds the driver the information he needs discreetly, unobtrusively, and understandably. On surface streets when in gas generator assisted mode there is still considerable engine noise. It's interesting that there now seems to be more direct correlation between pressing the "gas pedal" and engine speed. The gen 1 runs the generator at odd times that are almost totally divorced from driver activities.

The reaction of people I showed the car to was very positive, and conventional. Instead of "Oh, this is one of those electric cars" they would say "Is this electric like your last car". They couldn't really tell. The fact is the average person doesn't have a positive attitude toward electric cars for some reason. It's probably because of a long history of misinformation or no information at all. And my black Volt with black and brandy interior is a gorgeous automobile by any standards. It's true that it's a compact car and I wouldn't sentence anyone taller than 5' 10'' to the back seat for an extended period of time. Like the gen 1, there is little concealed storage inside the car. The electric system takes up a lot of space. I had a terrible time finding a spot for my snow and ice scraper, which I like to carry in the car at all time. The only solution was to use the space meant for the charger adapter and leave the power cord at home.

The main complaint I had with the gen 1 is that it was to a large extent a "proof of concept" vehicle. There were lots of rough edges. In the gen 2, the rough edges are almost gone. As you can tell, I'm a big fan of Volt gen 2.
 

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Should we talk about the "best kept secret." Again. This is what I wrote about my Volt when I first got it back in 2016 (Note: this is back before the ACC and lane departure):
I get the "it's electric?" comment frequently as well. I've also taken to explaining the Volt as a pure EV like the Leaf but with a hybrid drive train for when it runs out of battery power. People seem to get this concept. Sometimes they'll ask what happens when I'm driving downhill for an extended period of time and I explain that the car monitors the battery charge and will switch back to pure EV as soon as there's sufficient battery charge to do so.

This car handles the transition between EV and hybrid so seamlessly that unless you're paying attention to the instant power usage displays you won't notice. Even when it took nearly a minute (over a mile at the speed I was driving) to complete the ICE power up and handover unless I had said something my wife, sitting in the passenger seat, wouldn't have noticed the change over. The car's computers handled the entire process.
 

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I have almost 5000 miles on my 2017 Volt and so far I continue to be impressed. The transition from electric to gas and back is so seamless it just amazes me. I look forward to driving it and make excuses to take a drive. I just hope it remains reliable.....the complexity of the "system" worries me and I look forward to my next car being "pure electric".
 

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In all my decades of driving through rural towns I have never run into a small town speed trap as you describe. Maybe it's a state specific thing. Many small towns can't even afford to hire their own police force and depend on the county to cover them. The County I live in has so few sheriff's deputies that they are busy enough responding to accidents on the interstates and periodic calls to handle neighbor's complaints that they don't have time to setup a speed trap.
Well it happened to me but it was about 2-3 decades ago (and I think it was Colorado). I remember Sheriff Bubba told me to follow him to the station which was basically an office with his desk in it. He told me that I could either pay the speeding fine (can't remember the amount) OR I could appeal by going in front of the judge like 3 days from then. He took my money, had me sign some papers and let me go - he probably went out and had a nice steak dinner that night.
 
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