By Gary L. Norton

I am the happy owner of the first VOLT sold in Durango, Colorado. Not only am I thrilled, but so is the dealer. They published an advertisement in the local newspaper featuring a picture of me smiling next to my beautiful White Diamond Tricoat VOLT.

I had been thinking about buying a sedan for some time to replace my Toyota FJ. The VOLT was high on my list as I considered the technology in the car, the economics of ownership, and the environment. But, truth be told, I bought the car because I made an immediate connection with it and it is so much fun to drive.

Gary Norton and his new Volt in Durango, Colo.

I've owned twenty six cars including cars from Audi, Honda, Toyota, Acura, Peugeot, Renault, and VW. I've also owned one American car, a Jeep Wrangler. Some of those cars were great cars that I connected with. They were cars that felt just right. The Volt is one of those cars. It is well designed and well executed. Everything looks and feels perfect. Once you get past the technology that is seamlessly working in the background you experience, the quietness, the smoothness, and the rocket fast quickness that puts a smile on your face.

Beyond loving the car, the economics of it make the purchase a slam dunk. Not only is there the $7,500 Federal tax credit but Colorado has a $6,000 refundable tax credit. That reduced the purchase price from $44,000 (it's well optioned) to $30,500. Then there's the operating costs. I'm on "time of use" electricity costing 4.6 cents/kWh. That means my cost running on electricity is 1.8 cents per mile. Plugging my electric rate into the EPA formula for MPGe, the cost for gas and electricity to drive 15,000 miles is $445 per year. A car getting 20 MPG using EPA's numbers would cost $2,836 per year. I am saving $2,391 per year. That would entirely pay for the car in twelve years.


Lastly there is the environment. I've yet to use any gas and will use very little in the future. Electricity generation is much more efficient in terms of greenhouse gasses and pollutants than gasoline engines. Moreover off peak electricity is priced so low because it is electricity that must be produced since the plants have to run all day and night. That electricity puts no strain on the grid.

At the end of the day though, while finances an the environment are important one has to connect with the car itself. And in the case of the VOLT, that connection is easy. It is a fantastic car that is fun to drive and a pleasure to own.