GM Volt Forum banner

1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Yesterday was the day, June 3rd. I got behind the wheel; the guy at the dealership pushed the button on the automatic roll door; and I drove on out of the new-car staging showroom. 365 days later I have not a single regret and largely love the car like none other I have owned. Mostly I love the series-hybrid technology, quite often marveling at its uniqueness. Would I change some things? Sure. The NAV traffic function is weak, and when I venture into the big city (Detroit) I make sure to take my Garmin. And preferentially I’d like the vehicle to be a bit larger (wheelbase + 2”). But overall the technology wooed me and the seductiveness of it sustains.

Of course no EV ownership summary is complete without the (tiresome) geek stuff. My vehicle has amassed 13,530 miles. With a just-filled tank to replicate the dealership rollout, I have spent $228 on gas ($19/mo, 104 gal total), which pushes me into the fuel depot roughly once a month. In conjunction with off-peak pricing, my records show an electric bill increase of $29 per month. If you churn the math using my average gas cost ($2.19/gal) that sifts out to 51.8 mpg.

Almost double my previous car. And despite occasional trips up north (MI talk), I drive electric 70% of the time; more than I anticipated pre-ownership. I think that’s pretty good although Ms. Kingfish’ driving routine positively pushes the 90% threshold.

That leaves me on the shoreline of our week just past, which brought directional departure from the Paris climate accord and reflecting on how that action might sit with folks on this forum. Disconcerting in the overall I would surmise. I put forth that soapbox assessment on the assumption that most of us here tend to bask in EV progress and its linkage with a greener world.

After all, we saw EVs hit a new sales record in 2016 up 37% from 2015. And despite low gas prices, shoppers purchased 70% more EVs last January than in January 2016. That’s an impressive increase, even though EVs still account for only one percent of the entire auto market. We have purchase incentives from the past, as well as fuel-economy standards and zero-emission targets in play. That’s all a good thing – right?

In the wake of that positive headway, we also seem to have an anti-science movement afoot and numerous national examples of behavioral incentives that inexplicably push in the opposite direction. I will share one such example in my home state of MI. This year we initiated a tax to repair our roads; both items were long in need (tax & repair). The average cost for license tabs in MI is about $120; that will increase by about 20% at the Secretary Of State (a proportional added cost for all owners). The gas tax also goes up 7.3 cents, to 26.3 cents per gallon. So, on an annual basis, let’s review three distinct sedan-cost scenarios:

GAS PERSON The guy at work travels 13,530 miles per year (same as above); he owns a 2014 vehicle getting 35 mpg (nominal pass-car national average). He consumes 387 gallons of gasoline. Total cost $102.

PLUG-IN HYBRID PERSON The beloved Kingfish owns a Volt. He consumes 104 gallons of gasoline (same as above); cost $27. He now pays a hybrid fee ($30) and a hybrid gas-tax fee ($17), both SOS surcharges. Total cost $74.

ELECTRIC PERSON The lady next door owns a Nissan Leaf. She now pays an electric fee ($100) and an electric gas-tax fee ($35), both SOS surcharges. Total cost $135.

It should be noted that for any increase in mileage, Electric Person would realize a lower cost-per-mile because her cost is fixed. Nonetheless, all three owners consume the infrastructure in an equal fashion. In this example Hybrid Person pays less than Gas Person and is therefore rewarded by an insightful community for going green. Not so for Electric Person; by ratio she is obliged to pay 32% more than Gas Person.

Has our cherished leadership been intentionally punitive toward segments of EV and does that serve the state of Michigan? And further, does such punitive public policy serve this country?

To shamelessly steal the title from an always-invigorating weekly PBS Newshour feature, the latter village dialog is my -- Brief But Spectacular Take on our unfolding EV future. Thank you for listening,
TheKingfish
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
2017 Citron Green Metallic / Jet Black Leather / purchased June 2016
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
That’s leaves me on the shoreline of our week just past, which brought directional departure from the Paris climate accord and reflecting on how that action might sit with folks on this forum. Disconcerting in the overall I would surmise. I put forth that soapbox assessment on the assumption that most of us here tend to bask in EV progress and its linkage with a greener world.
If nothing else, it's a good opportunity to remind people who are upset by these developments that they're not powerless. We can encourage them to do big things (plug-in hybrid or extended range BEV) or even little things (new LED light bulbs are cheap and look basically just like incandescents). And there's options like never before. Got a big family? Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and with the tax credit it's on par or cheaper than the regular Pacifica. That's been my aim, anyway. Encourage people to act on their displeasure and not just complain on Facebook.

Keith
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,405 Posts
Yes, the upcoming EV taxes for road maintenance are out of line with gas cars when you consider the sales tax and registration fees of the more expense 'green' car.

While I don't advocate buying 'green' to save money, here's how my numbers work in California:

I drive a 2017 Volt for work duties.

I pay <$0.12 a kWh to refuel it. (charging at work is free, but that is cheating, lets go with .12 which includes all taxes and fees)

I will normally get over 4 miles per kWh. Sometimes averaging 5 miles per kWh on roundtrips. Let's go with 4 since I can hit that number 12 months a year where I drive.

Assuming 85% charging efficiency:

Electric driving burns up $.035 per mile.

The cheapest gas here is Costco, $2.71 a gallon.

My driving style which is normally all electric, >75% freeway roundtrip, is true gas equivalent of 76.8 mpg highway.

Yes, I keep my highway speed down, but we have a lot of elevation changes. I have to cover 58 miles minimum to complete a parts run on pure EV mode. I have stretched that to 70.x miles on a charge, but that was awful. 58 is a breeze, I just drive in the slow lane and stay with the flow. We do have a lot of freeway congestion though. The 58 mile trip takes 2 hours, speeds of 0 to 67 mph.

However, that's not why I bought a Volt. Since it's the 3rd one we added to the family, I knew exactly how much you save buying an economy car that costs over $15,000. Nothing. It's cheaper to buy cheap.

So why did I make the same 'mistake' 3 times in a row? I love how an EV feels when driving in traffic. Instant, smooth, quiet, torque up the yazoo. And it accelerates in traffic better than most cars because of it. I bought so I enjoy driving more. My son and I even AutoX our Volts (a low speed version of road racing, tight course, speeds no higher than 60mph). Both of ours are shod with high performance tires, and corner very well for a FWD 3700lb raceweight sedan.

Why not a Prius, or Leaf, or Golf EV, etc? Because the Volt has more powertrain performance and better handling. I bought a premium 'green' car, not something that I'd hate to drive. I can drive green and enjoy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,359 Posts
At this point driving an EV is just better. And when I say that I mean the entire driving experience.
Every time I get into an ICE vehicle now I have a moment of "what is WRONG with this thing"? before my brain adjusts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,468 Posts
In total cost you cannot ignore all fees, both auto insurance and annual registration fees which are usually based on MSRP/resale balue...Case and point, an ICE Spark or any econobox will save money...Need new tires? Spark's 15" tires will be roughly half of a Volt's...Heck, could probably pay full stealership prices and labor rates for a new transmission and engine for $5K and have it last to at least 500,000 miles...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
If nothing else, it's a good opportunity to remind people who are upset by these developments that they're not powerless. We can encourage them to do big things (plug-in hybrid or extended range BEV) or even little things (new LED light bulbs are cheap and look basically just like incandescents). And there's options like never before. Got a big family? Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and with the tax credit it's on par or cheaper than the regular Pacifica. That's been my aim, anyway. Encourage people to act on their displeasure and not just complain on Facebook.

Keith
Interesting Keith brings up LED bulbs. So the state raises taxes on EVs to make them pay "their fair share" of road taxes that would normally come through fuel sales. That's like the power company forcing your state to make you pay a special tax to buy LED bulbs at the checkout lane because of lost electricity revenue they would have had if you stuck with incandescents. We need a better method of paying for our infrastructure. The tax on fuel was because that made sense many years ago since all vehicles ran on fossil fuels.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,156 Posts
The analysis seems too focused on the tail of the dog rather than the dog. What I mean by this is that you're talking about the cost of the taxes. In all cases these are fairly inconsequential, as shown by the fact that the spread is between $75 and $135 annually. The bigger deal is the cost of the fuel in the first instance. That's the dog. Given that electricity is usually lower, and that many times utilities offer off peak pricing, on balance owning an electric is much cheaper.

The bigger problem is that with so many taxes picking one tax -- in this case the gas tax -- and trying to make that "fair" is impossible. For example, since a battery pack costs more than a gas tank, owners of EVs will pay more in sales taxes. Plus they may pay taxes on their electrical consumption. So to some extent what they are saving in gas taxes they are paying in sales taxes. On the other hand, not needing or paying for maintenance will cut their sales taxes. Essentially there are so many taxes collected on so many things in so many ways that it's difficult to make a fairness argument, much make any one tax, fair.

If road maintenance is an issue, and I agree it is, what they should have done is simply levy a flat tax based on mass and be done with it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Has our cherished leadership been intentionally punitive toward segments of EV and does that serve the state of Michigan? And further, does such punitive public policy serve this country?
I hope you're saying this with a good dose of sarcasm...cherished leadership??

And their actions not being intentional?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,202 Posts
Wouldn't say it's punitive since there's no reason for us to hate Michigan made vehicles (Volt and Bolt). We just don't have a compelling reason to subsidize EV's. No area really has an LA type air quality issue, and having owned an EREV in a cold climate, the advantages of an electric drivetrain are largely offset by the disadvantages.

I'm getting close to doing some serious car shopping. Volts are on the list but it's going to be hard to justify it $ wise, it's much more get one because it's neat and I want it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Wouldn't say it's punitive since there's no reason for us to hate Michigan made vehicles (Volt and Bolt). We just don't have a compelling reason to subsidize EV's. No area really has an LA type air quality issue, and having owned an EREV in a cold climate, the advantages of an electric drivetrain are largely offset by the disadvantages.

I'm getting close to doing some serious car shopping. Volts are on the list but it's going to be hard to justify it $ wise, it's much more get one because it's neat and I want it.
How's it hard to justify $-wise unless you are going to get a basic 4 door transport for $99/m on a lease?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
How's it hard to justify $-wise unless you are going to get a basic 4 door transport for $99/m on a lease?
It's hard to justify buying or leasing anything new if you have a working paid-for car. But sometime you just need something different because the transportation requirements of the family changes. Having just driven a Sentra as a rental, I wouldn't wish a $99 basic 4 door transport vehicle onto anybody.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
It's hard to justify buying or leasing anything new if you have a working paid-for car. But sometime you just need something different because the transportation requirements of the family changes. Having just driven a Sentra as a rental, I wouldn't wish a $99 basic 4 door transport vehicle onto anybody.
You're talking about something entirely different. LOL...when will you realize life is more than money? So sad.

It's really not hard to justify buying or leasing a new car if you can afford one and want to drive around in something new, up-to-date, safer, and more efficient. Again, all you are talking about is $$...nothing more.

Besides, my comment was about his perception of the Volt not being affordable or justifiable financially when it really is quite a cheap car to lease or buy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
You're talking about something entirely different. LOL...when will you realize life is more than money? So sad.

It's really not hard to justify buying or leasing a new car if you can afford one and want to drive around in something new, up-to-date, safer, and more efficient. Again, all you are talking about is $$...nothing more.

Besides, my comment was about his perception of the Volt not being affordable or justifiable financially when it really is quite a cheap car to lease or buy.
Any my point was sometimes you should just buy what you need. So I think we actually are in agreement. The volt can be affordable as long as you aren't trying to be the first on the block with a gen2 in summer 2015. But I have yet to see a $99 volt lease. I assumed wrongly that the $99 econobox you were referring to was some really cheap car like a mitsubishi mirage, Nissan Sentra or Versa, or a Kia or hyundai.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts
Any my point was sometimes you should just buy what you need. So I think we actually are in agreement. The volt can be affordable as long as you aren't trying to be the first on the block with a gen2 in summer 2015. But I have yet to see a $99 volt lease. I assumed wrongly that the $99 econobox you were referring to was some really cheap car like a mitsubishi mirage, Nissan Sentra or Versa, or a Kia or hyundai.
Not everyone wants to live the lifestyle of "need." It's ok to enjoy life a little...it won't kill you.

The $99 comment was to say that if he thinks the Volt is unaffordable at say $200 a month, then go and buy/lease a $99/m car. The comment about it being not justifiable financially doesn't really hold water unless you are extremely cheap or are truly hurting for money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
Not everyone wants to live the lifestyle of "need." It's ok to enjoy life a little...it won't kill you.

The $99 comment was to say that if he thinks the Volt is unaffordable at say $200 a month, then go and buy/lease a $99/m car. The comment about it being not justifiable financially doesn't really hold water unless you are extremely cheap or are truly hurting for money.
And if i were hurting for money (which I'm not) I would much rather buy a slightly used nicer vehicle with character than a $99 per month econobox. You seemed to have painted me into this extreme cheapskate who doesn't enjoy life at all. I have all the toys (5 vehicles in the driveway, 5 John Deere tractors plus implements in the barn, every family member has a new smartphone, tablet, and laptop). My current push to pile everything into the house is purely an exercise in intensity to see how quickly I can do it. My house is a dream house that makes some resorts seem like a step down. After the house is done, I'll decide how big of a wad to throw at the next car. I'll need some 12 step program to help me get over spending multiples above the dollar limit that I've restricted myself to so far on cars in my lifetime - but none were econoboxes (BMW, CTS, Suburban, Volt). The candidates are all over the map: NSX, I8, Silverado Crew Cab, CT6 PHEV, Subyukonade, Jaguar iPace, Volvo V60 PHEV, Tesla Model S. So yes, I plan to live a little and we'll see how quickly I can amass the money to get one of these.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,520 Posts
The bigger problem is that with so many taxes picking one tax -- in this case the gas tax -- and trying to make that "fair" is impossible. For example, since a battery pack costs more than a gas tank, owners of EVs will pay more in sales taxes. Plus they may pay taxes on their electrical consumption. So to some extent what they are saving in gas taxes they are paying in sales taxes. On the other hand, not needing or paying for maintenance will cut their sales taxes. Essentially there are so many taxes collected on so many things in so many ways that it's difficult to make a fairness argument, much make any one tax, fair.

If road maintenance is an issue, and I agree it is, what they should have done is simply levy a flat tax based on mass and be done with it.
Well, politicians are lazy and reactive, so they're still trying to figure out what to do about a problem that's always been there, but was exacerbated by the arrival of hybrids, then the 2nd gen Prius, then the Volt and Leaf, then the Model S, then the Model S D, then the Model X, then 2nd gen Volt, then the Bolt and Prime and soon the Model 3 and 2nd gen Leaf (the list is not exhaustive).

The first question is to ask is "What makes up the cost of a vehicle's road use?" Once you answer that question you can figure out what the perfect road pricing system would be. Then work backwards from there to a pricing system that is simplified to keep overheads down, but tries to keep the key elements of cost overall. Personally, I think that f(miles_driven,weight) would likely be the best we can already use for private vehicles, and would be pretty easy since we have VIN databases to give vehicle weights or use registered weight where specified, plus we have odometer readings. If there's essential fixed components (say due to climatic effects) those would be fixed fees on _every_ vehicle. Commercial vehicles already often operate with more detailed information and could be priced more exactly, perhaps with time-and-place-based variation.

If the costs aren't really fixed and there are fixed fees, then we'd end up with different but still wrong pricing signals for driving, and a perpetual funding issues.

Hopefully we'll soon have fully autonomous vehicles with cheap autonomy systems and we'll ditch all of these hassles of vehicle ownership and instead discuss which taxi/rental companies offer the best deals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,202 Posts
Mr. Moon, there aren't any $200 volt leases in my galaxy. I did some window shopping a few months ago and the best I could do on a Volt is 0 down, $338/month. With a rule of thumb that leases run 1% of sticker, that was actually a decent deal on a car with that kind of MSRP.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Mr. Moon, there aren't any $200 volt leases in my galaxy. I did some window shopping a few months ago and the best I could do on a Volt is 0 down, $338/month. With a rule of thumb that leases run 1% of sticker, that was actually a decent deal on a car with that kind of MSRP.
I'm in a non-CARB state without any incremental CCR from GM, and with some proper timing (Asian conquest lease incentive) and haggling I managed $211/month on an LT with comfort paying only sales tax and license as part of drive-off. It definitely took some work, though.

Keith
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,468 Posts
Since this a Volt forum it'll put it into perspective...There are 3000ish Chevy dealerships, we are hearing reports of "$5000 off the sales price", but 99% of car dealers won't give you that price so you have to find the previously reported deals...Even when they do, you need a month that has favorable leasing incentives...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13,556 Posts
Since this a Volt forum it'll put it into perspective...There are 3000ish Chevy dealerships, we are hearing reports of "$5000 off the sales price", but 99% of car dealers won't give you that price so you have to find the previously reported deals...Even when they do, you need a month that has favorable leasing incentives...
Meanwhile, at my local Chevy dealership, it's truck month, so 17% off most trucks, but i don't think the discount applies to a pair of Silverado 2500s crew cabs with duramax diesels. Not a volt to be found in the lot

 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top