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Musings on One Year of Ownership -- and a Punitive EV Policy

2404 Views 24 Replies 13 Participants Last post by  llninja
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,
2014 Brownstone Metallic / Pebble Beige Leather-Suede / purchased April 2014
2017 Citron Green Metallic / Jet Black Leather / purchased June 2016
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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.

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.
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.
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.
Not everyone wants to live the lifestyle of "need." It's ok to enjoy life a 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.
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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

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Is ANYTHING political not a money grab?

It brings the climate change to the forefront if nothing else...

Want to be as green as you can possibly be? It's so easy, SACFRICE! Live in a stable weather area like SoCal, live in a tiny home near your work so you can bike or walk everywhere, grow your own food, become a vegan, never take an airplane anywhere and never own pets or have children...Doesn't sacrificing to have a greener environment sound like fun?
Some of us like the act of making children.
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