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Here's the current program of PG&E for those in Northern California:

https://www.pge.com/en_US/residential/rate-plans/rate-plan-options/time-of-use-base-plan/time-of-use-plan.page#toua

Prices per kWH
Current All Year Round:
Tier 1: $0.182
Tier 2: $0.241
Tier 3: $0.400

Time of Use program May-October
Tier 1 (Off-Peak, Partial Peak, Peak): $0.150, $0.226, $0.342
Tier 2 (Off-Peak, Partial Peak, Peak): $0.208, $0.285, $0.400
Tier 3 (Off-Peak, Partial Peak, Peak): $0.367, $0.443, $0.559

Time of Use program November-April
Tier 1 (Off-Peak, Partial Peak): $0.154, $0.171
Tier 2 (Off-Peak, Partial Peak): $0.213, $0.230
Tier 3 (Off-Peak, Partial Peak): $0.371, $0.388


No matter the program, here's the hard facts based on my usage of the Volt:
Adding a Volt brings all its consumed kWH into Tier 3.
Our Volt eats up 18 kWH per full charge.
I can drive it 55 miles per full charge.
I also get 48 mpg in CS mode.
I can get CostCo gas at $2.199/gallon

Driving the Volt 55 miles costs me:
Gasoline: 1.146 gallons of @ 2.199/gallon = $2.520 or 4.58 cents/mile

For pure electric, 18 kWH of Tier 3 electricity from PG&E and according to various programs, heres the actual costs for the electric fuel:

Year round rate: $0.40/kWH x 18 kWH = $7.20 or 13.1 cents/mile

Time of Use program May-October
Off-Peak, Partial Peak, Peak: $6.61, $7.97, $10.06 Cents/mile: 12.0, 18.3

Time of Use program November-April
Off-Peak, Partial Peak: $6.68, $6.98 Cents/mile: 12.1, 12.7


The dark reality is that if you live in California and you can afford the Volt, more than 95% likelihood that your electric consumption with the Volt is at Tier 3, and no matter the Time-Of-Use (TOU) Program, your electric fuel is currently more expensive than gasoline. Signing on to Time of Use program minimally saves you a few pennies over the year round rates, and if you charge your Volt during the peak times when you're in the TOU program, it is much more expensive than the year round rate. With minimal savings with TOU, am not signing up to that program for convenience because of my work schedule. The E6 programs which really have good rates for EV drivers has long been closed by PG&E.

All of these would be moot if you're fueled by the Sun. So I encourage everyone to get Solar PV whenever you can if you have a Volt.
 

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It's erroneous to assume the Volt always will charge at the tier 3 rate. Could be someone only hits tier 3 the last few days of the billing cycle, or not at all. So the overall cents/kWh rate would not be near 40 cents.

Also, the Volt only uses about 14.2 kWh of its 18.4 kWh battery, so even including charging losses, it should take in around 16 kWh for a full charge, not 18. And you are also assuming you charge the Volt fully every day of the month, even weekends. Is that really the case?

You're citing a "worst case scenario". Perhaps you have like 2 pools and hit tier 3 within the first week of the billing cycle. Then for YOU the 40 cents/kWh rate may be close to accurate. But to say everyone in your service area charges their Volt at 40 cents/kWh is misleading.

Really depends on a household's baseline kWh usage #, and when they enter the next tiers.
 

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Even if the cost per mile is higher, driving on electricity will save you on brake wear and engine maintenence. Ask someone who only drives an ICE how much does the TCO per year is, subtract the cost of gasoline, and see what is left over. Then add the cost of your time lost during that maintenence. You will still save money and time, too.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
It's erroneous to assume the Volt always will charge at the tier 3 rate. Could be someone only hits tier 3 the last few days of the billing cycle, or not at all. So the overall cents/kWh rate would not be near 40 cents.

Also, the Volt only uses about 14.2 kWh of its 18.4 kWh battery, so even including charging losses, it should take in around 16 kWh for a full charge, not 18. And you are also assuming you charge the Volt fully every day of the month, even weekends. Is that really the case?

You're citing a "worst case scenario". Perhaps you have like 2 pools and hit tier 3 within the first week of the billing cycle. Then for YOU the 40 cents/kWh rate may be close to accurate. But to say everyone in your service area charges their Volt at 40 cents/kWh is misleading.
I truly disagree! We pay the rate every month. Before the Volt, we are borderline Tier 3. Since the Volt is an additional appliance, all its consumption is Tier 3, from our billing point of view, there is no rationalization behind it. You cannot justify that Volt is not eating Tier 3 rate when you added it. There is no escape from such a reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Even if the cost per mile is higher, driving on electricity will save you on brake wear and engine maintenence. Ask someone who only drives an ICE how much does the TCO per year is, subtract the cost of gasoline, and see what is left over. Then add the cost of your time lost during that maintenence. You will still save money and time, too.
Show me your numbers then for the Volt with gasoline only and Volt fueled by electricity plus the maintenance gasoline. Remember that I am using the Volt fueled by gasoline and not charging it versus using the same Volt fueled by electricity only. So the brake wear and tear would be the same and only the oil change would be slightly more frequent.

So far, your logic falls apart. It is more expensive to drive in electric with the Volt than with gasoline!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
One thing nice about the Volt is that you have two choices of fuel, and it is it's great flexibility over a pure EV like the Leaf. The ride would be the same, whatever the fuel used by the Volt, perhaps with minimal additional noise when using gasoline and still much better than regular ICE.

So when gasoline prices reaches more than $5.89/gallon I would switch to using electricity only.

When I install solar, I wouldn't care about the price of gasoline, even if gasoline is free, I would still charge my Volt with electricity from net-metered solar.
 

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I truly disagree! We pay the rate every month. Before the Volt, we are borderline Tier 3. Since the Volt is an additional appliance, all its consumption is Tier 3, from our billing point of view, there is no rationalization behind it. You cannot justify that Volt is not eating Tier 3 rate when you added it. There is no escape from such a reality.
The fault with that logic is assuming all of the Volt's electricity usage is tier 3. Unless you ONLY charge the Volt once you hit tier 3 (and you power NOTHING else in your home AFTER you hit tier 3 too), you cannot simply go "oh, I was right below the tier 2 limit before the Volt, so my Volt always must charge at tier 3!".

Assuming you charge the Volt regularly throughout the month, you need to blend the electric rates charged to get a true overall number. Unless you get retroactively charged the 40 cent rate for your entire month's usage, which I seriously doubt.
 

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JoeReal,

You raise a very good point. I often talk with folks about the Volt, but with the current gas and E prices in SoCal, electric vehicles don't make economic sense unless you have solar. I think you have created a worst case scenario but in almost any case the miles will cost more if you are charging off the grid. On the other hand, if you have solar with the capacity like we do then the electric makes economic sense and adds a lot to the "payback" on the solar system.

Another major factor you might consider is converting all of your lights to LEDs. We know a number of folks who have kept out of higher tiers just by doing that. For us it opened up enough capacity with the solar to power the volt. Just don't do it before you get PGE's approval for your proposed solar capacity.
 

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I'm sure there are many places where electricity rates are high enough to make the driving on gasoline less per mile, based on fuel cost, than electricity, based on fuel cost, in this case KWH. It's nice to know that the 16-17 Volt is pretty efficient just on gasoline compared to the 2011-15 volt model which required the mandatory use premium gas.
 

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My main take away is that electricity is freaking expensive in NorCal.

My highest rate (with the fuel surcharge that I can avoid when charging at off peak) is $0.118 per KWH. I get more than 55 miles per charge, but even assuming that modest range, I'm looking at a worst case 3.86 cents per mile on electric.

At my usual 68 miles per charge and assuming tier 2 rates with no fuel surcharge ($0.07418 per KWH) it drops down to 1.96 cents per mile.

I would caution against extrapolating the OP's experience to other areas of the country.
 

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Living in Northern California, I was thinking about the same. I looked at PGE current usage data, myvolt.com generated spreadsheet of when and how much electricity was consumed by the Volt and was doing my own calculations.

Living in a single family home, I only hit PGE Tier 2 in the last 7-8 days of the billing cycle. It makes financial sense to move to gas in those last days of Tier 2 for me. Costco gas is around $2.39 in the area. All in all with current gas prices, it's about the same for gas and electricity for me and with the above usage distribution.

OP's numbers are fine but only specific to him - it's a case-by-case thing. That said PGE rates are a rip-off as is everything else is in "cash-burn" California.
 

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Unfortunately the OP is merely a PG&E customer. Compared with other areas of the country, PG&E rates seem pretty high, and you don't need to be a heavy energy user to bump up into the 2nd and 3rd tiers. Tier 1 is on the order of 10 kWh per day average (varies depending on location). Tier 2 is the same again - anything more is Tier 3.
Reads more like the OP is a heavy energy user.
 

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All of these would be moot if you're fueled by the Sun. So I encourage everyone to get Solar PV whenever you can if you have a Volt.
I have solar PV system and i stay in tier 1 so as you state it is a moot point. I also encourage others to look into PV system if it makes sense for their particular situation.
 

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Unfortunately the OP is merely a PG&E customer. Compared with other areas of the country, PG&E rates seem pretty high, and you don't need to be a heavy energy user to bump up into the 2nd and 3rd tiers. Tier 1 is on the order of 10 kWh per day average (varies depending on location). Tier 2 is the same again - anything more is Tier 3.
In the three hot summer months, I use about 2000 KWH with the A/C running non-stop (welcome to Florida). My utility has tier one for the first thousand and tier two after that (I've never seen tier 3 on my bill and I'm not sure we even have that). Hitting tier 3 after only 600 KWH seems crazy. Even during my efficient months from Oct through May I average 1000 KWH.

I wonder what the policy reason is behind ramping rates up to tier three so quickly.
 

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I'm shocked that you can drive in gas mode and get 48 mpg and only get 55 miles out of a charge. I typically get in the mid 30's mpg but regularly get 10-20% more miles than the indicated electric range.
 

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When I install solar, I wouldn't care about the price of gasoline, even if gasoline is free, I would still charge my Volt with electricity from net-metered solar.
Yeah, the main thing I took away from this is that if you're in tier 3 you really need to look at a solar PV installation. Even at east coast electricity prices it pays off in 5-7 years these days. At those prices, the panels should pay for themselves very quickly - even if you had to take a loan to install them.
 

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When you compare KWH rates consider all charges taxes, etc. when you calculate price per KWH.
Look at your electric bill and see what the total bill. Than see how many Kilowatt Hours used. Than divide the total bill amount
by the KWH used. Here is an example. $200.00 electric bill divided by 1500 Kilowatt hours used, which would be, $.133 per KWH
a true all cost delivered rate.

Here in Seaside Oregon our rate, true cost delivered is $.116 / KWH. I think that some people only look at the KWH rate on their electric bill and don't take into consideration taxes, fees etc.
 

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May be I am missing something, or may be you should get on the proper Rate schedule.

I am in North California.

I am on the EVA Residential Whole house Service Electric Vehicle rate schedule
Right now (summer)
Peak is -------$0.44401
Part peak is --$0.24156
Off Peak is ---$0.11466

Full rate details: https://www.pge.com/tariffs/tm2/pdf/ELEC_SCHEDS_EV.pdf

No tiers
I charge at night (Off peak) so at $0.11466
And on average I get 63 miles per charge driving normally 50% city 50% highway

I think you can ask PG&E to run a simulation of your past consumption using the EVA rates, to see if overall you would be saving money.

But no matter what, I drive a Volt for the pleasure simplicity and peace of mind of electric driving, not for saving pennies :)
 
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