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The Chevy Volt: Not for the Cost Conscious

Tired of shelling out money at the pump? Then the news that General Motors' highly anticipated electric/gas hybrid car, the Chevy Volt, could get up to 230 miles per gallon must have intrigued you. As someone who is always trying to trim my family's budget, I know it certainly caught my attention. But so did some other information I came across from Edmunds.com. Despite the green vehicle's high mileage claims, the auto website believes drivers could save more money if they buy one of the gas sippers that is already on the road.

Why wouldn't the Chevy Volt be the cheapest car on the road? First, Edmunds.com isn't convinced that the average driver would actually get 230 miles per gallon. You would need to drive just 20 miles to 30 miles between charging the battery and not haul around any extra cargo or people to hit that number. Instead, a typical owner could realistically expect to get 50 miles per gallon, according to Edmunds.com.

But even if Edmunds.com uses the lofty 230 miles per gallon figure, the auto website still believes cost conscious drivers will save more money overall if they purchase a Toyota Prius or Honda Insight. Why? The Volt is expected to sell for $40,000. And even with the anticipated $7,500 federal tax credit, the electric hybrid will still go for at least a $10,000 premium over the other two gas sippers. To make up the price difference in gas savings, you would need to own the Volt for more than 15 years versus the Insight and 17 years for the Prius.

The so-called "break even point" could even be a bit higher if you take into consideration how much owners will have to pay in electricity to charge up the Volt. Edmunds.com doesn't know what that figure is right now, but we should acknowledge that it would have to add to a household's overall utility costs.

In Other Auto News:
Kelley Blue Book (KBB.com) came out with a top 10 list of fun clunker replacements. (Remember, not every vehicle qualifies for the Cash for Clunkers program.) While you might expect the editors to point to the Mini Cooper or the Mazda Miata -- both are known for their fuel efficiency -- an Audi and two BMWs also made the rankings.

Chevy Volt image by Minuk, CC 2.0.