Our total at the pumpLate last week we filled up our car’s gas tank.

“So what?” you might ask.

Well, here’s the thing: it was the first gas we’d bought in a whole year – and after driving 6269 km (3895 miles).

Inspired partly by my father-in-law’s electric trike, we purchased our plug-in hybrid (a Chevy Volt) in the first week of November 2015.  Before we took it home the dealer filled the gas tank, but until a few weeks ago we’d barely touched it – running solely on electricity about 98% of the time.

(In case you’re wondering about the gas getting stale: our car switches automatically to an engine-powered mode when its gas is close to a year old, in order to use it up. Once you replace it with fresh gas, you’re back on electric.)

Closeup of electric vehicle plug-inWe charge the car at home, plugging into an ordinary outdoor plug which feeds off our province’s hydro-powered electric grid.

Depending on the season, a full charge gives us a range of about 90 to 100 km (55-62 miles), with another 600+ km (372 mi) available if we choose to run on gas. But we seldom do.

If we were commuting we’d likely install a 240-volt charging station, but so far we’ve had no need. The 110-volt plug provides ample power for our driving needs, and according to our electricity bills, the car has added less than 50 cents per day to our energy costs over the past year.

Our fill-up last week took 31 litres (8.34 US gal) at a total cost of $36.90 for the year. In terms of gas mileage, that works out to 467 mpg – not bad at all, especially considering most of our driving was on short trips.

We’re not fully unplugged from the fossil fuel economy, I admit. But I’m happy knowing that we’re a lot further from it than we were a year ago.

This post was not solicited by GM or any of its dealers.

About Laurie MacBride, Eye on Environment

Photographer focused on nature and nautical on the BC coast

6 responses »

  1. Well done Laurie… amazing, 1 tank of gas in a year! We’re waiting a bit for an electric plug in that will go up our steep wilderness driveway off of Victoria Lake, and we’ll charge it with some of the excess micro hydro and solar PV. With all this rain the island’s getting now, we have tons of power right now!

    Love your blog… and I remember you Laurie, from the Georgia Strait Alliance days… I once did a presentation in Nanaiimo event you helped organize, as a Union environmental rep for the old Port Alice Pulp Mill… the late 80’s or early 90’s??? Keep up the good earth…

    • Thanks so much, Bruce! That event must have been early 90s, as GSA was founded in 1990. Either way, a long time ago!

      As for steep hills – lots of people think e-cars lack oomph, but ours has tons of power. It also has a “mountain mode” that enables you to run on gas for a short while, approaching the mountain, so as to build up extra electrical power for the steepest grade. We haven’t tried mountain mode yet – waiting to find time to go to Victoria, and try it on the Malahat. Sounds like you have a good set-up for an EV in terms of power generation. Be sure to check out the rebates that are available here in BC when you do look to buy one – currently $5000 rebate for purchase of an approved Clean Air Vehicle, plus another $3500 possible if you scrap your old car (which we did). Makes the change to electric power affordable.

  2. Sherry Galey says:

    Kudos to you! I’m very interested to read about your real-life experience and happy that this car is working out so well for the environment and you!

  3. gabegal says:

    That’s great! Dx


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