The plug-in Chevy Volt reached a milestone this month, with owners collectively driving more than 100 million all-electric miles.
Since the Volt entered the market two years ago, the average owner has been able to stay in electric mode 65% of the time, using gas only for long trips. On average, owners fill up with gas every 6 weeks, getting about 900 miles during that time.
EPA estimates Volt owners are saving about $1,370 a year in fuel costs compared to a similar conventional vehicle.
And for the second year, Volt owners top Consumer Report's satisfaction survey, saying the car is fun to drive and has great performance.
The Volt runs on electric for the first 38 miles. If the car isn't charged, it then switches to gas, adding another 344 miles on a full tank.
Cars Getting Better Gas Mileage
Beyond the Chevy Volt and other advanced vehicles, new vehicles purchased this fall average significantly higher gas mileage.
On average, all new cars, SUVs and light trucks now get 24.1 miles per gallon (MPG), up from 20.1 MPG average in the fall of 2007.
That means they use 15% less fuel per mile than cars purchased in 2007, and Americans are also driving slightly less.
These changes actually add to up to cuts in US greenhouse gas emissions - about 20% in new vehicles produced over the past five years.
How much of a difference does this make in the grand scheme of things?
New vehicles, after all, are only a small portion of the overall U.S. fleet. Yet a recent paper points out that recent efficiency upgrades have already reduced carbon emissions from all US light-duty vehicles by about 2.9%, says the Washington Post.
See the graph of how this has changed: