Green

2014 Volt: 98 miles/gallon, and $5K less

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Image Credit: Chevrolet

Chevy’s reducing the price you need to pay if you want to go green on wheels.

The 2014 Chevy Volt, which offers a combination electric and gasoline-powered drivetrain, will be available for $34,995 this coming model year. That’s $5,000 less than last year, and if you subtract federal tax credits that can range as high as $7,500, the sticker price could go as low as $27,495.

As if anyone going to a car dealership ever pays sticker price, of course.

chevy volt plug-in portBuying a Volt will give you gas-free driving for 38 miles, at which point the car’s 80 horsepower gas engine kicks into gear. However, it doesn’t power the wheels — it simply powers the 149 horsepower electric motor, with some excess going to recharge the battery.

“The lower price and cost savings from driving on electricity provide Volt owners an unmatched balance of technology, capability, and cost of ownership,” Don Johnson, a Chevy VP, said in a statement. “The 2014 Volt will offer the same impressive list of features, but for $5,000 less.”

The Volt is currently the best-selling plug-in vehicle in America, Chevrolet says, and with its rebranded Vauxhall Ampera in England and Opel Ampera in mainland Europe, is the top-selling electric hybrid in the world.

According to Chevrolet, Volt owners typically drive 900 miles between fill-ups, and visit a gas station only once a month, saving an average of $900 a year in fuel costs. Volt owners have logged 364 million miles in total, including 225 million electric miles.

Perhaps the Volt’s biggest competitor is an automobile company that has abandoned the gas engine entirely. Tesla Motors, which could introduce a sub-$30,000 electric vehicle at some point in the next year, is having its most successful year ever, with its stock hitting recent highs that made it worth 25 percent as much as the vastly larger and older General Motors.

Tesla’s recent $90,000 Model S received the highest test rating of any car in Consumer Reports 2013 testing, and the notoriously tough Consumer Reports reviewers called it possibly the best car ever.