Chevrolet Volt Gets 60 Miles Per Gallon Rating from EPA

General Motors' (GM) Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, which is set to debut in the U.S. next month, was given a fuel economy rating of 60 miles per gallon combined from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), making it more fuel-efficient than the Toyota Prius hybrid.

The Volt, which can go about 35 miles in all-electric mode and has an on-board gas engine that acts as a generator for the electric motor, was rated to get 37 miles per gallon when the gas engine is powering the car and 93 miles per gallon equivalent (mpg-e) in electric-only mode. The car has a driving range of 379 miles before both the battery and gas engine are depleted, the EPA said.

The Toyota Prius has a combined EPA rating of 50 miles per gallon.

Fuel-economy ratings for both the Volt and all-electric Nissan Leaf (NSANY) were greatly anticipated from the EPA, which had to create a special mpg-e standard for the two cars, because of both cars' extended use of the electric motor. The EPA on Tuesday gave the Leaf an mpg-e rating of 99 miles per gallon, making it the most fuel-efficient midsize car on the road.

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The EPA also estimated that the Leaf's driving range when fully charged will be about 73 miles. Nissan has regularly touted its driving range as 100 miles.

The annual cost to power the Volt in electric-only mode was estimated by the EPA at $610, while the annual cost assuming all-gas mode is $1,302. The EPA estimated that the annual electricity cost for the Leaf will be $561, while the annual fuel cost for Toyota's (TM) Prius hybrid, which up until this week was the most fuel-efficient U.S. car, is $867.

Last week, the Volt won Green Car Journal's 2011 Green Car of the Year, beating out the Nissan Leaf battery electric vehicle, Ford's Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the gas powered Ford Fiesta in the process.

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