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Finish line for an electric road trip

Jim Seida / msnbc.com

The Bay Bridge can be seen in the side view mirror as the Volt approaches San Francisco after 856 miles of driving.

We've reached San Francisco International Airport, the end point of our two-day road trip from Seattle in a Chevy Volt electric-plus-gas vehicle. We've gone 873 miles, which is more than the direct-drive distance between the two cities just because there have been some extra drive-arounds and detours along the way. More than 95 percent of that driving was done while the gas-driven "range extender" engine was running. You could argue that this wasn't a fair test of the Volt, because we went far more than the 25 to 50 miles a day that Chevy says is the "sweet spot" for commuters.


If you consider just the battery-powered driving we did on the first day, our mileage was a pretty darn good 80-plus miles per gallon equivalent. Technically, it was 32.9 gasoline-free miles driven with less than $1.50 worth of electricity. That's the kind of performance a commuter might expect from the Volt. If you consider the total long-haul mileage, the figure comes down to about 40 miles per gallon. Sure, other cars can do better than that, but that's not really the point.

While we wait for our airplane to take off, we'll post a couple of summing-up items about our "Electric Road Trip."