Performance cost in MPG

My current 2005 Cadillac CTS has a 3.6L V6 and is EPA rated for 16 city and 25 highway MPG using their current measure.  For argument sake this yields a mixed-driving target of 19 MPG.

I drive 15,000 miles a year, more or less.  So with my 2005 Cadillac CTS I might expect to need 15,000 miles / 19 MPG = 790 gallons of fuel in the next year.  The 3.6L CTS uses regular unleaded fuel, so let’s say $2.50 / gallon for a total of $2.50 x 790 gallons = $1,975 in fuel costs.

Here are the replacement performance V-Series cars I am considering:  the 469 hp 2008 Cadillac STS-V, or the 400 hp 2007 Cadillac CTS-V.

2008 Cadillac STS-V:  EPA rated 13 city 19 highway, 15 MPG combined.  With my expected annual mileage of 15,000 miles per year that would mean 15,000 miles / 15 MPG = 1,000 gallons of fuel.  Noting that the STS-V however requires premium fuel, which might cost $3.00 / gallon, that makes a total of 1,000 gallons x $3.00 / gallon = $3,000 in fuel costs.   So the Cadillac STS-V would cost an extra $1K/year, or $85/month in gas compared to my 2005 Cadillac CTS.

2007 Cadillac CTS-V: EPA rated 14 city 22 highway, 16 MPG combined. It also requires premium fuel.  15,000 miles x 16 MPG = 937 Gallons.  937 Gallons x $3.00/gallon = $2,811 in fuel costs.  So that CTS-V would cost an extra $836/year in fuel, or $70/month compared to my 2005 Cadillac CTS.

I plan to keep the next Cadillac for 5 years.  Comparing the new cars, STS-V will cost $200/year more than the CTS-V, or $1,000 over the 5 years.

On the other end of the spectrum, the current 2010 Cadillac CTS 3.6L DI V6 engine is rated at 18 city 27 highway for combined 21 mpg.  The current 2010 Cadillac CTS 3.0L DI V6 engine is rated at 18 city 28 highway for combined 22 mpg.  Either engine can use regular unleaded.  So replacing my CTS with the new 2010 Cadillac CTS 3.6L would yield a projected fuel cost of 15,000 miles / 21 MPG x $2.50/gallon = $1,785/year.  Although the new 3.6L has more power at 304 hp than the 2005 non-DI 3.6L at 255 hp in my car, the DI engine also gets better MPG, and is boosted by the 6-speed automatic vs 5-speed automatic.

Replacing my CTS with a 6-speed DI 3.6L instead of a 2007 CTS-V or 2008 STS-V model would save $1,026-$1,215/year.   However, the CTS DI 3.6L has respectable performance of 0-60 in 6.5 sec, while the 08 STS-V or 07 CTS-V will both accelerate 0-60 in under 5 seconds, out-brake, out-corner, generally out-perform the CTS 3.6L.  What cost performance?  Besides the initial price of entry, about $100/month in my case.  Is that worth the thrill of the added performance potential?  Would you pay another $1200 a year to drive a Super car versus a ‘normal’ sport sedan?

EPA Joins GM Market Test Of Hydrogen Powered Fuel Cell


[GM delivered a hydrogen powered Chevy Equinox to the EPA.  GM’s project driveway is an effort to get fuel cell and other innovative vehicles out of the laboratory and in the hands of real people and real situations so that GM can continue to develop and evolve the technology.  Hopefully the EPA will use them not only to further develop test methods for fuel cell MPG testing, but also encourage employees to use the vehicle in real-world driving situations as well. — Bruce]

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), responsible for promoting a cleaner and healthier environment for Americans, today joined forces with General Motors as part of a long-standing commitment to hydrogen fuel cell commercialization.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson (left) and General Motors Vice President Environment, Energy and Safety Policy Beth Lowery

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Stephen L. Johnson (left) and General Motors Vice President Environment, Energy and Safety Policy Beth Lowery

With the delivery of a Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell Electric vehicle, the EPA will be the newest participant in Chevrolet’s Project Driveway – – an innovative market test that is helping to bring fuel cell electric vehicle technology to market.

Over the next six months, the EPA Headquarters motor pool will use the vehicle to conduct business in Washington, D.C. – -emissions free – while allowing the on-board electronic recording devices to track the real-world performance data.

“The EPA’s history of research and testing of fuel cells and other advanced technologies make them an important partner for Project Driveway,” said Elizabeth Lowery, vice president, Environment, Energy and Safety Policy at GM. “Together, our organizations have learned a great deal about hydrogen fuel cells and we look forward to furthering the commercialization of this important technology.”

The EPA’s participation in Project Driveway is the latest partnership with GM in which the agency has helped the automaker test advanced propulsion systems. Beginning in 2005, the agency provided performance feedback for more than a year on GM’s HydroGen3 fuel cell vehicle. That data helped the development of the Chevy Equinox Fuel Cell electric vehicle on roads today. It uses no petroleum and zero greenhouse gases are released. The only emission is clean water vapor.

Project Driveway is an important facet of Chevrolet’s “Gas Friendly to Gas Free” strategy to offer advanced technologies that enable a variety of fuel solutions and remove the automobile from the environment and energy equation. More than 100 Equinox fuel cell vehicles are in the hands of real customers to help Chevy and GM understand what it will take to bring larger numbers of fuel cell vehicles to customers around the world. Currently, the program has launched in Los Angeles, metropolitan New York and Washington, D.C., with further deployments in Europe and Asia later this year.