Local Man Saves On Gasoline By Going Electric

CRANBERRY TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — It’s the high price of gasoline that has some people ditching SUVs in favor of fuel-efficient cars, but one local man is going one step further by buying electric.

George Totolos, of Cranberry, says he loves his new car and for good reason. He’s had it for a week now and hasn’t used a drop of gas.

He is driving the 883rd Chevrolet Volt electric car around on our local roadways.

“So far, since the last charge, it’s basically infinite miles per gallon, but it shows it as 250 miles per gallon plus,” said Totolos.

The Volt has a gas motor but will go 40 miles on battery alone at a cost of about $1.50 on electricity. That translates to about 100 miles a gallon.

“I love the car, it’s really fun to drive and it’s a thrill knowing that I’m not using a drop of gasoline as I go to and from work or running errands,” Totolos said. “It’s a really fun car.”

However, the Volt is expensive, even with a $7,500 tax credit; it can cost more than $30,000.

Totolos leases his for $350 a month but figures he’s saving about $100 a month in gas so his true cost he says is $250 a month.

But he says saving money is only part of the appeal for him.

“It just seems like the right thing to do, but I also view it as some way for the U.S. to kind of get off our dependence on foreign oils,” he said. “So, if more people could pick up on this technology, then we’ll be using less oil and maybe some of the Middle East tension would be a little less.”

Totolos, an engineer, says second and third generation electric cars will get cheaper and more efficient but he wanted to be among the first to test the new technology.

The Volt likely won’t be available in Western Pennsylvania until the fall, so Totolos made a visit to New York where he picked his car up.

Chevrolet Volt
Gas Prices On Rise Once Again (2/23/11)
More Local News


One Comment

  1. TIM says:


  2. dan says:

    spending 350 to save 100 makes no sence to me

    1. peoplesuk says:

      That’s because your the typical idiot human kind. Its not about the short term savings, its the long haul. Your an idiot

      1. Patton says:

        your an idiot, Where do you get the energy to run that car? Oh that’s right, from electricity. So I wander what my electric bill will be every month. I wander how brain tumors im going to get by sitting on all those toxic batteries. This car has a range of 40 miles on electric. “WOW”, what a great car. It wouldn’t even get me to work one way. Even consumer reports bashes this car.

      2. peoplesuk's_worst_nightmare says:

        It’s funny when people like you type “your an idiot” to someone else.
        If you weren’t such an idiot yourself, you would know the proper spelling is “YOU’RE”, as in “YOU ARE”.
        YOU are the typical idiot human kind!!!

      3. Mike says:

        The car is OVERPRICED, even with the govt subsidy. And if it’s such a gret thing, whey does the govt need to subsidize it to get it to sell? People are paying more than $10K extra for an overpriced car. So that’s $10K PLUS any gas he has to buy. A Honda Prius costs less and with it’s good gas mileage is a better overall investment. And I admit that even though I personally dislike Hondas. Bottom line is this car is overpriced and as such is a net loss when comparing to comparable cars that use pure gas. Penny wise, pound foolish.

    2. people are wonderful says:

      go back to bed people suk, it’s early, relax. English class isn’t until monday,oops iI meant Monday

      1. Hoss says:

        When English class is held on Monday, maybe you can learn to spell “suck.”

    3. Brad says:

      Really folks? Did any of you actually read the article? He did not buy the car. He leased it. So he didn’t buy an “over priced” car. Also all of you are blatantly failing to realize the replacement value. Meaning, what would he be driving if he didn’t have the volt? Obviously he can afford 350 a month, but let’s say he drove a car for 300 a month instead, that uses strictly gas. At 100$ a month, he still saves 50$. As far as the cost of electricity is concerned? If you read the article, it says charging a battery is 1.50 he can charge it DAILY and not go over 50$ on the electric bill. Also, he gets 7500 on a tax credit. No chump change. Are we here in Pittsburgh seriously this dumb that you people making comments couldn’t figure this out? I am ashamed I read the same paper as some of you. How ever the intelligent thing to do, IF he was that concerned with saving money, would be to lease a Nissan sentra for less that 100$ a month. Including gas that saves him over 150 a month. But hey, he can afford the car, he is doing his part to save on gas. Bravo .

      1. Dave says:

        Leasing the car makes even LESS sense. That means he’ll forever be having a car payment (if he continues leasing.) So he’ll spend even MORE than someone why buys an F250 GAS vehicle (12mpg) but keeps it for 10 years. Leasing. So he might be saving on gas, but he’s actually spending MORE money over time, not less.

    4. John McVicker says:

      I’d rather lease a volt for $350/mo than a BMW or other crazy-priced import for $500+/month with worse gas mileage.

      Look at the Chevy Cruze if you want good mileage, same style car without the electric components.

  3. iamcrm says:

    It’s a fallacy that these cars use “no gas.” Do you think the electric company is not using gas and coal to run the facility that provides that electricity? Just because he can’t “see” the gas pumps, he wants to believe he’s an environmental hero. He’s just another schmuck who believes the hype and gets his pocket picked for his trouble.

    1. larry says:

      he’s just saving money out of his pocket. I did not hear him say he was a hero.
      I don”t think we import coal???

    2. C. says:

      Ummm, not necessarily. If he is getting power from a hydroelectric, geothermal, solar or wind source, then he is being an “environmental hero”. I do understand what you are saying and what your point is, though. These cars use “no gas” for a limited range (25-50mi for the Volt), and then use gas for the “extended range” feature. So, while our country may still be addicted to nonrenewable and dirty sources of energy for quite a while, at least we are reducing the amount of emissions that are harming our air.

  4. sol kesslar says:

    what a wonderful man. i feel so inferior to this forward thinking renaissance man. the rest of just don’t get it. i wish i could just catch a fading glimpse of this wonderful green product…..that said the batteries used in those cars are made from precious metals mined by underpaid non union workers in china(that alone should send a true union man of his or her rocker)., and are not made in the U.S.,AND are very environmentally destructive. We will trade one dependency for another. real leaders would address the real problem, rather than hiding behind this faux solution

    1. C. says:

      The company that manufactures these batteries (LG), is moving the production facility for the Volt’s battery pack from South Korea to Michigan. The factory will be opened by 2013, and will bring 400 new jobs to Holland, MI. So, the future is looking bright 😀

  5. A. Bunker says:

    These coal-fired cars are just a fad. Nobody wants them as they have sold less than 1000 nationwide.

    1. John McVicker says:

      All Volts produced are being sold. There is a manufacturing backlog that GM is working to ramp up at the Hamtramck plant in MI.

  6. Justice for All! says:

    Well I’m waiting for the automobile that runs on Solar!
    A Solar Energy Vehicle will be the choice for me.
    It charges itself all day long and you never have to plug it in!

    1. John McVicker says:

      That cannot happen as the size of an array needed is >> than the size of a car.

      However, there are Solar charging stations in California and you can also setup a Solar array on a business or home and charge the volt that way. No grid-electricity at all is possible. It just takes effort to set it up and the costs are slowing coming down to where more people can afford it.

      Did you know California has new legislation that says by 2020 that they will generate 30% of their state’s electricity rom renewable sources? There is a few huge Solar arrays going into Nevada and California deserts that will help this to occur. Huge – thousands of acres. It’s happening but the news is not bringing it to you. Just keep your eyes open for new and interesting renewable energy projects out there. Also, read articles daily in this area from http://www.solarindustrymag.com

  7. bobbyjo says:

    here’s how great these cars are..
    Before I start, understand I was a union member for a little over the first 10 years Sitting here hoping the NFL will settle its contract so we can have a football season this year, I was planning my trip to Cleveland to watch the Steelers pound them into the turf. I also was considering buying an ALL ELECTRIC CAR with the price of gas climbing the way it is. So I looked at a Nissan Leaf at about $40,000 and where it can take me. The Nissan Leaf has been tested under the EPA Urban Dynamometer Driving Schedule, a laboratory test commonly called the LA4 test cycle, which represents city driving conditions. Top speed is 56.7mph. Since I will be on the turnpike these are the specs I can expect. On a “FULL CHARGE” at 55mph and the AC or heater on my range is “POSSIBLY” 70 miles before recharging (recharging takes 8 hours. Hoping I can find a charging station when I get that far). If it is raining my range will be less with the wipers running and if I’m driving into the wind the range goes down even more. The distance from Pittsburgh to Cleveland Stadium is about 145-150 miles. So hopefully I won’t need the AC or heater and its not raining or windy (unless its a tail wind) and this will be my day. Drive about 1 hour and 15 minutes–stop for an 8 hour charge, drive another 1 hour and 15 minutes and hope I make it to the stadium (or I’ll need another 8 hour charge). Assuming I make it to the stadium (on the first charge) I sure hope there is a charging station available. Now I plug my car in, go watch a 3 hour football game, come out and wait 5 more hours for the battery to fully charge. Drive 1 hour and 15 minutes stop for another 8 hour charge and drive another 1 hour and 15 minutes and I’m back home but can’t even go to the store until I charge the car again for 8 hours. In my Ford ranger (gas) the trip takes about 2 hours—with the new “TECHNOLOGICAL ELECTRIC CAR” it takes 10 1/2 hours minimum to Cleveland And 15 1/2 hours minimum back to Pittsburgh (providing ALL conditions are perfect), I could make better time than that on a bicycle and save $40,000 along with saving the tax payers for my “ENERGY CREDIT”. Here’s a better comparison yet: My great grandfather who lived in Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland Ohio and had a 1910 Model T Ford could make that same trip in roughly 5 hours–100 years ago. We’ve come a long way baby (or have we).

    My suggestion to President Obama is simple: Start drilling domestically (this creates many GOOD PAYING JOBS) as well as lowers gas prices and quit wasting money on tax credits that don’t make sense. Giving tax credits for electric cars would be the same as giving tax credits for using 2 cans and a string to put down our cell phones. I think the only reason you’re not pushing for 2 cans and a string in your ALTERNATIVE ENERGY PROGRAM is the fact that there is nowhere to “PUSH ONE FOR ENGLISH” SORRY but I don’t see myself as part of this “ELECTRIC CAR REVOLUTION

    1. Bill says:

      The problems you mentioned are true for a car that is only electric. The article is about the Volt and the fact is it will go on battery power alone (typically 40 miles). After that the gas generator will come on and let you go another 300 miles. You can refill on gas and keep going indefinately on gas alone. But 80% of the people in the US have a daily commute that is less than 40 miles a day. For them, they would not burn any gas and run only on electricity each day.

      That is the beauty of the Volt. The best of both worlds.

  8. bobbyjo says:

    Sorry I forgot to give credit for the origniator of this article its
    Bill Balsamico
    Owner, Casa D’ Ice
    North Versailles, PA

    1. Mike says:

      That definitely sounds like something Bill would say!

  9. Hoss says:

    Irony: a story about a car that is primarily battery powered and features a picture of the car sitting at a gas station.

  10. John McVicker says:

    Oil companies are heavily subsidised by the Government. If the Govt. stops giving rich oil companies money – maybe we will see what the actual price of gasoline “should be”. Don’t forget about proposals to increase gas taxes. We are lucky now that gas is under $4.00/gallon. It is close to $5.00 in canada and up to $8.00 or higher in some European countries.

    Good story here. Some Volt owners are powering their Volt through Solar PV arrays on their roof. Some are using Hydro-generated electricity at night. Some are using Coal – which is not imported. Some electriicty is Natural Gas generated from sources within the USA.

    The electric car story is just beginning. Get used to it as the value of the electric car only increases as gas prices increase. Our local pump here went up close to 30 cents a gallon in the last month.

    We are at a turning point and many do not know it yet.

  11. George says:

    Quite a lot of emotion around this issue. First, let me say that I am the “schmuck” that this article is about. I wouldn’t exactly label myself that way considering that I have a Master’s Degree in Electrical Engineering and am involved with technology everyday. I know exactly what this car is all about. I know that it still takes large power plants to generate the electricity used by the car. However, these plants can use many sources of fuel. Some of these sources are clean and ALL of these sources come from the US. I’m even getting solar panels put on my house soon so that the entire car is charge by the sun. You can’t tell me that’s a bad thing. Reducing our dependence on foreign oil is a big deal that seems to be getting lost in this discussion. Much of our international conflicts involve the security of our energy supply because we consume so much of it. Doesn’t that motivate anyone to make a change for the good of the country?

    As for the price, everyone knows that the first version of any technology is very expensive. Do you remember when 50″ plasma TVs were $15,000 just 7 years ago? Now you can buy one for under $1,000. So you should applaud the government for subsidizing this car to nurture it until the prices come down. One more thing on costs. You need to compare the high price of this car to other with the same features (leather, NAV, bluetooth, etc.) to see that $350/month is not bad and you really will save on fuel with every mile you drive. It costs $1.50 in electricity for every 40 miles driven. Even a Prius has to spend $3.00 on gas to drive 40 miles. Even so, it’s not about breaking even, it’s about changing the game and stopping the money flow from our treasury to the hands of the kingdoms in the middle east.

    We should all be impressed that even the first versions of these vehicles come close to making economic sense. Stay opened minded for the future of electric vehicles.

    1. WVhybrid says:

      Excellent analysis, George. The combination of improved energy security, reduced emissions, and lower cost operation make the Volt hard to beat for the American economy.

  12. John McVicker says:

    Good note, George. You’re doing the right thing. Not everyone knows the situation we are facing and they will some day (I hope) wake up to it.

    Keep up the good work and congratulations on the Volt purchase.

    The GM Volt is “electric vehicle done right” and does not at all compare with the Nissan Leaf for usability. It’s far superior since you have the on-board generation of electricity to keep the car going indefinitely at at least 37 mpg. That along is great mileage. Solar PV recharging means you have “infinite gas mileage” for your daily commute. I don’t see why that is so devisive in the community. Again; “they’ll learn”.

  13. Dont Believe the Hype - Go Electric! says:

    The biggest problem standing in the way of the electric car is the oil lobby. Electric cars means much much much less money for Big Oil Big oil has mountains of money, and they want to keep the status quo, which means keep your cars running on gasoline. They grease politicians to get permission to drill in all the places you dont really want to like in your state forests and along your coastline. Big Oil creates elaborate campaigns to make you think that the electric car is impractical or wimpy or as one comment above said “will give you cancer.” Big Oil includes foreign oil interests. If the U.S. didnt need oil from the MidEast guess what? No need to spend billions a day on keeping military there.

  14. Headly says:

    What about natural gas cars?we have enough supply in western pa with all the gas wells everywhere.

  15. Roger says:

    Go George!

  16. SmarterThanYou says:

    Obama needs to stop taking credit for other people’s work. This car was announced by GM in 2006 for delivery in 2010. They did it. Where was Obama in 2006? Not in office. The Volt was born under Republican rule. If you don’t like the Volt, it’s because you have never driven one.

    1. Joseph Puskar says:

      your funny dude…..the electric volt from gm was born under republican pres by a agreement with democrats that 4.50 gas at that time was too muchfor americans to pay and was a wake up call that we need to get off the republicans…. drill baby drill and….. plug in baby plug in that democrats made come to light!!…..by the way rep or dem we need independance in general for our energy sources…..solar wind natural gas. ….NO COAL ,OIL OR GASOLINE AT ALL IN THE USA…..dont bash me about jobs cause all the natural gas..solar panels and wind turbines still need built and maintained by americans only!

  17. madmax says:

    I don’t believe in global warming. I don’t even recycle.

    But I love my Volt. It’s my way of lifting a huge middle finger towards the middle east and their effing oil cartels. Not to mention sticking it to our Nazi-occupied government here in California and their draconian fuel taxes.

    Most electric utilities burn coal, which we have plenty of in the US. Maybe they’ll bring back nukes. Either way, I haven’t purchased gas in almost a month.

    So laugh at George. Laugh at me too. But when gas prices meet and exceed $6 a gallon this summer, we’ll be laughing right along with you.

  18. Richard says:

    Sewing machines, blenders, toasters, etc. should be electric. Give me good old fossil fuel for cars, trucks, etc. I dislike paying high gas prices as much as the next person but I would rather do that that have to remember to plug my car in to recharge, pay higher electric bills and STILL have to fill up with fossil fuel to make up for the WAY too limited range when running on electricity. Not to mention the higher initial cost of the vehicle. Forget any environmental friendly aspects, I couldn’t give a rip about being ‘green’.

  19. David says:

    Sounds good.

    Now if the guy would convert to natural gas he would knock OPEC all together.

    Cost for a conversion kit is about 50 bucks plus the tank.

  20. Harris says:

    Some of you sound just like people who thought the steam engine was here to stay! As opposed to the internal combustion. Either way, electric is here to stay now. Like it or not. And it says that it costs about 1.50 (cost of electric to charge) to run 40 miles. Thats pretty cheap. The prius goes 3.5 for 40miles since thats the cost of gas right now. And no, this car was NOT made by republicans First of all hardcore repubs don’t even want govt to be involved in cooperations so just cause it was started in 06 means nothing. I mean repubs dont even want the EPA! And Obama is just applauding their innovation. The US needs to keep up with the times. Not like the GM cars they made from 1980-1998 folks. Maybe gas will be cheap again but it hasnt for a good 7 yrs now.

  21. I'm Bi-Winning! says:

    It would be cool if the good ol USA took the lead on the electric car, not wait for Europe, China, or Japan. Get your head out of your arses. Whatever happened to American can-do attitudes?

    And to you losers that want to make this about politics: Seems you would rather win an argument than win the electric car production race for the next 100 years. Quit whining about Obama! Put your time to something useful.

  22. no way says:

    Wouldn’t work for me. I take long trips for many reasons, So I would have to stop every 45 min to charge my car???

    1. George says:

      Not a problem. Think of it as an ordinary car that doesn’t use a drop of gasoline for the first 40 miles of your day. After that, it operates with gasoline much like the car you are driving today. This works well since studies show that most people drive less than 40 miles per day. The rest of the population still gets a good break from oil.

    2. John McVicker says:

      no way, this is an example of the information not getting out properly.

      The Volt does not need recharging after 40 miles. In fact, you can charge the car onces in its lifetime and run it entirely off the on-board gas engine from then on in. It is not an EV it is a EREV – Extended Range Electric Vehicle. The engine on board keeps the batteries at a charge enough to run the car normally. So, you can charge nightly – drive the 40 and keep on going.

      This is jwhy some people bash the Volt – they don’t know how it works.

  23. F the ME generation says:

    The electric car is gaining favor because younger generations are car buyers and dont have all the hangups that baby boomers do. Old people want things the old way or nothing at all. The rest of you be damned. The same people that gave us Woodstock and “make love not war” turned out to be real selfish greedy douxebags when it was all said and done.

Comments are closed.

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Play It
Get The All New CBS Local App

Watch & Listen LIVE