X Prize Takes On GM’s 230 MPG Claims, Offers Free (and Fun!) MPGe Calculator

MPGe Calculator


GM’s recent “230” PR campaign (previously covered HERE and HERE) has certainly caused a lot of controversy, most of it centered on the fact that the EPA initially “backed away” from the automaker’s optimistic (?) Chevy Volt mileage claims.

Despite the fact that the 230 mpg rating will likely stand (once GM gets a final-production Volt into the hands of the EPA, that is), so much attention has been paid to the matter that the good in charge at Progressive’s Automotive X PRIZE decided it was time to chime in, asking “Is MPG still relevant?”

Short answer:  No.

Read the X Prize group’s long(er) answer, and learn about their proposed MPGe rating system, after the jump.

The Progressive Automotive X PRIZE, for those of you not “in the know”, is an international competition to complete an economically viable 100 MPG vehicle capable of being built in numbers of 10,000 or more, per year.  With that in mind, it’s easy to see why the Auto X PRIZE group (AXP) was at least as concerned about GM’s 230 mpg announcement as anyone else!

The AXP was quick to realize this might cause considerable confusion among AXP competitors, and responded immediately with a flurry of questions.  From their site:

  • How was that 230 number derived?
  • How will it hold up under real-world driving conditions?
  • How do you calculate MPG for a vehicle that doesn’t run on gasoline alone?

The AXP argues that these questions – along with the growing use of ethanol and bio-derived fuels – seem to point to the fact that the EPA’s current MPG rating is rapidly becoming irrelevant as a consumer tool.  The answer, they say, is to move over to a new standard that compares the total amount of energy used by a given vehicle, compared to a purely gasoline vehicle.  In other words:  a mile-per-gallon equivalent, or MPGe.

MPGe is what the AXP calls “the system of merit” that AXP competitors will be measured against, and – if the AXP gets their way and the EPA adopts their point of view – it just might become the new consumer standard!

If you’re curious how your own hybrid, flex-fuel, or electric vehicle “stacks up” in terms of MPGe, there is a lengthy explanation of how MPGe is calculated at the AXP site … but that’s no fun.  This easy-to-use and simple-to-understand spreadsheet, however, certainly is!  (Windows users, don’t forget to scan the file!)

Simply type in the relative numbers and calculate YOUR MPGe – leave the results in the comments, below, and maybe I’ll send a cookie to whoever posts the highest numbers.


Image CreditProgressive Automotive X PRIZE.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.