Nissan Leaf Gets 99 MPG

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The Nissan Leaf, an all-electric car, will get the equivalent of 99 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Monday.  

According to Nissan Motor Corp (Stock Quote: NSANY) , the EPA rated its vehicle, which runs solely on battery power, to be best in the midsize vehicle class for fuel efficiency and best for the environment . The EPA estimates the Leaf will achieve the equivalent of 106 mpg in city driving and 92 mpg on the highway from its battery.  

The information will now appear on the fuel efficiency window sticker, which provides information about the car's energy use, when the car goes on sale in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and Tennessee in December.

“The label provides consumers with a tool to compare alternative-fuel vehicles to those with a traditional internal combustion engine and allows them to make an informed purchase decision,” Scott Becker, senior vice president of Finance and Administration for Nissan Americas, said in a press release.

The EPA’s test showed that the Leaf can travel 73 miles on a full battery and will cost $561 a year in electricity. Nissan has previously estimated that the Leaf could travel 100 miles on a full charge, based on tests used by California regulators.

Regardless, the electric car stills costs less to fuel than most vehicles that run on gasoline. According  to AAA, the average American travels approximately 12,000 miles a year in an automobile and the average vehicle fuel efficiency is around 24.4 miles per gallon. The current price of gas is $2.90. This means that most Americans will spend about $1,400 to fuel their car each year.  

Nissan is no doubt hoping that the Leaf’s newly labeled fuel efficiency will cause car consumers to go green.  As reported, a recent survey by J.D. Power and Associates found that while Americans liked the idea of an environmentally friendly car, they were more often than not dissuaded from purchasing one due to the higher price tag.

“Among consumers in the U.S. who initially say they are interested in buying a hybrid vehicle, the number declines by some 50% when they learn of the extra $5,000, on average, it would cost to acquire the vehicle," John Humphrey, senior vice president of automotive operations at J.D. Power and Associates, explained in a statement.

The Nissan Leaf, which goes on sale in select markets this December and then in additional markets by January 2011, is expected to retail for $32,780. Its main competitor, General Motors’ (Stock Quote: GM) hybrid Chevy Volt, whose EPA rating has yet to be released, will retail for $41,000. Both cars, however, are eligible for a federal tax credit that will cut their prices by $7,500.

How can you afford an electric car? Check out this MainStreet article to find out.

—For the best rates on loans, bank accounts and credit cards, enter your ZIP code at BankingMyWay.com.

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