Finally, U.S. automakers may have found their way out of the recession with a car Americans should be willing to buy -- the Chevy Volt and the 230 miles per gallon of gasoline it will get in city driving.

General Motors announced on Tuesday morning that the $40,000 Chevrolet Volt rechargeable electric car will get 230 mpg, which is enough to blow away the Toyota Prius, which gets 51 mpg on the highway.

The newest Prius, however, starts at $22,000, so GM may have a ways to go before beating Toyota on price.

But the mileage on the Chevy Volt will look awfully good if gas hits $4 a gallon.

The Volt is powered by an electric motor and battery pack with a 40-mile range. After that, a small internal combustion engine kicks in to generate electricity for a total range of 300 miles. The battery pack can be recharged at home, and should cost about 40 cents a day to recharge at 5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to an Associated Press story.

The 230 miles the Volt will get in city driving is based on tests using guidelines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The guidelines figure that cars like the Volt will travel more on straight electricity in the city than on the highway

Driving the Volt less than 40 miles, in theory, could be done without using gasoline.

I think Americans are waiting for an excuse to buy American cars, beyond the Cash for Clunkers program. The Volt may be the answer.

Toyota, however, is fast on GM's heels. The next Prius is rumored to go 94 mpg. Let the mileage battles begin.

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