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Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Tahoe MPG - Real World Numbers



  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    The quick answer is I don't know.
    FYI, I drop my pressures to 35 PSI in the winter for improved traction in the snow. I know my mileage has dropped (last 2 tanks, 14.6 and 12.4 MPG). But this also coincides with majority of city driving and cold winter temps. I would guess that my mileage has dropped somewhat from the lower pressures, but like I said I don't know.

    The reasons I keep it at 50 during the summer are: hopefully improved mileage, and ride quality when loaded.

    One other point, your tires 305/ 70r16, will likely provide somewhat lower mileage for several reasons.
    1) increased rolling resistance with wider tires.
    2) unless you recalibrated your speedometer, you are actually traveling faster than your speedo states.
  • ahightowerahightower DFWPosts: 429
    What's the maximum psi listed on the tire sidewall? 50 seems quite high to me. Isn't the recommended psi about 32? Even if 50 is not exceeding the tires' capacity, it may lead to "capping", where the center of the tread wears more quickly than it should. I used to overinflate the tires on my wife's Geo Metro (I know, not a good comparison), to 44 because that's what the tire said. I should have read the sticker in the doorjamb instead, which recommended somewhere mid-30's as I recall. Discount Tire said they were capping and recommended lowering my pressure. Just throwin' it out there.

    I'm at least interested in what type of mileage difference you are seeing at 50 vs 35. I have a 2005 Yukon XL, with the 17" wheels, and I definitely feel a difference in ride quality at 36 psi vs 30, i.e., stiffer ride except when heavily loaded. Not a major discomfort, and worth the extra couple mpg, but I'm not sure I would want to go any higher and stiffer even if I could.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,836
    imho 50 PSI cold pressure is unwise & unsafe.
    i believe that handling (skidpad, for example) and emergency-stopping-distance will suffer substantially with such an excessive cold pressure.
    additionally you are punishing the vehicle's suspension by pumping the tires beyond what the factory advises - the ride will suffer and the suspension components will wear out more quickly. (tie-rods, center-link, bushings, shocks, springs, for example). imho if you want better MPG, instead of buying a $50k SUV, buy a $30K SUV and a $20k hyper-mpg car, and concentrate the miles onto the car. i realize this is not an option for everyone, but it works for some folks. ttfn!
  • catamcatam Posts: 331
    A little explanation.
    My Sub is equipped with LT (Light Truck) tires not P (Passenger car) tires.
    Most LT tires are capable of being inflated to 80PSI.
    This is a very beneficial feature when tires are heavily loaded, (Ie. towing, loaded truck bed, etc.)
    When I tow my boat I inflate my tires to 65 PSI in front, and 70 PSI in the rear. This makes a big difference to vehicle stability when towing especially at freeway speeds.
    (I have towed my boat once at 50 PSI and there is a noticeable difference.)

    As far as the "capping issue" I am aware of the potential for that problem, but I don't expect to see it as the Suburban weighs ~6500# empty. I do frequently examine my tires for signs of abnormal wear or other problems. (Anyone who tows regularly knows the importance of good tires.)

    Like I said in previous post, I know my mileage is currently down with the lower pressures, but how much is from the tires alone is very difficult to say. (Other factors are mostly city driving and cold temps right now.)

    As far as ride quality, I was pleased with the ride at 50 PSI, I notice a slightly smoother ride at 35 PSI, but not enough to change permanently. My wife drives this as her daily driver, and never comments about a change in ride regardless of where I put the pressures.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Considering getting a travel trailer in the 3500-4500 pound range.

    Just kind of looking around at what type SUVs are available to perform this task.

    A nephew has a 2004 Tahoe that is absolutely loaded with options, including 5.3L engine. He says his wife gets 15-17 daily driving and he has averaged as high as 28 on the road. But usually only averages 24 or so when maintaining 70 mph or so. Says he re sets the accumulated mileage numbers from the computer before starting the trip. He is in his low 30s of age and tends to drive a tad over the posted speed limits.

    Does this sound reasonable or is he stretching the truth a bit? :confuse:


  • ahightowerahightower DFWPosts: 429
    I'd say his wife's numbers are more realistic. There are literally dozens of posts in the forums about real world mpg and towing. Read up.

    I will summarize what I've read over the past few months by saying that even the most optimistic don't claim much more than 20-21 on a good day. Most are right in line with the EPA estimates of 15 city, 19 highway. That's not great, but it's not so bad. Read up in the minivan forums and you'll see most of them don't do a whole lot better.

    And if you need a tow vehicle, almost anyone would recommend a "real SUV" (truck frame) over a minivan or crossover. They may be rated for 4-5000 lbs, but that's the MAX rating which typically excludes the weight of all the passengers, cargo, even fuel. And have you seen a minivan or crossover pulling a heavy load and sagging in the rear? That's gotta really strain the motor, and can't be safe. Better to get a fullsize SUV rated at 7-9,000 lbs and be well within your limits, not approaching the maximum.
  • hsensihsensi Posts: 5
    I have been driving my 07 Suburban since March (3,700 miles). I am averaging about 15 mpg, my best ever is 17 mpg. I live in the country so most of my driving is highway. I am a bit disappointed to not get 19 mpg even on a long 8 hour road trip. My current MPG on the computer says 16.2. I am a conservative driver.. slow accelerations and I try to keep my highway speed at 70 mph. My tires are at 35/36 psi.

    Naturally when I purchased this vehicle gas was a little over $2/ gallon. I am a little bummed b/c this is a lease and I will be stuck for 3 years. I love this truck though, it is amazing so I guess that is the payoff.
  • talltreetalltree Posts: 2
    I just purchased an 01 suburban and have checked the mileage on the first two tanks. 80% highway miles, 5.3L engine, 3.73 axle, tire pressure at 31 psi: 16 mpg.
    I use regualar gas in all my vehicles with no exception on the suburban, I may be driving over the 65 mph mark more often then I think, I'll pay attention and see if the mileage picks up staying closer to 65 mph.
    My question is this; Has anyone tried switching to one grade of gas or the other to see if mileage changed? And what do most drivers here use? Reg or Super?

  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    Talltree said: And what do most drivers here use? Reg or Super?
    Regular. No reason to use anything else.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Thanks ahightower!

    I agree a about the full frame. I also believe Rear wheel drives are better for towing.

    And yes, better to have reserve power than to be pushing the limit.

    I recon the nephew is misreading, has a faulty trip computer, or maybe stretching the truth a bit! ;)

  • johnny4016johnny4016 Posts: 112
    I own a 2004 Chevy Tahoe Z71 with the 5.3 Liter. It has over sized off road tires and a 4" lift kit and after market 4” exhaust system. I also have had the Transmission pan and Differential cover changed to the MAG-HYTEC pan and cover. I use Full Synthetic Gear Oil in both the front and rear differentials. I also use Full Synthetic 0x30W oil with a Mobil 1 Oil Filter. I've changed out my Spark Plugs and use E3 Spark Plugs, which burn 100% better than OEM Plugs and also changed the Plug Wires with the MSD Super Conductor Plug Wires. I've changed out the Stock Cold Air Intake system and replaced it with the K&N 5700 series cold air intake. I also have the Bully Dog Programmer and run 91 Octane. I drive very conservative and don't go over 55mph on the Hwy and always use my cruise control. I take off very slow from stops and don't allow my tachometer to go over 2K.

    At best I average 20 mpg Hwy and 16 City. This is very good for the 2004 Chevy Tahoe Z71.

    Prior to doing any of the above, excluding the Tires, Lift Kit and Exhaust I was getting 12mpg City and 15 Hwy. After changing the Cold Air Intake, Spark Plugs and Wires I was getting about 14mpg City and 16 Hwy. After installing the Bully Dog Programmer I now get 16 City and 20 Hwy. Depending on the road conditions, flat or hilly and the wind-speed, blowing or not changes the mpg drastically.

    The Bully Dog programmer has had 3 updates since I purchased it. With each upgrade I've notice better mpg. I started off getting 18mpg Hwy after installing the programmer and now I'm getting 20mpg Hwy with the updates.

    I use 91 Octane because I notice a big difference in the performance and handling. I tow a trailer every once in awhile and the added performance-HP is really nice to have. Prior to installing the K&N Cold Air Intake the Tahoe statistic were 295 HP. After wards it has approximately 310 HP.

    The Bully Dog Programmer has 3 settings, Stock, Tow and High Performance. It also allows you to raise the governor from 95 mph to 135 mph and a few other setting for the transmission, etc. I keep mine programmed in the Tow mode for better fuel economy. I did try it out in the High Performance mode when I first bought it. The power was awesome, more than I need to will ever use. I have no idea how much HP my Tahoe has now, but I would estimate the Programmer adds anywhere from 15 to 30 HP depending on what setting it is in. Also the 91 Octane obviously adds more HP.

    I’ve just started adding the additive, MARVEL Mystery Oil to my gas each time I fill up. I’ve gone through about 6 tanks and haven’t noticed any change. But then again I really wouldn’t since I drive conservatively. The oil can be used in both your fuel and crank case oil. It is suppose to give you better mpg and keep your engine, intake valves, etc. clean. I have a few times in the past couple of weeks gave it some gas an I was awe struck and amazed with the amount of power. It screams down the road if I give it the gas. But then it also sucks the fuel down and gets 12 mpg if I drive like I was a teenager. At 47 years old and with gas costing $3.36 per gallon right now I will drive 55mph and get 20mpg. I now get over 400 miles per tank. When I bought it I was getting 300 miles per tank. It has almost 63K on it and runs like a brand new Tahoe, or even better with all the new parts.

    The Bully Dog Programmer isn’t cheap, but none of them are. I paid $388.00 for mine. I shopped around a little and found it cheaper than most dealers on line were selling it for. It has already paid for itself with the money I’ve saved in my mpg. I’m not anyway associated with Bully Dog but I would suggest their product over any other one out there. I’ve been very happy with my programmer, the Bully Dog Power Pup for GM Gas. They sell programmers for all types and kinds of vehicles. I suggest shopping around if you plan on buying one as you could save up to $350.00 or more depending on where you buy one.

    I've kept a mileage chart from the 1st day I bought my Tahoe. Miles, Amount of miles driven, gallons used, average mpg, cost per gallon, hours, etc.

    I can tell you for a fact that your nephew is either looking at his Instant mpg while going downhill or he's not telling you the truth. There is No way he's averaging 28mpg normal driving. Even if he's driving on all flat land, there is no way he is getting over 20 mpg. If he where I'd sure like to know how?

    E.M.S. :shades:
  • johnny4016johnny4016 Posts: 112
    My 04 Tahoe Z71 is fully loaded and I get 20mpg Hwy and 16mpg City.

    I have added some after market equiptment, not a whole lot, but enough to make a difference.

    I was getting the same mpg that you are getting.

    At 55mph I get 20mpg.

    At 65/70mph I get about 17mpg Hwy.

    So I choose to leave a little earlier, enjoy the scenary and let all the 18 wheelers and speeders pass me by. That is until they run out of gas and I keep going. I'm getting anywhere from 420 to 460 miles per tank before I fill up.

    Try slowing down and use your cruise control. If you want to claim being a conservative driver then don't drive over 55mph. If your anything like me and go through 7 to 8 tanks a month then you will be happy at the end of the month when you've saved 2 whole tanks of fuel driving 55mph compared to 65 or 70mph. I know this to be true because I haven't drove over 55mph since Jan 2007 and the price of fuel went back up to over $3.00 per gallon. We are still paying $3.40 at the cheapest stations around Southern CA for 91 Octane. So until the price drops back down to $2.00 a gallon if it ever does I will choose to drive 55mph and save 2 full tanks of fuel per month. To me that about $160.00 a month or $1,920.00 a year at todays price. I can do a lot of vacationing with the extra money I save in fuel.

    I also tow a trailer and run 50psi in my 305X70R16 Tires. I did notice a change in my mpg when I added more air pressure. Not that much differnce in the ride.

    I only get but 12 to 15 mpg towing my trailer. Depending on which dirrection I'm going South or North. But that's pretty good mpg. My 99 Ford Explorer had a 5.0 Liter and got 7 to 9 mpg towing the same trailer.

    E.M.S. :shades:
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Thanks for the reply. Looks like you have accomplished a bunch with your ride. Nothing wrong with having BOTH better milesge and better mileage.

    Yep I think the nephew might be exaggerating A LOT! :sick:

  • bustobusto Posts: 1
    getting between 9-10 MPG around town, about 11 MPG highway. Using synth blend 5w-30. 3.73 rear. Very easy driving, no lead-footing, no jack-rabbit starts.

    Is this typical for this model? Runs terrific, but I'm getting ready to take it in for service with this fuel economy... sticker says 13/17!
  • bcb1bcb1 Posts: 149
    When my Yukon was brand new, I was getting just a hair under 20MPG highway and around 17 City. Now that I have 144,000 miles, I'm getting about 17.5 highway and 15-16 city.

    I drive very gently - believe it or not, I'm on my ORIGINAL set of brake pads with 144K miles! Every time I go in for an oil change or a yearly inspection, I ask my mechanic if it's time for brakes, and the last time he looked, I was still at about 40-50% pad in the front! Unbelieveable.
  • spylaspyla Posts: 5
    Hi, I have 2007 suburban with 2100 miles. It currently giving me 11 miles in town and 16 on Highway (avg on 600 mile trip on I-10) per gallon. Is this normal? I have a friend who has 2005 suburban he gets 19 on highway and 14 in town.

    Any advice?
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,836
    hello spy-los-angeles, my advice is to get a credit card which gives you 5% cash back on all fuel purchases . one that works for all brands. for example, chase rewards card (max $300 per year). some hotel-cards (hilton) will give ~5% back in free-hotel-rooms, in case maybe you travel and can use that as much as cash. also your new suburban mpg might get *slightly* better by the time it has 10k miles.
  • Just over 1,000 miles in my Tahoe, so not a great sample size to choose from, but I have been getting right at 20 mpg on the freeway by keeping the cruise control on as much as possible (which maximizes AFM mode) and keeping RPMs below 2,000 - that usually has me between 70 and 75 mph. Around town I've been getting 13-14, and right now I'm averaging 17 on a mixed driving tank.
  • rockman59rockman59 Posts: 250
    My '06 Suburban 4x4 with 5.3 engine and 3.43 gears gets consistently 20/21 mpg hwy at 70mph and 14/15mpg city and that is in SoCal where we have the crappy blended gas. When I lived in the NW you could add 1 to 2 mpg to the hwy number, and city mileage about .5 more. Not only do we have poor performing gas here we are currently paying about $3.20 a gallon, up about 25 cents in the past three weeks.
  • I have the 5.3 engine with 3.43 rear end.
    Since May, I have driven 6600 miles, mostly Highway.
    I keep detailed records of my mileage.
    In Town 13mpg
    Highway 22mpg at 65 mph
    Highway 20mpg at 70 mph
    Highway 19mpg at 75 mph
    I use the cruise control consistently except when climbing hills. I actually get better mileage on hilly terrain. The engine utilizes the V4 option better on the downhill side of the terrain
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