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SUV gas mileage - Feel free to participate

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  • I own a 1995 Chevy Suburban with a 7.4L 454 Big Block V8
    This beast will utterly demolish any sub compact car not only in an accident (God forbid) but also at the gas pump! She weighs roughly 3 1/2 tons!
    Her fuel thirsty 42 gallon gas tank is a HOG at the gas pump. I get roughly 7-8 miles per gallon. AND I AM SO PROUD OF IT! this beast will do anything i ask, and wont hesitate. And i feel very safe in it. Gas prices are finally falling below $2.00 a gallon here I say ROCK ON BIG RIG, SUV, TRUCK DRIVIN MOTORISTS!!! :) :shades:
  • d07d07 Posts: 7
    From the choices you have given, I know that most of the above would work, but in optimal situations when great demand is placed on the engine. But I suspect that each one will give you fractions more on the gallon in terms of MPG, and most probably will be offset by the increase in weight especially if the part is an add-on and not a replacement. there certainly would be horsepower gains noticed but at optimal engine rpms -( ie; driving like grandpa really wouldn't allow any perceived improvement). Driving for economy usually results in pumping losses, inertial losses and sometimes taking unusually longer time to reach optimal speed.

    But some things that can certainly help considering your driving habits would be:
    1)Synthetic oil . (may gain between 1-4 mpg depending on the engine type and condition - ie, wear)
    2)Less restrictive air filter (may be 0-.5 mpg improvement)
    3)Tires inflated 2-4 psi above manufacturer recommendation ( 0.1 - 0.3 mgp improvement - careful with this to prevent premature wear and poor handling)
    4)using a engine warmer in winter so engine reaches optimal temp quickly)
    5)Changing transmission, differential fluids & other lubricants regularly - once a year maybe to keep friction robbing wear at bay.( but not overdoing it)
    6)Developing correct driving technique for acceleration, cruise and slowing down.
    7)Limiting alternator loads by using less power demands - high blower speed, music loud, heated, seats dome/interior lights on when vehicle is off.
    8)Taking out unnecessary weight like removable seats etc.
    if any of you out there have any more tips - please let me know as well.
    I have a 2008 Honda Crv
    City driving, 21 MPG
    Highway 29-34 MPG
    Really light foot - flat road - 39 MPG - (No Hypermiling)
  • Great suggestions, I'll try those. I have been driving like a grandpa and am getting... drum roll please.... 15mpg. So hopefully the modifications will help.

    The good news is that I walk to work and will use this for family outings only.
  • d07d07 Posts: 7
    Thats the best solution - walk to work - If this economy keeps going the way it is - the next forum hot topic would be "How far does a can of beans take you?" - "I, get 3 miles on a can of red........."
    Yes, since its only on outings - multiply the MPG by the number of people sitting in the vehicle - ie @ 15 mpg, with 6 people on board you'd be getting 90mpg! Look at the guy driving the prius turn green with envy!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    with 6 people on board you'd be getting 90mpg!

    We'll have to create a new unit of measure for this. Let's call it pmpg, passenger miles per gallon. :)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • with my 2005 xterra auto 4X2, out of nowhere i was getting 10.-- mpg.........went into panic trying to figure out what the problem was... cleaned injectors,throtle body,mass sensor, new plugs,new tranny fluid, new rear diff fluid and got up to 11.-- mpg...........found mechanic that pluged his nissan computer and found engine performance at 86% he re-set everything and brought it back to 100% then told me to leave shop to highway to keep rpm's from 1,000 to 1,500 and to get to 60 mph for 15 to 20 minutes while computer was going through re-learning process for driving habits..... went on a 253 mile trip through mountain area and averaging 70 to 80 mph..... MPG= 20.-- back to normal...... i had cleaned my battery posts 3 weeks ago right about when the problem began..... and began driving the truck as i always do wich caused the re-learn process to be set with those 2,000 rpm's+
    if you have disconected battery, you might have caused your re-learn air/fuel mixture to be set abnorlmal causing you to be getting an abnormal MPG.... or make you think its that so called winter fuel mixture from gas station.........
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    With winter coming, and figuring my Camry Hybrid is probably at an optimal time to trade (with 63,000 miles) I decided it was time to get serious. Since I really didn't think I was "green" and gas prices have dropped like a rock I decided to look at several awd options. After looking at the Cadillac CTS (didn't fit), the STS (couldn't deal) and the Infiniti M35x (couldn't deal there either) I slowed down and rethought my choices. I looked at the depreciation on these left over 2008 deals and decided even with huge discounts (>$10,000 in two cases) I would still be upside down in a loan. I could justify it knowing I'd pay them off early anyway, but that much depreiation just irks me.
    Looked at the Lincoln MKX too. Finally after telling myself there is no sense in spending big bucks to buy a vehicle that is only marginally comfortable (the M35 is the only one with a comfortable rear seat) I got to thinking about FE again. I still wanted roomy and good FE even though gas has dropped to $2.09 here. I just can't see wasting resources that much with the 17mpg vehicles (I'm morre green than I thought_the TCH did that to me)

    I looked at the Escape Hybrid again and it was just too small. I finally looked at a Highlander Hybrid and found it to be quiet comfortable with a lot of flexibility with the second row seating. While not an aggressive 4wd, it did have 4wdi which from all I could research would meet the needs. I still have the Expedition for another year of lease and would have time to see if the HH meets my SUV needs (it will tow 3500 pounds). I give up the Camry's 37mpg for a year but will look at putting the Expedition in the kid's garage next year and getting another Camry Hybrid, a Prius or looking at the diesel's or see what the domestics have if they are still in business. Buying the HH gives me a lot of flexibility over the next year to see what my next step will be. Who knows, I think a 370Z would look good in m y garage too.

    So, it's a "toy" of an SUV (I know calling the HH an SUV irritates some of you) but it meets my needs for comfort, travelling with the grandkids (very small 3rd row seat), and towing and I'm feeling comfortable that I'll have no problem exceeding an average FE of 25mpg.

    It's now in my garage
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    While I realize the Highlander Hybrid is more of an electrical wizzard than the xterra, I was reading on GreenHybrid a thread where if the battery is disconnected on the HH you need your dealer to reset something (don't remember what, but it would mess up the milage severly). Seems silly but there may be something to your thoughts about messing up the computer.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    When you reset the ECU it probably runs ruch until it figures out how far it can lean the air-fuel mix without creating problems. The ECU has to learn again, basically.

    As for getting the best mileage, I second the idea of taking excess weight out of the vehicle. My kids, for instance, accumulate junk like Happy Meal toys, and before you know it they have 100 in the car.

    New rule - no more toys (they're junk anyway), plus I made them clean out the car. Each child can bring their one favorite toy, that's it.
  • wvgasguywvgasguy Posts: 1,405
    I second the idea of taking excess weight out of the vehicle.

    Seriously :confuse: You drive a 5000+ pound SUV and you're concerned about the weight of a bag full of plastic toys?

    Then again maybe not eating happy meals will keep a couple of hundred pounds off the family average over the long term :blush:

    Backing off about 5mph would probably yield 10x more in gains.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Well, I don't drive a 5000 lb SUV, but the person asking does.

    Our Forester weighs about a ton less and I hit a 36mpg peak this week. Definitely using every trick in the book, though.

    Our van weighs about 4270 if the brochure isn't lying.
  • lmacmillmacmil Posts: 1,756
    Edmunds did a test last winter on the mileage effect of an empty vs loaded roof rack. Mileage was about 20% less with a couple of items on the roof rack. I'm wondering if there is a significant effect, say > 1 mpg, of an empty roof rack vs no roof rack at all or if the cross bars have an effect. Fyi, I have a Highlander that came with a roof rack that I have never used.

    My guess is that an empty roof rack has little effect on mileage. Anyone seen any data that says otherwise or care to speculate?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    I should take the rails off the roof of my van, and you just reminded me.

    I tried once and it was not easy. Gotta ask other Sienna owners what's the trick.
  • my 2005 xterra 4X2 would give me close to 400 miles per tank on highway trips.... my fuel gauge went bad and i took 4 months to fix it. once i fixed it along with cleaning my battery posts, i was shocked to see my truck use too much gas.... i was around 11mpg!!!!!! so with 100,000 miles i thought it is something with my engine... cleaned throtle intake, mass air sensor, new spark plugs,new tranny fluid, new diff fluid..... 4 bottles of lucas fuel treatment..... got up to 13.89mpg.... mechanic plugged nissan computer and showed me that my engine was performing at 86%.............. wow........... he re-set the ecu and instructed me to keep rpm's from 1000 to 1500 and drive to and open highway to get to 60 mph with low rmp's and to keep at 60 mph for 15 minutes..... while the ecu completed the re-learing procedure for the air/fuel mixture.....
    took a 265 mile trip the following weekend through mountain areas at 70 to 80 mph and got 20.25 mpg////////////// BACK TO NORMAL..

    if you notice your mpg dropp, did you have your truck at the dealership? did you disconect the battery? this is the most common cause for bad mpg.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    That's a great tip, XT! Glad you got that fixed.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    1000 to 1500 rpm? Wow. That truck must be geared super-tall.

    Just make sure you don't lug the engine.
  • twoplankr22twoplankr22 Posts: 15
    I've been getting between 14.5 and 15.8 mostly city in 05 ford escape driving like an old lady. been super busy last week, driving faster, accelerating harder etc, and now 17.9mpg....no weight taken out, nothing new done to vehicle. any explanations??
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    During warm-up you get poor mileage, so maybe the fact that you've been busy means you're driving it longer and more often when the engine is already warm. That helps.

    Avoid short trips, and try to combine errands so the engine is already warm when you start.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    Lots of things contribute to mileage and perceived mileage.

    For instance, the position of the car when fueling. Generally if it is leaning away from the filler tube, the tank will accept more fuel, same if sitting with the front lower than the rear. So for more accurate calculations, always use the same pump with the car sitting in the same position.

    Set the nozzle "Switch" at the slowest setting and let it run until it clicks off, and STOP! EVERY TIME.

    Just using some numbers for the sake of example.

    We drive 225 miles and it takes 15 gallons to fill the tank on level ground.=15 mpg. If the car is leaning away from the pump or the front is down hill, the tank may take 16-17 gallons. = 13-14 mpg. Since it has taken on 1-2 extra gallons of gas, the next 225 miles might take only 13-14 gallons if filled on level ground again.= 16-17 mpg.

    Throttle position can also make a difference. I've found that with our 03 pilot I seem to get better mileage when using enough throttle to allow transmission shifts, without lifting my foot, at 2200 rather that 2000 rpm. However at 2500 the mileage is worse than letting it shift at 2000. Engines have sweet spots that are the most economical. Delicate balance between engine economics and transmission shifting, which goes back to engine economics. Seems to be an ever ending circle.

    And as ateixeira said above, you may have been doing more driving with a warm engine.

    My work commute is 6-7 miles depending to the route I take. With air temperature at 40 degrees the cold started engine will deliver 16-17 mpg. With engine at operating temps, more in the 21 mpg range. Shorter drives reflect lot bigger differences.

    A Scan Gauge II is a useful tool as it can show all types of functions. Most useful to me are instant real world mileage and trip mile which can be reset any time. Even resetting it for different trips, it will still keep track of todays mileage as well as previous day and tank. Wonderful and useful toy!

    Short version: Don't get terribly excited about a particularly good of particularly bad tank of gas. There are too many variables. :confuse:

    Kip
  • dasdaldasdal Posts: 1
    I just drove my 2002 Expedition from Jacksonville, Fl to Panama City Beach. At 60-65 mph, I got 24 MPG. However my in-town driving nets only 14-16 MPG. Would disconnecting the battery to reset the computer be of any value?
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    That sounds about right actually.

    Wasn't the EPA 14/18, something like that? That was even before they revised those figures down in 2008 or so.

    Your highway mileage is actually better than I expect.
  • blueiedgodblueiedgod Posts: 2,797
    Would disconnecting the battery to reset the computer be of any value?

    Yup, with the battery disconnected, it will prevent you from driving it. Which in turn will increase the gas mileage infinitely. :P

    The longer you keep the battery disconnected, the better overall fuel economy you will get. ;)
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    You'll save fuel but be ready to replace your shoes more often. ;)
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,260
    I think the theory is that if you reset the engine computer by disconnecting the battery, the car components will have to relearn your driving style. So if you take it real easy after the reset, the SUV will learn to sip fuel, go easy on the shifting, etc.

    I don't think it works like that in the real world though. The computers may have to relearn, but they are always compensating depending on what signals the various sensors are sending them.

    It's a cheap experiment to try (assuming that you don't lose a radio antitheft or other security code when you disconnect the battery and have to pay a dealer to reset it).

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    In my experience they start rich and then lean the fuel mix out as you go. So odds are the first tank will have even lower mileage than he's getting now.

    Longer-term it may have small gains, but I bet checking the tire pressure more often works out just as well.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,260
    I threw away a seat in my minivan when we first got it a decade ago. I bet that's saved me a nice hunk of gas over the years.

    Yeah, check the tires, toss out the extra junk stashed in the back of the SUV, anticipate the red lights. That simple stuff goes a long way.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • 423carter423carter Posts: 1
    I just rented an 09' Escape on Memorial day week end. My trip took me from Chattanooga, TN to Gulf Shores, AL. I left Chattanooga at 11 o'clock pm with cruise on 79 mph and I did not take it off until I got off the Exit Bay Minett AL. Then I resumed my course into Gulf Shores AL at 5mph above speed limits. I plotted my course at 26.5 MPG.
    I am 5'10" 320 pound male that loves his roominess(for lack of a better word). I am currently in the market for a FORD Escape V6.
  • crvexl2008crvexl2008 Posts: 15
    edited June 2010
    I recently drove across the country in a move and I had the entire CRV packed to the roof with the rear seat down . I had to have had about 300 additional pounds not counting my own weight of 170lbs plus the Chihuahua's 12 lbs. I set the cruise on 70MPH most of the way and averaged almost 32 MPG the entire trip. My MPG low was 23.1 going up the mountains and my MPG high was 37.9 going back down the mountains. I now average 26-28 MPG in combined City and Highway in the rural town I now live in !
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    plus the Chihuahua's 12 lbs

    Can't forget that important fact! :shades:

    You may have gotten 0.01 mpg better without him.
  • I have a 01 nissan pathfinder and im getting 13 city and 18 freeway!! horrible gas mileage....
This discussion has been closed.