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Subaru Outback 2008 MPG

nukalanukala Posts: 2
edited March 29 in Subaru
I recently purchased a Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited Automatic transmission model. I do mostly city driving in upper Michigan area. I am getting 14 to 15 MPG with very careful driving in city. The dealer says I should go on a long drive and this will improve the mileage otherwise does not offer any solution. I doubt that a long drive on a highway will cure this problem after all i am not going to go daily on highway just to get better MPG. Any suggestions?


  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    subaru boxer engines tend to take some time to "loosen " up, 10K plus would not be unusual but if you really are in city traffic, you may only improve a little. I have the same car you do, getting 24mpg in Chicago suburbs, with my previous 98 2.5 DOHC Legacy I got maybe 23 in the same driving and if I were crawling around in downtown Chicago I would get high teens only.
  • I have the same kind of car and live in cold Madison,Wi, I barely get 14 mpg. Sometimes, I can only drive less than 200 miles with a full tank. The daily drive is short(less than 3 miles one way), local drive, I have checked tire pressure is OK. I did try to take it to a long highway drive of about 140 miles, the computer gave me back 24.5 mpg on that one. I guess the short drive in really cold places like Michigan and Wisconsin plays a big role of the bad milage.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Yup, winter blend fuel also hurts it.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • My wife's had the same model with LLBean equipment since last August. She's averaging about 24+ with combined highway/city. I recently bought an '08 Legacy Limited and I'm at about 21.6 combined. I've only had mine for about 1,000 miles. The long drive will make a difference. I took a trip up to Connecticut to see friends and I averaged 25.8 in the Legacy for that stretch.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Oh yeah subies also jump up in milage after 10k miles.

    Motorsports and Modifications Host
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    True, my Forester didn't hit its peak efficiency until 15k miles.
  • nornetnornet Posts: 24
    In the summer I can get over 30 MPG (hwy only). This past week with temp about 0F,
    winter tires, very short city trips and winter gas, the mileage is as low as 17. Of all the factors, it's the cold engine that makes for the worst mileage. With winter gas and snow tires, I still get about 25 on the highway.
  • The computer read out says I'm getting 27.9 mpg (down from my 05' which was 28.2)... *The computer is off. When I calculate the MPG it's about 27.4. The computer read out adds a little. I have less than 1000k on the car. This is highway/city combined keeping it under 60 mph and have not had the AC on since its winter. I dont expect that to change much. Not sure why some of you get way less unless you have a lead foot. BTW I had a 05' H6.30 Sedan. When it was new best MPG was 24.6 after 25k that dropped to 22.4.... I don't think milliage gives you better MPG in fact you will get less as you drive more, This is my 5th Subaru. Anyway good luck with your MPG.
  • nornetnornet Posts: 24
    I for one would be interested to see how your mileage progresses. I was beginning to think I was the only one that experienced poorer mileage the older the car got.
    Did your other cars give you worse mileage with time?
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Reduced mileage as the car ages generally has to do with the vacuum and emissions systems working at lower efficiencies due to carbon buildup and crud. If you keep those systems in good order, mileage should stay very stable over the life of the car taking into consideration periodic variations for season, tires, wind drag, and other variables.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    My Forester improved with age. I didn't hit peak efficiency until 15k miles. It remained good until the day I sold it.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    The average for my 2008 2.5i over 7500 miles was right at 21 mpg, though I would have to pull up my spreadsheet to know for sure. The best tanks were mid-26 hauling 4 passengers and with no cargo on the roof. Speeds were around 80. When the car was loaded (check my carspace page to know what I mean by that), the economy was right at 22, which is understandable considering the wind drag created by the roof cargo.

    My worst tank was 16.9 - the last tank I had before I sold it. I attribute that primarily to its being in the shop for 5 days with frequent idling and short test trips followed immediately by -50 temperatures for the remainder of the tank.

    Winter versus summer mileage here in Fairbanks shows huge variations - from 27 in the summer down to an average of around 19-20 in the winter for my Subarus. A friend's Toyota Prius gives her about 35 in the winter versus 50 (or more) in the summer. It takes more energy to get the cold parts turning....
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,508
    Yes, I should have stated that once it hits peak efficiency (around 10-15K miles), it should remain stable. :D
  • julecatjulecat Posts: 2
    I just bought a 2008 Outback 2.5i and I couldn't believe that I am also getting 14-16 with careful city driving also. The window sticker on my new 2008 said normal range is 20city and 26 highway. I thought with the 170 hp I would get great mileage. My 2002 outback LLBean with 243hp that I just traded in for the 2008 2.5i got better mileage. Does this make sense? I am disappointed.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Your milage won't increase until you hit about 10k miles. During break-in your milage will be lower.

  • jerm32jerm32 Posts: 1
    Thought I would share. Just got back from a trip, Maryland - South Carolina. Avg down was 29.7 with some stop and go traffic. Way back was 31.5. Avg commuting is 25 to 26 half and half city/highway. Was excited on way back to go almost 500 miles on a tank. 7500 on OD before start of trip.
  • nukalanukala Posts: 2
    I am noticing a slight improvement in the MPG at 16.5 but this is still woefully low. I beleive the manufacturer should be more honest and give a more real world MPG . I basically chose this vehicle over a toyota highlander or honda pilot as this had better MPG advertised. There is no doubt that in snow this is a great vehicle but i feel the interior is cramped and there is no space to store things. These issues i could have overlooked but when added to a low milaege, I have to agree with you it is really disappointing. Hopefully thing will improve after 10K.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    After reading this thread I did a little experiement on my last tank of gas.

    I drove it in a more sane manner than I normally drive (being a race car driver I tend to be a bit hard on the pedals) and was able to get 25mpg in mixed city/highway with my 05 Legacy GT Turbo w/5MT wagon. I am also running 235 width tires v. 215s which are stock and these are also heavy heavy tires and rims. With stockers im sure I'd get at least 2mpg higher.

  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    Look no further than the post prior to yours. YMMV, as they say. 16.5 to 30+.
  • cptpltcptplt Posts: 1,075
    my 2.5i ltd gets 25mpg (calculated, it displays 26) on mixed driving, if I go into downtown Chicago and crawl in the traffic its more like 20. haven't really taken out on a long distance freeway drive yet but for the 41 mile one way drive into the Loop on the tollway and back if there is no traffic I can get even higher than 25.
  • I wanted to buy an Outback but after reading all this discussion of mileage in the mid teens decided against it. They need another gear, it revs too high at 70 mph.

    My 04 Dodge Cummins 4WD gets right at 19.7 mpg on my 28 mile commute of mixed rural and freeway driving rain or shine stop and go or not.

    The change just doesn't make sense even with diesel as high as it is.
  • musicmanmumusicmanmu Posts: 16
    I've been driving my dad's Subie Outback just to test the waters on it. I have a 130 mile roundtrip commute that is 98% interstate. This week, driving it pretty conservatively (no more than 70 MPH, easy on the steep grades). I got an average of just under 28 MPG. This thing has 125k on it. So as folks say, I guess it depends on a variety of factors, but I have a feeling driving habits play the largest part in MPGs. It's no fun having a light foot, but the times are a'changin'.... and we have to do what we can to make due.
  • paisanpaisan Posts: 21,181
    Just did a 100 mile drive back from Pocono Raceway at >80mph and yieled 26mpg on my LGT 5MT.

  • peraltaperalta Posts: 94
    This is my wife's car. She averages 21 mpg on day to day drive to work 7mile one way mixed city highway. I drove it from my work place 35 miles one way and got 34 mpg. I made a conscius effort to keep it in fourth gear at all times even at speeds below 40 mph.

    Subarus are among the most fuel efficient AWD in the market. Much more fuel efficient than CRv's, RAV4, Rogue. The outback is even more silent and relaxed on the highway despite the short gearing. 2450 rpm at 60 mph seems steep but that is the most efficient rpm for a gas engine.
  • ateixeiraateixeira Posts: 72,587
    With a 7 mile commute one of the issues is that the engine isn't really operating at full temp for long, so she would do far better if her commute were longer.

    It takes about 2 miles are so just for the engine to warm up and reach peak efficiency.
  • pathtomaxpathtomax Posts: 215
    I have the same 2001 with 120k miles. I just recently had the complete 120k service and have been overly faithful with the recommended services. I just recently got about 21/22 mpg in mixed city/backroad driving. NH does not really have big cities :) I usually run about 26/27 on with highway driving. Not too bad for a 7 year old car I would think.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    A lot will depend on your driving style. Certain weeks at a time I drive more... aggressively... both on the highway (NJ GSP/TP) and in the city (Newark, NJ). If I am in a rush and I'm tach'ing at 4.5k-5k RPMs when I shift, I will get noticably lower economy compared to, say, being gentle and shifting between 2.5k-3k RPMs.

    Another big thing too is inertia. Objects in motion tend to stay in motion. Rather than accelerating into a red light, a prolonged brake which slows you from 50mph to say 20mph, then have it turn green and reaccelerating is better than 50mph to 0, waiting 10 seconds, then reaccelerating back again.

    Another thing - highway speeds deteriorate due to parasitic drag (roofracks, too) which also includes the skin of the automobile (wash your car more often, wax it.) etc. This parasitic drag increases with speed exponentially - just like on an airplane (I'm a pilot, had to study this crap) - and you'll really notice beyond 55mph you start getting around a 10% loss in fuel every 10 mph you go - maybe more, if you have accessories like A/C running.

    I noticed on a trip from NJ to FL, I had amazing mileage through NJ, MD, and DE where the speed limits are lower - 55 mph in some parts - compared to VA, SC, NC where the speed limits are 70. It made the difference between 450 miles per tank (11.9 gal tank on my Civic) and 350.

    Keep in mind that your sticker rating on the side of your car is based on a highway speed test at 55mph for the highway rating. If you have a lead foot, like my wife, then you really may want to consciously try slowing it down - just 5 mph or 10 mph for a week - and see if there's a difference.

    Typically, on my average commute of 10 miles, with an average speed limit of 55, it takes me about 20 minutes. Going 5mph faster would only get me there about a minute or two faster, but I don't feel like getting pulled over by the cops that wait in the bushes (they're in the same spot every day, haha!)

    Ethanol does NOT have as much bang for the buck compared to gasoline, and by that, I mean energy measured in joules per given volume of liquid. In addition, lower octane fuel doesn't give as much energy per joule compared to plus or premium.

    I'm not recommending you go and buy plus or premium unless you do some quick math to find if the extra mileage you're getting (say 50 more miles to a tank with premium, but you're spending an extra 10 bucks at the pump), is worth it.

    So, if it's 25 cents more per gallon to run premium, and you get 15 gallons, thats 3.75 more for premium gas.

    That's a little under what a gallon of regular goes for around these parts in NJ, so you'd have to figure you'd need to get at least 25ish miles per tank in order to justify paying the initial premium.

    This takes a little investigation on your part, but you may want to look into it. I found by running Plus Test (91) in my tank, it costs me an extra 1.00 or so at the pump when I fill up, but I end up walking away with another 50 miles. That makes up for the extra gallon and a half of regular I'd need for my Civic - so I've started filling it with Plus.

    I knew math would come in handy some day.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    I just thought I'd also comment I don't condone everyone running out and buying premium fuel - the octane rating is simply the fuel's resistances to detonation (premature ignition). Higher-end cars that call for premium gasoline have a higher compression ratio in the combustion chamber (the specific ratio is typically found under the performance specs of the car), so the fuel needs to resist spontaneously combusting when it enters the chamber.

    I would keep in mind too that you could - keyword COULD - run into fuel injector issues if you continuously run 93+ octane in a car that says "Unleaded 87 or better". I usually run plus test when I have long road trips, and a tank of premium every few months.

    If you want more information on why not to run premium constantly in a car built for 87 octane, Google it. There's a lot of returns.
  • pilot1226pilot1226 Posts: 165
    While we're all talking about MPG's, I figured I have a deep thought for us to discuss:

    Gasoline is sold by volume (gallons in the USA). Temperature is directly proportional to density (If you have thing "x" at two temperatures, one higher and one lower, the lower temperature one is more dense.)

    My thought is, if you purchase gasoline in the early morning hours before the sun rises and starts re-heating the earth, you're getting more gasoline than when you purchase it in the middle of the afternoon. While the volume is the same, the density is different, and in theory you should be able to get better mileage out of the tank that was filled in the early morning.

  • rshollandrsholland Posts: 19,674
    There was a news report on this recently, but I unfortunately don't remember the news source. The bottom line, however, is that whatever gain you get is really minimal and not worth the effort.

This discussion has been closed.