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Poor gas mileage for 98 Camry

charleskingcharlesking Posts: 2
edited March 2014 in Toyota
I have a 98 I4 Camry whose mileage is only 14 mpg.

My measurement is described below:
Fill the tank up. Reset the trip gauge to zero.
When the the gas gauge points to the half, refill the tank to the full. The
total gas consumed is 9.6 Gallon.
The trip gauge is 133 miles.
So the mpg is 133/9.6 = 13.8.

My driver habbit is described below:

I am studying in the school. Each morning I drive the car from the apartment
to the class building, about 2 miles, drive another 2 miles back to the
apartment in the evening to have the dinner. After dinner I drive to class
building again to study for a while then come back to the apartment. It is
another 4 miles. So the total mileage is about 8 miles per day. The speed is no more than 30mph since I drive within campus. I go out for
shopping at weekend, about 12 miles round trip for each weekend. The total
mileage for a month is about 300 miles. No highway driving. It is Winter in
Michigan, I am used to warming up the car before driving.

Is it normal for a 98 Cmary to have such low mpg? Before I bought it, the
car has four-year lease experience with the 60k mileage. By now the car runs
smoothly except for the low mpg. Is it a problem? Should I have it
checked in Dealer?


  • Think about it...

    So lets say that you warm up the car for an average of 3-5minutes to drive it 2 miles. Now if the maximum speed you attain is usually 30MPH, that should be under 1k on your tach. Your cold idle speed is about 1500rpm's. So you are probably using 3x the gas warming up the car as you are driving the car.. =o)

    The only thing that "might" be saving your mileage is the 12 mile trip to the mall on the weekends.

    I put about 800 miles/month on my vehicles as everyday drivers and normally get the city rating even though I take some longer trips...

    I would try and take it on a road trip one day... at least 50mi ea way.. then fill up the tank.. see where you are at... preferably highway miles.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,319
    It's the short trips and rich fuel mixture. You'd better run this car out more often and change the oil more frequently if this is going to be your habit/lifestyle.

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  • Mr. Shiftright is right on the mark. The kind of driving that you do, it would be better to own a hybrid Toyota Prisus or hybrid Honda Civic.
  • Thanks for the info. Actually I am religiously sticking to the 3months/3k oil changing. Just want to confirm if the mileage is normal for such driving habbit. I will test it in highway some other day.
  • armtdmarmtdm Posts: 2,057
    My 92 V6 Camry gets about 20 around town but that is a 10 mile one way city driving trip but in the summer that goes up to 23-24 mpg. So the winter plus the very very short trips are killing your mileage. You need to excersize the engine at least once a week or condesation will be an issue in your oil. The 3000 mile change you do is a good bet with your scenerio.
  • msnerdmsnerd Posts: 6
    Glad to see I'm not alone! I have a 98 I4 as well, and have the exact same driving style you do. I drive 2 mile trips to campus in the cold winters of Blacksburg, VA. I had a 93 camry before my 98, and it got better mileage in Blacksburg despite being rated lower. I was really confused. But, notice how when you turn your 98 on when it's cold, the idle shoots right up to 2k. the 93 models don't do this. Also, I have a remote starter on my 98, which means I let it warm up a lot longer than I did my 93.

    If I do all suburban/campus driving, I will have about 175 miles at half tank if I'm lucky. I really do get poor city mileage. On the highway though I get about 32, well above what it's rated. I guess that high cold idle really must eat up a lot of gas. Still, to get 18/19 in the city is a far cry from it's rated 23. In the summers I get about 20-21, but that's with A/C running constantly.
  • So happy to see similar complains here!!! I should be here in this forum before!!!!
    I have a 2001 Camry LE v4 and drive it to my office everyday. Half city and half highway. I do the same count as described by charlesking (surprised to see this similar name). I can only get 19 to 21 miles/g. It is really significantly lower than what I expected. I complained a couple of times to the dealer where I purchased as a new car in 2001. They told me there's nothing can be adjusted in the car to improve, 'cause everything inside is controlled by a computer... I called Toyato headquarter as well and even planned to make a law suite... I realized that I will not be able to win when they pointed me to the small notes in that window stick which says: the gas mileage may be as low as 17 m/g based your drive habit... that is a kind of trap to me. But looks like I can do nothing on this now...
    While fighting with them, I know it's possible to plug in a computer into the system when you driving and get the run-time gas mileage. Is there anyway we victims can unite together to propose a law to enforce the manufactures to provide a gauge on gas mileage on the board of a new car? If so it will benefit all the buyers later and I will not feel so frustrated on this issue either.
    Never give up if you feel hurt...

    I Sincerely appreciate that gives us this place to speak out our feeling... Thanks.
  • msnerdmsnerd Posts: 6
    My dad's Lexus has a built in real time gas mileage computer. It's not as helpful as you would think. When accelerating, it shows about 6 mpg. Then when costing, it shows something like 75mpg. It only reflects what you are getting at that very moment, which varies so much it's hardly worth it.

    What I don't know is if the Lexus has a trip mileage feature. This would be useful for seeing gas mileage over a typical run to the store or something.

    As for driving style, I do not doubt for a second that it is part of my problem. The I4 Camry isn't going to win races any time soon and I definitely step on the gas sometimes. However, my 98 Camry is rated higher than my 93, and I see nearly the same mileage between my 93 and my 98. If I drive the same way with two cars, the one that's rated with better mileage should show better mileage.

    Interesting observation: The 93 and the 98 use the exact same engine (5S-FE 2.2L), and have similar weights. The only difference is a 4 speed auto in the 98 instead of a 3. I wonder if the boosted mileage only matters if you find yourself in 4th gear a lot. Driving in my town is all about stoplights and accelerating up hills, so I am rarely in 4th gear. This would make my car exactly like my 93, and that would make sense.
This discussion has been closed.