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Chevrolet Suburban and GMC Tahoe MPG - Real World Numbers



  • 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: 2,147
    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
  • zachinmizachinmi Posts: 228
    I just bought a 2007 Suburban LT2 about two weeks ago. It is a K1500 and therefore has the 5.3L flex fuel engine with a 4-speed auto. I have filled it up three times now and have seen tank mileage of 17.7, 17.0 and 17.0 (all calculated manually, not relying on the trip computer). Second and third tanks had a greater portion of freeway driving, mostly at 70-75mph, plus commuting on country roads and highways. While I would like to see higher mpg, this is definitely consistent with my expectations and the EPA ratings (either new or old system). This is my fourth new car and the three prior cars I usually got mpg between the city and highway EPA ratings, typically closer to the highway rating.

    I have watched the V4/V8 indicator and mine spends a fair bit of time in V4 mode, even at higher speeds. When? Well, here in Michigan the roads are gently sloping over slightly rolling hills, and even a slight downhill can put me in V4 mode. Of course, even a slight uphill puts me in V8 mode with instantaneous mpg of 16 or less. I think the AFM feature is useful.

    While I would gladly accept higher mpg, I think my experience is quite reasonable given the size and power of the vehicle. There are many smaller SUVs that get the same or less mpg. I'm going to switch to synthetic oil at the first change and see if that makes any difference.
  • My 07 4x4 tahoe has nearly 15k miles, and your reported mileage is nearly exactly what I get. I live outside seattle, and my best mileage when I traveled on the freeway to and from work- (30 miles each way)the tahoe got 18-20 at best.
    Now that I live in the suburbs and commute locally in town for most of my ride, I get 13-14 MAX. I dont mind, its a trade off for the great ride I get with the Tahoe. I just think the auto makers should be FORCED to report real world mileage, its far off of what was on the sticker and advertised by the salesman. :P
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    "I just think the auto makers should be FORCED to report real world mileage, its far off of what was on the sticker and advertised by the salesman."

    Whose real world mileage? Yours? Mine? My mileage goes down 1-2 mpg in the winter, due to the cold weather (idling while getting the snow off the car) and my snow tires. Should that be reported to someone buying a truck in Boca?

    The only thing that makes sense is doing a repeatable test in laboratory conditions, which is exactly what they do now. Otherwise there are too many variables to make comparisons meaningful.

    And for 2008 EPA has revised the testing procedures. The new mileage rates are significantly lower and should be closer to what most people achieve.

    That said, your mileage WILL vary. It depends upon how you drive (fast starts, high speeds, etc.) and where you drive (open road versus stop-and-go). There's no way anyone can predict the mileage that any particular consumer will get.
  • kipkkipk Posts: 1,576
    "... I just think the auto makers should be FORCED to report real world mileage, its far off of what was on the sticker and advertised by the salesman"

    I agree with Nedzel. Real world mileage will be different for different people driving the same vehicle. My wife's driving habits net her near 3 mpg less than I get with the same vehicle.

    FWIW the MPG numbers on the window sticker are EPA generated. Dealers are pretty much "FORCED" to display those numbers. The sticker also states your mileage can vary a bunch.

    As Nedzel said; "The only thing that makes sense is doing a repeatable test in laboratory conditions, which is exactly what they do now. Otherwise there are too many variables to make comparisons meaningful."

    That data is for the consumer to use for comparison.

    Mfg and dealers can, and do, lie or stretch the truth about other things.

    Example: General Motors advertises their 5 year/100K mile drivetrain warranty as the "Best warranty in the business, better than Ford, better than Toyota"!

    They used to say simply "Best warranty in the business."
    They have added the Toyota and Ford thingy recently. Notice they don't mention Dodge! But they are still saying "BEST".

    Hyundai has a 10/100K and Dodge now has "Lifetime" drivetrain warranty. I don't personally see how GM's 5/100k is better. They can legally do this by having a transferable clause, or covering some obscure switch that the others don't.

    However, by LAW, they are required to stick with the EPA stickers for Mileage. Last year Toyota proudly advertised the Corolla at 40 mpg. Advertisers are apparently not required to mention "HIGHWAY". Now they are saying, "Everybody knows a Corolla gets 37 miles per gallon."

    Real world is that a Yukon will get better or worse mileage than advertised. Driver, terrain, traffic, and weather all make a difference. :)

  • kipk is right. real world is that you will be better or worse than advertised. Depends on your driving habits.

    Last night I filled up my wife's Tahoe (5.3 V8/V4) on the west side of Houston, and drove to the northeast side on the beltway. I held my speed to 55mph on cruise. When I exited the beltway 30 miles later, my average mpg was 24.4.

  • zachinmizachinmi Posts: 228
    I have a few more tanks now, mileage is:
    trip miles / MPG
    193 17.7
    383 17.0
    374 16.8
    164 16.5
    416 16.3
    377 17.8
    291 19.9

    All these are calculated from odometer and gas receipts, not based on the trip computer. The last two tanks are from a long road trip with a mix of freeway and highway. The 16.3mpg tank was after topping off with 10 gallons of E85, making for about 30% ethanol in the tank. I did not notice any difference in driveability or power with E85 in the tank, but it does appear my mileage took a hit, especially since I had a lot of highway driving that should have been higher mpg on that tank. (I am aware that E85 has less energy and will reduce mpg.) Locally E85 is only 30 cents/gallon cheaper than regular gasoline, and it makes no sense to buy E85 at this price.

    During the E85 tank I changed the oil and filter, using Pennzoil Platinum 5W-30 full synthetic. I see mileage varying with temperatures (colder is much worse) and driving style. AFM seems to be coming on more frequently now; not sure if that is break-in, some computer setting after X number of miles, or an indication that the synthetic oil has reduced friction by some meaningful amount.

    I think my mileage is right on target given the EPA ratings (old or new system). I am trying to optimize driving for AFM to function. There seem to be sweet spots on cruise at 58mph, 68mph, and 72mph, all where AFM is frequently on when on level grades or very slight downhills. On the last roadtrip I had a 30 mile stretch of freeway with over 23mpg showing on the trip computer. However, it may be that I was going slightly downhill for the entire 30 miles or had a tailwind; both seem to make a difference in gas mileage. Not surprisingly, best mileage in commuting is with a very light foot on the gas. However, if not a very light foot, there doesn't seem to be much if any mileage difference between a moderately and extremely heavy foot (shifts >5000rpm; make sure the engine is fully warm!) when accelerating.
  • ramjet2ramjet2 Posts: 6
    I've kept real good track of my fuel mileage over the years, a bit obsessively perhaps, and put it all into Excel each year. Here are the results:

    2002 - 17.0 mpg.
    2003 - 16.6
    2004 - 17.2
    2005 - 16.0
    2006 - 16.8
    2007 - 15.7

    Some years had a lot more highway miles, obviously. Note, I went by the Suburban's odometer without adjustment to actual, and as I recall now it's about 2% long, suggesting that actual mileage based on real distance covered was 2% lower than the above figures.
    I'm not unhappy with our truck's mileage based on it's excellent driving characteristics, utility and reliability. That said, like most people I'd like to send less $$$ to the ragheads in the mideast who use the money to blow us up. So I'm looking forward to buying the new hybrid when they make it available in a Suburban model, and hopefully they'll fix those god-awful middle tumbling seats and uneven cargo floor so that a big Suburban can once again fit a simply 4x8 sheet of plywood in the back like my '02 can do.

    'er y' go
  • My 1996 Tahoe was having terrible problems starting and running correctly. The initial diagnosis was the crankshaft position switch was malfunctioning. After almost $2000 dollars of replacing the sensor, engine tune-up, fuel filter and fuel pump I was still having the same problems, but not all the time. I had a local mechanic due the work and he said take it to Chevy and have them diagnose the problem, which they determined was still the crankshaft position switch was malfunctioning. Since my mechanic had done the original work I took the Tahoe back to him with the Chevy diagnosis problem. He crawled under the truck with it running and saw the sensor moving around while it was running. He took the sensor out and discovered that one of the mounting bolts screws into a brass fitting inside the plastic timing chain cover. The brass fitting was loose and just needed a screw driver inserted into it to spread it to increase the tension on the plastic cover. My mechanic put it back together and it resolved all my problems, meaning most of the $2000 dollars I had spent trying to fix a problem that ended up being caused by maybe a 25 cent brass fitting in a plastic cover. Live and Learn. By the way my 1996 Tahoe has almost 154000 miles on it with the original engine and transmission.
  • What kind of fuel mileage should I be getting in my 07 Tahoe (46000 miles)? I have only had it less than a month and it has already been in the shop for a week getting two new injectors and fuel pump, along with some other electrical issues fixed. This is the third time that some injectors have been replaced in this vehicle. I have gone 100 miles since the repairs (half highway/half city) and I am barely getting 11 mpg. Just wondering if anyone is experiencing this issue.
  • kiawahkiawah Posts: 3,666
    Have a 2007 Sub, and it's been a while since I've checked, but I believe it's in the 20ish range on highway driving. The vehicle is used mainly for highway trips, when used around town occasionally I know I don't even look/check.

    It get's better than our older Ford Explorer 6 cyl on the highway 19ish.
  • I recently purchased a 2002 Tahoe 4X4 w/trailer package (76000 miles) and have been shocked by the lousy fuel mileage I'm getting. I average in town and highway around 10 to 12 mpg. It desperately needed plugs (burned down to the porcelain) which I changed, otherwise it runs great. I don't know the rear end gearing other than to say it is stock. While it has the trailer package, it was never used tow tow anything (no hitch!).
    What should I be looking at next that might improve the fuel mileage?? I jealous of those getting such good mileage! With gas forecast to be 4.00 plus by spring, I need to get it straightened out ASAP!!!
  • 99avalon99avalon Posts: 4
    Hey folks,

    Here's a knowledgeable, skeptical guy (me) who purchased a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban LS 1500 2wd with 118K miles for my family last year. I hoped I might crack 20 mpg on the highway if I drove nice.

    After one year of driving the Suburban up and down I-15 here in Utah, plus back and forth from AZ and California, I am floored at the mileage we can get if we try - easily 20-27 mpg. No lie. Not isolated incidents either. I have checked both on the computer (dash) and verified with manual calculations at the pump. Here is one situation we repeat often: fill up at Maverick in Springville, drive 65 miles north to Centerville, visit family, return, and fill up again = 27+ mpg every time. It's that simple. The formula? Drive nice, set the cruise at 60 mph, stay in the right lane (so as not to bug people). If I drive patiently, even with the A/C on, our suburban easily cracks 20 mpg. When my wife burns through most of a tank just driving back and forth to and from the school for the kids, which is stop and go 8 blocks through town, she'll average 17-18 mpg. I once drove hard for a whole tank just to see how bad I could do, and got 15.5 mpg. That included full-throttle starts and lots of passing, etc.

    It's original. Don't ask what's been changed because everything is factory. I take it back, I did put a brand new set of Michelin LTX MS2 tires on it when we bought it, size 245/75 R16. Besides that, I run mid-grade or premium fuel. I change the oil twice a year, and air filter once a year. Just flushed the transmission. Haven't changed plugs or done a tune-up. It's the 5.3 vortec with 3.42 gearing in back, 9 seatbelts, running boards, etc.

    True story. We love our suburban.

    Note: just drove to Imperial Beach CA with my family, and returned. Driving LOADED DOWN with the A/C going at 85 mph, we averaged about 19 mpg.
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