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Old 06-09-2024, 03:39 PM   #1
WoodGeek
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What's your gas mileage?

Bought my trailer 4 years ago during pandemic as a housing option away from family (ICU nurse). Parked it in the side yard. After that passed my son lived in it for about a year before joining the Air Force. It stayed parked as life got busy. Moved it a few times to a storage unit and to have service done. All trips 50 miles or less. Currently driving it to the north Texas border. Drove from San Francisco Area to Needles, CA about 500 miles. I had never really grasped the fuel usage prior to this trip. My F150 2.7L gets about 21mpg around town. That dropped to 11mpg on our first leg of the trip, traveling 55-60mph through CA. Second leg was from Needles to Phoenix, a little over 200 miles. Mileage average dropped to about 9.5 during this leg. Speed increased to between 65-70mph. So the question is about mileage of your tow vehicle when not towing vs towing. Is the dramatic drop in mpg because I have the smallest engine. I ask because a newer truck is a possibility, already have wife's approval. If the new (bigger) truck is the main everyday vehicle it will have reduced commuter mpg but will it have better towing mpg (assuming same trailer).
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Old 06-09-2024, 03:47 PM   #2
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That's actually very good fuel consumption for towing. Be happy!
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Old 06-09-2024, 03:56 PM   #3
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Yes what GlasNav said. Plus, I’ll bet you read your mpg from the dash. Even money says you are at 7.5 to 8.5 at the very best if you did an accurate record. Keep in mind that financing a new truck with better mileage is s big-time losing proposition. You simply cannot drive enough miles to make up the difference.
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Old 06-09-2024, 04:04 PM   #4
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I had an F150 with the 3.5L EcoBoost and had decent unloaded mileage (21 mpg) on the highway. That dropped to 16 mpg around town, and about 7-8 mpg towing our Passport. The issue with the EcoBoost motors is that you really need to run full synthetic fluids and 93 octane gas. Towing the Passport with our current truck our mileage averaged 8-9 mpg with an engine more than twice as big, but we didn’t need 93 octane gas
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Old 06-09-2024, 04:10 PM   #5
WoodGeek
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I did read it from the dash. Reset the on board calculator at the first gas stop in CA. Tomorrow I will track actual gas usage against mileage. The cost of fuel isn't the biggest worry, it's the limited range. With only a 20gal tank I am stopping every few hours for fear of running dry.
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Old 06-09-2024, 04:18 PM   #6
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The difference in mileage sounds right. It doesn't matter what you tow with, you can expect between 9 and 11 mpg. Mostly, right at 10 mph for "most" folks. And it doesn't matter what tow vehicle you have, what brand, or what size engine. They all round out, near 9-10 mpg when towing ....

Why the difference? It's because the trailer creates a gigantic "sail" at the back of your tow vehicle. Literally, a solid wall blowing into the wind. That's a LOT of wind resistance. Add to that the weight of your camper and effect on fuel mileage is horrendious.

Everything above, around 50 mph will start reducing your fuel mileage drastically, simply because of the wind resistance against your camper. At 55 mph, you may get 12 miles a gallon. At 65 you may get 9.5. At 75 you may get 8 mpg. It's all because of the wind resistance against the trailer. The faster you drive, the greater the resistance, the less the mileage.

What you need to do is find your specific rig's "sweet spot". What is the fastest speed you can go for the most effecient fuel mileage. That may be 45 mph to get 14 mpg, or it may be 55 mph to get 10 mpg. Anything faster or slower results in even less mpg. It takes time, patients, and a lot of fuel ups and distance driving to figure it out.

The other thing that grossly affects your fuel mileage when towing is how often you come to a complete dead stop and then start moving again. Stop signs and stop lights in traffic. Any time the rig comes to a complete stop, the engine has to overcome static inertia (a dead stop). It takes an incredible amount of fuel to start moving forward from a dead stop. So, the heavier traffic you are in, the worse your fuel mileage will be also.

Another fuel hog are jack-rabbit starts or sudden fast increases of speed. Every time you push the peddle down for more speed, the amount of fuel used to increase the speed is astronomical. When towing, the most effective way to stretch fuel mileage is to increase speed slowly. You simply cannot drive towing a trailer the same way you drive an automobile when not towing. Oh.... you can, yes ... but it WILL kill your fuel mileasge.

So, bottom line, before trading vehicles, experiment with your driving speeds.

Bottom line:
1) slower speeds means greater fuel mileage, but takes longer to reach the destination.

2) faster speeds means lousy fuel mileage, but reaching the destination is much quicker.

You have to determine which is more important, stretching the fuel mileage and saving the cost, but taking longer to get "there." Or blowing a wad of money on fuel, but getting "there" fast!
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Old 06-09-2024, 04:44 PM   #7
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Yeah, you are not going to get much better than 9 mpg pulling a travel trailer.
That is just a big "sail" you are dragging along behind you.

I would be really happy if I was get 10 - 12 mpg pulling my 5th wheel.
But in reality, it is usually in the 8.5 - 9.0 mpg rang.
Unloaded it is still only in the 17 - 18 range.
2019 2500HD 6.0L gas.
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Old 06-09-2024, 07:40 PM   #8
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The camper is about 32' long and 10K gross weight so is likely a bit too much camper for a 1/2 ton regardless of engine. That engine doesn't sound up to the task. I am also sure the length of the trailer makes towing a bit squirrelly. Get a 3/4 ton truck at a minimum.
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Old 06-09-2024, 10:15 PM   #9
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F350 pulling 35 foot 11,000 trailer. I get 11-12 towing. 19 to 20 not towing. 48 gallon tank so not much stopping.
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Old 06-10-2024, 03:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyldfire View Post
F350 pulling 35 foot 11,000 trailer. I get 11-12 towing. 19 to 20 not towing. 48 gallon tank so not much stopping.
My F-350 has 3:73 gears and is a 4X4 so empty I'm around 17-18 and with the Fuzion 405 weighing in at 18'000, I'm at 10-11 loaded. I did run 75 mph on one trip and it dipped to 8-9 mpg then.
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Old 06-10-2024, 03:56 AM   #11
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I think those are excellent numbers for the size engine you have
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Old 06-10-2024, 07:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodGeek View Post
I did read it from the dash. Reset the on board calculator at the first gas stop in CA. Tomorrow I will track actual gas usage against mileage. The cost of fuel isn't the biggest worry, it's the limited range. With only a 20gal tank I am stopping every few hours for fear of running dry.
Did I read that right, that your gas tank is only 20 gallons???

My 2013 F150 3.5L EB has a 36 gallon tank, and my 2020 F250 6.2L has a 34 gallon capacity.
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Old 06-10-2024, 07:53 AM   #13
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The standard gas tank in the F150 was 26 gallons, which is what was in my 2015 F150 with the 3.5L EB. There was an upsize tank option with the long bed.

Anyway, if the OP can only get 20 gallons in his tank, there is obviously more fuel left than the gauge indicates. It could be the MPG setting in the user controls which allows a setting for MPG calculation for towing or not towing. I have never felt the need to monkey with that on any of my vehicles. I also knew that when it said zero miles to empty, I had about 2 gallons left in there as a cushion.

My CVO Harley has a mileage countdown on the fuel gauge, but when it hits 10 miles to empty, it just says "Low" and you have to guess at what you have left. I recall my wife fretting about running out of gas on a long ride one Sunday and I kept telling her not to worry as we passed closed gas station after gas station. Finally pulled into an open station literally in the middle of nowhere and the bike coughed once, I pulled in the clutch, the motor died and we coasted up to the pump. What was that? she said, oh, nothing, just wanted to coast quietly to the pump. I knew then that there was NO leeway on that bike!
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Old 06-10-2024, 08:09 AM   #14
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Not towing, I've currently peaked at 21mpg (once, on a long stretch of flat highway)....towing, if I get more than 9 I'm lucky...
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:23 AM   #15
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Sorry but you have to pay to play in this sport. You are dragging a brick around with you.

I loved my f150 with the eco boost (had max tow package) and never would have sold it since it was a good all around vehicle. I upgraded due to the payload capacity. I was maxing it out and did not like the tail wagging the dog.

Your mileage is about par. You can get a larger tank installed, my 150 had the 36 gallon tank as part of the max tow package...

I have no problem stopping often for gas as I am never in a hurry when towing my trailer. Being in a hurry just adds stress and I see the trailer as a stress reducer.
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Old 06-10-2024, 09:23 AM   #16
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I believe the actual tank on his truck is 23 gallons. That means 20 gallons usable and stopping for fuel every 3 hours. That would wear me out. Might be easier to install an after- market tank of some sort.
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Old 06-10-2024, 12:53 PM   #17
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Yep My F150 V8 is a 26 gallon tank and average 9 mph = every 3 hours for us!
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Old 06-11-2024, 05:16 AM   #18
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My trucks both have the big block V8. 3/4 ton and 1 ton both get from 8-10 mpg while towing our rig. not a small trailer by any stretch.
Yep we're doing our part to use up all the dead dinosaur sauce.
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Old 06-11-2024, 01:56 PM   #19
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Oddly I was getting about the same mileage on my half ton pulling either camper that I get on my 1 ton...the 3500 has a 36 gallon tank .vs the 21 gallon tank in my Sierra 1500 - so I can actually get to our go-to spot now on 3/4 tank of gas .vs having to fill up again on the way....personally I have no complaints about the mileage - as someone stated you're pulling a brick behind you...so realistic expectations are "whatever I get on the trip is what I get"...
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Old 06-11-2024, 08:13 PM   #20
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When towing my 27' Passport with my F-150 3.5 ecoboost I'll get between 6-10 mpg. I have a 36 gal tank and I was starting to sweat going through eastern Colorado fighting a strong headwind. There's a lot of open space with no services. That's where my mileage dropped to 6 mpg, but most other trips I'll get between 8-10.

There was one gas station somewhere along the route that had a big sign that said "Gas up now...or gas can later", that's when my navigator leans over to eyeball the gas gauge and I tell her "Don't worry bout the mule, just load the wagon" . That's when I get reminded about the time in Upper Michigan when I walked close to ten miles because I wasn't going to make those Arabs rich by paying .77 cents a gallon for gas in Wisconsin.
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