Actual Fuel Economy - Fiberglass RV


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Old 11-23-2017, 08:57 AM   #1
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Actual Fuel Economy

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

I found this web site where people submit their real world fuel economy for different vehicles:

2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty MPG - Actual MPG from 129 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty owners

That link takes you to the Ford 3/4 ton trucks but you can quickly search any other vehicle.

I recently purchased a new Ford F-350 pickup with the 6.2 L gas engine. My previous tow vehicle was a 2013 Ford F-150 with the 3.5 L Ecoboost engine. I loved the Ecoboost but the truck was getting too many miles (for me) on it. I would have replaced it with another with identical options but that was cost prohibitive. I found this F-350 on a nearby dealer's lot and it was $6,000 less money than they wanted to order a new F-150 ecoboost with the heavy duty tow package and the heavy duty payload package. Ford dealers DO NOT keep F-150s with those packages in stock. Due to the weight of my trailer those heavy duty packages are necessary.

I tow a Bigfoot 25RQ which weighs 7,000 lbs loaded. My fuel mileage towing on the highway with the Ecoboost ranged from 8.8 to 10.2 mpg. That was at speeds of 65 to 68 mph. The main factor affecting fuel economy towing this trailer is the wind. With a head wind I slow down to 60 mph and the average still goes way down into the 8s. With a tail wind I can run 70 mph and still get 11 mpg.

With the Ecoboost (not towing) I could reset the fuel economy calculator and coax 20 mpg on the highway running from 68 down to 55 mph if I dis-connected the cruise control on upgrades and allowed it to slow some. The fuel economy reading would settle on 17.4 mpg over time the way I normally drive.

I have 5,000 miles on this new truck. I can reset the fuel economy indicator and coax 15+ mpg out of it (not towing) on the highway at 50 to 68 mph. It is showing 14.5 mpg over the past 700 miles (not towing). I have towed a total of 770 miles with it. The first 330 miles it showed 9.2 mpg. (max speed 66 mph and not much wind). On the return trip I fought a 10 to 15 mile headwind the entire way. It was down around 8.2 by the time I got home.

All of that being said I love this new truck in spite of its lower fuel economy.

I will add to this thread in the future but now it is time to get ready and go over the river and through the woods to grandma's house.
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Old 11-23-2017, 12:52 PM   #2
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We have a 2012 Frontier Crew and the computer readout is exactly on when I do manual calculations after fill up. 19mpg on highway not towing.
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Old 11-23-2017, 01:36 PM   #3
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that's a lot of numbers....

sounds like you are really "into" it...

Fuelly says my Nitro gets 14L/100kms....my real towing number is 16L/100kms...(and that number can go higher if I go off the "beaten path")

I don't think about mileage much...all I know is if I'm planning a trip I can expect to spend 20 to 25 cents a kilometer....in the grand scheme of things that's not a material number as my towing distances are relatively short...(compared to a lot of people)

I keep 10 % of my portfolio in oil stocks.... I don't look at the pump price anymore....

I can think of some stuff to worry about in my life....how much gas I am going through is not one of them.

Just a different perspective I guess. Cheers and Happy Motoring!
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Old 11-23-2017, 02:17 PM   #4
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Watching the mileage computer as you drive is a mild form of entertainment, but pretty much useless. It doesn't represent anything except an estimate at that instant. For instance, it's useless to say you get 10 MPG while towing, when you are actually only getting it for a few seconds at one speed on one part of the road, with that wind at that moment with the throttle in a particular position. It has nothing to do with a trip average. It's the trip average that represents the real fuel usage. An example: I used to reset my meter while coasting down long grades and it would show a mileage of about 3000 MPG. I never bragged that my VW would get 3000 MPG on trips

In order to get a real idea of mileage, you have to hand calculate the entire tank, or the entire trip with gallons used and mileage travelled. Then you get a real number that accounts for up and down hills, winds, slow and fast roads, etc. A real number. You can also reset the mileage meter when you leave and see what it says when you arrive back home, but mileage calculators are notoriously inaccurate. Often they can be 2 MPG optimistic. Before you convince yourself of what you are getting, hand calc a tank and see if it matches.

Once you get a few trip averages, you can think about those numbers when you plan your next trip and have a good idea of the fuel amount you might use. I never try to be precise with the fuel budget, but I do like to have a rough idea of how much it will cost. Approximately 1500 miles, approximately $3.00/gallon, approximately 12 MPG, = $375. Plan on a minimum of $400. Good to go.

Trips for me never get budgeted precisely. Way too many variables. That's part of the fun of traveling. For instance, on the last trip, we found a wonderful train museum and spent three days in the area because of it.

I averaged about 9 MPG with my last trailer, overall, and I'm averaging about 12 with my Oliver now. A big difference that is the sole result of the streamlined shape. Some trips are mostly secondary or gravel roads and some are mostly flat interstates.
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Old 11-23-2017, 03:33 PM   #5
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Economy or Expense?

It just strikes me funny to think of Fuel "Economy" when it is really an Expense.
Yes, the only way to be sure of actual consumption is to divide the gallons used into the miles traveled.
If you're trying to decide on a Tow Vehicle, look to Consumer Reports.
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Old 11-23-2017, 03:55 PM   #6
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Bruce, I see your towing mpg between the two trucks is pretty close, as I would expect. Not towing, you may be spending an extra $40 per 1000 miles or thereabout. At that rate it would take a great deal of non-tow driving to shoot the money you saved on the purchase price. And you have a heavier built truck that should last longer. Enjoy.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:06 PM   #7
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I tow my 26 foot trailer, about 5000lb loaded with an older Ford 250 diesel. I put two smaller ATVs, about 600lb each on the deck. Total weight on my truck is under 2000lb.
I have high and low range but have only used the low range to see if it worked. I run 10 ply tires as I boondock a lot and don't like flat tires. I often climb steep grades on gravel.
My truck never labors and never gets hot.
I usually get 16 - 18 miles per Canadian gallon calculated manually after each trip. Wind, sometimes high in the mountains, isn't much of an issue either stability or fuel mileage wise. For serious towing, both from the fuel and stability perspective, diesel is far ahead of gasoline vehicles.
Diesel engines are more expensive new but I bought mine used so it wasn't an issue. And a diesel engine runs forever!
Some of my buddies with the same truck and a big gasoline engine get 6 -8 mpg. Over the past ten years towing with my diesel, I've saved a fortune in fuel.
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Old 11-23-2017, 04:35 PM   #8
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I have always agreed with Raspy's remarks above and hand pump then hand calculate for accurate mileage .
BUT!! My new Transit Connect has been every bit as accurate as hand calculating on Trip mileage every time. I was skeptical but eventually decided to trust it after carefully checking it for 6 months and about 6000 miles.(1000 towing)
I can also go several tanks without resetting and it maintains accuracy,even against checking it with pencil and calculator.
It is still true that the Instant MPG is no indication of Trip MPG but can be used as a helper for fuel management.
Just don't confuse the two.
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Old 11-23-2017, 05:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Raspy View Post
Watching the mileage computer as you drive is a mild form of entertainment, but pretty much useless. It doesn't represent anything except an estimate at that instant. For instance, it's useless to say you get 10 MPG while towing, when you are actually only getting it for a few seconds at one speed on one part of the road, with that wind at that moment with the throttle in a particular position. It has nothing to do with a trip average. It's the trip average that represents the real fuel usage. An example: I used to reset my meter while coasting down long grades and it would show a mileage of about 3000 MPG. I never bragged that my VW would get 3000 MPG on trips
...
You are doing a good job of describing the display on a buddies Prius. On my F-250 and I presume Bruce H's F-350 the display does indeed average. The owner's manual says that display error comes from fueling with the truck non-level. In my experience the "lie-o-meter" is generally .3 or .4 MPG optimistic when reset on every fill-up.

Bruce H, my experience with an '11 F-250 extended cab short body 6.2L gas engine is:

~6,000 miles towing a Bambi (~4,000 lbs. if I recall correctly) from Colorado to the FL. Keys I got 9 to 11 MPG. I spent nearly all the time <60 MPG.

~4,000 miles towing a sailboat which with trailer and junk was likely ~8,000 lbs. between CO and the east coast I got the same 9 to 11 MPG. The boat has obviously much less wind resistance than a travel trailer.

On the road but not towing, under perfect conditions, I can barely get 18 MPG. Perfect conditions mean very few stops as getting the 6,500 lb. empty and dry truck up to speed is costly. I usually get ~16 MPG on the road if there are no cities.

Around town when my trips are mostly >9 miles each way I can beat 14 MPG. Lately most of my trips are <5 miles and I get slightly >12 MPG.

I try to get good milage and have one advantage many people don't. When I start off cold from home I hardly touch the gas as I lose ~300 feel altitude in the first half mile.
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Old 11-24-2017, 07:55 AM   #10
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I guess you cry going back up! anyway I will always be stingy on gas milage as I was a commission salesperson even with my own business fuel was out of my pocket. Call it a business expense or whatever but it still costs. In 1973 I had a cadilac that got 10mpg on a good day when it went to 1.00 it killed me!


My 90 cadilac averaged 25 to 26 on my sales route day in day out for years. I cry when I go out with the edge and the 13f scamp and I see 20mpg! I know it doesn't amount to much but I am still a low-speed driver for these very reasons! I cringe when I hear talk of 10mpg and here diesel is 2.59 a gal.


but that is just me guys!


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Old 11-24-2017, 08:36 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mike_L View Post
...I usually get 16 - 18 miles per Canadian gallon calculated manually after each trip...
The standard unit of fuel measurement in Canada is the litre, with fuel consumption typically reported as litres per 100km. Prior to Canada switching to the metric system (many many years ago), we used Imperial gallons (Canadian gallons is a misnomer), which are a British unit with an Imperial gallon being equal to approximately 1.2 US gallons.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:16 PM   #12
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I don't think about mileage much...all I know is if I'm planning a trip I can expect to spend 20 to 25 cents a kilometer....in the grand scheme of things that's not a material number as my towing distances are relatively short...(compared to a lot of people)

I keep 10 % of my portfolio in oil stocks.... I don't look at the pump price anymore....

I can think of some stuff to worry about in my life....how much gas I am going through is not one of them.
I fully agree , it takes so much fuel and cost so much money to travel from Point A to Point B . Either I pay the cost or I stay home.
This constant obsession with fuel mileage often over shadows common sense when it comes to choosing a tow vehicle.
I refuse to let the price of fuel ruin a trip or cause me to keep my trailer in storage year round waiting for fuel prices to drop.

We made a 5000 mile trip in 2016 and consumed 400 gallons of fuel . The price of fuel climbed 25 Cents per gallon right before the trip . .25 X 400 = $100 or approx 3% of the total trip cost.
I was not going to cancel our trip over a lousy $100 !
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:21 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by steve dunham View Post
This constant obsession with fuel mileage often over shadows common sense when it comes to choosing a tow vehicle.
Or you can have your cake and eat it too Steve - in an F150 with an EcoBoost V6.
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Old 11-24-2017, 12:28 PM   #14
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Or you can have your cake and eat it too Steve - in an F150 with an EcoBoost V6.
I stand corrected , It is possible to have the best of both worlds !!
That being said , it seems too many let fuel economy stand in the way of seeing this great continent and towing safety.
As an owner of a Ford F150 Ecoboost you have chosen wisely IMHO
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Old 11-24-2017, 02:03 PM   #15
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Our 2010 Expedition 5.4 V8 averaged 13.5 on our trip to Glacier NP this fall. In 2014 I pulled the same FRV to Reno from NC and averaged 14.5 with my Ranger 4.0 V6. When not towing the Ranger will do 18, the Expedition 16-20. We always expect to spend about 1000 - 1500 for fuel. I only check the mileage for entertainment. Anyone who can drive day in and out at 50 MPH has a lot more patience than me. I tow on good roads 60-75.
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Old 11-24-2017, 06:02 PM   #16
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I mostly pay attention to mpg for environmental reasons, when looking into what vehicle to buy. For my current vehicle I check my mpg every now and then, because it's a decent way of checking if things are more or less right with my truck, all other things being somewhat equal. If I'm suddenly getting 15mpg highway, not towing, I need to look into some things.

I got into the habit of checking because the motorhome is used to own only had a 12 gallon gas tank, and the fuel gauge was broken. So you can imagine I paid really close attention.

I guess if I were really, really concerned about the environmental issues, I wouldn't have a truck and camper trailer, unless it was (and for me it actually usually is) my primary residence.
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Old 11-24-2017, 10:41 PM   #17
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Iím not that concerned with mileage. I figure the amount saved on lodging and food more than compensates for the fuel costs. My 02 Tundra V8 probably gets about 13 mpg at best pulling the Casita, better efficiency would be nice but I like the truck, itís comfortable and has a decent payload. And best of all itís paid for. I typically run at 65-70 on interstates as conditions allow.
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Old 11-25-2017, 02:41 AM   #18
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I have to say I do care about mileage. Mileage is not just about cost, it's also about range, and that matters on long trips in remote areas.

I definitely prefer to fill up for $50, instead of $100.
I definitely like to go an extra 150 miles on a tank in an efficient truck, vs something else.

And I'm not talking about driving at 50 MPH either, which I never do. But it means I can venture into Death Valley and back without carrying extra fuel and it means I can go over the Sierras, which I do about once a week, and not have to think about finding fuel up there at much higher prices.

Why would someone "not care" about those things? I never let the price of fuel stop me from going when and where I want, but I do care about spending a bunch more and stopping to do it more often.

I guess I could burn $100. bills to keep warm, but I choose not to. I remember reading about a guy who truly didn't care about mileage and left his truck running all the time. He never shut it off so it was always warmed up and ready to go when he wanted it. Are any of you guys doing that too?
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Old 11-25-2017, 02:49 AM   #19
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. I remember reading about a guy who truly didn't care about mileage and left his truck running all the time. He never shut it off so it was always warmed up and ready to go when he wanted it. Are any of you guys doing that too?
Didn't give a #$!@& about anybody else either I guess, or life on earth.
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Old 11-25-2017, 03:41 AM   #20
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I have to say I do care about mileage. Mileage is not just about cost, it's also about range, and that matters on long trips in remote areas.
I definitely prefer to fill up for $50, instead of $100.
I definitely like to go an extra 150 miles on a tank in an efficient truck, vs something else.
John I agree, good mileage and range is a good thing, but I always have to chuckle a bit when the subject is RVs or boats as neither of the two are a cheap prospect to own. Just a personal choice and we pay to play . I remember back when gas hit $1 a gallon and most folks were ticked off. One of my camping buds said he didn't really care about that, just that he could still get it. I'm most happy that my paid for Ranger 4.0 gives me a steady 17 mpg towing the SD 17. My Dad told me way back that it's just as cheap to drive the top half of the gauge as the bottom half without the worry. Guess that was true as I've never run out, but like you, $50 at a fill up sure looks better than $100 although it's the same outcome in the end. Glad I don't have the 60 gallon tank anymore that the motor home had turning out 7 mpg on a good day .
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