Mileage While Towing

Discussion in 'Towing & Tow Vehicles' started by Handben, Sep 6, 2017.

  1. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    On my recent trip to pick up our new 550, from Baltimore to Nacedah I averaged 30 MPG in our 2012 Subaru Outback 2.7 L 4 cylinder. Towing Tipitina however, my mileage dropped to 22 MPG. Is this drop typical or excessive? I know that I will need to get a new tow vehicle in the next year or 2 and am wondering if anyone is doing much better than this. Curious to hear what others are doing. Thanks, Ben H
  2. rotus8

    rotus8 Junior Ranger Donating Member

    Welcome Ben. Did you get the optional roof racks? If you aren't carrying anything on them, pop them off; it is surprising how much they will affect mileage. If you carry stuff up there, the effect is much more.

    There are so many things that effect mileage, without doing careful controlled experiments, or at least a lot of miles after changing only one thing, it is difficult to make comparisons. Having said that, we don't notice any drop in mileage towing our 560 with our Xterra. Probably the more efficient the row vehicle is, the more it will be effected.
  3. Ken & Peggy

    Ken & Peggy Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

    We tow our 550 Ultra with a Toyota Tacoma 4 door pickup with a 4.0 liter 5 speed automatic V6. Without the trailer we get from 18 to 21 mpg. With the trailer it can drop to 15, depending on variables like speed, topography, etc. I drop into 4th gear when towing, which hurts mileage all by itself. So, as rotus8 said, there's a lot of variables to consider...
  4. rgupnorth

    rgupnorth Junior Ranger Donating Member

    I had a pretty good drop in mileage when I towed with my Honda CR-V. Not as much with the Jeeps - but they have more hp and don't get great mileage to start with.
  5. Chuckwagon

    Chuckwagon Novice

    We tow our 560 with a 2010 4 cylinder Outback and our mileage is very similar to yours Ben. We've adjusted our Rocktamers to be almost horizontal to minimize drag yet still protect the camper.
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2017
  6. Brian & Lucy

    Brian & Lucy Novice

    2013 4Runner lifted with off-road tires I get 15.4 towing, about 19 when I'm not towing. Your 4 cylinder probably has to work harder.
  7. dustinp

    dustinp Junior Ranger Donating Member

    I think Rotus is quite correct with his statement that the higher the mileage the TV gets when not towing the more it is affected. I've had a 2005 VW Jetta TDI, and now have a 2015 VW Passat TDI with 5 +6 spd. manual transmissions respectively for daily drivers and as the main TV. Both burned in the 45-50 mpg in the all around to straight highway driving modes. But both dropped down to 30-32 mpg when towing the Camp-Inn, with the latest long haul out to AZ in March and returned in May.

    When we first bought our Camp-Inn, before I had installed a hitch, rear suspension air bags and wired the Jetta for towing, we used our 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee with a V-8. It got just under 22mpg straight hwy miles on the way to go pick up the trailer from our home in east central MN about 570 miles to the east central, IL area, but by the time we got back home, our mileage for the entire trip had dropped to a little over 17. I never stopped to figure out what it would have been for just the towing part of the trip, but I would guess roughly about 12-13 mpg.

    So now the Jeep is mainly a heavy snow, and heavy tow vehicle, and has 30K miles on it while the Jetta was sold last year still running strong with 167K, and the Passat now has 35K on it.

    Our 2013 2.5 L Outback is Kris's daily driver and doesn't have a hitch, and even though it's rated for 32mpg highway, we have never seen that. On three annual month long winter trips to AZ in it, we have averaged 26mpg straight highway for the 3600 round trip miles with it loaded to the gills inside, but with nothing on top, so it may never get a hitch on it either. If we ever decide to do any winter camping (not likely) we'd probably use the Jeep.
    So that's our experience, your mileage may vary ;-)
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2017
  8. Gypsy

    Gypsy Novice

    2013 Honda CRV (automatic) gets 30-32 mpg on highway but 22 towing and kayak on top of car.
  9. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    There is no roof rack on our teardrop. In looking at the other figures, it sounds like a drop of 19-30% in mileage is typical (mine being 27%). Thanks for the input!
  10. Duke's

    Duke's Newbie

    When I think of fuel used by folks with traditional Rv's especially those living room models I don't think too much about reduced mpg' s pulling teardrop. :)
    lorieandkeith and Randy like this.
  11. Tear Stream

    Tear Stream Newbie

    We get normally 39-40 mpg with our Mini Cooper S Automatic... dropped to 24 mpg while towing... not as bad as I thought... funny thing when I first picked it up I didn't have our roof box on the car and I got a depressing 16 mpg.. but once the roof box was on it acted as a wind break due to our car being so small. And that got us back up to 24 mpg..
  12. sniperJ

    sniperJ Newbie

    We used to tow with our 2004 Wrangler and observed a drop from 22mpg to 15-16mpg. Now that we got this 2012 F150, the Jeep will be a weekend toy with new shocks, smittybilt bumper and new tires on the way. Wind drag usually plays a role on mpg. There are few good tips you can get from the discussions at Fuelly.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  13. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    On a trip this past weekend to Assateague Island from Baltimore, I averaged 23 mpg which I guess is pretty good compared to other tow vehicles.
  14. Tour 931

    Tour 931 Junior Ranger

    My mileage increased 3 mpg by taking them off.

    Attached Files:

  15. Handben

    Handben Junior Ranger Donating Member

    My Subaru has roof racks that are adjustable. I keep them folded in (ie no cross bars facing the wind) unless I am carrying a load. But I'm not sure about taking them off altogether - If there's an easy way to take them off and reinstall them, I'm unaware of it. All in all 23 mpg isn't too bad.

    I'm bracing for worse with a new tow vehicle. I plan to give my old prius (2007) to my daughter this spring and purchase a new vehicle for myself. The Subaru is really my wife's car. I'm going back and forth between a Toyota 4Runner versus Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. The 4Runner is undoubtably more reliable and probably more rugged but the Grand Cherokee will have a whole lot more creature comforts to make the driving experience more pleasurable. I figure I'll pay for the lifetime extended warranty if I go with the Jeep just for peace of mind.

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