2,700 mile towing MPG report (Toyota Tacoma)

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Thought some might find this useful: VA to TX and back: 2,764 miles, consuming 180.3 gallons of gas at a total cost of $515.18 = Avg. 15.8 MPG
Tow vehicle: 2017 Toyota Tacoma double-cab, short-bed, TRD off-road (4x4) with 3.5L V6 and 6spd M/T (Empty weight ~4,450 LBs)
Trailer: 5x8 single axel U-haul (Empty weight 900 LBs)
Combined gross weight: 7,280 LBs (Truck, Trailer, Passengers, Cargo and Fuel): verified by CAT truck scale
Notes:
- Truck is pretty much stock, except tires that were plus sized to 265/75/16 (Calculator says overall circumference is +3.3%)
- Owners Manual and web says not to tow in O/D so most of the towing was done in 5th gear
- I did NOT drive to save fuel: right at or -5 MPH on the way down (~65-70) and +5 MPH on the way back (~70-75 MPH)
- Towing was one way (Dropped to cargo and u-haul in TX, came back pretty much empty)
- Performed well, no complaints; 70 MPH in 5th was ~2,900 RPM. The 3.5L didn't seem to care. 90-100 degrees the whole trip with a/c on full blast
- Only times I had to drop to 4th was when traffic would slow down on a hill and I lost momentum
- Probably could have saved a bit if I had cared to drive slower

Screen Shot 2021-06-19 at 12.22.01 AM.jpg
 

JHZR2

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Interesting to take data like that. Somewhat surprised the MPGs were that low, it’s not a huge load. Also surprised it didn’t do better on the return. What is the EPA HWY rating for this vehicle?
 

Speedbird001

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EPA sticker says 17 city and 21 highway... (6 spd Manual is actually geared lower than the auto (~4.05:1 IIRC) Normally I average ~19-20. Honestly, it is a flying brick; once you hit 60 MPH the MPG really goes down hill. Cruise control also seems to take a hit. but I could not fathom making that trip driving <60 with no CC
 

Nick1994

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Surprised that the non-towing freeway mpg wasn't in the low 20's. A little disappointing.

How do you like the power of the 3.5L?
 
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REAL mpgs can vary a LOT + depending on location, weather, YOUR driving habits MPGS can take a hit. those who tow distances regularly need a Diesel!!! buddys earlier dog cummings engine averages 20's towing an enclosed race car trailer, car in trailer!!! truck alone prolly 3 TON, even my notoriously bad 4.0 Fronty SV 6spd man port injected averages 19 in the summer with mixed driving
 

Zee09

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For those bashing the MPG. Towing the U-haul increased wind drag considerably. On the return trip he didn't drive conservatively. I thought the numbers look good.
Seemed good to me.
Agreed.... We ain't talkn' no hybrid economy car.
 
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Toyota truck (or any trucks for that matter) are not sold because they get outstanding fuel economy. They just don't!
I'd say the numbers are pretty typical.
 

JTK

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So all-in you had about 2800lbs behind the truck?

Those are good fuel economy numbers for sure, but thats's not much at all behind that truck in terms of weight or drag. Put a travel trailer back there and the fuel economy will be half of what you got.
 

JHZR2

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Aerodynamics play a huge part and going faster only makes it worst.
No kidding. It’s approximately a cubic relation.
That said, my Dodge Ram 2500 does better than that with far more mass and frontal cross section. Ditto for my 98 S-10 which is perhaps a better comparison. So much for 30 years of technology improvement.


Seemed good to me.
Agreed.... We ain't talkn' no hybrid economy car.

No, it’s not an econobox. It’s just suprising that there hasn’t really been an improvement in 30 years. Towing is what it is, to an extent, though improved thermal efficiency of modern engines would hopefully improve the SFC and thus MPGs...
 
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Zee09

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No kidding. It’s approximately a cubic relation.
That said, my Dodge Ram 2500 does better than that with far more mass and frontal cross section. Ditto for my 98 S-10 which is perhaps a better comparison. So much for 30 years of technology improvement.




No, it’s not. It’s just suprising that there hasn’t really been an improvement in 30 years. Towing is what it is, to an extent, though improved thermal efficiency of modern engines would hopefully improve the SFC and thus MPGs...
Agreed but when I drive a truck I know the mpg will suck...lol
I share your disappointment.
Plus they do sit up high and get a bunch of air under them. And with the new front ends they are like driving a box. Of course you know this. Just saying.
 
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Diesel fuel has what, 10% more energy, and historically been 10% more efficient? Well, more than that. So no surprise that the Dodge 2500 does better.

now the S10, if that did get better mpg then I have to wonder if it’s a weight issue, just that much less to hike up any given hill? Oh: tire size too, OP has some wide tires, wider than your S10 I’m guessing.
 
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The MPG looks typical for the vehicle, the towed load, and the driving conditions.

I had a '93 V6 Extra Cab 4wd 5 spd Toyota truck that wouldn't do that well under the same conditions. The new Tacoma has a lot more power, and capability. Of course it's almost 30 years later.
 

JHZR2

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Diesel fuel has what, 10% more energy, and historically been 10% more efficient? Well, more than that. So no surprise that the Dodge 2500 does better.

now the S10, if that did get better mpg then I have to wonder if it’s a weight issue, just that much less to hike up any given hill? Oh: tire size too, OP has some wide tires, wider than your S10 I’m guessing.

My S-10 runs 31x10.5R-15 tires (ZR2). So more or less the same width.

Diesel is more efficient, but it’s a 5.9L turbo engine making 420 ft-lb of torque and a 4sp auto. Point kind of is that my stuff isn’t that great…. It’s old tech, old school, and stuff has gotten much better… but not more efficient It seems. Trucks are still guzzling gas as bad as ever. OP has some great data shown to that point. It’s actually really good that OP posted this, just for data and info sake.
 
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