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Old 04-20-2011, 12:19 PM   #1
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1966 26' Overlander
Woodstock , Georgia
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Favorite Higher Fuel Economy Tow Vehicles

While fuel prices are especially high, how about listing your favorite more fuel sipping vehicles. We were discussing the Ford Flex in another thread, that seems to be a possible choice if you have a lighter trailer.
Arbitrary but let's list those that get over 14MPG towing.
Real world experience is the goal.

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Old 04-20-2011, 12:58 PM   #2
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I had an AS Interstate and towed a 19ftb Bambi and still got 17 to 18 mpg. So a Sprinter van with the MB diesel would be a consideration. zz

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Old 04-20-2011, 01:21 PM   #3
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2007 Dodge 2500 diesel. 13-15 towing with a lot of stops. It does better on a long run on the interstate, but stopping every hour and backing and parking in campgrounds cuts it down. does 19-21 on the interstate empty. 17 when my wife drives it around town (her everday ride). about the same milage with a 25' or a 32' in tow.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:26 PM   #4
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You can buy a Gear Vendor and increase your mileage 10-15% if you have a 373 rear end. If you have a 410 the savings go up toward 20%. I just don't see being able to reach 14 mpg when pulling a 7000# plus trailer and the weights of a safe TV. Short wheelbase TV are so much more easy to get into trouble with.

I don't keep up with mileage but the older Dodge with the Cummins Diesel got around 25 mpg or better in the 2006 model. I have a F350 Ford Diesel and I get around 17 without the trailer and around 12 with it The faster I pull the trailers I have the better the fuel mileage. I am not sure why this happens.

The new EPA required Diesel has also made gas mileages worse. I had wanted to get a new F350 power-stroke in 2008 but the new motor dropped in fuel mileage from a solid 16 in the previous years to 12mpg normal driving and 8mpg towing.

Not sure how they are saving the environment if you cut some pollutants but have to burn 20% more fuel to do it.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:35 PM   #5
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8-10 mpg in my Durango. uhh, never mind.
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Old 04-20-2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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1993 34' Excella
York , South Carolina
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13-15 mpg towing on the interstate. 2007 Dodge DRW with Cummins, 6 speed manual tranny pulling 34 AS. 12 tires on the ground. The faster I go the better the milage, but I'm afraid to run over 65 due to potential tire failure.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:03 PM   #7
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16 mpg towing, full tanks, kayaks up top, bikes on front hitch. In other words; we don't travel light!
(Was 15 mpg, last season seemed to improve slightly as truck approaches 50k miles).
2006 Duramax. First year for 6 spd Allison, last year of no emissions.
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Old 04-20-2011, 02:05 PM   #8
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I always get higher than 14, unless there are long climbs in route. Usually closer to 15, sometimes higher. I very seldom tow over 60mph, mostly around 57-58. One stretch on our January trip to Texas with our 27' Excella, with a very nasty tail wind, we got 16.7 for the day. Yes, I was surprised and pleased.

For some reason, it doesn't seem to make much difference between the Caravel or the Excella. I thought the Excella would cause much higher fuel use, but not so.

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Old 04-20-2011, 02:20 PM   #9
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I usually do better than 16 but it can be all over the place. Depends on wind conditions and altitude. Highway miles not towing gets us 23. This is with a Honda Ridgeline.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:04 PM   #10
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F350 7.3 14 in town empty 20 highway TOWING 15 to 17 depending on traffic and wind conditions. With easy starts lettin the ole desiel do its stuff and keepin steady highways speeds of 60-65 we get those kind of mileage figures.
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Old 04-20-2011, 03:45 PM   #11
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We had our maiden voyage with our 71 Sovereign 31' we are redoing for a 400 mile trip this last weekend. Have a 06 Nissan Titan that I get mid to high 13 empty and was surprised to average 12.75 @60MPG in 30 MPH winds. That is with the truck loaded with 2 dirt bikes,gear and a generator.
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Old 04-20-2011, 04:16 PM   #12
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2008 22' Safari
Glen Ellyn , Illinois
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Honda Pilot pulling 22ft Safari Sport gets 14-16mpg on long trips with hills and stops.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:16 PM   #13
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13-15 pulling our 7,400-lb 34' Silver Streak.

Had I slowed down from those 62-63 mph numbers (from backroads up to Interstate), I'd have broken sixteen with our 3/4T 7,500-lb pickup truck. Average mpg the past 23k has been 22+ mpg for all miles (no heavy towing). Truck was chosen for economy.

I see this towing number set fairly constantly in re aero aluminum trailers and Dodge 5.9 trucks. The GM Duramax of the early 2000's generates similar numbers.

The best tow vehicle is going to be a turbocharged diesel in the economy race. The newer direct injection gassers will be right behind. I would guess the AWD European TD SUV's to currently be "best".

We need to be able to compare:

- Make/model/year (both vehicles; scale tickets would help)

- Travel speed

- Terrain & climate

Only then can we begin to factor for varying levels of drivers skill.

1990 35' Silver Streak Sterling; 9k GVWR.
2004 DODGE Cummins 305/555; 6-manual; 9k GVWR.
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Old 04-20-2011, 05:21 PM   #14
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Timely thread...thanks for posting. I wish I knew of an inexpensive TV that would get 14 MPG towing.

We are looking for a new TV to replace our '01 Yukon. I always liked the idea of a fuel efficient V6 to tow our 5000lb Safari mainly for the superior mileage when not towing, which is most of the time.

There are some cool vehicles like the VW Touareg diesel, but they all come at a premium price.

Last year we looked very closely at a VW Routan with Chryslers 4.0L 6-spd tranny. Could have had one for an excellent price, but in the end we decided we wanted 4WD and didn't want to have to use the third row of seats when transporting more than 4 people.

Next we test drove a Ford Flex that we liked a lot, but the 18 gallon fuel tank killed that idea. I guess 18 gallons is OK if you're not towing, but having to stop every 180 mi for gas isn't feasible when we get into the boonies, so we ruled it out.

Our local towing guru (Andy Thomson) suggested we look at one of the GM Lambda vehicles (e.g. Traverse, Acadia or Enclave)...having set up a number of happy customers with them -- he likes them for their tightness and handling. We test drove one and it seemed OK.

So I've engaged a broker who's looking to import a USA Traverse for us right now. (Used Canadian vehicles are too expensive and we can't justify a new one for all we drive it).

With the Traverse, I'm expecting to get 12 MPG with conservative towing, similar to the Yukon, but of course will do much better when not towing -- at least 18 MPG combined...which compares well to our Yukon's 14 MPG.

I'd be happy with that, especially since I can pick up a lightly used basic 2010 Traverse for about $20K plus fees.

A buddy bought a new F350 last summer when the big rebates were on. He paid a lot more and still only gets 12 MPG towing a 30 foot lightweight...but of course he can tow a monster 5er too, which is what he wants to do down the road. Fortunately we have no interest in going to a larger trailer, so there are a few V6 options for us.

Gary & Debbie
2001 Safari 25 SS
2011 Chevy Traverse 3.6L AWD • Hensley • DirecLink • McKesh
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fuel economy, mileage, towing

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