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Old 03-04-2004, 07:59 AM   #1
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Tipton , Iowa
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What's your Gas (or Diesel) Mileage?

A question came up recently regarding gas mileage. As prices rise, I think this is an item of interest to us all; particularly those who are contemplating buying a new tow vehicle.

I think it would be of interest if we posted what our tow vehicle is: Year, make and model; it's engine size; fuel; transmission (if there's an option); whether it's 2WD or 4WD; the rear-end gear ratio; and the approximate weight of the towed load. Then, if you have it, the average highway mileage you get, your average combined city/highway mileage, and your average mileage towing.

Hopefully this will give us a pretty good picture, real-world, of what to expect from the various engine/tranmission/rear-end/towed weight combinations. The caveat here, of course, is that YOUR mileage may vary!


My 2000 Ford Excursion V10 gas, 4spd auto, 4x4, 3.73 gets 16.5 mpg+ freeway with five passengers and luggage; 13.5 mpg combined city/highway; and a solid 10.5 mpg towing the 34' tri-axle at approximately 8500 lbs.

AIR 2053 Current: 2006 Born Free 32 RQ Kodiak Chassis, & 1995 Coachmen B-van
Former Airstreams: 1953 Flying Cloud, 1957 Overlander, 1961 Bambi, 1970 Safari Special, 1978 Argosy Minuet, 1985 325 Moho, 1994 Limited 34' Two-door, 1994 B190 "B-Van"
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:20 AM   #2
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Gas Mileage Info Request

Greetings Roger!

Here is the data on my tow vehicles:

1999 GMC Suburban K2500
7400 VORTEC V8
Dyno-Tuned for 93-Octane Premium Fuel
Four-Wheel Drive
Heavy Duty Overdrive Automatic Transmission
4.10 Differential Ratios
10,000 lb. Trailer Towing Package
6,100 Pound Towed Weight ('64 Overlander)
Towing MPG - - 55 MPH maximum speed when towing
- - 11.5 MPG (Plains) - - 9.0 MPG (Mountains)
Solo MPG - - 62 MPH or 3 MPH below posted limit
- - 14.5 MPG (Plains) - - 12.5 MPG (Mountains)
Currently has 124,000 miles about half of which included the trailer.

1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible
8.2 Liter (501 cubic inch) V8 - - 4 BBL Carburetor
425A Turbo Hydramatic (3-Speed) <Front Wheel Drive>
2.70 Final Drive Ratio
6,000 lb. Trailer Tow Rating
3,100 Pound Towed Weight ('78 Argosy Minuet)
Towing MPG - - 55 MPH maximum speed when towing
- - 8 MPG (Plains) - - 6.5 MPG (Mountains)
Solo MPG - - 60 MPH or at least 3 MPH below posted limit
- - 12 MPG (Plains) - - 10 MPG (Mountains)
Currently has 122,000 miles with about 2,000 including the trailer.


Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:26 AM   #3
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1975 Argosy 26
Villa Ridge , Missouri
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: 1964 24' Tradewind
Posts: 162
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2001 Ford F-250 7.3L diesel crew cab long bed 4x4 with fiberglass top:
- 19-21 highway not towing
- 12-14 city not towing
- 15-16 towing 24' Tradewind (approx. 3800 lbs loaded) + 2 adults and 3 large dogs
- 14-15 towing 31' Sovereign (approx. 6000 lbs loaded) + 2 adults and 3 large dogs

In 50K miles, much of it towing, our overall average mileage has been 15.9 according to the on-board computer.

We love our truck, but I know my father's Duramax got much better mileage not towing (though it was an extended cab shortbed and much smaller) and similar mileage towing. However, we'd sure like to try the new 6.0 Powerstroke...
Both Alex, my Argosy, and I are kids from Versailles, Ohio!
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:38 AM   #4
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1968 17' Caravel
2005 30' Safari
Somewhere , roaming America
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,093
Images: 39
2003 Honda Pilot LX
240 hp V6, gas
AWD (FWD most of the time)
20-22 not towing
10-12 mpg towing 17' Caravel (2800 lbs loaded) + 2 adults & 1 child, at 60 MPH
9-10 mpg towing same load at 65 MPH

We bought the Pilot because we needed a roomy car that we could live with as a daily driver. So good non-towing gas mileage was a higher consideration than towing mileage.

I think what I'm seeing here is that:

(a) diesels have a huge advantage in mileage -- no surprise

(b) the length and weight of the trailer have a relatively low impact on mileage except in mountains. Aerodynamic drag is the bigger factor and that's primarily determined by the trailer's frontal area and in Airstreams they're all pretty similar.

-- RL
Former full-timer | AIRSTREAM LIFE magazine | Tour of America (old blog) | Man In The Maze (current blog)

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Old 03-04-2004, 09:26 AM   #5
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2002 Dodge Dually Cummins Diesel.
10,000 miles not even broken in yet
4x4 4:10 gears Auto trans.
best highway milage not towing 15
best towing milage 13
worst towing milage 9.8
currently towing 30 foot classic slide out.
was towing 25 foot safari and worst milage was with it.
pulls 30 foot like it's no heavier than safari, that and longevity are the diesel advantages, I think diesels don't really get better mpg than any gas engine.
Had 2001 dodge 2500 3:54 gears 2wd
best towing safari 14
best not towing 17
I do tend to drive with a heavy right foot
"Forbidden Wheels Clubhouse Recon Team"
S/OS #010
2004 30ft Slide Out with Hensley Arrow hitch. Pulled By 2010 Dodge 2500 Diesel 4x4 Megacab
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:56 AM   #6
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2002 31' Classic
Hillsboro , Texas
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 307
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6.0 PowerStroke

The 6.0 litre is powerful and smooth. My only regret is I should have waited until this engine had been in production for 6 months or 1 year. I believe all my issues have been resolved, injector revision & eprom updates, just hate being the guinna-pig.

I have never owned a diesel except for a 81 Buick Rivera and that won't count! I don't know how it compairs to the 7.3 Power Stroke. Most owners, I've met, consistantly remarks how quick, quiet, smooth and efficient the 6.0 litre is. I've noticed that most owners of the 7.3 generally add chips, blower and other performance parts. The only item I would consider would be a Banks exhaust but really, I am satisfied with the stock set-up. I just turned 20k miles and it continues to get better mileage both by itself or towing.

I have only made one 700 mile road trip solo at 8000 miles, 18 mpg. (now that it has a few miles, I'd expect to see a solid 19-20.
Towing lately has been 11-14, a bit less in high winds or slight assending long grades. We tow a tri-axle 1999 34' Classic Limited @ 10,000 lbs.

It is a great tow vehicle and look forward to many miles of satisfaction.
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Old 03-04-2004, 10:44 AM   #7
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Round Rock , Texas
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 116
Tow vehicle:
2000 Ford E350 V-10
3.73 limited slip rear end
4-speed auto tranny

Non-towing highway mileage: 12.5 at indicated 75 mph
Towing highway mileage: 9-11 at indicated 62 mph
City mileage: 10

My next tow vehicle will have a diesel engine. I bought a 1982 Mercedes Benz 300D six months ago to use as my daily driver. It gets 24 mpg at 75 mph. Haven't tried towing with it.
"He's one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith/Spread your wings and hold your breath/And always trust your cape" Guy Clark
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Old 03-04-2004, 11:30 AM   #8
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1956 22' Safari
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Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
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Here's a poll that was started some time ago you might find interesting...

Fuel Consumption Poll

Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
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Old 03-04-2004, 07:51 PM   #9
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Gas Mileage

2003 3/4t 4x4 Suburban
6.0, 3.73 rear
1985 25 ft Sovereign (about 6,000 lb)

Mixed city/highway driving: 14 - 15 mpg
Highway only: 16-17 mpg
Towing average, 60 mph in 3rd: 11.9 mpg

The mpg number reflects the state of Washington, where a typical towing trip for me involves 6% grades and mountain passes.
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:01 PM   #10
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1992 29' Excella
madison , Wisconsin
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366 chevy

or more commonly known as the 6.0

3/4 ton (8600 gvw) 4x4 4l80e tranny 4.10 gears.

12 towing

15 empty

possibly the best towing vehicle i have owned. and does pretty good at hauling lumber and other pickup truck duties.

you call them ferrets, i call them weasels.
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Old 03-04-2004, 08:35 PM   #11
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1993 21' Sovereign
Colfax , North Carolina
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 20,685
My 1995 Dodge Dakota
5.2 Liter (318)
518 Automatic transmission
Extended cab, 2wd
3.70 rear
14 MPG empty, freeway
9 MPG towing, freeway, my Argosy, 3700 pounds
11 MPG empty, city
This thing weighs almost the same as the full-size trucks, if I was doing it over, I would get a full-size pickup, and have more of a reason to get the poor mileage.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:10 PM   #12
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1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
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Posts: 3,185
Images: 23
tow vehicle: '01 Chevy 2500hd ext. cab 4X4 with 8.1 gas engine, Allison 5 sp. auto transmission, 3.73 rear end ratio.

trailer: '77 Excella 500 31' weighing 6,400-6,700 lbs.

mileage solo on highway: Just under 15 mpg at 65 mph and have gone over 15 barely twice. At 70 mph mileage runs around 14.65 give or take .2 mpg.

mileage towing: 9.6-12.5 mpg depending on whether I run 70 or 64, hills or flat interstate.

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:10 PM   #13
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Ford 7.3 liter powerstroke 17 mpg level road 10 to 11 mpg while towing. The price of diesel is way too high.
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Old 03-04-2004, 09:59 PM   #14
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2001 34' Limited
The State of , Ohio
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2002 Ford F-250 7.3L PSD/auto/4WD super cab long bed with soft tonneau cover:

20 mpg highway not towing
14 mpg commuting on city streets
17 mpg mixed

Haven't done a long enough haul with the 34 Limited to use enough of the 38 gallon tank for an accurate measure, but it looks like it's going to be about 12 mpg.

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