I believe there are other real time meters that can be had for less than the ScanGauge, although I'm not familiar with them. Your Explorer already knows what your mileage is. You just need a way to ask it.
Yes it's a 6-banger. Six banger, automatic with AWD. Couldn't figure out a way to get worse mileage
I'm 6' 2" and 400 lbs and I usually wear a hat (Australian Outback w/3" brim). That's why I drive SUVs and minivans. Sedans and I don't get along. I can't sit in an Escape with a moonroof with my hat on because it has 3" less headroom. But I don't like moonroofs anyway because I don't like the glare when its a sunroof.
When I bought the Escape, I took the family along to do a fit test and everybody prefered the smaller Escape because they didn't like having to climb into the seat. It had step boards (?) when I bought it but I took them off because I don't need a step up to get in and they actually made it harder for me to get in and out.
I bought my Escape used the year the hybrid came out. I really considered the hybrid. It tickled my technogeek bone. But I can buy a lot of gas for the $20,000+ difference in price. (I am buying a lot of gas with it) Hence, the "lowbridescape" nom de plum.
PS: I said earlier that Ford apparently didn't believe in DFCO. Imagine my surprise just today, while coasting towards an exit ramp, when I am suddenly staring at 9s and 0s on the ScanGauge! (mileage is 99999 mpg and fuel consumption is 0.00 gph) But apparently, you have to be coasting at almost 60 mph for it to kick in. I need to study this more.
I'm not sure if there are any simple plug-and-play universal meters for less than the ScanGauge. For two to five minutes work and under $40, you can have the DIY fuel rate monitor that I have linked in my sig, but it's not a MPG meter. OTOH, it is more sure about fuel rate than the ScanGauge, which has to calculate fuel rate rather than measuring it and could be wrong in some situations. It does tell you for sure whether you're in DFCO or not.
I understand the thing about comfort. You need hat room to be comfortable. I need my elbows to be in exactly the right place. We each have our quirks.
I doubted it when you said that Ford had no DFCO. I figured it'd be something like that; that sounds like my GMC, which will DFCO after 6 to 10 seconds at somewhere above 40 mph.
55 mph on secondaries or 70 on interstates is pretty much a wash with regards to both fuel use and time. The 55 isn't an average with a number of stops and accelerations (plus the hills) which conspire to lower the fuel economy as much as a constant higher air drag, but more consistent load and single acceleration episode interstate.
How nervous do you feel about driving 55 on the interstate? That will get you better mpg than 70 there or 55 on the secondaries.
I don't have any stops on the 55 mph road. just hills. I could go 55 on the interstate I suppose. There are 3 lanes so it's not too bad (it had only two lanes for probably 80 years before upgrading to 3 just two years ago).
Thought I would add my 2 cents... I consider my time valuable.... It's worth paying the toll If I will get to work quicker. However I would switch up the drive every so often, and pay attention to the traffic reports. If the hwy has an accident take the other route. Navigation systems always come in handy! --Josh www.reportgasprices.com