The PT (New Beetle, Prowler, Thunderbird, Mini) weren't intended to have maximized aerodynamic properties. Get over it. These were styling exercises that put primary emphasis on the exterior appealing to the expected tastes of the intended purchasers.
Trade the PT in for a Neon (Golf, LH sedan, LS, or what ever it was that prompted the mini).
I fit fine in my 01' PT as I stand 6'7" and being comfortable without my knees in the dash and head through the sunroof is my priority. I've made my PT the thing I enjoy most..Adding things to it every now and again just makes it look different and I like the car because of the aftermarket for it.
They (Chrysler) could have however, made a different tranny for the vehicle to help it with gas mileage...with a low automatic speed transmission and aerodynamic properties similar to a brick, it's a lose-lose. They could have made it better.
Using typical FE techniques, despite running pig rich Stage I tune, running larger rims and tires, stereo, etc - I manage to pull 25 mpgs consistently. It helps, however that my commute is something like 30/70 city/highway.
For the size, it probably has the worst MPG. I hate it!
300 miles on a 15gal tank is what I aim for, but manage to only get 275 plus or minus 20miles.
IMO, They should have made the PT's with 5 or 6spd autos and perhaps put alot less weight into the car!
Comparing your mileage to EPA, looks like you're doing just fine. EPA for the manual transmission version of your car is 20 mpg combined town and highway. The new one is a bit better...23 mpg combined. And if you're otherwise happy with the car, then just do what you can to improve your mileage and enjoy!
__________________ "We are forces of chaos and anarchy. Everything they say we are we are, and we are very proud of ourselves!" -- Jefferson Airplane
Dick Naugle says: 1. Prepare food fresh. 2. Serve customers fast. 3. Keep place clean.
I've rented PTs on three different occasions, and have never averaged more than 17-18mpg. No, I did not "drive it like I rented it" (even though I did rent it). Poor aerodynamics alone cannot be blamed for such horrible mileage. My Evo, driven in the same manner, consistently gives me 22-23mpg, and Evos are not known for their fuel economy.
Hell, the F150 I rented gave me almost 17mpg....almost.
I used to REQUEST the PT when I rented and the Neons were all out in the field. I'd get very high 20's, nearly 30 mpg in either the Neon car or PT truck versions of these common parts bin vehicles. Good ergonomics, clever interior design, not too bad a ride or seating position, and for $40/day, unlimited mileage, not a bad deal at all.
Would I buy one? No. I'd have to walk the last 100 yards home every night. My wife wouldn't let me park such a fugly truck in the driveway. I'd have to leave it down the street out of sight.
When I rent I almost always get a Mercury Grand Marquis. I can reserve one through my Credit Card company for ~$30/day unlimited mileage and I get nearly 30 MPG out of them. Comfortable, lots of room, and as I always say "When in Florida, drive what the Floridians drive". My friends always ask if the old man I carjacked is still in the trunk, but when it comes time to drive somewhere it always seems that my car is the one chosen to go. Nobody wants to be in the back seat of a compact car or Taurus. Last time I rented I made a mistake though. I figured I wasn't going to drive it much, so I just asked for the cheapest car possible. They gave me a Mitsubishi Lancer, and I got exactly what I asked for. I was not happy in that car at all, even though I only drove it for one day.