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trollbait 04-03-2015 09:27 PM

Yep, short trips like that will kill fuel economy. A short trip to the store in the Sonic will be lucky to hit the mid 20's mpg. While I get the mid 30's in winter on my mile 30 mile commute.

If your trips remain so short in the future, I'd recommend an electric for your next car. They don't have such an issue with warm up times and short trips.

raybliu 04-04-2015 08:13 AM


Originally Posted by RobertV (Post 182679)
Yeah... running the car and not moving (warming up the engine) is wasting fuel. 0 MPG isn't helping your fuel economy at all.
Vehicles nowadays don't need to be 'warmed up'. Computer operated vehicles have sensors and can adjust to outside and internal temp variations. Doesn't mean you'll get the best MPG on a cold start, but sitting in your driveway waiting for it to warm up isn't the way to go about doing it.

I challenge you to skip the long idles/warm up, and try and take longer trips. Regardless if they are city or highway driving. I'm willing to bet your mileage shows drastic improvement.

OK, the NY weather is warming up so I'll see if it improves in coming weeks. Today I took a 20 mile trip and the average went up to 14, which is the best it has performed. Nevertheless it is still an atrociously low number. Thanks for your input. Really appreciate it.

Charon 04-04-2015 08:20 AM

When I drive the school buses in cool/cold weather I usually let them idle for a while, a half-hour or so. That isn't because the engine needs it, but it helps get a little warmth into the bus. Until the engine coolant warms up, the passenger compartment heaters do not work. Being diesels, they are quite slow to get warm unless under some load, even when prewarmed by their block heaters.

OliverGT 04-09-2015 11:26 PM


Short trips and warming the car up before driving will make a big impact on MPG.

As others have mentioned, start tracking your fuel usage here on Fuelly, It's one thing to keep looking at the guage in the car, but they are not always accurate. All you need to track is the miles traveled and the fuel used.

The image you posted is for average fuel usage, does the car have an instantaneious readout, to show you what you are using as you dirve? This is the best way to understand what works for your car.

On what you have said so far, to improve your MPG I would:

1. Stop warming up the car, this is not necessary, just start and drive gently till the engine is warm.
2. Start trackng your fuel used using Fuelly, or any other app, piece of paper, or whatever works for you. You just need to get a baseline, rather than the display in the car. So next time you fill up, note the Mileage and how many litres/gallons you put in and then on the next fill up you can start working out your true MPG.
3. Have a read of my previous questions and post the answers, the more information we have the more we can help.
4. Please ask more questions. We are here to help....


raybliu 04-10-2015 05:37 AM

I have stopped warming the car but too soon to tell the difference,

I'm not much with tech stuff. I'll try to download the fuelly app. Will definitely start tracking my milage with next fill up.

I believe my car has instant fuel average reading as the number changes constantly with driving condition. Last Sunday I took a 50 mile trip and the average for the entire mile actually went to near mid 20's but it has since dropped back to low teens the last few days with city traffic.

Also while I have not tracked the exact amount each trip, in the 1200 miles I have had with this car, I've filled up 6 times, each between 12 to 15 gallons. This means the average is closer to 15 to 16 than my car's reading. So it seems as you all have been saying, the computer reading is inaccurate and my car is actually performing better than I may have thought,

I have also replaced both of rear tires as one of them had a bad gouge which has developed a slow leak, Hopefully this will help a little as well. I'll keep a closer look at this the next couple of months and see how this goes. Thank you all for sharing your experience.

muslis 05-22-2015 01:55 AM

I had 2.0 petrol Opel omega.. in winter (snow -15*c to -24*c) my average fuel consumption was about 16-18 L/100km (13.8mpg). i was traveling 2 - 4 km/day, so i imagine v6 having 10mpg is prefectly normal..

raybliu 06-10-2015 10:40 AM

Update from my previous posts.
I have been tracking fuel usage on my 2012 Toyota Highlander for the last two months. Here are some observations
- The car's computer readings seem fairly accurate, pretty much correspond with the averages I have been tracking.
- Idling clearly lowers gas milage .
- Current warmer season does not appear to drastically improve gas mailage.
- As most of my driving is in city traffic, it's been averaging less than 14 mpg with some short highway.
- It's averaging below 12 when it's all city driving.
- The car clearly has duel personality. In between fill up recently when I was able to open up the engine on highway, it was averaging just below 18mpg. The computer read out was 25mpg for the entire time I was on highway.
Very disappointed with my car's mpg performance. It seems from reading other users' experiences that is how it is with stop and go traffic. This average also seems not too far off my previous 4-Runner's performance level.
Fortunately I don't need to drive long distance so I can live with this for now.
Thank you for everyone's input.

Draigflag 06-10-2015 11:48 AM

This might seem an obvious choice, but is there a reason you need such a large vehicle with a massive engine that seems to have a thirst for fuel? If you don't drive that far, and do mostly city driving, perhaps a smaller more efficient compact car would make sense, save fuel and money too?

trollbait 06-10-2015 12:43 PM

Considering it is such a short commute, and if it can be done on roads with speed limits of 35mph or less, I'd look into a neighborhood electric vehicle(NEV) like the GEM. GEM Car Official Website - Electric cars | Polaris

Yes, it is souped up golf cart, and the doors are extra, but it doesn't need gas. Other cheap to run options are scooters(electric or gas) and electric bikes. If you must have AC, got a little bit of cash, and are willing to have it shipped from California, used Leafs are cheap there; in the $10k to $11k range. It's because residents can get a new one for nearly that price with the federal, state, and local incentives.

That said, the fuel economy isn't that bad for a Highlander. https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/31994.shtml Less than 12mpg is a noticable step below the 17mpg city, but the city test cycle is easier on the car. The test's acceleration rates are slower than what is seen in normal traffic, and the length is 11 miles. That is long enough for the engine to warm up. A 3 mile commute is just long enough for the engine and coolant to get up to operating temp. A hybrid and small block diesel would also be returning lower than rated numbers under such conditions.

So, considering the daily drive, the fuel use isn't horrible. Total fuel and cost will be low with the low miles. If the size and AWD are needed, just keep it. Be sure to take the Highlander out on some longer trips that let it fully warm up to boil off any water that has worked its way into the oil. I would also recommend hooking to battery up to a charger every two to four weeks. It likely isn't getting fully charged on the short trips. Perodic charging should extend its life, but isn't necessary.

raybliu 06-10-2015 07:03 PM

I've been driving SUVs for the past 25 years so I'm quite used to low MPG. Since I have not planned on moving any time soon, I will be stuck with the short commute for the time being.

I suppose my disappointment came more from over expectation than the car's under performance. Also as I noted, in retrospect its performance is probably not any worse than my last car 4 Runner. When on highway, it is definitely way better than the 4 R ever did. I like driving at the higher speed on highways. It's almost fun! So I think I might actually be warming up to this car(no pun intended!)

Now that I know what to expect, I'll have to get used to it. I don't really drive enough to cause serious hurt in my wallet. Thanks for everyone's input.

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