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Old 06-21-2010, 08:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Need a big truck to tow? Nope!

This weekend, I attended the MREA Energy Fair.

I drove up there in my Chevy S-10 pickup truck. It's the absolute, no-frills, base model: two-wheel drive, regular cab, short bed, 4-cylinder engine.

I used the truck to tow my Electric Geo Metro, and had my electric motorcycle and camping gear in the bed of the truck. Both electric vehicles run on lead-acid batteries, and neither is a feather-weight.

The thing is, I CAN tow the car AND carry the cycle behind my beater econo-truck. The engine is big enough, the suspension is good enough. Granted, it didn't have great acceleration, and there were hills that I couldn't break 55 while going up, but under normal use, I get better than 30mpg!

While I was at the energy fair, I joked with someone that in my truck, even towing and with all the additional weight, it still got better fuel economy than a Hummer.

But that got me thinking. Did I really? What DID I get for fuel economy?

My truck is a '95, so I can't use a ScanGauge on it. I just have to fill the tank up all the way and divide by the miles on the trip odometer. I seldom actually fill the tank all the way up, because I have a small leak in the tank at the very top of it. Since I knew I was going to have a long out-of-town trip tomorrow anyways, filling the tank all the way up seemed to have merit.

I looked up on Fuel Economy what the EPA rating is on the current Hummer. Turns out that a 2010 H3 is rated at 18 MPG/HWY.
I also looked at a couple of other vehicles that people commonly think are required for towing. The Suburban (two-wheel drive version, let's be fair here) gets 21 MPG/HWY. The most fuel efficient version of "The Truck", the Chevy Silverado, is the 2-wheel drive Silverado Hybrid, which gets 22 MPG/HWY.

So what was my fuel economy with my little truck pulling two extra vehicles?
24.52 MPG.

All jokes aside, I REALLY DID get better gas mileage than a Hummer does all by itself!

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Last edited by bennelson; 06-21-2010 at 08:40 PM.. Reason: typo
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:42 AM   #2 (permalink)
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That's pretty good... was the Geo on a trailer or dolly or perhaps just a towbar? I once used my BMW 528e to tow another car attached via towbar and got 23mpg which seemed pretty good considering it only gets 27 by itself.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:41 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I had the same thing happen last year with my Commuti-car, hauling it to the energy fair on a trailer, I think I got 26mpg, but of course my car is lighter and I didn't have a motorcycle with me, but I did have the car on a trailer behind a Ford Ranger.
Towing is why I miss having a trailer hitch on my Civic VX, my old VX had a hitch, I used up an entire tank of gas hauling lumber, dry wall, lead acid batteries, all things I would have used a truck for and got 39.9mpg with that trailer behind my car doing truck like things.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yeah, I just tow the Metro with a tow bar. The car has tabs welded on the front of it.

Trucks are great if you use them as trucks. You'd be amazed at what a hatchback can do though. Oh wait. This is Ecomodder.... You guys already know that.

Anyways, I guess my point it that is typically best to have a vehicle that meets more to your minimal side than the overpowered/overly expensive side.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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That also makes the argument that, if you have a large truck, it would almost be more economical to save the miles and the fuel on the big truck by purchasing a dirt cheap bare bones econotruck to do your day to day business and save your monster for when you need to haul gigantic loads.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Or buy what fills your needs and rent the monster when you need it with the money you save by not having separate insurance and regestration costs.

In the 11.5 years I have owned my pickup I have only needed a bigger one once.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:46 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Doing better than most sedans while driving three vehicles at once
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheEnemy View Post
Or buy what fills your needs and rent the monster when you need it with the money you save by not having separate insurance and regestration costs.

In the 11.5 years I have owned my pickup I have only needed a bigger one once.
This is true but you know those foolish lot that insist on driving one step below a semi and never haul a thing in their life.

Great job with the pulling Ben!
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Old 06-25-2010, 03:22 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't think I beat your MPG, when doing something very similar, but I bet I still beat the H3.

My last fill up got 24.7, back then though I was averaging over 26.

A friends pickup died on a camping trip 75-100 miles from home. We didn't care about mileage as long as we got everything home safe before sunset, my state doesn't reqire lights on trailers during daylight hours.

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Old 06-25-2010, 04:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Not too shabby!

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