Home » What’s The Worst Fuel Economy You Could Live With? Autopian Asks

What’s The Worst Fuel Economy You Could Live With? Autopian Asks

Autoipan Rfuel
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Gas prices (and diesel prices) aren’t exactly great right now. There is a war on, or a few actually, and that’s doing little to help the situation. That leads me to today’s Autopian Asks—what’s the worst fuel economy you’re willing to put up with?

Of course, this applies strictly to cars that burn fossil fuels. We can argue about how many fathoms per joule you get out of your EV, but it’s just going to confuse things. We’re talkin’ liquids here, baby.

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This question is one that is important car enthusiasts and normies alike. If you’re into cars, you’re probably willing to trade off some fuel economy for better performance, or for a vehicle that truly lights up your heart. If you’re a normie, you might see cars as appliances, and you just want the best efficiency possible. Alternatively, you might demand a certain level of luxury or cargo space at the cost of some extra fuel burn.

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Drove like a tank, drank like a tank, so we called it a tank! The joke is that we were opening the fuel flap so often that it fell off. 

I grew up during the turmoil of the second Gulf War, albeit in the safe confines of Australia. We saw our gas prices hit new highs, and I was stuck driving a 1992 Ford Falcon. It had no working odometer, so I couldn’t accurately measure its fuel economy. Regardless, that 4.0-liter six sure loved to suck down the dino juice, and I’d estimate it was pulling down around 15 L/100 km around town, or around 15 mpg in your American money.

That formative experience routinely sent me broke. Since then, I’ve owned a wide variety of cars, and I’ve settled on a figure I find comfortable. It’s 10 L/100 km, or about 23 mpg. My 1998 Mercedes E240, 1992 Daihatsu Feroza, and 1992 Mazda Miata all hit about this mark. They were all cool in their own ways, and they justified their fuel use in turn.

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That’s me smiling because my car was so good on fuel.
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The Mazda B3 wasn’t just efficient, it also ran forever with little more than basic maintenance.

I’ve had more efficient cars, of course. My BMW 320D routinely achieves 29 mpg or better. My 1989 Mazda 121 was a star at 36 mpg. That made them more attractive. By contrast, I felt strongly compelled to sell my Volvo 740 Turbo wagon when its fuel economy mysteriously slipped from 19 mpg to 15 mpg over a few months.

My question to you is thus—what’s the worst fuel economy you’re willing to put up with and why? Maybe it’s for performance, maybe it’s for seating, maybe you’re making a trade-off by running big chunky mud tires. Sound off and tell me how much pain you can take at the pump!

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67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
19 days ago

My wife’s Tahoe with the 5,7 vortec does probably around 10 mpg if we’re lucky,in real life closer to 7. That is fine for something you don’t drive every day but it’s seen a lot of use lately,so it’s really starting to hurt. On my my 67 Oldsmobile I don’t give a crap as that is only out occasionally anyway.

Tagarito
Tagarito
18 days ago
Reply to  67 Oldsmobile

I’ve always imagined small vortices of fuel whirling in the engine like on the bathtub when you drain it, whenever I hear vortec

67 Oldsmobile
67 Oldsmobile
15 days ago
Reply to  Tagarito

that would explain its appetite at least:-)

Robert Runyon
Robert Runyon
19 days ago

My ’76 suburban. Loved that truck more than any other I’ve owned since. But mileage? 10 miles per was a good tank and light foot. Unacceptable? My jx35 Infiniti @ 13mpg. It’s my dog car so it stays, hair and all.

Last edited 19 days ago by Robert Runyon
Anonymous Person
Anonymous Person
21 days ago

My 2003 GMC Envoy is only an occasional-use vehicle. It has 4wd and got a new set of General Grabber tires so it is very good if we get 10+ inches of snow.
But now that it has good tires on it, it gets 10-12 mpg. It would get 16-18 mpg on the old worn-out all-season tires that were on it when we bought it in 2013.
So I guess 10-12 mpg is my answer, but I only go through a tank or two a year.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
21 days ago

Anything less than 18 mpg is unlivable these days.

Rhymes With Bronco
Rhymes With Bronco
21 days ago

The 12-15 mpg I get in my LX470 is terrible and is my floor. The plan was to use it for occasional towing and hauling people and stuff, but the driver’s seat is so comfortable for my aging body that I find myself driving it fairly often.

Sam I am
Sam I am
21 days ago

>0

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