Josh here Fagan fans. As many of you know, Kate purchased a Suburban a little more than a month ago and we have really enjoyed having the huge beast. One of the many downsides of the old Tahoe that we had was that we were averaging pretty much 12 miles per gallon (MPG) everywhere we went. It didn’t seem to matter whether we were driving a lot in town or on the highway, we always got around the 12 mark. It is because of this that Kate and I talked for the longest time about getting a V6 instead of another V8 SUV even if it meant it would be a smaller, less powerful vehicle. Well, as you know this didn’t happen, but we know that we have to live with this decision so we had to take a look at what we were doing and try to maximize our fuel consumption.
After the first tank of gas (28-ish gallons) I must admit we were somewhat pleasantly surprised to be getting about 15MPG. We do a lot of in town driving and very little interstate/highway driving so we know that we aren’t going to be doing great, but 15 is an improvement. After filling up I decided that I wanted to see how far I could get this beast to go on one tank. This meant that I would have to relearn how to drive as my old habits didn’t lead to good fuel economy.
My very first car was a ’88 Honda Civic, much like the one pictured below. I must admit I don’t remember what kind of gas mileage it got because it didn’t matter. Gas at the time was as cheap a 65¢ a gallon so I didn’t really care. The reason I bring it up though is because my dad told me it was good to learn how to drive a car with a small engine. Well, the 1.2 SOHC was certainly that, and to a degree I think my dad was right. I think the idea was that you learn how to use the engine as best as possible so that you aren’t dying going up a steep hill or trying to pass someone.
The lessons apply to larger engined vehicles; you know how to conserve gas because you know to gain more momentum going down hill, and to gradually speed up to pass a car all in an effort to make every gallon count. The thing is, with gas being at a premium I think that it’s also good to learn how to drive a large engined vehicle because let’s face it, with all the throttle in the world available in my Suburban I can get off the line fast, I can put the hammer down and pass, and I never have to lose speed up a hill if I don’t want.
Anymore, I am very ginger with the throttle. I try to barley depress the pedal in an effort to conserve fuel, and for the most part it works. The second time that we had to fill our tank we squeezed 442.1 miles out of 26.283 gallons of fuel. This comes out to be 16.8 MPG! I put an exclamation point for a couple of reasons. First, in our Tahoe, another V8, we got about 10-12MPG pretty much anywhere we went. Highway or interstate, single lane or dual lane; it didn’t matter we always stayed around 11 MPG, so almost 17 is awesome! The other reason is because my parents said that they get around 17MPG on the highway in theirs, so for us to get almost 17 doing mostly in town driving is a testament to the feather foot that Katelyn and I have been developing. To be quite honest, other than two trips down to Greenwood and back we didn’t go longer than a mile on the highway, so there’s that.
For all those who are driving big V8 SUVs or even the big V10 vans out there, let us know how you get good gas mileage. Also, even though you might hate them, I’ve gotten pretty busy, but I will try and get out another Bottom 10 in the coming weeks.
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