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Highway Fuel Economy worse than City?

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by metroplex, March 2, 2018.

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    1. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      Anyone else notice their highway fuel economy is worse than City?

      My 2018 XLT 4WD can get 17 to 18 mpg in suburban driving on warm days, like up to 55 mph in moderate stop and go. It drops to 15 to 16 in the colder or snowy conditions . But once I get on the freeway where traffic is 70+mph the fuel economy doesn't increase and actually drops fairly dramatically

      I understand the SUVs are larger, heavier, with poor aerodynamics but the window sticker says up to 22 mpg highway. Are they considering 55 mph to be highway speeds?

      I am using the pencil and paper method of calculating gas mileage and am running the factory tires.
       
      Last edited: March 2, 2018
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    3. Jon M

      Jon M Elite Explorer

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      Mine runs in the 15s in the city, 17 mixed, and 22+ on the highway. If you haven't already, reset the mileage calculations and see what happens. Also track it manually, to make sure that's what's actually happening.
       
    4. Tech By Trade

      Tech By Trade Well-Known Member

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      Shitty winter gas doesn't help the equation at all either. Winter tires will kill mileage as well.
       
    5. JAPeterson

      JAPeterson Active Member

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      You also really can't go by the mileage indicator in the dash. All it does is average it out.

      Get your pencil and piece of paper out and start doing the actual math to figure it out.
       
    6. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      I always do the paper method and those are the results I get. I noticed the onboard system also measures fuel used and is always about 0.1 to 0.8 gal less than what the pump puts in.

      I am using stock factory tires not winter tires.
       
    7. Professorfingers

      Professorfingers Elite Explorer

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      Is your transmission shifting into OD on the highway?

      This is just crazy.
       
    8. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      I believe so, the RPMs aren't screaming. But I may not necessarily be on cruise control the entire time due to inconsistent traffic speeds and the ginormous potholes. I noticed that the transmission likes to downshift quite a bit during normal driving on the freeway whenever I apply a little too much throttle.
       
    9. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Join Fuelly.com and you can put your pencil and paper away. It also tracks your fill ups so you can see how you are doing in regards to previous ones. I've found that the onboard Instant Mileage figure is always optimistic. When it shows an average consumption of 13L/100km it usually ends up being 12L or less.

      Peter
       
    10. DWZ

      DWZ New Member

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      Optimistic? You're being kind. lol - I choose to the use phrase complete fabrication. My Focus is off somewhere between 5-10%, and it's NEVER in the direction where I leave the station thinking, boy, Ford really understated their fuel economy.
       
    11. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      That is about the same percentage that mine is off and it has been fairly consistent over the last 3 vehicles I've had. I only use the Instant Mileage figure displayed as a guideline. That is why I use the 'fuelly' site to get an accurate figure. I can go in and still pull up the figures for the 2011 Limited I had.

      Peter
       
    12. Ironworker40

      Ironworker40 New Member

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      This is why they are called LieOmeters and all manufacturers are the same.
       
    13. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      So 22 mpg is about the max I'll see with the Explorer on the freeway? I always do my own math calculated MPG and take the onboard MPG data, and log both. Have been doing this for more than 20 years. I noticed the colder it is, the worse the fuel economy. I thought it was just the turbos on my SHO, but it's the same on the Fusion Sport and this XLT. I think it is the AWD system, specifically that viscous coupler fluid and maybe the PTU/driveshaft combo. When it is the cold, that viscous coupler must be really thick and robs power to churn it.
       
    14. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Gas mileage always deteriorates in cold weather and it doesn't matter if it is AWD, 4WD or 2WD. There are several reasons for that. Fuel Economy in Cold Weather
      Also as for fuel mileage, speed is the biggest killer. Mpg For Speed - Fuel Efficiency Vs. Speed

      Peter
       
    15. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      I've never seen MPG vary this much with a FWD or RWD car/SUV/truck before. Which is why I suspect it is the viscous coupling system for the AWD. I have a co-worker with a Ford Edge FWD 3.5L V6 (non-EcoBoost) that was in the high 20s/low 30s MPG on the freeway (same driving conditions) and when he went to the Edge AWD w/ the 3.5L V6 (non-Eco) he too said it dropped significantly.

      As soon as the weather gets above about 40F ambient, my gas mileage is noticeably better. Below 40F, even around 30F, it is just as bad as it is when it is -10F to 30F.

      The AWD system is comprised of the PTU, driveshaft, viscous coupler unit, and the rear diff. On the SHO, it seems like the coupler is attached to the rear diff, but it seems like it is attached to the PTU on the Explorer because I see a big module attached to the PTU that I didn't see on the SHO? In any case, it is constantly spinning but the coupler engages the clutches when power has to be sent to the back wheels. I bet that fluid is fairly thick which could explain the much poorer fuel economy at colder temperatures. The front-wheel drive CD3/CD4/D3/D4 vehicles don't seem to have as terrible fuel economy. The EPA sticker numbers differ by only 1-2 mpg which doesn't seem right.

      My other theory is the gearing on my 2018 XLT. At 80 mph, 6th gear, it is screaming at 2500 RPM. On the SHO, same speed and gear, it is running at 2000 RPM. I'd have to drive much slower than the freeway speed limits to keep the same RPM.
       
      Last edited: March 3, 2018
    16. Phil DeVtec

      Phil DeVtec New Member

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      Honestly, the Explorer has proven to be no better than my Sierra 6.2L GUZZLER! Only reason I got the Explorer is because it's easier to park in the city/parking garages.
       
    17. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      At 80 mph your fuel efficiency is 28% less that it would be at 55 and 11% less efficient than driving at 70. An AWD will get less MPG than either a FWD or RWD. That is just the way it is. I don't know how many miles you have on it buy the Manual mentions not to judge your MPG until you have at least 1000 miles on the vehicle. I'm sure that the gearing is most definitely different between the two vehicles you mention. That's normal. It will most likely be different again on the 2020 with the new transmission and reported RWD.

      Peter
       
    18. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      If you drive 55-70 mph on a Michigan freeway, it's like stopping in the middle of a busy road. There's no way to really drive below 70-75 mph on the highways here in Michigan. Like I said, at 80 mph, the engine is screaming at 2500 RPM. I'd have to drop it down to 60 mph to stay around 2000 RPM. If I lived in Maryland or New Jersey where the highways are 55-60 mph, then yes I could see much better MPG numbers.

      It looks like the 10-speed auto isn't doing that much of a difference in gas mileage, and that's supposed to be the transmission they will use in the 2020 CD6 based Explorer, along with the 3.3L PDFI engine as the base engine.
      2017 Ford F-150 3.5L EcoBoost 10-Speed Automatic Test | Review | Car and Driver
       
    19. Centaurus5.0

      Centaurus5.0 Elite 5.0L Fiddler

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      Your about 100 rpm higher than a 2nd 5.0L with 3.73 gears and 30 inch tire @80mph. Some 4 cylinder cars would be closer to 3000rpm at 80mph.

      50-60mph is the sweet spot for mpg on most vehicles. Drag compounds after that as peterk mentioned. Along with what was already mentioned (winter temps/fuel/speed) you might want to check your tire pressure i you haven't all winter. They lose pressure in the colder temperatures.
       
    20. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      I check my pressure every month on the dot, and I compensate for temperature changes. I also noted that my tires lose exactly 1 psi every month after compensating for temperature changes (if any).

      My 18 XLT is a base model (no SYNC3) so I have the base dashboard/cluster, kind of like the Police Interceptor. So the instantaneous digital MPG display is hidden deep within the Fuel Economy mode. Out of curiosity, I drove on the local roads and noted that at 55 mph, my instantaneous MPG hovered around 20-22 mpg on flat terrain. The faster I went (up to 60 mph) the lower the fuel economy. But at 40-45 mph, it goes way up around 28-30 mpg. These aren't spikes, but rather constant readings (I know when DFCO kicks in).
       
    21. Centaurus5.0

      Centaurus5.0 Elite 5.0L Fiddler

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      Alrighty..

      I guess then there's nothing left to do but slow-the-fruck-down to get the mpg your looking for.

      :laugh:
       
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    22. Centaurus5.0

      Centaurus5.0 Elite 5.0L Fiddler

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    23. DWZ

      DWZ New Member

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      This seems fairly obvious to me - why is there this much discussion? Unless something has changed, the EPA does it mileage tests at 55mph. So in order to show their best gas mileage, the car companies are going to tune their engines for peak effeciency at highways speeds of 55mph. The fast you go, the higher the revs, the higher the fuel consumption.
       
    24. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      I thought the EPA revised their highway testing about 10 years ago
       
    25. Odrapnew

      Odrapnew Active Member

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      EPA Highway testing is more than just driving at a constant speed. I'm sure someone can dig up the test cycle, but there's acceleration, breaking, cruising...etc included in the Highway test.

      55mph is not the ideal speed for mileage. Like shown above with the Mustang, if you're cruising at about 40-45mpg in the Explorer in 6th gear, constant speed, your mileage should be much better than EPA....but that's not really "highway" speeds.

      In my 14 Sport, 70mph is right around 2000rpm. Your comparison of your XLT to the SHO is not really relevant. Different engines, different vehicles.
      In the summer, constant speed of about 75mph, I typically get around 21-22MPG. I'm sure going 80-85mph will drop that down quite a bit.
       
    26. metroplex

      metroplex Member

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      Both have the same 6F55 gear ratios except for final drive and tire size. The XLT final drive is 3.65 and is just a screamer on the freeway. The 3.5 are the same family except SHO has the same engine as the XSport with the twin turbos 2500 RPM in the XLT vs 2000 RPM in the SHO, big difference. I lose mpgs on average on the freeway versus cruising in the surface streets. I also suspect EPA test cycles are done on rollers with estimates for aero drag. The EPA highway cycle maxes at 60 mph as well briefly, which is unrealistic in Michigan and many states. 60 mph is what you can see on our large surface streets and 70 to 85 is what you reallistically see on the freeway.

      But in all honesty my Fusion Sport and SHO get only about 1 to 2 mpg better gas mileage as my Explorer XLT, if that. I think my XLT average so far is 15.5 while SHO is 17.13 lifetime over 4 years of driving.

      If they go to 10R80 with the 3.3 on the 2020 Explorer, the gas mileage should be much better on the Explorer since OD ratios are drastically different. Not much of a difference on the F150 or Mustang since 6R80 already has better gearing in OD.
       

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