Fuel consumption

Submitted: Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 19:58
ThreadID: 130965 Views:3456 Replies:14 FollowUps:14
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Hi all, A question that has probably been asked a thousand times, fuel consumption. I have at present a 2012 Nissan Pathfinder Ti550, V6 diesel. At the moment we are towing a Jayco expanda 2015, weighing loaded about 2200kg. The best fuel consumption we can get is 19.2l/100km. Just would like to know if that is doing ok or not. The reason for trying to find out if it's ok, or if we can find a better towing vehicle (3 kids 2 adults) as we are upgrading the van to a 2800kg full size to travel Australia end of next year, and want to make sure we don't have to pull a fuel tanker behind us.
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Reply By: TomH - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:08

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:08
Not really We got 17.5 out of a 100ser pulling 2900kg as an average
AnswerID: 593044

Reply By: Endless Summer - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:13

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:13
Thanks TomH, was looking at the new 200 series, but got to justify the price tag.
AnswerID: 593045

Reply By: Frank P (NSW) - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:16

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:16
My 2014 BT50 5cyl 3.2 diesel loaded to near GVM and pulling 2200kg does about 15-16L/100km on the highway, 17's on less favourable roads, 19's in the Snowies/High country.


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AnswerID: 593046

Reply By: Member - fawkesp - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:40

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:40
We have a 200 diesel and with our 1,650kg caravan on a trip to Winton/Hughenden (5,180 kms) we averaged 15.6l/100km with less than 10,000 kms on the odometer (so we were taking it easy).

Later, with around 20,000kms on the clock (and the same van) we achieved 16,3l/100km on a trip to Melbourne and 16.4 l/100km on a trip to Woolgoolga.

On our most recent trip out to the Simpson (with 55,000 on the odo, a heavily laden vehicle and the van) we achieved 16.7l/100km.

Better figures than you are achieving but with a significantly lighter van, so I imagine that with a 2,800kg van your figures would be higher than what I am achieving. It is my opinion however that diesel will generally use less fuel than a petrol when towing (and it is cheaper per litre at the moment!).
AnswerID: 593049

Follow Up By: Endless Summer - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:52

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:52
Thanks fawkesp, yep that's heaps better than the pathfinder, if we get a headwind like when we came back from Exmouth wa, we we getting 25.8l/100km. Went and had a look over the weekend at a new 200 series, I did like them and had plenty of room. But my need to look down the pre owned ones. They still hold a good price though.
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Follow Up By: Member - fawkesp - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 21:21

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 21:21
On the subject of the LC200, we wanted a new one also but were also put off a little by the price. We went ahead with a new one but purchased the GX model, a $10,000 saving but still with all the goodies, including a vinyl floor which is so easy to clean out after a trip!
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Follow Up By: garrycol - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 00:27

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 00:27
Acquaintance just travelled Qld to Tas and return with a 13MY LC200 towing a 2500kg van and averaged 24l/100km. They are a bit of a guzzler.
FollowupID: 861240

Reply By: Member - peterdre - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:52

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:52
This year on an anticlockwise trip around Aus. we averaged just less than 12L/100km. Average speed around 90 kph. Towing and off-road hybrid weighing in at 2100kg. Did Gibb River Rd, Savannah Way to Cairns and then Cape Yorke.
2011 Holden Colorado with 3" free flow exhaust.
AnswerID: 593054

Reply By: Member - RobnJane(VIC) - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:58

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 20:58
As you probably know there are many factors that influence fuel consumption, amongst them being - engine and road speed, roof rack fitted, tyre type, bull bar and accessories, driving habits, ie do you try to keep up with the flow of traffic. As well as what you have mentioned.

Rolling resistance and wind resistance increase exponentially from around the 90 - 95 kmh mark so you need to recognise the impact of higher speed ,if in fact you tend to travel at higher speed.

In an apples for apples comparison I think driving style and top speed will have the biggest impact on fuel consumption.

As others have noted though you are probably not far off the mark, and you have an outfit that performs well.

Good luck,


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AnswerID: 593055

Reply By: Notso - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 23:02

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 23:02
It's all very subjective with fuel economy. It does sound a bit on the high side for that particular vehicle set up, but again, how fast do you tow?

My brother in law who travelled around Aus with his 200 series averaged about 22 litres/100ks at speeds around the 85 to 90 ks with his 23foot Jayco Heritage. Not the best, I met a bloke with a new 5.7 V8 petrol Nissan Patrol who reckoned he was getting 17.5 towing his big 24 foot Jayco. Now I'm not one to have a go at people making claims about fuel economy but that does sound a bit suss. Now my BT50 actually has more in the tank at the end of the day than when I started. Hmm, yes well I do get around about 15litres/100ks towing the 2 tonne off road van.
AnswerID: 593060

Reply By: Nutta - Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 23:15

Monday, Nov 23, 2015 at 23:15
Oversize wheels also chew plenty of juice.

Yours seems extremely high, I'm towing 3.1t with an 2012 colorado, averages around 16-17 lph which i think is a bit high, I have racks, bullbar, plenty of weight in the back and my wheels are a couple of sizes larger.

I would seriously consider a discovery 4, my mate has one and its really good on juice, maybe worth a bit of research.

I took my cousins 550 for a spin yesterday funny enough and was extremely underwhelmed with the power, and it was empty, my colorado would have killed it loaded with gear, and believe me i despise my car so not starting a war.

My mates landy pulls heaps harder than the 550, his is the 3L diesel as well.

Good luck with it.
AnswerID: 593061

Reply By: swampy - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 02:13

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 02:13
pk ranger 3.0TD single cab
around city 17 ltr/100km towing 1700kgs
11- 12ltrs/100 city not towing
around 11ltrs /100 highway

AnswerID: 593063

Reply By: Member - Alastair D (NSW) - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 08:28

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 08:28
Devil's advocate
1. do you like your current vehicle and is it reliable? If so then think hard about the $s to upgrade and how much the fuel saving might be - a tiny fraction I bet.
2. with the big van you are planning to get then you are not going to be travelling in remote areas so fuel will be readily available.
3. consider your driving style and see if you might be able to be more economical. A drop of 10kph off the top speed will make a big difference. Do you accelerate hard up to cruising speed and then coast? If so then just take a bit more time. It will save.
4. If you are game and have a friend who has experience in towing then go for a drive and ask him to comment on your driving. Even better perhaps get someone you don't know from a towing training centre go with you. The cost may make a difference.
5. As said tyre pressures, load, roof racks, driving style all make a huge difference. I think these will give more benefit than a big investment in a new vehicle. If you had an old one I would agree but your's is quite modern and I doubt anything else is going to make a quantum leap.
6. At the moment you get ~20l/100k. Say you get a vehicle which will return 15l/100k (unlikely) then the saving is 25%. A trip of 20,000km, average price say $1.50 /L will cost $6000. If you magically save 25% then the saving is $1500. How much will a vehicle upgrade cost?
AnswerID: 593065

Reply By: Endless Summer - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 09:41

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 09:41
Thanks everyone for you help on this subject. Yes our Pathfinder is fitted with a rhino rack that gets loaded, we have an ARB bar fitted and bigger cooper MAXX tyres. which listening to your advice would build up the fuel usage. Yes we all like our car and are happy with it, my just need to drop a few km/hr. We have heaps of time and not in a rush to get anywhere in a hurry.
Out of a 80litre tank I can get about 400km, a couple 20litre jerry cans on the back might help.

Thanks again. Its been a great help.
AnswerID: 593069

Follow Up By: TomH - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 20:28

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 20:28
What gear do you tow in Sometimes towing in top uses more fuel than 4th I always travelled at 90kph and in 4th in a 5spd auto One day in a head wind figures went up, compensated next towing day with a tail wind.
FollowupID: 861273

Follow Up By: Endless Summer - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 21:23

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 21:23
If we don't have a head wind I'll travel in 6th, as it is a 7 speed auto box but can over ride to semi manual. if we have a breeze blowing into us i'm usually in 5th sitting on about 90km/hr.

Its a great engine, and pulls really well, with the Jayco we have now and we had a complete campsite camper trailer before that, not sure how it will go with a heavier trailer though.

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Reply By: MEMBER - Darian, SA - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:01

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 12:01
Efficient motoring depends on many factors of course.....if you are happy with your current rig, I suggest your consumption would have to be really bad to justify the economics of changing tugs. If I'm cruising on a flat road with no wind @ 85kmh max I'd expect about 17 - 18L/100k (a clean skin 200 series VX TD - 2800kg full height van - if I had a full fuel load and lots of water under the van, I would probably get to 19 / 20L). As mentioned, wind resistance, tyre pressures and throttle position are biggies....try cruising slower when indicated* and get rid of roof loads if possible.
* short of holding up other road users of course....speed is a big factor, in that small increases produces significant increases in engine load.
AnswerID: 593074

Follow Up By: mike39 - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 15:16

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 15:16
I reckon some very realistic replies here.
Quite recently, on another forum, was a very similar thread.
Similar, except to say if you were using more than 12-14 l/100 towing a 2400+kg. van at posted highway speeds into a head wind, then your tow vehicle was seriously deficient.
From my perspective, towing a 2000kg. van at around 75-80kph. achieving around 15-16l./100 I had to suggest that for some of those contributors an occasional fill hadn't made the log book!
Very easy to overlook the fact that even the most modern diesel still requires 200 grams/kw.hr. (older ones ~225g/kw.hr.)
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Follow Up By: Hewy54 - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 17:34

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 17:34
Have not run into this unit before (grams/kw.hr.)
Keen to expand my knowledge, so please explain.
FollowupID: 861263

Follow Up By: Member - Howard P (WA) - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 07:10

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 07:10
gr/kWhr would normally refer to the amount of fuel (by weight) required to produce 1 kWhr of electricity in the power generation industry. As diesel fuel is commonly sold by the liter to work out the grams per liter you first need to know the specific gravity of the fuel to do the calcs. Don't know why you would use this to measure vehicle fuel consumption?

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Follow Up By: Frank P (NSW) - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 23:29

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 23:29
If I recall correctly from my education 50 years ago, it is called "specific fuel consumption".

It is an acedemic measure of an engine's fuel efficiency. It is not intended for day-to-day use.


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Follow Up By: Hewy54 - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 08:38

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 08:38
So I guess to put it in simple terms, if we talk about grams/kw.h.
Regardless of your engine capacity, it is mainly about the number of kilowatts you use - tow a big van at higher speeds you use more kw and so more fuel.
If you have an older diesel it will be less efficient than modern ones.
Just mainly see a lot of common sense there.
I drive an old 80 series aftermarket turbo towing a 1700kg Vista Crossover.
My mileage varies from 19 l/100km at 100kph down to 16.3 towing at 90 kph.
I know I could get better if I updated, but the overall saving would only be about 20% on fuel (maybe $200 per year ). Devaluation on a newer car would be triple that.
The economics favour sticking with the older car. However if you want more features, comfort and safety, update.
Comes down to wants vs needs.
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Follow Up By: Hewy54 - Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:25

Thursday, Nov 26, 2015 at 09:25
Sorry no edit button here.
Savings could be about $1000 per year.
FollowupID: 861334

Reply By: scruffy - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 17:19

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 17:19
Hi, how are you working out your fuel consumption? If you are going by the onboard computer than I would suggest that the figures are wrong. Try working the fuel consumption out by the old method, litres used by kms on the trip meter and see what the fivures are then. Bob
AnswerID: 593085

Follow Up By: Endless Summer - Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 21:30

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015 at 21:30
Hi Bob,

yep been going of the on board computer, might try the and measure myself next time we head out and see how it goes. cheers
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Follow Up By: Michael H9 - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 07:16

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 07:16
If your tyres are bigger then I'll bet your odometer is out. I've checked mine on those 5km freeway sections and it is reading 7% low since I put the bigger tyres on. That means that when It says I've driven 100 kms I've actually driven 107 kms. Couple that with using actual litres used from the bowser and you can get a reasonably accurate fuel consumption figure. My on board computer is using the odometer distance to calculate which is 7% out so showing my fuel consumption 7% higher than it really is. Conversely, standard tyres usually cause the odometer to read a bit high which gives very optimistic fuel figures that people love to see even if it is a fantasy.
Swapping cars is expensive, in NSW the transfer fee alone on a $60k car would probably be more than the fuel saving you will get over a 20k journey.
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Follow Up By: Endless Summer - Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 19:39

Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015 at 19:39
Yes the odometer is out, when sitting on the speed a few months back we got clocked 5km over of what I had been doing.
And your right on the transfer fee also. The car we have has been very reliable and had no big drama's with it. So after all your advice I think now i'll keep with the car we have.

FollowupID: 861324

Reply By: Boatman - Monday, Nov 30, 2015 at 16:57

Monday, Nov 30, 2015 at 16:57
We get approx 16 litres per 100 with our Mazda BT50 towing a van around 2,200kg all up at a solid 100-110 kph and that's an average over at least 2,000 kms.
AnswerID: 593266

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