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Elevation and MPG

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by NetMonkey, May 4, 2012.

  1. May 4, 2012 at 6:07 AM
    #1
    NetMonkey

    NetMonkey [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Toytec Ultimate Lift @ 3", Mickey Thompson MTZ's 285/75/16, Moto Metal 955b, rear 2" ALL, Marlin Crawler sliders
    so i have been tracking my MPG on fuelly.com since i purchased my truck in southern california. in so cal, i was getting about 18-19 MPG with the best being over 20 MPG. within 8 months of owning the truck, i moved to colorado and, shortly after that, i put the lift and tires on it. when i did that, thats when i noticed the drop in MPG to 15-16 MPG (and sometimes 13 MPG). the elevation in colorado (at a minimum) is 5000 feet and when we went off roading, we got up to 12000 feet. i never considered the elevation change to be the cause of the lower MPG; i thought that it was due to the tires. so when i moved out to massachusetts, thats when it dawned on me that the elevation must have an effect on MPG. i am sure some of you are saying, "well, duh", but its just that i have the data now to back that up. 6 out of the last 7 fill ups in MA have been at 17-18 MPG. so it seems that i really only lost about 1 MPG due to the larger tires.
    just thought that i would share :)
     
  2. May 4, 2012 at 6:26 AM
    #2
    Me Likey TRD

    Me Likey TRD Well-Known Member

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    Interesting.

    I'm at around 4000 elevation and used to live near sea level with no change when I moved.

    But did notice a big drop in mpg a few years ago when ethanol was added to most of the gasoline. Probably 2-3 mpg drop.
     
  3. May 4, 2012 at 7:22 AM
    #3
    Good351

    Good351 Well-Known Member

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    When I go to Colorado my mpg goes up. All my best tanks were while visting the fam in Ft Collins and Denver.

    Did you use 90 or better octane while in the mountains?
     
  4. May 4, 2012 at 7:37 AM
    #4
    Darth_Yota

    Darth_Yota I intend to live forever, or die trying.

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    This is interesting, because when flying as you go up, air thins out, so you have to lean the fuel mixture and fuel economy gets better, to a point at least, then you just start losing power and fuel economy once you get too high, but at sea level it's noticeably worse with denser air, and more fuel to keep a good fuel/air mixture. I would imagine the same would apply to vehicles? or even in the summer?
     
  5. May 4, 2012 at 7:38 AM
    #5
    Cowboyz

    Cowboyz Membor

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    Im at 5650 feet in Southern Utah and I have 35in BFG KM2 Mud terrains with stock gears getting 15.5-16 consistently. and i always put 87 not the 85 that they offer in the higher elevations.
     
  6. May 4, 2012 at 8:17 AM
    #6
    NetMonkey

    NetMonkey [OP] Well-Known Member

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    no, i always used 85/87.
     
  7. May 4, 2012 at 8:37 AM
    #7
    Uplander

    Uplander Active Member

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    Could it be that Colorado is mountainous, requiring the engine to work harder going up and down all the terrain? MA and So. Cal are going to be relatively flat compared to driving I-70 in the mountains of Colorado.
     
  8. May 4, 2012 at 9:50 AM
    #8
    WV150

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    Its the lift and big tires.Almost everyone who complains about MPGs has a lift and bigger tires than stock.If you want to play you have to pay!
     
  9. May 4, 2012 at 10:44 AM
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    Bajones

    Bajones Well-Known Member

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    I am no scientist but live up in Vail, thus driving in the mountains all the time. I have no idea how elevation effects mpg but grinding up and over mtn passes and what not has to have an effect. The engine definitely works harder in under these conditions.
     
  10. May 4, 2012 at 10:46 AM
    #10
    Twiostaco

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    You obviously didnt read his entire post. You need to read to succeed!
     
  11. May 4, 2012 at 10:51 AM
    #11
    NetMonkey

    NetMonkey [OP] Well-Known Member

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    yes, good point. however, when i was in colorado, my daily commute (westminster to louisville) was through the same type of rolling hills as there are here in MA.
    when i went off roading, i went through the passes and, yes, that would drop the MPG.
     
  12. May 4, 2012 at 10:58 AM
    #12
    Twiostaco

    Twiostaco Well-Known Member

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    What about winter gas? The last feel ups for me have yielded much better mpg. Winter gas gas come to an end!!!
     
  13. May 4, 2012 at 11:13 AM
    #13
    memario1214

    memario1214 Vivid Illumination Vendor

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    Yeah... My pickup is a dog up here at high elevation. My 33" tires definitely didn't help either. When I took my truck to our cabin in Minnesota it absolutely ripped. Definitely feel a difference. There's gotta be another pound or two of manifold pressure at the lower elevations than I am used to. I am planning a S/C for my truck soon to compensate for my lack of power.
     
  14. Jun 15, 2012 at 1:04 PM
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    NetMonkey

    NetMonkey [OP] Well-Known Member

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  15. Jun 15, 2012 at 1:14 PM
    #15
    Thighmaster

    Thighmaster Well-Known Member

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    2012 V6 DC auto: I live and work between 5,400'-9,000', 87 or 91 OCT, getting 19-21 mpg with stock set up. The lower values for me are typically when I use the truck in 4WD.
     
  16. Jun 15, 2012 at 3:53 PM
    #16
    kogary

    kogary Well-Known Member

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    ^^^This

    Winter gas really demolishes your mpg.

    I've filled up 50 something times here in Denver and can say with confidence, winter gas is awful. Look at my fuelly link below. I go from 21-25mpg in the summer to 19 if I'm lucky, in the winter.

    And as others have mentioned, higher elevation = less dense air, thus less fuel is required to hit a stoichiometric a/f ratio (or close to it). Whenever I've traveled out of state, I've always noticed a slight decrease in gas mileage the closer to sea level I get.
     
  17. Jun 15, 2012 at 3:59 PM
    #17
    worthywads

    worthywads Well-Known Member

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    I get better mpg in the Colorado front range and in the mountains than lower altitudes.

    Thinner air is good for lower wind resistance and less power which means less gas. I get 35mpg driving 60 around Denver.

    Driving in Mississippi at 60 I was lucky to get 28 mpg.
     
  18. Jun 15, 2012 at 4:32 PM
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    memario1214

    memario1214 Vivid Illumination Vendor

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    Yeah, I gots boost
    Your logic sounds good but its flawed... you may have a tiny amount less wind resistance, but that is easily negated by the lack of oxygen available in the thinner air at high altitudes.
     
  19. Jun 15, 2012 at 4:56 PM
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    worthywads

    worthywads Well-Known Member

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    How does that negate? Less oxygen means less power and less gas.
     
  20. Jun 15, 2012 at 6:10 PM
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    memario1214

    memario1214 Vivid Illumination Vendor

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    Yeah, I gots boost
    Yes. You have less power which you need in the mountains. Dropping gears is not good for mileage at all. You may get or at least think you get better mileage in the mountains, but im pretty sure you're in the minority.
     
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