Mileage reduced by half when towing Scamp

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Norlanson
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Mileage reduced by half when towing Scamp

My 2019 Subaru Outback 2.5i Limited averages about 32 mpg city/highway, but when towing my standard 13' Scamp (barely loaded) it averages only 16 mpg (mostly highway miles, at speeds 60-65 mph).  I hadn't anticipated that large of a reduction.  Have other folks had a similar experience?  I'm wondering if I'm doing something wrong.

Mr.T
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Sounds normal to me...

It's a huge increase in wind resistance and weight for that Subaru.  My Jeep goes from ~19 to ~14 hwy, but the Jeep already has poor aerodynamics and relatively high weight, so the percent change isn't as much.

markjazzbassist
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yes when i pulled with a

yes when i pulled with a honda CRV it was very similar drops.  My buick is the same drop about 5-6 mpg.  totally normal.  and that is GREAT gas mileage.  my father with his massive 5th wheel gets 5 mpg or less, my brother with his 30 foot trailer gets 8 mpg and celebrates.  we are living the fuel efficient life with Scamp :)

1987 Scamp 16

Sunfish
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Towing causes large drop in mpg

The mpg drops significantly when towing a travel trailer.  Many people will see a 25%-35% drop in mpg.  It can be greater than those figures if your vehicle is underpowered and maybe less if you have sufficient power.  Many people focus on the towing capacity of the vehicle and think they need a vehicle with a little more capacity than the weight of the trailer and hope that they can retain the fuel efficiency of the vehicle.  Something that is a big factor in towing is the drag and wind resistance of the trailer.  It is like pulling a parachute behind.  If your vehicle is greatly underpowered, you probably will see a larger drop in mpg on hilly roads than a vehicle sufficient power.  I think the drop in mpg towing a trailer is greater than most people expect.

Norlanson
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Outback is rated to tow 2700 lbs but works hard uphill

Thanks all for the replies.  My Outback is rated to tow 2700 pounds, but yes, I've noticed that when towing, it seems to really work hard going up hills or against a headwind -- the engine RPMs rise significantly in those conditions.  On freeways I've taken to drafting behind big semi's (at a safe distance) in order to ease the load on the engine a bit.

Jeff L

Paul O.
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Our mileage with my 2013

Our mileage with my 2013 Tacoma V6 4 liter, went from about 20 mpg to 16 mpg towing. I now have a 2021 Tacoma, but have not towed enough to get an estimate. It has a V6 3.5 liter and I expect the towing penalty to be slightly higher, for reasons others suggested.

-Paul
2004 Scamp 19 Deluxe,
Tacoma, Double Cab, 6 cyl. 4WD
Colorado

salukispeed
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same here

Our 2021 Onyx Xt Outback 2.4 Turbo went from close to 28 highway at 65 to 16-17 pulling our Scamp13 with bath.  but is very speed dependent. If I back off to 55-60 it is good for another 2 MPG and around 18.   The mileage even dropped a bit with a roof top carrier on the car.  It will be a real Eye opener when we start to pull our Casita this summer. But again compared to our 26 ft motor home at 7+ it is still a good deal

2019 Scamp 13 standard

Norlanson
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Joined: 10/17/2021 - 15:11
Roof top carrier additionally reduces mileage

Yes, in my original post I forgot to mention that I was traveling with a roof top carrier (a Yakima SkyBox 16).  So that probably also contributed to my mileage reduction.

Jeff L

Tom in NM
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Joined: 06/07/2020 - 18:17
Subaru and 13’

I'm have a 2018 outback with the same setup as yours and towing my 13' with bath. I vary between a low of 16 when the wind is blowing and / or I'm traveling faster than I should on the freeway, to almost 20 in better circumstances. I just drove yesterday from my home in NM to a place in Colorado and averaged about 20. And that's traveling from 5,000' to 8,500' at the campground. The car tows the trailer just fine and is very stable even in crosswinds.