Mileage reduced by half when towing Scamp

12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Last seen: 1 year 2 weeks ago
Joined: 10/17/2021 - 15:11
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's picture
Last seen: 1 day 10 hours ago
Joined: 07/21/2020 - 12:22
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.

Oscarswanson's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/29/2022 - 20:27
My 5th gen. 4Runner is almost

My 5th gen. 4Runner is almost identical. Only towed it for the 1st time to Fl. Next time I'm going to try slowing down and may try it out of over drive.We'll see next winter.


Mike Larsen

markjazzbassist's picture
Last seen: 4 months 6 days ago
Joined: 12/14/2020 - 15:56
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's picture
Last seen: 1 month 3 weeks ago
Joined: 08/14/2020 - 21:47
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.

Last seen: 1 year 2 weeks ago
Joined: 10/17/2021 - 15:11
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.

Paul O.
Last seen: 22 hours 7 min ago
Joined: 01/19/2014 - 13:05
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.

2004 Scamp 19 Deluxe,
2021 Tacoma, Double Cab, 6 cyl. 4WD

Last seen: 1 year 1 month ago
Joined: 08/20/2018 - 13:45
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

Last seen: 1 year 2 weeks ago
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.

Tom in NM
Last seen: 2 weeks 19 hours ago
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. 

Last seen: 5 months 2 days ago
Joined: 05/23/2022 - 18:10
My 2013 4Runner usually gets

My 2013 4Runner usually gets about 22 MPG on the highway.  Pulling ANY trailer, be that a small utility trailer, a UHaul or our 13 foot Scamp takes that down about 5 MPG.  Towing through the midwest when bringing the Scamp home, I got about 19 MPG, but this was in pretty flat land.  Here in the mountains of North Carolina that goes down to about 16 MPG.  All of those numbers were driving 65 or so, and still in overdrive.  I'm not unhappy with the mileage.  Even in the mountains, I can barely feel the camper behind me.