Jeep gas mileage figures have always been below the norms when compared with many other types of vehicles. For example most people do not understand why something as small as the Jeep Wrangler can get such lousy mileage (roughly 13 to 18 mpg depending upon how and where it is driven).
It is a known fact that, all things being equal (i.e. driving style) the two most significant factors affecting your rig's gas mileage are aerodynamics (amount of wind resistance while moving forward) and overall weight of the vehicle.
Most Jeeps, aside from the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot are NOT very aerodynamically designed for cutting through the air at highway speeds...thus reducing gas mileage due to the boxy or squared shape, which works more like a wall than a wedge while moving through air.
An example would be the difference in shape between a FedEx Van and a Corvette...one a box shape (like a wall) and the other sleek like a wedge (aerodynamic).
The other factor affecting Jeep gas mileage is weight.
Now aside from the Compass and Patriot, most Jeeps are quite heavy when compared with other vehicles regarding their outward size.
This extra weight is due to heavier construction to make Jeeps capable of dealing with rough off road conditions. Also, the Jeep Wranglers still have a full steel frame and separate body.
Although the Grand Cherokee, Liberty, Patriot and Compass all have uni-body construction (no separate frame) the 4-wheel drive versions have increased weight to accommodate the 4x4 components.
Okay, so to simplify why this translates into lower Jeep gas mileage...more weight requires the engine and drive-train components to work harder to move the vehicle along...thus requiring more fuel to achieve this.
Now, let's say you add heavy duty bumpers, a winch, rock sliders, skid plates (armor), off road lights, bigger than stock tires and a roof rack.
Voila! You have just added 500 to 1000 lbs. or more to your Jeep.
There is nothing wrong with any of that! Just be prepared for a drop in fuel economy relative to the amount of extra weight added to the Jeep.
Improving gas mileage with your Jeep can sometimes be accomplished by finely tuning the gearing. This can get expensive in a hurry, however by judiciously changing gear ratios in the differentials, using an overdrive transmission (most later model Jeeps come with overdrive trannies), or installing free wheeling hubs on the front axles, you can get some mild improvement.
Another way to improve mileage is to reduce overall weight as much as possible. Keep accessories to a minimum. Use a soft top (or no top) instead of a heavier hard top. Go easy on the heavy bumpers, winches and body armor. Run factory or only slightly larger tires with lighter alloy wheels. And finally, take the lead out of your right sneaker and treat the skinny pedal like it was made out of egg shells.
Hopefully, these tips will help some with your fuel thirsty Jeep, but remember why you bought your Jeep in the first place. If it was to get good fuel economy...may I suggest selling your Jeep and getting a Toyota Prius.
However, if you wanted a rugged, tough and solid vehicle to get you anywhere you need to go...then your Jeep is it!
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