Admitting and Overcoming Range Issues

2014 Mazda6


I have a range problem.

I didn’t realize I had a problem until a spate of recent road trips in two different cars blatantly slapped me in the face with the realization that my car doesn’t go very far on a tank of fuel. Since I’d really rather not drop $60 every 300 miles, I have a decision to make.

I can go between 270 and 320 miles on a tank of fuel in my car. My average is about 300 even, which translates to about 22 miles per gallon. Not bad. But with premium fuel and more road trips on the horizon, I have to admit that I have a problem. Especially compared with the 2013 Subaru Legacy I borrowed that can easily top 400 miles on regular fuel.

MSN posted yesterday a list of cars with the longest range, and my 10-year-old car, which is smaller and lighter than the Subaru, can’t compare with any of them.

Yup, I have a problem.

I can fix my problem, but it’s going to take a lot of money. The cars on the MSN list are all 2013 or 2014 models that’ll easily cost at least $25,000, much more for the high-end models that provide nearly endless highway driving. For example, there’s the 2014 Land Rover Range Rover, a vehicle that isn’t exactly fuel-effecient, but has a range of 637 miles. With a cavernous 27-gallon tank and fuel at $4 per gallon, though, the financial equation doesn’t exactly add up.

Then there’s the 2014 Mazda6, which can go up to 656 miles on a tank of fuel, which is much more palatable.

The very top of the range champions is the 2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI, which can go up to 795 miles on a tank of diesel. That means the car can almost complete three of my 300-mile road trips on a single 18.5-gallon tank.

Yes, I have significant range envy.

What I don’t currently have is car-payment envy. While a car with a killer range is exceptionally attractive, I’ll stick with what I have until I can find a used car with an 800-mile range.

How far does your car go on a tank of gas?


Find Used Cars in Your Area at CarGurus

Used Subaru Legacy
Used Mazda6
Used Land Rover Range Rover
Used Volkswagen Passat


  1. It does not necessarily take a lot of money anymore to fix your problem.

    For instance, our two VW TDI test cars’s have averaged 43-46 in local driving with our Coilpack4U in over 100,000 miles. For you, that would mean, with your 18.5 gallon tank, 832.5 miles of driving. That is, if you were foolish enough to run the tank down that far. You may realize that with a VW TDI, you are off to the dealership if you run one dry for a full fuel system purge. So that is not a good choice, but you could risk it.

    Most savvy drivers can normally expect about a 20% increase on a car like yours once you re-learn the techniques (its easy and fun). Note that doing that would put you at around 340-360 per tank. But importantly, you would be full of smiles from the extra power and response that you would get (and use).

  2. @ Randy
    It’s not a concern with getting to gas stations, it’s a concern with how often I need to fill up on road trips. If I can go 400 or 450 miles instead of 300 for the same $60, that seems like a better deal!

  3. My Trailblazer will go about 450 and so will my Prius. Difference is a 22 gallon vs. 10 gallon tank. I’m not sure I understand your concern, though. About the only place I’ve ever driven where longer range was a concern was Alaska. Even some really desolate places like Utah and Nevada still didn’t challenge even a 300 mile range.

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