With gas prices hitting new highs on almost a daily basis it is important to practice these tips for increasing Lexus GX and off road vehicle gas mileage.
We hope you didn’t buy your Lexus GX for the great mileage. Off the showroom floor (before you add tires, suspension lift, roof rack, etc) it only aspires to get 15mpg city / 19mpg highway – that’s not great! But while we all accept that our GX470s and GX460s are gas guzzlers the price of gas is seriously high. Surely there’s something that can be done to increase the Lexus GX gas mileage. There are a few things that you can do – some of them immediately – to increase your mileage. WARNING – not all of them will be popular though!
- Remove exterior equipment – roof racks, storage boxes mounted to roof racks, Hi-lift jacks, basically anything attached to the exterior that isn’t stock is going to decrease mileage, even if only by a small margin. This is because these exterior mounted accessories increase wind resistance, increase drag or both. Consider removing your exterior accessories when not in use to increase your mileage.
- Reduce tire size – this one isn’t popular… I get it. You worked hard to figure out what tire size, wheel size, suspension lift, etc. creates just the right combination to create your killer off road rig! However, larger tires come with drawbacks:
- Larger tires weigh more – anything that adds weight to your vehicle increases your engine workload which will in turn decrease your gas mileage.
- Larger tires increase wind resistance – larger tires make your vehicle taller which increases wind resistance. Increased wind resistance makes your Lexus GX engine work harder and thus reduces your mileage.
- Larger tire tread patterns decrease mileage – well… actually all off road tire tread patterns (all terrain, mud terrain, etc) decrease your mileage because they are not designed to provide the least amount of friction on the pavement. They are actually designed for almost the exact opposite – to provide as much gription as possible off pavement. If mileage is key consider switching to something designed to provide increased mileage. If you have mud terrain tires consider switching to all terrains. If you have all terrains consider switching to an aggressive street tread.
- Slow down – Most vehicles, including the Lexus GX, begin to experience a significant decrease in mileage above 50mph. Driving above 55mpg can actually results in about a 7-14% reduction in mileage the faster you drive. Above 75mph in a Lexus GX and things get abysmal!
- Lower your suspension – just like how tires and exterior accessories increase your vehicle height which in turn increases wind resistance and lowers mileage, the larger your suspension lift the higher your vehicle sits, thus increasing your wind resistance and lowering your mileage. Consider choosing a smaller suspension lift.
- Ditch the high clearance bumpers – again, not a popular option… we get it. The problem is that high clearance bumpers (front of rear) increase wind resistance. Those ugly bumpers that came stock on your Lexus GX were actually designed to efficiently move air (resistance) around, under and over your vehicle as it flies down the highway. Removing those bumpers (or significantly trimming them) disrupts that efficient air flow resulting in higher wind resistance and lower mileage.
- Reduce weight – the heaver a vehicle, the harder the engine must work and the lower the gas mileage. If you want to increase mileage find ways to decrease the load. Get rid of the rear drawer system, the toolbox, the slide out kitchen… basically all the gear you use when overlanding when you’re not actually overlanding. I know this runs counter to overland culture (add as many accessories as possible that one might ever possibly need off road and keep them on the vehicle permanently) but saving weight is one of the best ways to improve gas mileage on a Lexus GX.
- Use cruise control – some studies have shown that using cruise control on the open highway can increase mileage as much as 14%… that’s real savings! When you’re cruising down the highway on your next overland adventure engage that cruise control, dial in a responsible speed, and sit back and relax knowing you’re increasing your mileage. (not advisable on steep, windy roads)
- Check your tire pressure – for every 10psi of inflation loss your vehicle’s mileage will decrease by about 3%. It also increases abnormal wear and tear on your tires that decreases tire lifespan. Regularly check your tire pressure and air up to the appropriate pressure – especially when hitting the pavement for long stretches of high speed driving.
- Rotate and balance tires, get an alignment – In addition to extending the life of your tires, getting a regular tire rotation and balance can actually increase your mileage. Tires are designed to get maximum efficiency when tread patterns are in good shape. Cupping and other negative wear patterns can break down the tread pattern and increase friction thus reducing mileage. Misaligned tires also increase friction and reduce mileage so get your alignment checked at least yearly.
- Fill up early in the morning – gas is sold by volume. As temperatures rise, especially in hot summer months, liquids expand and you don’t get as much gas when you fill up. Refueling in the morning means cooler temps and more dense gas being pumped into your tank. In short, you get more gas for your buck! It doesn’t increase your gas mileage per se, but at least you get more gas for the money you pay.
- Turn off the car – an idling vehicle can consume 1 gallon of gas per hour. If you are going to be parked for more than a few minutes your are burning fuel (and with no resulting gain in distance). Turn off the engine until you need to drive.
By now you probably hate our list… you love your rig and want to show it off. We understand… while doing all of these things will certainly maximize your gas mileage gain you don’t have to go all in to gain a few mpg’s. Try a few of these – check your tire pressure, lighten the load, get your tires rotated and balanced – even a few of these tips put into practice will help you increase Lexus GX gas mileage.
Hopefully these tips will help you increase your Lexus GX gas mileage during these historically high gas prices. They’ll also help reduce wear and tear on your vehicle which saves you money in the long run. However, if you aren’t worried about gas prices and got the full overlanding tattoo, drank the overlanding Kool-aid, have the full overland on Instragram life, then full send to you fine sir or ma’am!