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What is the gas mileage of a U-Haul® Rental Truck?

March 3rd, 2016 - 9:16 AM

Gas mileage depends on U-Haul® truck size

Because gas is such a significant factor in the cost of a rental truck, it's wise to figure out how much extra you'll pay to fuel up a U-Haul before renting one for your long distance move. The additional cost of gas could add a substantial amount to your total moving budget. If you’re looking to save money on your move, a rental truck may not be the best bet. As you decide, consider these several factors that contribute to the overall gas mileage of the truck, such as the way you drive and how much you’re moving. Let’s take a look at the gas mileage of each U-Haul truck size and how it can affect your move.

Gas mileage of a U-Haul

U-Haul trucks and gas mileage

U-Haul trucks come in five different sizes. As truck size increases, U-Haul gas mileage decreases. The chart below shows each truck size, the tank size, the miles per gallon (when the truck is both empty and loaded), and the miles per fuel tank (empty and loaded).

Keep in mind that because of increased weight, a loaded truck gets lower gas mileage than an empty one – which matters when you’re thinking about driving cross country in a truck loaded down with your belongings.

U-Haul gas milege truck size chart

Considering all of the information above, you can see that a U-Haul will get anywhere from 7-12 mpg, depending on a variety of factors. When you’re moving long distance, that gas mileage (even with the lower fuel costs at the moment) can really add up at the pump.

Other factors that play into U-Haul Truck MPG

Besides the size of the truck and whether you have it loaded or empty, other factors influence your gas mileage.

  • Driving style. One of the biggest impacts on fuel economy is your driving habits. Fueleconomy.gov reports that quick acceleration and heavy braking can reduce fuel economy up to 33% on the highway. Driving at higher speeds increases wind resistance, which will also decrease MPG.
  • Towing. Along with the weight of a loaded truck, the added weight of a tow trailer further decreases gas mileage. In basic terms, the heavier the load, the more power it takes to move the truck. That power comes from your truck’s engine and the extra gas it uses to move a larger load. If you plan on towing a trailer or car carrier behind the U-Haul, expect to see lower gas mileage and higher fuel costs.
  • Running electrical accessories. Using the heater or air conditioner impacts fuel usage. Operating the air conditioner at its highest level can reduce U-Haul truck MPG by anywhere from 5% to 25%!
  • Terrain. Driving on hills or through mountainous terrain can also reduce fuel economy because the engine has to work harder to pull the heavy truck up those hills. Unless your route is mostly flat, you may be stopping for gas more frequently than anticipated.
  • Vehicle maintenance. Poorly tuned engines will burn through more fuel. Under-inflated tires reduce rolling resistance, which in turn lower fuel economy. Even a dirty air filter can decrease fuel economy! It's difficult to control the maintenance on a rental truck since it's just that – a rental.

An example of how U-Haul gas mileage affects your costs

Now that you’ve considered the facts about gas mileage, let’s look at what this could mean for an actual move. Here’s an example move for a 24-foot U-Haul rental truck, moving long distance from New York, NY to Dallas, TX (1,547 miles).

With a 60-gallon gas tank at 6 MPG, you could expect to fill up the loaded U-Haul at least four times along the way. According to the Rental Truck Fuel Calculator, with today’s fuel prices, that comes to about $400 for fuel.

Something else to note: if you fail to return the truck with the same amount of gas that it had in it when you picked it up, there’s a fuel surcharge (normally a $20-$30 refueling fee).

How can you move without having to pay extra for fuel? Check out U-Pack®.

Don’t worry about U-Haul gas mileage – Go U-Pack!

If you’re moving out of state and concerned about the cost of fuel, U-Pack is the perfect solution. We’re a “you pack, we drive” moving company, designed to make moving easy and affordable. We’ll deliver a moving trailer or container to your home, you load it, and we’ll pick it up and drive it to your new home. That means no driving and no paying extra for fuel.

The cost of fuel is included, so there are no surprises at the pump. Customers often find that when they’re moving long distance, U-Pack prices are comparable to truck rental, especially when you factor in the ease of having your belongings delivered door to door. Click to get a free moving quote online to see how much your move will cost.

If you have questions about gas mileage for your trip, or you want more information on how U-Pack can help you move, let us know. We're here to help any way we can.

Considering truck rental? More resources:

U-Pack vs. U-Haul

7 things you should know about U-Haul before renting a truck

How to save more than just a U-Haul discount

Cheapest way to move cross country

Why U-Haul won’t rent a trailer for a Ford Explorer

U-Haul truck sizes

Moving trucks – Frequently Asked Questions