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

July 13th, 2016 - 3:23 PM

Gas mileage depends on the size of the U-Haul® rental

Thinking about renting a U-Haul for your long distance move? The cost of gas could add a substantial amount to your total moving budget. Each U-Haul rental truck gets different gas mileage, so figuring out your costs can be tricky, but it’s easy to do if you have the right information. If you’re looking to save money on your move, consider all of the factors that play into gas mileage from truck size to driving habits and find out if another moving option is a better way to go.

Gas mileage of a U-Haul

U-Haul trucks and gas mileage


U-Haul trucks come in five different sizes (10’, 15’, 17’, 20’ and 26’). As you might imagine, as truck size increases, gas mileage decreases. That means if you need a bigger truck, your fuel costs will be higher. The chart below shows the tank size, miles per gallon and the miles per fuel tank for each truck size. Note that the mpg and miles per fuel tank are for empty U-Haul trucks – loaded trucks won’t be as fuel efficient.



U-Haul truck gas mileage chart

Using the information above, you can see that a typical U-Haul rental truck will get anywhere from 7-12 mpg. The exact mileage you get will depend on a few other circumstances.

Other factors that affect gas mileage

Several things besides the size of the truck and whether it’s loaded or empty can influence the mpg you get in a U-Haul rental. These include:  

  • Driving style. The way you drive is one of the biggest impacts to your gas mileage. Fueleconomy.gov reports that quick acceleration and heavy braking can reduce fuel economy up to 33% on the highway. So watch your driving habits if you want to cut back on costs. 
  • Towing. The added weight of a tow trailer decreases U-Haul truck gas mileage because it takes more power to move a heavy truck than a light one. Power comes from your truck’s engine and the gas it uses – which means more fuel is required if the load is heavier. If you plan on towing a trailer or car carrier behind the U-Haul, expect to see lower gas mileage and higher fuel costs.
  • Climate control. 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 areas can  reduce fuel economy because the engine has to work harder to pull the heavy truck up 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 lowers fuel economy. Even a dirty air filter can lead to higher costs at the pump! It's difficult to control the maintenance on a rental truck since it's just that – a rental – but if it’s the way you choose to move, you may consider giving the truck a quick inspection before driving off.

How gas mileage impacts costs

Now that you’ve considered the facts about gas mileage, let’s look at how it impacts the fuel costs for an actual move. Here’s an example move for a 26-foot U-Haul rental truck, moving long distance from New York, NY to Dallas, TX (1,547 miles).

With a rental truck that has a 57-gallon gas tank and gets 9 mpg, you could expect to fill up the loaded U-Haul at least three times along the way (9 mpg x 57 gallon tank = 513 miles per tank  and  1547 miles / 513 miles per tank =  3.01 tanks). According to the rental truck fuel calculator, with current fuel prices, that means spending about $500 for diesel fuel.

If you were to do the same move in your personal vehicle (we’ll say you get 23 mpg and have a 15 gallon tank), it would only cost about $150 (assuming an average fuel cost of $2.20).   

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

Don’t worry about the gas mileage of a U-Haul rental – 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. It works like this: 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.

Since the cost of fuel is included, there are no surprises at the pump. Customers often find that when they’re moving long distance, U-Pack prices are comparable to U-Haul truck rental – especially when you factor in the ease of having your belongings delivered to your door.

Click to get a free moving quote online to see how much your move will cost.

If you have questions about U-Haul truck gas mileage, 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.

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

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

U-Haul Truck Sizes


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