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Extra fuel consumption when towing trailer.

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Extra fuel consumption when towing trailer. Empty Extra fuel consumption when towing trailer.

Post by iank on Sun May 03, 2015 1:47 pm

Hi,

I'm trying to decide on the economics of towing a car around Europe versus renting when we need one.  I'm planning a 4000 + mile  trip so the fuel used just towing around the extra weight needs to be considered.

So can I ask anyone else here who has towed a car on a trailer behind their MH what their extra fuel consumption was?

FYI:  My MH is a Palermo with the Peugeot 2.8HDI motor.  I currently get around 29MPG with lots of motorway/dual carriageway miles and around 23MPG when its country lanes and lots of stop start.

Thanks in anticipation

Ian
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Post by Gromit on Sun May 03, 2015 1:53 pm

About 3mpg Ian, depending on whether you leg it or not. That would be at "lorry" speed on the motorways, and fairly gently on other roads.

Difficult to be very specific, but I would say 3 or 4mpg at most from my experience of towing a Skoda Citigo on an A-Frame. (In the UK only.)

A trailer would presumably have slightly less rolling resistance, specially if you pump the tyres up to the maximum. (A well designed trailer should be stable enough, even with hard tyres.)

Hope this helps.

Dave
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Post by jollywalker on Sun May 03, 2015 2:20 pm

Hi, check the legalities for different countries you may be visiting, I heard some have changed what you can tow behind, and how you can tow it.
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Post by JohnnyT on Sun May 03, 2015 3:25 pm

Hi Ian,

I had a Eldiss 180 (100bhp Boxer)  six berth towing a fiat 500 on an "A" frame
Similarly to Gromit my mpg dropped from 27 to 28 down to 24 to 25 on a trip to the Outer Hebridees.
It was more noticeable on hills but found if you can tuck behind a HGV and get in their tow the on board read out on fuel consumption improved than without the tow. Especially the continental drivers seem to go at about 60 anyway. Filling up at petrol stations was interesting at times!
The extra freedom the car gave was great but in the end we opted for the more diminutive but higher specced Nuevo which we can park in most places.

Regards,

J
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Post by Gromit on Sun May 03, 2015 3:28 pm

I may be wrong Jolly (it has been known! scratch head ) but I think the changes refer to A-Frames rather than trailers.

As far as I know a trailer is "a trailer"! What you tow on it is immaterial, and may not even be apparent if it's a box trailer. All the information I have gleaned states that a trailer is legally accepted everywhere, but A-Frames are becoming increasingly unacceptable - notably in Spain and Germany. (This is why we don't tow the car abroad - it just ain't worth the risk, and on the type of holiday we take across the Channel it would be too restrictive anyway, as we move from place to place very much more than at home.)

Dave
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Post by plato2012 on Sun May 03, 2015 7:11 pm

Hi, I tow a Morgan 4/4 on a Brian James twin axle, 4m x 2m trailer behind a Stanton with the Mercedes 7 speed auto. The trailer weighs 600kg and the Morgan 950kg. We get 27mpg solo and 25-26mpg towing. Tend to be less aggressive on acceleration with the trailer and top speed of 50mph, keep to 60mph on motorways. To date all my towing has been UK but 1200 miles in the last year.
In Spain last winter we met a couple who had "A framed" their Smart Car with no problem but another couple had been stopped by the Police, received a fine and been instructed to uncouple and drive separately. 
We are considering taking the Morgan next winter, the only real downside is that it will be more difficult to use the Aires on the way down.

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Post by iank on Mon May 04, 2015 6:15 pm

Thanks for the information.  I have ruled out an A frame simply because of the uncertainty of the legality in the various countries we intend to go to.  It seems that from the experience shared here the extra fuel cost is negligible.  The real extra cost is in the tolls and sea crossings.  Thanks all.
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Post by Dutto on Mon May 04, 2015 10:20 pm

Hi there,

Daft as it sounds, it is quite possible that you will get much better MPG when towing a trailer!

Most motorhome's we see go whizzing past us at the maximum allowable speed limit.  This being 70mph on dual carriageways and 60mph on single carriageways.

With a trailer you will be limited to 50mph on single carriageways and 60mph on dual carriageways and motorways (even on the Continent); and you will be saving fuel that may otherwise be squandered in the name of "speed".

We normally get about 32mpg without the trailer and 29 to 30mpg with the trailer attached; allthumbz

.... but as we only ever drive slowly we don't get the benefit that may be accrued by the boy-racers amongst us! Whistle1 Whistle1

Hope this helps. allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

PS

Because the trailer makes you a "Heavy Goods Vehicle" you are NOT allowed to drive it in the third lane of a motorway! allthumbz allthumbz allthumbz

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Post by PLOUGHLIN on Tue May 05, 2015 12:10 am

No vehicle, however light, towing a trailer is allowed in the outer lane of 3 or more lane roads.

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Post by plato2012 on Tue May 05, 2015 9:19 am

iank wrote:Thanks for the information.  I have ruled out an A frame simply because of the uncertainty of the legality in the various countries we intend to go to.  It seems that from the experience shared here the extra fuel cost is negligible.  The real extra cost is in the tolls and sea crossings.  Thanks all.
It will cost extra on the crossing but I believe, in France at least, there is no extra charge for the trailer. Check the SANEF website.

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Post by Dutto on Tue May 05, 2015 9:57 am

plato2012 wrote:
iank wrote:Thanks for the information.  I have ruled out an A frame simply because of the uncertainty of the legality in the various countries we intend to go to.  It seems that from the experience shared here the extra fuel cost is negligible.  The real extra cost is in the tolls and sea crossings.  Thanks all.
It will cost extra on the crossing but I believe, in France at least, there is no extra charge for the trailer. Check the SANEF website.
Hi there,

The peagés in France go on height rather than length so towing a trailer comes in at the same price as an ordinary vehicle .... up!

.... but make sure that the car + trailer doesn't exceed 2m in height. tap_fingers

Check out the following for the different rates.

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by Gromit on Tue May 05, 2015 11:27 am

Beware of The Tunnel.

They seem to rate cars and caravans on length, and often have deals whereby the caravan goes free or at a very much reduced rate.

If you tow a trailer behind a motorhome however, they sting you for their "trailer" rate, even though the length of the whole unit is considerably less than a car and caravan. This invariably comes to a lot more than the car and caravan rate, often for a shorter unit, so it's a double whammy!!!

No amount of arguing has so far convinced them that they should treat all units the same. If car and caravan is charged according to length, then surely motorhome and trailer should be charged on the same tarrif - but they will have none of it!!

Be warned, and do a comparison. It's likely to be a lot cheaper on the ferry.

Dave
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Post by Swansea Jac on Tue May 05, 2015 11:51 am

Having towed a Lupo behind an A class van in the past, the fuel consumption improved considerably when towing, because of the speed restrictions hugegrins

On the downside, the French tolls charged us as a lorry plus car  confuzed

I wouldn't use an A-frame now, as they have become a problem abroad, but several years ago, when we were expecting a problem from the French police, their observation was that it was such a clever bit of kit that only the Brits would have thought of it! happy clapper

(On another long trip, they also loved Brompton Bikes for the same reason) cycle
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Post by Dutto on Wed May 06, 2015 10:58 am

Swansea Jac wrote:Having towed a Lupo behind an A class van in the past, the fuel consumption improved considerably when towing, because of the speed restrictions hugegrins

On the downside, the French tolls charged us as a lorry plus car  confuzed

............... cycle
Hi there,

My advice is to ALWAYS print out the latest PDF file as per this one ....

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

.... work out exactly what you should be being charged .... up!

.... and then ask the Toll Keeper to point out under which section they are applying the charges if they disagree. allthumbz

I have a mate who will happily block the whole of the French peagé system to get them to explain why they are attempting to charge him Class 4 for his Range Rover and Trailer Boat.  This is on the basis that they cannot possibly know how much his boat weighs.  In reality the rig weighs well over the 3.5 tonne limit and has a total of 4 axles but he gets away with it in most instances!

In your case I would imagine that they charged you Classe 4 on the basis that the whole rig was over 3.5 tonnes and you had more than two axles.  If you check you will see that there is a small note under the Classe 4 label that states "Vehicles towing a trailer or caravan." to indicate that these are included.

In "Petal" we get away with Classe 2 because we are below 3 metres in height and below the 3.5 tonne mark as well (I think!) Whistle1   Whistle1 

I reckon for yourself it must be time to give the peagés a miss!! allthumbz

Best regards,
drinksallround

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Post by iank on Thu May 07, 2015 3:06 pm

Thanks for the extra information.

To be honest I have no problem paying the tolls - they are what they are.  The Peages have always previously been a preferred option simply because its soooo much faster.  However, for this trip I'm thinking the N and D roads will probably win out simply because I'm not in any rush.  But the ones I cant get out of are the ferries - but I think a bit of forward planning on dates will help reduce that cost ( looked at Livorno to Bastia  for one of our likely dates and its over £300 more with the trailer!) simply choose different dates and the difference is only £60!
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