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2009 Malibu LTZ MPG problem

I just bought a 2009 Malibu LTZ, 4 cylinder

6 speed transmission in October.

It is rated as 22 City/ 34 Highway. That was major thing why I bought Malibu instead of Camery LE, or Accord EX. (I have driven all three of them). Malibu is much quiter than Accord and Camery. However, I only can get 17 City and 26 Highway. First 500 miles, I only use it to send kids to School and do local shopping. Stops and traffic lights do cost

a lot of gas. First 3 tank of gas (13 Gal fill at the station, it has 16 Gal tank capacity) only drove 220-250 miles/tank.

The second half 500 miles I started commuting to work. 10 miles major highway

every day. When I drive at 70 miles/hour,

the built-in MPG calculation is 26 MPG.

The local and commute combined MPG is 20.3 MPG. One thank only last 295 miles (14.5 Gal fill at the station).

Is Malibu supposed to be that way, or my Malibu loves to drink more gas? The dealer refues to take a look until it reaches 3000 miles. I only has about 1300 miles on this car. My year 2000 oldsmobile minivan (3.4L V6 engine, 98,000 miles already, used for same commuting before I use Malibu) is doing better than this 2009 4 cylinder sedan. Is Malibu’s rating just a hype? I really appreciate any expert’s opinion. Also I don’t like Chevy people attidue. They are very defensive. They say it will be getting better after 3000 miles, I think it is B.S. Every new car always perform better when it is brand new.

It may very well get better after 3000 miles. I would wait until everything gets fully broken in before you go around pointing fingers at the dealership. Are you using E10 gas? Also winter blended fuels will typically reduce fuel mileage a little. It’s too early to tell if something is wrong with your car.

Agreed. Get some mileage on it, wait for the weather to warm up, I suspect it’ll get better.

I agree with the others, give it some time, make sure your tires are inflated, etc. And typically new cars perform worse than ones with some miles. You can read about that on most every long term review at C&D, where the accelleration results typically improve from the first test to the final (typically 40,000 mile) test.

Excellent point about the tires.

OP–Unless you have bothered to reinflate your tires since the advent of colder weather, those tires could be seriously underinflated. (In case you weren’t aware of it, underinflated tires result in a drop in gas mileage, as well as shorter tread life for the tire.)

If you don’t have a tire pressure gauge, buy one–preferably one with a dial, rather than the “pencil” type. Refer to the label on the driver’s door jamb for the correct pressures, and be sure to do the checking and inflating when the tires are cold (i.e.–before the car has been driven more than 2 miles).

Also–DO NOT warm up the car for more than 30 seconds or so before driving. Extended warm-ups are not necessary on modern cars and are one of the biggest wastes of gas during the winter.

Thank you so much for the advice. Sorry I forgot mention that I live in Houston, TX
It is 60-70 degree in October, the best weather of the year. Also the on-borad
tire PSI gauge say all tires are at 33-34 PSI. Do I need to bring them to
35 PSI. I will post again when it reaches 3000 mile or more. Thank everyone. But filling the gas tank every 260 miles is quite annoying. (I have
driven many cars in the past 20 years due to business travel, it is the first time I have exprienced in filling a tank of gas under 300 miles driving)

GM advertised (based on EPA testing)the gas mileage to expect,my question,if the vehicle fails to meet this estimate (after racking up the required break-in miles) what should GM instruct the Dealer to do?
Some highly accurate mpg calculation method must be used,but I have not seen this demonstrated at any GM Dealer I worked at.
This is a GM issue not a Dealer issue,if a inspection reveals no items of concern,what comes next?

Is failing to meet expected mpg a reason for the owner to be able to return the car for refund?

Sending the kids to school and shopping is just about the worst kind of driving you can do mileage wise since it’s all town driving and usually short trips. Even your commute isn’t that much better because even 10 miles is still a pretty short trip (the car probably won’t be fully warmed up until 3 or 4 miles in) and plus it’s pretty rare that urban highway driving conditions meet the EPA highway conditions which are rural highway miles with constant speed and no stops.

The advice I give people who are complaining about low mileage is to go take a road trip-- drive a few hundred miles on rural highway and see how it does. I hear Austin is lovely this time of year.

HI, i have the same problem with malibu LT 4 cylinder 2009, have a poor MPG about 15 MPG in the city, in my car have a smell egg in the emisions and y think what the problem is about emision control problem , are you have the same??

For that egg smell, change your brand of gasoline. This is the first thing the car maker and the dealer recommend.

the built-in MPG calculation is 26 MPG.

That could be a large part of your low mileage. Those built in meters seldom do a very accurate measure. They are good for determining that driving fast up that hill gives you lower mileage than slow, but they don’t give you a accurate idea of how much fuel was actually used either way.

I suggest that you do a manual mileage computation (the number of miles since the last fill up divided by the number of gallons used) on at least three consecutive fill ups and make sure you have used at least half a tank full.  

Next I would expect that that mileage will do better over the first 10,000 miles.  Most cars don't do their best just off the lot.  

You also might want to check your driving style as that can make a really big difference.

In addition to Mr. Meehan’s valid comments, I want to add that–in the case of the actual OP, rather than octavio 09–it was stated that 26 mpg was achieved at 70 mph. If I am not mistaken, the “offical” gas mileage figures are calculated at a lower speed–perhaps 55 mph, perhaps 60mph–and while I definitely don’t think that 70 mph is an excessive speed on a good interstate highway, that is NOT the speed that someone should be driving at if they are interested in maximizing their gas mileage.

Additionally, I can verify that gas mileage does increase once the engine is “loosened up” a bit. Back around December, after my odometer passed the 90k mark, my gas mileage increased by about 1/2 mpg, and recently it increased by another 1/2 mpg. Since my daily drive does not vary at all, and since my driving style is also a constant, I believe that the engine has finally “loosened up” sufficiently to give me a small mileage boost. And, since it still burns no oil between changes and still retains excellent power, I think that I am in the “sweet spot” in terms of performance/gas mileage/engine wear.

Ergo–good maintenance really does pay off, and you will be rewarded with better gas mileage in a few months, or in a few years. I think that an overall figure of 26 mpg (with a highway figure of ~29mpg) is pretty good for a 212 hp six cylinder engine in an AWD vehicle like my '02 Outback.