Drunken Chevy

Help! My Malibu has an insatiable thirst for gasoline.
Various things I try improve gas mileage but only for about a week.
Tires are the correct pressure, throttle body has been cleaned, oil is fresh, filters have been replaced and there are no leaks.
How can I teach this car to kick its drinking habits?

Well, you know - those '72 Malibus are just really known for that, especially when you get up to the mileage yours has on it, and when you leave the original plugs in for 40 years and all of that. [sarcasm]

How about you report full info on the car (including the state of basic maintenance). Then measure the actual MPGs you are getting and post that. To measure you have to use the odometer and actual fuel to fill the car at fill ups. After all of that, there might be something to talk about.

Doesn’t the OP realize that, without specific information regarding the model year, odometer mileage, and info on the car’s actual maintenance record over the past 3 years, nobody can comment on his/her post with any hope of accuracy?

If it really is a Malibu Classic, it was only built in 2008. Which engine; 4-cyl or 6-cyl ?

According to the VIN and the Operator’s Manual, this 2005 is, in fact, a “Malibu Classic”. I cannot trust anything more because I bought this used car only a year ago.

If (your) issue is that I may have incorrectly identified the model you need to recognize that I have nothing more to rely on than the documentation I received with the car.

More importantly, however, is that I still have the same issue - the car is thirstier than a camel after crossing the Sahara Desert and I cannot afford to quench that thirst.

I need a solution, not a scolding.

It has a 4.3 liter “EcoTech”, 4-cylinder engine.

Go look under the hood again. There was no 4.3L 4 cylinder available in a Malibu.And we enjoy ourselves here but often have some good answers. We need to know what we are talking about though. Malibu covers a lot of ground. I drove one with 375 hp that would smoke the tires in 3rd gear and on a good day mileage was 8 mpg burning 100 octane.

That car should be getting mid to high 20’s on the highway, and low 20s around town. Have you done the math on your mileage?? Miles between fills divided by gallons taken ?? Do you have a check light on?? Is the motor running smooth or rough??

I stand corrected. According to Wikipedia, it’s a 2.2 Liter, “L61” 4-cylinder engine which Chevy and several other GM cars used from 2000-2007. Also, that engine was called “EcoTec” not “EcoTech”.

O.K., now does anyone have any idea how to fix my problem with gas mileage?

jerrye, what is your gas mileage now and what was it before? Also, how many miles on the car? I guess you haven’t changed your driving habits or routes.

jerrye, people come here on a very regular basis talking about gas mileage issues. Nine times out of 10 it turns out that a) they are not using a good method for really figuring out their mileage, and b) have inflated notions in their heads about what their mileage should be. So you have to realize that the first - and perfectly reasonable thing to do is find out what your gas mileage actually is.

Now, in order to figure that out, the first thing one needs to know is the very specific model of the car. You showed up reporting nothing but a Malibu classic. Great. I think those first appeared in 1977. Ok fine - so after something like 10 posts we have that nailed down.

Next - measure your actual gas mileage. You need to be able to say what kind of mileage you actually hetting.

Then, when you can report that tell everyone everything you know about the state of things with the car. How many miles are on it? How old are the spark plugs and wires? Filters? Cooling system service? In general, what has your approach to maintenance been since you’ve owned it? Anything overdue? Is there a check engine light on by chance?

No one is scolding you jerrye. There is absolutely no way to have a conversation about your gas mileage if all you can do is show up and say you have a malibu that is drinking gasoline. There is no way to judge that statement/belief, nor is there any way to know where to start.

As of yesterday I’m getting an average of 11 miles/gallon whether if fill with expensive (Chevron) or cheap (independant) 87 octane. (When I buy gasoline at Citgo, which appears to be cheap, I always find that I am pumping more gasoline than my tank can hold so that’s not a viable comparison - Citgo is simply lying to the public about what is being delivered.) That’s been pretty much the “norm” since I bought the car last year.

There’s a bit more than 123,000 miles on the odometer and, no, my driving has been the same pattern for more than a year. I almost never use my car on the weekends because my wife’s Nissan is so much more efficient.

First explain where you got the 11mpg from.

Then go out & get new spark plugs, plug wires, air & fuel filters. Have the car aligned and the brakes checked, especially for dragging. Have the cooling system serviced along with a new thermostat. While the cooling system is serviced have the coolant temperature sensor checked.

Truly, if the spark plugs were never changed, they could be burned out. You sometimes need a mechanic to check out problems. One look at a spark plug might fix the problem and save enough money over the next three months to pay for the plugs. Labor is another thing that may need a month or two.

There are only a few ways this car can possibly be getting 11 miles per gallon. One is if you are consistently in the habit of letting it sit and idle for quite some time before you drive it anywhere, even a few blocks away. Two, it’s leaking fuel, or three, somebody is stealing it from your tank when you are not looking. My brother had a similar problem with sudden, horrible gas mileage, installed a locking gas cap, and the problem went away.

Jerrye–You still haven’t told us anything about the car’s maintenance, nor have you told us whether the check engine light is lit up. Both of these issues are very germane to the problem that you have presented.

If you purchased this car ~ a year ago, and if it did not come with maintenance records, then–unfortunately–you have to assume that none of the required maintenance has ever been done. When maintenance has been skipped, gas mileage will drop, the engine will soon begin to run roughly and be less likely to start, and–overall–the life of the vehicle will be shortened.

Please refer to your Owner’s Manual and the list provided above by cigroller for what you need to do regarding maintenance.

If the car idles smoothly, accelerates and cruises reasonably well, able to down shift in a passing situation it would be difficult to diagnose without some serious investigation. The OBD II system will give access to a very good data stream that might show the cause of the poor mileage. Checking codes is not enough. MAP and O2 values would be prime suspects. And a partially restricted exhaust can lower manifold vacuum and cause the MAP to register a weak signal which the ECM would register as high demand for power and increase the fuel. If that were the case the catalyst would be quickly melted down though. If you feel like tackling it yourself find an OBD scan tool that reads the data stream and hook it up. It might pay for itself quickly.