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Fusion Hybrid 2013 - Getting only 20 MPG after Service

Hi all,

I have a very irksome issue that the local Ford dealership doesn’t seem to know how to fix.

Several things happened which I think would be important to list sequentially, so I’m presenting the things that happened in a list format:

  • Car was running fine, getting 40.8 MPG
  • Ford issued a recall on the fuel pump on my car, so I brought my car in for the recall service and had it done
  • A week later, the check engine light came on -> brought it to the dealership and they changed an “O ring”… light went away
  • Another week later, check engine light came on AGAIN. I noticed that the light came on shortly after I filled up my gas tank. The interesting thing is that the light went away after I’ve used about 1/2 tank of gas (I have a 13.5 gallon gas tank)
  • Brought the car to the dealership again. They did some more testing and said that a “ventilation valve” was stuck… so they ordered a new one and replaced it
  • Thought my problems were over, but this is when the current issue started. The next time that I filled up the tank, I noticed that the fuel gauge was dropping its level pretty quickly. Driving for about 70 miles after filling up the tank, I was left with a 3/4 tank. The 3+ gallons of fuel should have given me almost 130 miles.
  • I thought I was leaking fuel, so brought it into the dealership, but they find no leaks. There’s no gas residue in the garage when parked overnight.
  • I did some calculations on the fuel usage situation… my car is now getting about 20 MPG (previously 40.8 MPG)
  • The strange thing is, the car would only get the 20 MPG when the fuel tank was full till about 1/2 empty. After the gas tank hits 1/2, I get about 40+ MPG again.
  • This last observation makes me think this fuel usage issue has something to do with the previous check engine light problem (since they both show up only when the fuel tank was full to 1/2). I tried to tell the dealership this, but apparently all their tests come up negative.

So this is where I’m stuck now… the dealership doesn’t know what to do. They’ve started to ignore my calls and emails… and I’m left with a hybrid which gets only 20 MPG half the time, which is really really irritating (defeats the whole purpose of paying an extra $8000 for the hybrid).

Any ideas what could be wrong? I don’t think it’s just a fuel gauge reading error, because my total range on a full tank of gas dropped from about 550 miles to just above 400 miles. The amount it costs to fill up a tank is about the same… and doing usual driving, I used to fill up the tank once every 2 weeks, but now I can last only a little more than a week. I’ve attached some pictures of the fuel gauge and odometer reading.

Please help!

“They’ve started to ignore my calls and emails”

You need to start documenting everything. They may be trying to stall you until the car is out of warranty

You need to start sending registered letters, which they have to sign up on delivery

You may want to consider escalating the whole process. Keep going higher up, until some big shot gets tired of talking to you on the phone. At which point, he calls the dealer and says “Take care of this immediately. This has priority over everything. I’m tired of talking to this person. I’ve got better things to do.”

Or they may really not have an answer at this point

But that should be their problem to solve, not yours

You need to compute your mpg per tank and tell us what it is. Do you have the mpg from before the work?

Yes, I’m taking pictures of my odometer and fuel gauge at regular intervals now, and keeping track of how much gas is going into the tank. I only fill it up when the low fuel light comes on now, so that it’s more consistent.

Sad thing is, I bought the car less than a year ago, end of December 2012, so I think it should still be under full warranty for a while. I’ve brought the car in for service about 10 times already for various recalls and issues. I AM thinking about escalating to the national Ford center, since the local dealership seems to have no idea (or no willingness) to figure out what is wrong. The registered mail is a good idea.

The avg. mpg before the work is on the fuel gauge, 40.8. You can see it from the picture. It was getting about 550 miles per full tank before.

I’m attaching 2 more pictures here that shows the fuel usage after the 1/2 mark. You can see that I’ve gone 110 miles already and it hasn’t even used a full 1/4 tank… this kind of mpg is what I was getting before the service and what the car should be getting.

My suggestion is to calculate the gasoline mileage by recording the mileage on the odometer before filling the tank. By a cheap $10 calculator. Fill the tank and drive until you need fuel again. Note the mileage, subtract the mileage from the previous fill-up, divide that difference by the number of gallons you put in the tank. Do this over several fill ups and keep a written record with the date as well. This log may be important if there is really something wrong.
If after repeating this several times,
If the gasoline mileage is where it should be, put a piece of black plastic tape over the mpg readout on the instrument panel and monitor your mileage the old fashioned way as I described.
I’m betting that in replacing the fuel pump, some sensor in the tank or the float may have gotten misadjusted and your car is getting the mpg that it should.
I reset the trip odometer when I buy gasoline. After I pump in the gas, I divide the gallons on the pump into the distance on the odometer. I do this in my head (I may round off the gallons or the miles one way or the other to get a rough estimate), and while the calculation may be off, I have an idea of the mileage. I also have the mpg indicator which seems to be accurate on my car, but I still do the old fashioned method for a check.

But let’s not forget Honda’s fiasco with their Civic Hybrid

They recalled the cars back to the dealership to have the PCM flashed with updated software

The software update was supposed to enable the hybrid battery back to survive longer

The software update accomplished this by having the ICE come on much more frequently

The result was that the fuel economy was DRASTICALLY reduced

A woman successfully sued Honda in small-claims court about this, because she was able to document that she had correctly calculated her fuel economy from day one. She was able to prove that the software update killed the fuel economy.

But, because Honda is a sore loser, they got it kicked up to a higher level, where they are allowed to pull out all the stops, as far as lawyers and money spent goes

You really need to start documenting all of this, dealer visits, gas receipts, miles traveled per tank, resulting mpgs. Photos of the dash will not be enough.

On my 02 Camry I did some instrument cluster work that required removal in the indicator needles. After re-installation it seemed like i was eating fuel since the gauge would drop rather quickly from full to about half, and slower from half to empty. So naturally I thought I was getting worse mileage at first. But after filling up I found the gas mileage the same after doing the manual calculations. Don’t believe the electronic gadgetry in the dash, Do the math.

If the problem is in the top half of the gas tank, do all the above documenting the loss in fuel mileage, but fill up when you get to half a tank. And make sure you have nearly a full tank when you take it in for further evaluation. This way, the car is acting it’s worst for the record.

so if it IS a problem with the electronic fuel gauge reading being off, shouldn’t that be a pretty easy fix for the dealership? they claimed to have re-programmed my car’s PCM several times already. besides, since this is only a 1 year old car, i would like all the instrument panels to work properly.

i’ll go through a couple more tanks of gas from full to empty light and see how many miles per gallon i am getting. any chance the odometer can be off too since that is also electronic?

Check the lemon laws in your state. You should already have enough return visits to get a new car. In my state, if you have 6 visits in this time interval, the manufacturer owes you a new car. You will need to contact Ford via registered letter and give the dealer another chance to fix it. If the can’t, then you get a new one.

great idea jtsanders. i’ve taken this car into the dealership 10 times already for various things, including a 5 day visit the last trip. i think this car might qualify as a lemon under maryland law.

6 times in MD. I almost got a new 1987 Taurus that way. But the Ford dealer in Catonsville finally did the job right when Ford told them what was at stake.

When a mfr knows that you are serious about pursuing a Lemon Law claim, it is absolutely amazing how motivated they can be about fixing your problem.

This problem all seems to start with the replacement of the fuel pump.

I don’t know how the fuel pump is replaced in the vehicle, but if the gas tank requires removal, I would have someone check the gas tank to see if was deformed during the fuel pump replacement.


I don’t know about this car specifically but I have heard that in some vehicles, the fuel pump and the fuel level sending unit are a single assembly, they both get changed at the same time, If yours is one of those, that would explain the change in the way the gauge reads, but it does not explain the the fact that you are getting less miles per tank.

If the tank got deformed as Tester suggested, that would explain both the change in the gauge and the less miles per tank, but the tank fill up would be less also.

As pointed out, you need to do calculations of the gas mileage based on miles to fill up and gallons per fill up. My only addition to this is to keep all your gas receipts and write down the odometer reading on each receipt at the time of fill up. Also keep a spreadsheet on your computer documenting the fuel usage, don’t just use a calculator. You will need at least three fillups to start a claim, but continue to document until the vehicle is fixed or you get some sort of a settlement.

Besure the dealer understands that in addition to repairing the vehicle, you expect to be compensated for the extra fuel you have had to purchase. Be willing to accept free services such as oil changes or something as compensation, but if it goes to court, only hard cash will do.

Do not waste your time trying to figure out what the problem is, that is the dealers job. You only need to treat this as a business transaction, keep good records to make your case.

So, what is mileage based on math calc, not what the dash readout says. That readout is an estimate at best. As others have said you need to do the math and get a real number. When I calc my mileage it is always 1-2 mpg less than readout.

The mileage to when you show 1/4/ 1/2 or 3/4 tank is meaningless. Also how can you possobly calculate the mileage from 1/2 tank to empty? You surely don’t think that a reading of 1/2 tank means you have used exactly 1/2 the fuel in your tank do you?
As for your range dropping from 550 to 400 now, it is winter now. Cars don’t get as good fuel economy and many people drive shorter trips in the winter.

oldtimer makes a good point, hybrid vehicles are notorious for getting poor mileage in cold weather because the batteries lose a lot of their capacity in winter.

I must agree, the prius I have is getting only 35mpg average, whereas I was getting 42-46 on average before the cold weather set in.

Just curious, What type of town is this for dealer located in? The ford dealer in my town is owned and staffed by a bunch of ignorant hill jacks that are only interested in selling and servicing f150,250s and 350s.

Anything else and they act like they have no interest in your business. I could only imagine them trying to work on a “dag nabed” fusion, let alone a hybrid one…

I went to that dealer to look at a ford cmaxx to compare it to the prius, they didn’t have one, didn’t care to get one, and tried talking me into an explorer or expedition instead.

Ford makes something like 90 percent of all profits on their trucks, so they really don’t care about you or your problem.