Gas mileage for a Brand new car?


My wife and I just bought a brand new 2007 Ford Focus SES sedan as a second/commuter car.

We picked it up with 10 miles on it, and a full fresh tank of gas (when we test drove it, it was almost on fumes, and when we picked it up, it was full up).

Anyway, I think it’s rated something like 24/34, but it’s been getting atrocious mileage thus far, on the order of 14.

Now, admittedly, we do suburban city driving, but ?. It’s only at 300 miles thus far, and so I’ve only put a tank or two through to get a measurement of mileage norms.

My question is, “Is this normal for a brand new car?” I know of breaking in the engine, but that seems to be an older myth, but does this apply to gas mileage as well?


Seems rather low to me, even if you were driving it like a nut.


Aha, this is an easy one!

We get a lot of similar questions from owners who believe they have experienced a sudden drop in the fuel economy while reporting no noticeable problems with their cars. It is clear to me that their cars are behaving normally but that their calculation methods won’t hold up. And you can’t convince them; most people supply no data.

But you have given us numbers. The answer jumps right out. Here goes.

When you accepted your Focus it did not have a full tank of gas as you believed. The dealer knows that pumping in only 3/4 of a tank, maybe only 2/3 of a tank, brings the needle on the gas gauge to touch the F mark. So you believed you were full.

After driving some 300 miles you refueled. You replenished the dealer’s fuel and… kept pumping! You added another couple of gallons! Then you performed your one-shot calculation on invalid data. Of course you will get a low value!

Now is an excellent time to start keeping a log of actual fuel purchased. After about five fill-ups you will be able to obtain a true value for your car’s true mpg.

Have fun with your new Focus; these are great little cars.


Gas mileage will go up slightly after 500 to 1000 miles, but not that much. I think Steve is right, on every new car I’ve bought, the needle was on full, but the tank was not full. My wife’s Honda was the worse case, it takes nearly a hundred miles to move the needle off the F mark. Most vehicles go 20 to 40 miles before the needle moves below the F. Good thing is that they usually 20 to 40 at the other end too.

Reset the trip odometer at each fill up and record the miles on the gas receipt. After the second fill up, if you are still getting this kind of mileage, then go to the dealer and have them look into it.


Thank all,
Fair enough comments on the issue of the dealer full tank. Hadn’t thought of that, but, being in the sales biz, I am entirely not surprised.
As for the other numbers, I’ve been going off of a self done fill up and a reset odometer. I haven’t had a subsequent refill, but even guestimating conservatively, I’m not to excited.
I think that I will wait till 1k+ miles and reserve judgement. As we are now using this as the primary commuter, it shouldn’t take too long.
Thanks again for all the comments.