MPG for 96 Nissan Pickup

I’ve got a mint condition 96 Nissan Pickup 4x4 with 56K miles on it. It runs very well, but the MPGs are annoyingly low. I drive in typical urban commute traffic, have stock tires on it (w/ prop. inflation) have a topper on back, and am not generally a pedal pusher. I average around 16 MPG in city, and around 19 or 20 hwy.

Is this what I should expect? More importantly,what can I do to improve mileage? Air filter looks fine. The truck hasn’t been in the shop for years, just quick oil changes. That’s about as much as I know. I bought it used a couple years back.

The most significant improvement in mpg is changine the way you drive. High cruising speeds eat gas on the highway. You don’t have to go 55, going 65 instead of 70 will make a noticable difference. Ditto for going 70 instead of 5 over.

In the city, drive as if your brakes don’t work.

Remove all unnessasary junk from the vehicle. Some camper tops are almost like mini-parachutes.

Your getting bettrer fuel mileage than the EPA figures for that truck. Check it for yourself at This truck should be getting 15 MPG city and 18 MPG hwy. Your probably already doing all you can to improve the mileage.

Is this a 4 cyl or 6 cyl? If it’s a 4, you should be getting better. Also, 4x4’s traditionally get poorer mileage because:

  1. Even in 2 WD, you have the drag of the front drive train and transfer case to contend with.
  2. The stock tires for a 4x4 are usually off-road tires, not known for their mileage.
  3. The higher profile of a 4x4 truck gives it higher wind resistance and thus poorer performance.
  4. The topper can hurt mileage. It’s heavy and changes the aerodynamics from factory spec.

I used to own a V6 S-10 pickup with a 5 speed tranny. I got 23-25 MPG with mostly hwy driving. My brother-in-law has the same truck but with a topper. His MPG is aroung 21-22. Both trucks are 2WD so they are lower to the ground and don’t have the transfer case and front diff. of a 4WD.

Final conclusion: If you want a truck that gets better mileage, ditch the 4x4 and get a 2WD. Go 4 cyl. unless you need the power of the V6. Manuel tranny can help to. Finally, only use the topper when you need to.

I have a 97 Nissan pickup, 2WD 4cyl, no topper. I get about the same mileage in-city – 16 or so. I’ve gotten up to 26 on the highway with the A/C off, but I was driving 55 the whole way.