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Number of miles on Range Meter in car keep dropping gradually, what does this mean?

Hi everyone, I have a car question but I really know very little to nothing about cars, so please forgive me for my ignorance when it comes to misuse of the proper terms.

I drive a 2012 Toyota Corolla S. It has about 90,000 miles currently on it. I have owned it for just a little over 5 years now. When I bought it in January of 2014, it had 15,000 miles on it.

Now, to the issue. For these years that I have been driving it, it has almost always said around 320 miles for a full tank on the “range” meter.

However, I noticed maybe around late last year, it has gradually been dropping lower and lower.

First, it went form 320 to 300. Then, 280. A few months later, 260. And now is the lowest I have ever seen. Filling my gas tank all the way is now getting me as little as 240 miles on that “range” meter.

So, what is going on with my car?? Is this something that I should be very worried about?

Are the tires properly inflated?
Did the car get all of the 60k maintenance items done?
Are you using the correct specification oil?
Have you replaced the tires in the last year or so? And, if so, are you sure that they are low rolling-resistance tires?
Have your driving patterns/habits changed, so that you are doing more local, short-trip driving?
Are you carrying more weight around in the trunk than previously?
Are you going to have all of the 90k maintenance items performed?

When gas mileage drops dramatically, it can almost always be traced to one or more of the above situations.

Also… is the Check Engine Light lit-up?
:thinking:

I would be more concerned about actual miles per gallon than that miles to empty reading . Does it change after you drive a few miles. I left my house today and it read 280 miles to empty after about 20 minutes on the highway at 65 MPH it changed to 300 miles to empty.
How low are you letting your fuel level get ? I ask because I never get the same miles to empty after a fill up.

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A failing thermostat which won’t let the engine warm up quickly enough can cause a drop in fuel mileage. I agree with all the things the other posters have suggested.

Yeah, the first thing to do would be to check your average miles per gallon to see if that has diminished over time. All it does though is calculate the fuel level with the average miles per gallon that the computer is calculating. I never or very seldom look at it and fill up around half a tank.

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@VOLVO_V70 and @Bing hit the nail on the head. MTE is an almost useless feature. Figure out your actual MPG. Chances are, your car can display this for you. In my experience with several vehicles, this calculation is as accurate as doing it the old fashioned way, i.e. using a calculator at each fill-up. You want average, not instantaneous fuel economy. Reset it each you fill up to see if there is a downward trend or not.

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The MPG average on our Volvo is a little optimistic around town but on the Highway trips is quite accurate . The Ford Fiesta is within a mile or so most of the time. And like Bing at 1/2 tank I fill up again.

Have you had a tune up air gas filter trans fluid or any maintenance done?

Does the gas gauge itself also show an error; E.G. not showing full when you know that you have just filled it up?

I don’t think it’s something to worry about unless your actual fuel mileage has gone down the tubes. If it were that bad I would think the CEL would be triggered.