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  • Writer's pictureJustin Turner

Will a tune improve my MPG?

Updated: Jul 6, 2023

When customers contact me for more information on getting their rig tuned, one question comes up frequently, "Will this tune improve my MPG?" In my experience, a very low percentage of customers have reported MPG increases after being tuned. Those who do are "typically" on a stock setup, but there have been exceptions to that. I thought I'd use my own rig to test out MPG averages across 3 tune types: Stock, YotaWerx Blackhawk Weekend Warrior, and YotaWerx Blackhawk Active Duty.

Here is my truck setup:

2017 Tacoma SR5, 4WD, DCLB

285/75R17 Cooper Discoverer AT3 tires

Regeared to 4.88

Icon 2.5 coilovers and Icon 2.5 rear resi shocks (about 1.5" of lift)

Deaver Expo leaf pack

500lbs added weight (engine skid, sliders, camper shell, roof rack)

87 octane fuel

The test wasn't super scientific. I simply ran each tune over the course of about 10 tanks of gas. Driving conditions were mostly daily driving in and around Phoenix (elevation 1,086'), both city streets and freeway. I also did a few road trips, including: 2 trips down to southern AZ, 1 trip to Payson, and 1 trip to Flagstaff (each towing a 1500lb pop up trailer). Below are the highlights:

Stock Toyota Tune

11 fill ups, 2340 miles

14.27 MPG average

High MPG = 15.37

Low MPG = 12.88

*This test period had one trailer towing trip (Tucson)

YotaWerx Blackhawk Tune - Weekend Warrior version

11 fill ups, 2373 miles

14.91 MPG average

High MPG = 16.63

Low MPG = 10.12

*This test period had two trailer towing trips (Patagonia, Flagstaff)

YotaWerx Blackhawk Tune - Active Duty version

10 fill ups, 1861 miles

13.06 MPG average

High MPG = 14.17

Low MPG = 10.94

*This test period had one trailer towing trip (Payson)

The Weekend Warrior tune version gave me a 4.5% increase in MPG over the 11-fill up test, and the Active Duty tune version gave me an 8.5% decrease in MPG over the 10-fill up test. I was refilling, on average, every 3 days (for reference, I usually don't let the tank drop below 1/4).

I drive 20K-25K miles annually. Here is the Stock vs Weekend Warrior MPG differences in gas expenditure over the course of a year, using 23,750 annual miles:

Toyota Stock

23,750 / 14.27 = 1,664 gallons of fuel

1,664 * $4/gal = $6,656

YotaWerx Weekend Warrior

23,750 / 14.91 = 1,593 gallons of fuel

1,593 * $4/gal = $6,372

*SAVE $284

Overall, my opinion is that MPG gains should NOT be the driving force behind your decision to get your rig tuned. When I speak with customers, I communicate that the primary benefits of a tune will be:

  1. Improved shifting

  2. Increase low-end torque

  3. Enhanced throttle response

If you want better MPG from your Tacoma, it'll need to be stock setup and you'll have to cruise on flat roads between 45-55 MPH. I've read that's the Tacoma's "sweet spot." LOL

Nonetheless, I would be weary of any tuner who guarantees MPG gains. If you get them post-tune, great! If not, I wouldn't be too disappointed. My MPG sucks, but I still enjoy my Tacoma. I mean, I didn't buy it for fuel efficiency...

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