From our experience, the 2.1-liter and 3.0-liter turbocharged diesel Mercedes Benz Sprinter vans achieve 21 and 18 MPG, respectively, while the 2.0-liter gas version has 17.1 MPG. The EPA does not have test results for them as Sprinter vans have a GVWR of over 8500 pounds.
Over its lifetime, a van’s fuel costs alone account for approximately 30 percent of its operational expenses.
If you’re intending on acquiring a Sprinter van or you own one and would like to know its miles per gallon rating (MPG), here’s all you should know.
The EPA exempts vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) of 8,500 pounds or more from fuel economy tests and labeling. The lightest sprinter van, the Sprinter Cargo Van 1500, has a GVWR of 8,550 pounds so there are no EPA test results for its MPG.
If you’re wondering why your van’s MPG rating isn’t close to my figures, then you’re not alone. Today’s article has everything you need to know about your Sprinter van MPG ratings, plus ways you can raise them. Read on.
EPA MPG Rating Is Higher/Lower Than the Actual Sprinter Van MPG
Vehicle manufacturers tend have higher MPG figures for their vehicles.
If you buy a new van that has a 25 MPG rating expecting, you’ll get at least 23 miles per gallon. But then maybe you’re surprised that your van’s best does an underwhelming 21 miles per gallon.
Then you start wondering whether your van is faulty or the manufacturer falsifies MPG ratings to fleece the public of their hard-earned money?
The answer is that your van is not faulty, and the manufacturer is not at fault.
And here’s why.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t have the finances, technology, and staffing to test all vehicle configurations produced by the auto manufacturers.
Therefore, it gives the manufacturers test protocols, then samples some vehicles for MPG ratings to check whether they’re accurate.
MPG Figures Are From Ideal Driving Conditions
These ratings are usually close to the actual MPG, but the EPA and the manufacturers do the testing in ideal environments. They fail to account for the different driving styles and conditions on our roads.
And whether there’s a loophole or to reduce costs, the EPA assumes that we drive 45 percent on the highways and 55 percent on the city roads.
We can all agree that that’s a huge generalization.
For the Sprinter van, Mercedes-Benz claims that its MPG ratings range from 25 to 27. And I have found that most Sprinter vans don’t come even close to that figure.
Furthermore, city driving is more of stop-and-go driving with the engine having to rev up with each stop-and-go hence consuming more fuel than a highway drive.
What do I mean?
If you spend more time on the highway, your van’s MPG may be higher than the EPA/manufacturer rating. It isn’t common to accelerate hard or drive in low gear on the highways.
And, if you drive more in the city, your van’s MPG may be lower than what the EPA/ manufacturer says.
What Determines a Sprinter Van MPG
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans perform well in fuel-economy tests, hence justifying its popularity amongst van enthusiasts. Fuel economy test results are generalized data that might differ from one van to another.
Here’s a detailed list of the primary determinants of your van’s MPG.
A van’s powertrain determines its level of performance across different loading or driving conditions.
Selecting an appropriate powertrain combination for your van can be challenging, given that Mercedes-Benz has several trims and configurations available for each Sprinter van.
The 2022 1500 and 2500 vans have smaller 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder gas-powered engines that generate 188 hp at 5,000 rpm.
Both vans have a rated torque of 258 lb-ft at 2,500 to 3,500 rpm.
From the 2500 series up to the 4500 trims, the Sprinter vans have 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder engines that generate 188 hp at 3,800 rpm. The engines produce a higher torque of 325 lb-ft at 1,400 to 2,400 rpm.
Furthermore, the 6-cylinder 4*4 Sprinter diesel engine will consume more fuel than a similar 6-cylinder 2-wheel drive version.
4-wheel drive is heavier and has more drivetrain parts such as an extra driveshaft, differential, and transfer case.
These additional components improve a van’s power transfer to the wheels but, in return, increase its MPG.
Your van’s engine size is a primary determinant of your van’s MPG, but it isn’t alone. Its curb weight plays a crucial role in how hard your engine runs.
Sprinter vans have curb weights that range from 4,694 lbs to 6,153 lbs. The heavier the van, the more fuels it burns and hence less MPG.
For example, the extended wheelbase van, the 170” wheelbase model, is almost 500 pounds heavier than the 144” wheelbase version of the same trim level.
The extra length adds to the van’s weight and increases its cargo volume; hence it will strain the engine more than its shorter wheelbase version, whether loaded or not.
A Greater Payload Capacity Van Burns More Gas
A van’s payload and curb weight greatly influence its fuel economy. And even with the many technological advancements to improve van fuel economy, the effect of the payload is here to stay.
Diesel-powered Sprinter van models have different payloads that range from 4,244 lbs in the 2500 series to 6,757 lbs in the 4500 trim level.
The payload for the gas-powered Sprinter trims ranges from 3,953 lbs in the 1500 trims to 4,453 lbs in the 2500 trims.
Additionally, the amount of load you tow with your van affects its MPG.
A van transporting a maximum payload and towing cargo will consume more fuel per mile. The extended wheelbase trim has a higher cargo capacity volume resulting in a lower mileage per full tank than the short-wheelbase model.
Sharp and Aggressive Driving Uses More Gas
How you drive affects your van’s fuel economy. Sharp acceleration, rapid braking, and speeding increase your MPG by 10 to 40 percent.
Additionally, it may surprise you that idling contributes negatively and positively to a van’s fuel economy. Normal idling can improve your Sprinter van’s fuel economy, but over idling lowers it.
According to the EPA, rapid acceleration and heavy braking lowers your van’s mileage by 15-30 percent on highways and roughly 20 percent in stop-and-go traffic.
To be efficient, drive as smoothly as possible while ensuring that you stick close to the speed limits. Avoid rapid accelerations, hard braking, and keep your AC off when you don’t need it.
Also, ensure that your wheels have the proper tire pressure.
How to Calculate a Sprinter Van MPG
Now that you are aware that your actual Sprinter van MPG isn’t what’s labeled it’s right to know how you can accurately determine its true performance.
Getting an accurate figure will save you a lot of money as you can then work on a way of improving your van’s fuel economy.
If you want to know your van’s actual MPG, follow the methods below.
Method 1: Use Trip Odometer
All modern Sprinter van models have a trip meter (trip odometer) that automates the recording of miles you’ll cover between resets.
This method is much simpler since you’ll reset your trip counter when you refill your tank completely.
The next time you fill your van’s tank, record the number of gallons you’ll take to fill the tank. The third step involves dividing the trip meter reading by the gallons you’ve used.
The answer that you’ll get is your Sprinter van’s MPG.
Method 2: Using Your Van’s Odometer
If you don’t like method 1 above, using your van’s odometer is an alternative.
It’s a method drivers have been using since odometers became common in vans.
The first step involves filling your van’s gas tank and recording its odometer reading.
After that, you can go for your daily travels while driving your van as you usually do.
If you travel a lot, you can wait for your tank to be empty. Alternatively, you can refill your tank again after the day and record the fuel you’ll require to fill it.
You’ll then read the odometer reading and subtract the former reading from the new reading. Get a calculator and divide the miles traveled by the gallons used to get your van’s fuel economy.
Do the tests multiple times to get a better estimate.
Diesel-Powered Sprinter Vans Have Better MPG Than the Gas-Powered Vans
Diesel-powered Sprinter vans have a 20-30 percent better MPG rating than their gas-powered counterparts.
Mercedes-Benz has only two gas-powered trims- the 2.0-liter 1500 model and the 2.0-liter 2500 model. Both vans have similar-rated torques as their diesel counterparts but run at a higher 5,000 rpm to achieve the torque.
Compared to the 2500 diesel Sprinter trim that reaches 188 hp at 3,800 rpm, the gas trims consume more fuel. They also lack low-speed power and are more suited to the city stop-and-go traffics.
If you drive in the city, you might not differentiate between the diesel and gas engines’ fuel economies. But, diesel engines have higher low-end torque than gas engines as a gallon of diesel has a 10-15 percent energy advantage over a gallon of gasoline.
They’re the go-to choice for long-distance highway travels as they have better fuel economies.
On a full tank of fuel, a diesel-powered Sprinter van will travel a further 30% distance than a similarly-rated gas-powered Sprinter van. You’ll have a higher mileage with a diesel-powered 2500 trim than a gas-powered 2500 trim.
Sprinter Van MPG vs. Competitors
Sprinter vans have poorer fuel economies than Ford Transit Connect, RAM Promaster City, and the Nissan NV200.
All three vans have better miles per gallon ratings that range from 23-25 actual MPG.
However, the Sprinter van has a bigger cargo volume and a better sitting position, ensuring that you’re more comfortable driving.
Sprinter Van Full Tank Mileage
The gasoline-powered Sprinter vans have 22-gallon tanks, which give the van a full-tank mileage of 350 to 380 miles.
The diesel-powered variants have 24.5-gallon fuel tanks that give the van a total mileage ranging from 420 to 490 miles.
Similar to the MPG ratings, the full tank mileage that you’ll get from your van will depend on the weight of loading, driving style, and road conditions.
A van’s MPG rating is an important parameter, primarily if you use your van for commercial purposes.
It’s desirable to have a van with the best fuel economy to lower expenses and increase profits.
The Sprinter van may not be the best in fuel economy, but you need to consider its high payload, better mileage, and availability of a reliable 4 ✕ 4 trim.