Are Jeep Wranglers Good on Gas? (Gas Mileage, MPG)

Fuel efficiency is perhaps the Jeep Wrangler’s most glaring problem. Consumers find the gas mileage disappointing given its price point and mild-hybrid configuration. While its manual versions perform slightly better than the automatic ones, it still seems unreliable when driving under real-world conditions. So, are Jeep Wranglers good on gas?

Across all trims, the Jeep Wrangler provides good gas mileage. However, rating its fuel efficiency can be subjective, as this aspect depends on the vehicle’s model year, engine, and other numerous variables.

Several things impact a vehicle’s gas mileage – among them driving habits and a bit of physics. Understanding these is essential in deeming the Jeep fuel-efficient and improving its fuel economy should you find it lacking. Learn about these factors and more as you read through this article.

Black Jeep Wrangler Driving on Paved Road

What Is Gas Mileage?

In determining how Jeep Wranglers are on gas, it’s important to understand what gas mileage is.

Gas mileage (or fuel economy) is a gauge of how far a vehicle will travel with one gallon of fuel. This measure is expressed in miles per gallon or MPG, and U.S. consumers, along with car manufacturers/regulators, have used it for a long time. Some people often confuse it with fuel consumption, measured in gallons/100 miles in the U.S. and liters/100 kilometers in Europe and elsewhere. To further simplify the difference between the two, the fuel economy translates to how far your vehicle can go using a gallon of fuel. Whereas fuel consumption refers to how much fuel you need to use to cover a specific distance and the savings you can get from it.

For the Jeep Wrangler, here are the EPA MPG figures for model years 2015-2020:

Jeep Wrangler MPG for Sport, Sahara & Rubicon Trims (2015 – 2020)

Model YearEPA MPGTransmission
2015-2018 Jeep Wrangler 4WD18 MPG (combined)
17 MPG (city)
21 MPG (highway)
5.6 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 5-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2015-2018 Jeep Wrangler 4WD18 MPG (combined)
17 MPG (city)
21 MPG (highway)
5.6 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Manual 6-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2015-2018
Jeep Wrangler
Unlimited 4WD
18 MPG (combined)
16 MPG (city)
20 MPG (highway)
5.6 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 5-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2015-2018
Jeep Wrangler
Unlimited 4WD
18 MPG (combined)
16 MPG (city)
21 MPG (highway)
5.6 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Manual 6-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2018-2019 Jeep New Wrangler 4WD20 MPG (combined)
18 MPG (city)
23 MPG (highway)
5.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2018-2019 Jeep New Wrangler 4WD20 MPG (combined)
17 MPG (city)
25 MPG (highway)
5.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Manual 6-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2018-2019 Jeep New Wrangler 4WD24 MPG (combined)
23 MPG (city)
25 MPG (highway)
4.2 USgal/ 100 miles
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (Premium Gasoline)
2018-2019 Jeep New Wrangler Unlimited 4WD20 MPG (combined)
18 MPG (city)
23 MPG (highway)
5.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2018-2020 Jeep New Wrangler Unlimited 4WD19 MPG (combined)
17 MPG (city)
23 MPG (highway)
5.3 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Manual 6-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2018-2019 Jeep New Wrangler Unlimited 4WD22 MPG (combined)
22 MPG (city)
24 MPG (highway)
4.5 USgal/ 100 miles
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (Premium Gasoline)
2020 Jeep Wrangler 4WD23 MPG (combined)
22 MPG (city)
24 MPG (highway)
4.3 USgal/ 100 miles
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (Premium Gasoline)
2020 Jeep Wrangler 4WD21 MPG (combined)
21 MPG (city)
22 MPG (highway)
4.8 USgal/ 100 miles
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (Premium Gasoline)
2020 Jeep Wrangler 4WD20 MPG (combined)
18 MPG (city)
23 MPG (highway)
5.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2020 Jeep Wrangler 4WD20 MPG (combined)
17 MPG (city)
25 MPG (highway)
5.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Manual 6-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4WD25 MPG (combined)
22 MPG (city)
29 MPG (highway)
4.0 USgal/ 100 miles
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (Diesel)
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4WD21 MPG (combined)
21 MPG (city)
22 MPG (highway)
4.8 USgal/ 100 miles
2.0 L, 4 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (Premium Gasoline)
2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4WD20 MPG (combined)
19 MPG (city)
22 MPG (highway)
5.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.6 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-speed (Regular Gasoline)
2021 Jeep Wrangler 4dr EcoDiesel 4WD25 MPG (combined)
22 MPG (city)
29 MPG (highway)
4.0 USgal/ 100 miles
3.0 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (EcoDiesel)
2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubic 4dr EcoDiesel 4WD23 MPG (combined)
21 MPG (city)
26 MPG (highway)
4.3 USgal/ 100 miles
3.0 L, 6 cyl, Automatic 8-speed, Turbo (EcoDiesel)

If we were to combine all Wrangler models’ fuel economy from 2015-2020, it would average to only 19 MPG and fuel consumption of 5.3 USgal/ 100 miles.

White Jeep Wrangler Rubicon on Rock

Factors That Affect Jeep Wrangler Gas Mileage

A gas mileage below 20 MPG may not seem to fit the Jeep Wrangler at all. This section should help you understand the reasons behind this seemingly low number, as well as consumer-driven factors adversely affecting how the vehicle burns fuel:

  • Aerodynamics. Unfortunately, the Wrangler’s iconic angular build that makes it distinct and adds to its rugged appeal is a huge drawback. Its brick-like build reduces airflow around its body, making it more predisposed to wind resistance, resulting in the vehicle burning more fuel.
  • Air Conditioning. Who would have thought that this simple creature comfort could be such a power guzzler? It may be surprising, but it’s true. People’s tolerance for humid or dry weather partly determines how Jeep Wranglers are on gas. And if you’re not a fan of sweat trickling down your forehead, then expect to have more trips to the gas station. 
  • Care & Maintenance. Reduced fuel economy is not something to be blamed entirely on the build of your Jeep. If you off-road a lot but don’t clean your ride afterward, then chances are dirt will accumulate in areas where the air is supposed to flow into the engine. When this happens, your Wrangler is bound to burn more gas, along with poor acceleration. The current state of your air filter is proof of how well you clean up your wheeler.
  • Defective Parts. Faulty vehicle components can cause a drop in fuel economy. For instance, an old unmaintained gas tank can lead to a fuel leak and a potential fire hazard. Similarly, sluggish brakes tend to put more stress on the engine, forcing it to use more gas. Other things like a cracked intake hose, loose fittings, and worn-out gaskets lead to vacuum leaks that contribute to poor gas mileage. And don’t forget faulty oxygen sensors and worn spark plugs that upset your vehicle’s air-fuel mixture.
  • Driver Behavior. Revving your engine too often, driving aggressively, doing jackrabbit starts, excessive idling (more than 30 seconds), and speeding burn fuel fast and should be avoided. Other things we may or may not be deliberately doing that affect gas mileage are frequent or excessive short trips, cold-weather travel, and heavy braking or acceleration.
  • Engine Oil. Between spending more dollars on synthetic friction-reducing motor oil that meets manufacturer specifications and increasing your annual fuel costs by close to $1,000, the former is undoubtedly the lesser evil. The type of engine oil you use can reduce or improve your gas mileage by up to 12%. Therefore, it is not wise to be miserly on your motor oil expenses.
  • Gearing. People don’t realize that the thing they love most about their Jeep Wrangler is what makes it a gas gobbler. This off-roading king has more weight and drag to move from the front axle simply because it is a 4WD vehicle. It was built to run on higher revs and a heavier chassis.
  • Modifications. Mods may be the second biggest contributor to the Wrangler’s fuel inefficiency. Jeep owners cannot stop themselves from personalizing their Jeeps – adding steel wheels, 35-inch tires, and a heavy-duty winch, to name a few – but still expect advertised stock MPG to remain unchanged. While it is fun to customize the vehicle, remember that heavier tires and an increased airflow room under a lifted Jeep dramatically reduce fuel economy.
  • Octane Rating. The Octane rating signifies the rate your engine burns fuel based on the fuel reduction-to-additive ratio. A higher fuel Octane rating means less burning of fuel and more mileage.
  • Tire Inflation. Mud bogs, rocks, deep snow, and sand dunes require airing down your tires. Once you do, your tires’ rolling resistance creates the need for more energy (and gas) to move your vehicle forward. So the more frequent you go snow-driving or riding off-pavement, the more fuel your Wrangler burns. While airing down your tires cannot be avoided, make sure to do it according to spec and topography, and only on a need basis. NAPA recommends releasing 5 psi on dirt or sand and up to 10 psi on rocky terrain per tire.
  • Weight. Your vehicle’s sturdy construction, gigantic all-terrain tires, and Dana front axle make its fuel consumption less efficient. Although it is not the same size as a Land Rover Defender or a Ford Expedition, it is still heftier than a pure streetcar. And we’re only talking about the vehicle in stock form. Gas mileage only gets worse as you do more mods on your Wrangler.

Can You Stretch Your Fuel Further?

You certainly can! Here are 12 practical things that you can do:

  1. Adhere to speed limits (your Cruise Control helps keep your Jeep legal).
  2. Avoid heavy acceleration (the “Goldilocks” zone for optimal fuel efficiency is 40-55 mph).
  3. Be an early bird and refuel when the gas is dense.
  4. Control the urge to upgrade unless required.
  5. Do not overload nor keep those ski racks on your roof year-round.
  6. Do periodic checks and repair/replace failing parts.
  7. Give your A/C a break (roll down your windows when not on the freeway).
  8. Go for the higher gear that covers the speed you’re traveling (only for manual-trannies)
  9. Inflate your tires to spec and schedule your off-road trips.
  10. Keep the state of your brakes in check, and don’t tailgate.
  11. Say no to prolonged idling, donuts, and traffic jams.
  12. Stick to the recommended motor oil and fuel type.

The Gold Standard

There is no universal standard for fuel economy. The U.S. has the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA to establish and enforce CAFÉ (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards. Based on historical data from 1978 to 2010, CAFÉ standards were 27.5 MPG for passenger cars alone. The Japanese government has its Ministry of Transportation setting fuel economy targets based on vehicle weight class and engine type. So if you take your Jeep Wrangler to Japan, it will be well above the fuel economy target of 15-20.9 MPG for vehicles weighing 3,894-4,997 lbs and above.

Both the U.S. and Japan have the same fleet fuel economy projection of 35.5 MPG, which they set a decade ago for this current year. EU’s projections are different, which is partly attributed to the use of empirical units of measurement. The rest of the world has either their governments or car companies to regulate and enforce fuel economy standards. Some countries – like China, New Zealand, and Canada – have much more stringent standards than others.

Frequently Asked Questions – How are Jeep Wranglers On Gas?

  • What is considered bad gas mileage? Based on recent auto magazines and Consumer Reports, 14 MPG is considered poor gas mileage. However, this is not standard. Depending on your Wrangler year and whether it is stock or not, it may give you lower gas mileage.
  • Does a full tank get better mileage? Not necessarily. However, a full tank is much better than riding with little fuel to spare. Although the weight of a full fuel tank is not significant to gas mileage, your wheeler may be less efficient when your tank is almost empty, as more air in the gas tank increases fuel evaporation.
  • How much does it cost to fill up a Jeep Wrangler? A full tank would cost you between $47 and $52, depending on the trim and model year of your stock Wrangler. For modified Jeeps, it may cost a few dollars more.
  • Do Jeeps need premium gas? Wranglers with older 3.6-L, 6-cylinder engines only need regular gas or petrol. But all other models with 2.0-L, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engines require premium gasoline. You can use either 91- or 93-Octane fuels if you happen to own one. Otherwise, stick with the 87-Octane gasoline.
  • Are Jeep Wranglers fuel-efficient? Given their built, overall weight, and intended purpose, I’d say they are. This is especially evident with the recent release of the Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel 4WD, returning a massive 29 MPG on the highway.

The Verdict – Are Jeep Wranglers Good on Gas?

If you compare it to a sub-compact Prius, it will fall behind. If you apply all the physics laws in assessing what it can do, the Wrangler does return a pretty good gas mileage. The trick to maximizing fuel efficiency is a matter of controlling personal whims, correcting driving behaviors, and being realistic with your vehicle’s expectations. Do these things right, and you’ll enjoy better gas mileage on your Jeep Wrangler.

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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