MPG Test – Sprinter 3500 Box Truck

By December 1, 2017Truck Blog


Work truck fuel economy can make a huge impact on the bottom line of any business. For companies that operate a medium duty box truck within a metro area, fuel expense can easily be $8000 to $10,000 annually – and that’s just for one small box truck. As a result, fuel economy and MPG have become buzzwords among all medium duty commercial truck owners.

One vehicle however, has developed a reputation as being the leader of the pack when conserving cost at the pump. The Mercedes or Freightliner Sprinter is a German designed work vehicle that has fuel economy ratings in excess of 20 MPG. But what about the Sprinter box truck? Since most Sprinters on the road are cargo vans, do any of the published fuel stats represent the Sprinter 3500 box van? The Sprinter 3500 box truck is a less common variant that may very well be overlooked on most fuel trials.

To get to the bottom of this matter we are going to put a Sprinter Box Truck to the test. Specifically, today’s test vehicle is a 2010 Mercedes Sprinter 3500 with the following:

  • – 3.0L V6 turbo diesel with 78k miles
  • – Automatic 5 Speed Transmission / 4.18 Rear end ration
  • – 14’ Cargo Box / Maxon Rail Lift
  • – Fresh Service & Brand new tires

To conduct this test, we are topping the fuel tank off with diesel and resetting the trip odometer to zero. Then it will be driven 100 miles at 55 miles per hour. All our driving will be on the highway; driving a combination of North, South, East & West in order to negate the effect of the wind. Let the test begin.

Some quick thoughts during this 100 mile drive: The test isn’t perfect. We have no cargo weight and we are creeping down the highway at only 55 mph. However the wind is up today so possibly that will help even things out. What do I expect to see on the results? I’m thinking maybe 18 MPG (or maybe that’s me being hopeful). But I have to remind myself that this is a BOX TRUCK and not a cargo van. Transporting a 750 cubic foot cargo box down the road is going to come with a price. Either way, the Sprinter is pulling back in and we are about to find out.

We pull up to the pump and commence filling it back up with diesel. 7.5 gallons are put back in while the trip tells us we traveled 123.8 miles. Do some quick math and there it is! This 2010 Sprinter 3500 Box Truck just got 16.5 miles per gallon. I was hoping for better results but we cannot argue with the numbers.

Now that we roughly know what MPG to expect on a Sprinter Box Truck, here are a few suggestions that will help lower your per mile fuel cost:

  • – Slow Down. Lower speeds means better fuel economy
  • – Cruise Control: Maintain a constant speed on the highway
  • – Tires: Proper tire condition and inflation levels are very important
  • – Aerodynamics: Consider a roof fairing to cut wind resistance
  • – Vehicle Maintenance: Fresh fluids and filters go a long way in keeping cost down
  • – Cargo weight: You may have 750 cubic feet of cargo space, but extra weight equals less MPG
  • – Stop idling: Shut your engine down when stopped for more than a couple minutes

Author Truck-N-Trailer

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