Fuel Economy Report from the New Mexico Road Trip - 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long Term Road Test

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Fuel Economy Report from the New Mexico Road Trip

November 05, 2012


Before my trip to New Mexico, bankerdanny commented, "Use premium." At the time, I was puzzled... I know our Beetle takes 91 octane; there's a label right there on the fuel door and it had never occurred to me to put in lower octane fuel. But Danny's words turned out to be prophetic.

See, on the drive home, I should have fueled up our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo in Seligman, Arizona. There was a Chevron right there when I exited Interstate 40 for my Route 66 detour to Kingman. The car's gauge was showing 1/8 of a tank at that point, and I don't know why I didn't stop. I remember thinking there would be plenty of places to stop on old U.S. 66. Man, was I naive.

The low fuel light had already been on for a bit when I pulled into this station. It looked promising: Open 24 hours, decal on the pumps for 91 octane, credit card reader on pump. When I looked more closely, there was a piece of paper taped to the pump mentioning a broken credit card reader and "we only have 87." Instead of hoofing it inside and settling for regular, I pulled back out onto the road and continued on to the next town, which was about 10 or 15 miles down the road. I'll be able to buy premium there, I told myself.

I pulled into town and came upon a school, houses, various municipal services, but no gas station. Now I was starting to worry. My portable Garmin Nuvi nav system indicated that the nearest gas station was over 40 miles away in Kingman.

Fortunately, I also came upon some get out the vote organizers in the town. "I'm already registered and I promise to vote in my town on Election Day," I told them. They laughed. "Would you be able to direct me to the nearest gas station?"

"Yeah, go to the lodge seven miles down the road."

Major relief. I didn't know what she meant by the "the lodge," but Truxton Station is what I found.





It was a gas station of the old school. Full service. Two men came out, one to pump my gas, the other to wash the windshield with care. "No chance you have 91, right?" I asked. They laughed. Nope, 87 only, and the asking price was about a dollar above the typical asking price for a gallon of 91 in Arizona. You can see how much I paid for 14.1 gallons. The Beetle's tank is listed at 14.5 gallons, and this is definitely the most fuel we've ever put in the car during a fill-up. Also the longest tank at 423.5 miles

About 5 miles down the road, I saw a big Union 76 sphere looming over a hillside. Darn, I could've had premium... and then I saw the weed-infested station, obviously closed down for at least 10 years. I didn't see another viable gas station for 30 miles.

By now, the Beetle has evacuated most of the inferior 87 octane fuel, but these are my numbers for the trip. I can't easily explain why my first tank returned such low mpg, but I suspect a short fill on the fuel-up immediately preceding it.




per Fill-up





















Total trip mileage was 1,881.7 miles, and the Beetle averaged 28.6 mpg against an EPA rating of 22 city/30 highway/25 combined. My average mpg wasn't stellar, but bear in mind that the speed limit is 75 mph on I-40 and I-25 through most of Arizona and New Mexico, and that undoubtedly increased consumption slightly.

Before the U.S. 66 gas station adventure, I stopped for pie at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, Arizona. Thanks to bkarlan for the suggestion.


And not far from Seligman, I came upon the Romney Motel. There was no sign of the candidate or his press corps.


Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,121 miles

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