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Here's What Kind Of Gas Mileage You Actually Get In A Dodge Viper

Illustration for article titled Heres What Kind Of Gas Mileage You Actually Get In A Dodge Viper

The late 90's Dodge Viper GTS, the most Viper of all Vipers, was rated to 11 MPG city and 21 MPG highway by the arbiters of efficiency ratings at the EPA. Let’s see how hard it is to actually hit those numbers in one of these cars today.

You probably recognize automotive internet person Doug DeMuro at the wheel of this 1997 GTS, in peak Viper white-stripes-on-blue livery. (Did anybody not have a toy of this exact car?) DeMuro doesn’t show his work, his methodology, or the number of miles he drove on this test, but his credentials for evaluating vehicular fuel economy include having driven a Hummer and a Honda Insight on separate occasions. You definitely know you’re getting scientific results here.

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The ’97 Viper GTS was not egregiously porky at 3,375 pounds (lighter than today’s Acura NSX) but no 8.0-liter V10 is going to leave your house without emptying the fridge. Assuming your house is a gas station and your beer cans are full of gasoline.

That V10 was factory rated to just 450 horsepower and 490 lb-ft of torque, which makes for a pretty weak displacement-to-output ratio. But the car could go 0-60 in about four seconds, so that energy did more than just make noise.

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Speaking of energy let’s get back to the matter at hand: just how much energy does this Dodge Viper need to propel itself.

If you don’t want to sit through seven minutes of DeMuro’s face I’ll help you scrub to the numbers: after crawling through Philadelphia for its “city test,” this Viper hits 5.6 MPG by DeMuro’s calculations. On the highway, being as light on the throttle as humanly possible, he gets 18.7. Both figures laughably shy of the EPA’s optimistic 11 MPG city/21 MPG highway “estimates.”

The takeaway is not much of a shocker: “If you want good gas mileage, do not buy a Dodge Viper.” But as a dork and a white-on-blue Dodge Viper fan I do think the actual numbers are interesting to see. Think it would have done differently without that paint job?

Jalopnik Staffer from 2013 to 2020, now Editor-In-Chief at Car Bibles

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DISCUSSION

Okay so this is what bugged me a little in the video, on more than one occasion he mentions coasting downhill. This is the exact opposite of what you need to do. Getting good fuel economy is all about minimising your average throttle opening for the duration of the journey. By coasting downhill that then means you have to apply throttle for a longer duration to maintain speed when you inevitably go uphill again. What you want to do is tickle the throttle downhill so that you gradually gain speed downhill and then use that momentum to carry you uphill whilst applying minimal throttle and/or coasting. The only time you should coast downhill is if you know you have to come to a complete stop at which point you should lift off as early as possible and coast for as long as possible before coming to a stop. Sorry to nerd out on this but my commute to work and back is 2500 miles a month and I then do a lot of driving at work itself so I tend to have my trip computer showing me my instantaneous and average fuel economy all the time as I can save myself a metric fuck-tonne of money each month by driving economically.