If you’re considering buying a classic Volkswagen bus, one of your biggest questions is probably “How good is the gas mileage on these things?”. The short answer is that VW buses are not known for being fuel efficient. In fact, most models average between 10-15 miles per gallon.

However, there are steps you can take to squeeze every last drop out of your bus’s tank.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about vw bus gas mileage. You’ll learn specifics on fuel economy for different bus models and years. We’ll also provide tips to optimize your driving habits and modify your vehicle to improve mpg.

Gas Mileage by VW Bus Model and Year

Stock VW Bus Models

When it comes to gas mileage, the efficiency of a VW Bus can vary depending on the model and year. Generally, older models tend to have lower gas mileage compared to newer ones due to advancements in technology.

For example, the iconic VW Bus T1, also known as the “Microbus,” which was produced from 1950 to 1967, had an average gas mileage of around 15 miles per gallon (mpg). On the other hand, the modern VW Bus T6, which is still in production, offers improved fuel efficiency with an average of around 22 mpg.

It’s important to note that these numbers are approximate and can vary based on various factors such as driving conditions, maintenance, and individual driving habits. Additionally, factors like the weight of the vehicle, engine size, and transmission type can also influence gas mileage.

If you are considering purchasing a stock VW Bus, it’s a good idea to research and compare the gas mileage of different models and years to find the one that suits your needs. Checking with reputable websites like FuelEconomy.gov or consulting with VW dealerships can provide you with more accurate and up-to-date information on gas mileage for specific models and years.

Modified VW Buses

Many VW Bus enthusiasts choose to modify their vehicles to enhance performance and fuel efficiency. These modifications can range from simple alterations to more extensive engine swaps or aerodynamic enhancements.

Various modifications can be made to improve gas mileage in a VW Bus. For instance, upgrading to a more efficient carburetor or fuel injection system can optimize fuel combustion, resulting in better mileage.

Additionally, installing low rolling resistance tires or adding aerodynamic accessories like roof racks or spoilers can help reduce drag and improve fuel economy.

It’s important to keep in mind that modifying a vehicle may void the warranty and can have an impact on its overall performance and reliability. Therefore, it is recommended to consult with professionals or experienced VW Bus owners who have successfully made similar modifications to get expert advice and ensure the modifications are done correctly.

Remember that every little improvement in gas mileage can make a difference, not only for your wallet but also for the environment. So, take the time to explore different options and find the best approach to maximize the gas mileage of your VW Bus.

Factors That Impact VW Bus Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to the fuel efficiency of your VW Bus, several factors come into play. Understanding these factors can help you determine what to expect in terms of gas mileage and how to improve it. Let’s take a closer look at the key factors that can impact the fuel efficiency of your VW Bus.

Vehicle Weight

The weight of your VW Bus can have a significant impact on its fuel efficiency. The heavier the vehicle, the more fuel it requires to move. If you have a lot of unnecessary items in your bus, consider decluttering to reduce its weight and improve gas mileage.

Additionally, if you frequently carry heavy loads, be mindful of how much weight you’re adding to the vehicle.


Aerodynamics also play a crucial role in fuel efficiency. The design of your VW Bus can either enhance or hinder its ability to cut through the air. The more streamlined the shape, the less drag it creates, resulting in better gas mileage.

Consider adding aerodynamic accessories like wind deflectors or roof racks to optimize the vehicle’s aerodynamics.

Mechanical Condition

The mechanical condition of your VW Bus is essential for optimal fuel efficiency. Regular maintenance, including oil changes, air filter replacements, and tire rotations, can help ensure that your engine is running efficiently.

A well-maintained engine consumes less fuel, contributing to better gas mileage. It’s also crucial to address any mechanical issues promptly to prevent further fuel consumption problems.

Driving Habits

Your driving habits can significantly impact the fuel efficiency of your VW Bus. Aggressive driving, such as quick acceleration and hard braking, can waste fuel. Maintaining a steady speed and avoiding unnecessary idling can help improve gas mileage.

Additionally, using cruise control on the highway can contribute to fuel efficiency by maintaining a consistent speed.

By considering these factors and implementing some simple changes, you can improve the fuel efficiency of your VW Bus. Remember, every small adjustment can make a difference in your gas mileage, saving you money and reducing your carbon footprint.

Tips to Improve Your Bus’s MPG

Maintenance Tips

Regular maintenance is essential for optimizing your VW Bus’s gas mileage. Some maintenance tips to consider include:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated: Underinflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 3%. Check your tire pressure regularly and inflate them to the recommended levels.
  • Change your air filter: A dirty air filter can restrict airflow to the engine, causing it to work harder and consume more fuel. Replace your air filter according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Use the recommended motor oil: Using the right motor oil can reduce friction and improve engine efficiency. Consult your owner’s manual or VW’s official website for the recommended oil type for your specific model.
  • Get regular tune-ups: Regular tune-ups can help identify and fix any issues that may be affecting your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Make sure to follow the recommended service intervals.

Driving Tips

How you drive your VW Bus can also have a significant impact on its fuel efficiency. Here are some driving tips to help you improve your gas mileage:

  • Avoid aggressive driving: Rapid acceleration, speeding, and sudden braking can significantly decrease your fuel economy. Maintain a steady speed and anticipate traffic conditions to drive more efficiently.
  • Remove unnecessary weight: Extra weight in your vehicle can increase fuel consumption. Remove any unnecessary items from your VW Bus to lighten the load and improve mileage.
  • Use cruise control: If your VW Bus is equipped with cruise control, use it on long stretches of highway driving. It helps maintain a constant speed, which can enhance fuel efficiency.
  • Avoid idling: If you’re going to be parked for more than a minute, turn off your engine. Idling consumes fuel and adds unnecessary emissions to the environment.

Modification Ideas

If you’re looking for ways to further improve your VW Bus’s gas mileage, here are some modification ideas to consider:

  • Install a roof rack fairing: Adding a roof rack fairing can improve aerodynamics and reduce wind resistance, resulting in better fuel efficiency.
  • Upgrade to low rolling resistance tires: Low rolling resistance tires are designed to reduce friction and improve fuel economy. Consider upgrading your tires when it’s time for replacement.
  • Optimize your engine: Consult with a professional mechanic or VW specialist about potential engine modifications or upgrades that can enhance fuel efficiency without compromising performance.
  • Consider alternative fuel options: If you’re open to alternative fuel options, explore the possibility of converting your VW Bus to run on biodiesel or other eco-friendly fuels.

Remember, each vehicle is unique, and what works for one VW Bus owner may not necessarily work for another. It’s important to experiment and find the combination of maintenance, driving habits, and modifications that work best for your specific vehicle and driving needs.


VW buses may never be gas-sippers, but there are ways to maximize your fuel efficiency. Focus on keeping your bus light, aerodynamic, and mechanically sound. Adjust your driving habits to take it easy on the gas pedal.

And consider modifications like upgrading to fuel injection or adding a turbocharger. With some strategic tweaks, you can squeeze every last mile out of your bus’s tank!

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