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05 500
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With skyrocketing gas prices in the US and the fact that my 500 has all of a sudden become my daily driver for my 84miles/day commute, I started looking for ways to squeeze the most out of the Ml and still have fun barrelling down the highway. I tested different driving styles at different speeds and monitored the instantaneous and average fuel consumption calculated by the trip computer - these readings are good enough for such comparisons. Here are some tips, based on what I found out and assuming that your vehicle is in top shape:

1) Forget about flooring it - it sucks gas like a siphon!!!
2) Driving at 55 doesn't result in optimum gpm on the V8 engine. Dropping from 65 to 55 gained me only 1/10 or 2/10 of a gpm. Even at a steady 60, I didn't see much gain. I found 70-75 to do it for me. 80 seemed to be optimum. Unfortunately, these are not legal speeds on my route.
3) Use cruise control whenever possible. As much as I tried to maintain a constant speed, I didn't even come close to matching the feedback algorithm of the cruise control.
4) If not in cruise, allow the vehicle to coast downhill and when approaching stop signal.
5) Pray for a tail wind!!!

And after all that, the best i could get was 19.6mpg, before I ran out of road. My 320 easily clocked 21-22mpg without all the fanfare. For now, I'll stay at 65 to avoid tickets and still have fun driving the 500 every day.
 

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'05 ML350SE
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I am not sure that cruise is better than manual under hilly conditions. For the latter, I would prefer to not have constant speed because of frequent downshifts. Instead, constant throttle seems more frugal and a bit less jarring.
 

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Ml 500SE
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Hey Darkmann:
I watch for your posts as I think we bought our 500's about the same time last fall. My prior ML was an 00 430, so I have to compare to that. Using the methods you mention I could squeeze 20 mpg on the highway at 70 to 75 as you say. I drive the 500 the same way you have outlined with some additional tips. Have you tried "drafting" another vehicle? Any other SUV will do. Especially a Cadillac Escalade. They're pretty square in the front and blow a big hole in the air. You don't even have to follow behind, you can run on their RR or LR corner in the other lane. Watch your instant mode on the trip computer when you do this. It's amazing what happens when you hit the wind again. You don't have to run that close to get good results either. About 19.5 is about all I can get out of the 500, but I don't care, I just love to drive it every day!! [8D]
 

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Ml 500SE
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269 Posts
Mickey:
Darkmann was talking about his 05 500. I too have an 05 500SE. A 500 just doesn't kick down going uphill unless it's real severe, and then only the convertor kicks out and adds about 300 rpm. I haven't driven in your area yet, but will be passing through this summer. A V-6 in your area may kick down a lot and I see your point. Other than a 55 there is nothing like a 500 if you can afford the gas!! [8D]
 

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1999 ML 430
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coming up from the San Fransisco area to portland oregon on the 101 I got 23/24 MPG on a 99 ML430 I still am not sure if I took a picture of it!!! I wish/hope I did I'll check
 

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2011 GLK,2007 S550,2003 S55,2008 CLK,2009 C300,1996 E300,2005 E320,2002 E3
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DMAN:
And after all its Nascar season, so i do a little bit of "drafting" whenever possible.[:D]
 

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'02 ML 500
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44 Posts
Thanks for the tips, Darkmann. I too have a long commute. Those $45 fill ups 2-3 times a week definitely hit the pocketbook, don't they. I find that much over 65 mph starts eating into my mileage. I did 65 most of the way in today, had a couple of bottlenecks to wait through and had a fun sprint from 40 to 85 for a few seconds and I was sitting at 20.3 mpg. If I really baby it around 60 all the way in and don't have any slowdowns, I can edge over 21.

As an aside, I did some pencil (ok, calculator) work to see how much less a vehicle that gets better gas mileage would cost to operate. I figure with my commute, a vehicle that gets 5 MPG better would cost $1K a year less to gas up (at $2.25 a gallon). Think about just the sales tax on another vehicle, and that's $1-3K out the window right there. Then you have to pay for the vehicle itself. And then you wouldn't have that 500 engine to pull you around!! All this helps me sleep and not worry as much about expensive gasoline. Which I think was Darkmann's point to begin with - baby your baby, and s/he can be fun to drive and not drain your pocketbook.

Happy MLing
 

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'02 ML 500
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THREE NINETEEN?!? [xx(] I had heard it might hit $3.50 on the east and west US coasts. I'm near Dallas. It was running $2.29 last week and I saw $2.45 near an airport last week. It's down to $2.26 now. It was only $2.09 when I was doing the "what if" work. I feel for you. I hope you get to memorize the back end of LOTS of Escalades in your drafting endeavors.
 

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05 500
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Discussion Starter #10
You're right. Since I drive on probably the most flat area of the country, it didn't

even ocur to me that others really have hills. And like dakat pointed out, with the 500, those annoying downshifts are essentially inexistent.
 

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05 500
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Discussion Starter #11
dakat - 3/31/2005 12:02 AM

Hey Darkmann:
I watch for your posts as I think we bought our 500's about the same time last fall. My prior ML was an 00 430, so I have to compare to that. Using the methods you mention I could squeeze 20 mpg on the highway at 70 to 75 as you say. I drive the 500 the same way you have outlined with some additional tips. Have you tried "drafting" another vehicle? Any other SUV will do. Especially a Cadillac Escalade. They're pretty square in the front and blow a big hole in the air. You don't even have to follow behind, you can run on their RR or LR corner in the other lane. Watch your instant mode on the trip computer when you do this. It's amazing what happens when you hit the wind again. You don't have to run that close to get good results either. About 19.5 is about all I can get out of the 500, but I don't care, I just love to drive it every day!! [8D]
Yes, we both got them around mid December 04. And, yes I do draft and that big hole does wonders for mileage. It's amazing how it dips once the drafting disappears. I don't do that so much with the 500 - I had a cracked windshield on my 320 driving behind a truck a couple of years ago!! I still do draft with my Z though.
 

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05 500
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Discussion Starter #13
4benzes - 3/31/2005 7:45 AM

DMAN:
And after all its Nascar season, so i do a little bit of "drafting" whenever possible.[:D]
You got my vote 4B. Draft on, afterall, we have all contributed a lot to this economy, time to get something for almost nothing!
 

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05 500
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Discussion Starter #14
Actually we're running $2.15 here in rural Salisbury, MD.

I feel for you; $3.19 ranks way up there with starting to look for a daily hybrid driver.
 

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05 500
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Discussion Starter #15
Good excercise. When it's all added up, I'll still take the ML.

It's good dollar for the turck in more ways than I expected.
 

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Ml 500SE
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Before I once again respond to this thread I would like to preface my remarks by saying: I don't want anyone to think I'm coming off as some rich guy from California, because I'm not. I was a blue collar aerospace worker that paid his bills and saved his money for retirement. Now that I'm there I paid cash for a 2005 ML500SE knowing full well I could afford the gas at current prices or more as I carry no debt. A lifetime goal for all of us. Having said all that I travel mostly on interstate highways and freeways here in Cal. I have a home in Montana too and travel there at least twice a year. I came up with the drafting thing when I was going through the unpopulated states on the way there up I-15 through Nev. Utah, Idaho. It gets boring guys and over a 1500 mile trip you can actually save some gas if you can find someone to hook onto that is running the same speed as you are. For a commuter it won't be worth the trouble over the short trips you make. I just filled up today with 91 octane at Shell for $2.67 per gal. 175 miles north of LA on 101 where I live. I don't have a motorhome or want one. I bought something I can afford to drive every day and love every mile I go!! Thanks!! [8D]
 

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2010 ML350 Bluetec
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519 Posts
Snob [:D]

dakat - 3/31/2005 7:34 PM

Before I once again respond to this thread I would like to preface my remarks by saying: I don't want anyone to think I'm coming off as some rich guy from California, because I'm not. I was a blue collar aerospace worker that paid his bills and saved his money for retirement. Now that I'm there I paid cash for a 2005 ML500SE knowing full well I could afford the gas at current prices or more as I carry no debt. A lifetime goal for all of us. Having said all that I travel mostly on interstate highways and freeways here in Cal. I have a home in Montana too and travel there at least twice a year. I came up with the drafting thing when I was going through the unpopulated states on the way there up I-15 through Nev. Utah, Idaho. It gets boring guys and over a 1500 mile trip you can actually save some gas if you can find someone to hook onto that is running the same speed as you are. For a commuter it won't be worth the trouble over the short trips you make. I just filled up today with 91 octane at Shell for $2.67 per gal. 175 miles north of LA on 101 where I live. I don't have a motorhome or want one. I bought something I can afford to drive every day and love every mile I go!! Thanks!! [8D]
[:D][:D
 

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Ml 500SE
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Davesml320: You got me laying on the floor laughing man. At least you're using Mercedes trucks in you carpool. Didn't know you lived in Death Valley! Ha! Ha! You're killing me!!! [8D]
 
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