U-Haul Trucks Actually Get Horrible Gas Mileage That Adds to Your Moving Costs

Whether you’re moving across town or across the country, the costs of everything associated with relocating are on the rise. That includes the cost of a renting a moving truck if you decide to do it yourself. Plus, add on the price of gas to get where you’re going. Here’s a look at various U-Haul trucks’ gas mileage so you can better estimate your moving costs. 

Prepare for your move

The size of your move will determine the size of the truck you’ll need. That’s why you may want to purge unneeded belongings before renting a U-Haul truck. Also, condense your belongings as much as possible. 

Everything that can hold something else should be filled to the brim to save space during your move. For instance, line your slow cooker or multi-cooker with kitchen linens, flatware, or utensils. Pack suitcases with electronics, laundry baskets with cleaning supplies, and hampers with shoes stuffed with socks.

Getting rid of what you no longer need and condensing the rest could mean a smaller, less expensive moving truck rather than a gas-guzzling behemoth.

The lineup of U-Haul trucks and their gas mileage

U-Haul trucks mpg gas mileage fuel economy moving trucks
A U-Haul moving truck | Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Which size truck will you need for your move? U-Haul offers several options, ranging from a nine-foot cargo van to a 26-foot truck.

9-foot cargo van

The company recommends this van for a small move, such as leaving a home where you’ve been renting a room or if you’re a young adult flying the nest. At least with this van’s impressive (for U-Haul) gas mileage, you can probably afford to make more than one trip if needed.

Max capacity: Up to 246 cubic feet/4,030 pounds

Expected gas mileage: 18 mpg

10-foot moving truck

The smallest truck in the U-Haul lineup, this model is great for anyone moving out of a studio or one-bedroom apartment. The good news is that a king-size bed will fit with room to spare for a loveseat, small dining set, and miscellaneous household goods.

Max capacity: 402 cubic feet/2,850 pounds

Expected gas mileage: 12 mpg

15-foot moving truck

Are you moving out of a two-bedroom apartment or condo? This slightly larger truck should hold everything, including a king-size bed, dresser, small sofa, and several appliances.

Max capacity: 764 cubic feet/6,385 pounds

Expected gas mileage: 10 mpg

17-foot moving truck

Need something big enough to hold the furnishings from a larger apartment or condo? This medium-sized truck can even hold the household goods from a two-bedroom house.

Max capacity: 865 cubic feet/6,160 pounds

Expected gas mileage: 10 mpg

20-foot moving truck 

Do you have a two- or three-bedroom home full of furniture and other belongings? Then this larger truck might be just what you need. Load it with two king-size beds, dressers, a sectional sofa, and everything else that makes a house a home.

Max capacity: 1,016 cubic feet/5,700 pounds

Expected gas mileage: 10 mpg

26-foot moving truck

According to U-Haul, this beast is the largest moving truck available to rent. It’s big enough to hold everything from most three- to five-bedroom homes, including kitchen appliances plus a washer and dryer.

Max capacity: 1,682 cubic feet/12,859 pounds

Expected gas mileage: 10 mpg

Choosing your U-Haul truck and loading it

As you can see, U-Haul trucks get absolutely horrible fuel economy. In fact, they’re about as far from good gas mileage as you can get. The company even admits in the fine print that its gas mileage estimates are for “ideal driving circumstances,” and driving with a heavy load is hardly ideal.

That’s why purging and condensing your belongings is one way to save on moving costs. Doing that, plus packing the truck as efficiently as possible, could mean using a smaller, more fuel-efficient truck. And the smaller the vehicle, the more you’ll save on your move. 

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