'02 Sonoma fuel economy

I just bought an '02 Sonoma pickup, 2WD with the 4.3 vortec and automatic overdrive, about 85k miles. Have a couple of questions:
On the first tankful of gas I got just over 21 MPG, and the driving
was mostly highway, using gasoline with 10% ethanol, brand new tires. I expected more MPG than that, closer to 24-25. Is that all the better mileage anyone is getting with these?
That's hardly any better than I got with the truck I just sold, a '98 Cheyenne 2WD with a 5.7 vortec and automatic overdrive -- I could get almost 20 MPG with it, using the same fuel, when I could keep it around 55 mph.
This Sonoma seems to run perfectly and of course has plenty of power. If it was a 4WD I wouldn't be surprised at the MPG it's getting. Are these given the same amount of fuel by the ECM as the 4WD Sonomas, blazers, etc?
Anything these are notorious for in terms of making them drink a lot of fuel, or is this just the nature of the beast?
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James Goforth wrote:

21 with Ethanol is about right. We own a 97 and an 02, both Blazers with the 4.3 and automatics both with 4X4 and both with the same option package. They will turn in mileage at 19-20 running locally and 23-24 running highway at 65 mph on good gas.
I got to prove that to a local here who told me that "ANY engine would get better mileage with ethanol in the gas" We have a local small station that buys Mobil gas without Ethanol added.
I can take my wifes 02 and fill it there. Average out the mileage over 3-4 tanks of gas and then use the same grade with ethanol in it and consistently get 3mpg better with the non ethanol blend.
--
Steve W.
Near Cooperstown, New York
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Steve wrote: "21 {MPG] with Ethanol is about right. We own a 97 and an 02, both Blazers with the 4.3 and automatics both with 4X4 and both with the same option package. They will turn in mileage at 19-20 running locally and 23-24 running highway at 65 mph on good gas. I got to prove that to a local here who told me that "ANY engine would get better mileage with ethanol in the gas" We have a local small station that buys Mobil gas without Ethanol added.
I can take my wifes 02 and fill it there. Average out the mileage over 3-4 tanks of gas and then use the same grade with ethanol in it and consistently get 3mpg better with the non ethanol blend. "
************************************************
Thanks, Steve. After that first tankful getting around 21 mpg, I used straight gasoline for the next fill, looking for an increase in fuel economy. I also added some GM injector cleaner to the tank, just looking for any increase I can get. I haven't filled it yet and thus haven't calculated the mpg for this tankful, but judging by the fuel gauge thus far, it isn't looking too good. Plus, not being a 4WD should be worth SOMETHING in the mpg department (that's why I wondered if the ECM is set at the exact same fuel parameters for 2- and 4WD). Since I bought this truck for a pretty decent price, it is feasible for me to just get rid of it if I can find another small pickup that will get better mileage. I like GM stuff but with gasoline prices this high, brand loyalty of any stripe will go right out the window. I noticed when I was going around looking for this truck that I could buy Ford Rangers "all day long." Normally I look right past Fords like they're not even there but if I could procure one of those and get an increase of, say, 5mpg, I would probably do it. I did have a shortbox 2WD Ranger about 9 years ago with a 3.0 and 5 speed which ran very well and IIRC wasn't bad on gas -- even though back then that wasn't anywhere near as big a deal as now.
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James Goforth wrote:

Only difference between them is the 4X4 has the extra drive train gear. BUT the Sonoma may have different gearing? Have an idea on the ratio? It will be on the RPO sticker on the glove box.
--
Steve W.

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I work for an auto school and drive both the 3.1 6 malibus and the 2.2. There is almost no difference in mileage.
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Ted wrote:

My 96 S10 2.2 (when it was running) got about 17/18 in town and 21/23 on the road.
bob
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ethanol lowers your MPG.

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Yes, ethanol can lower your MPG. There does, however, seem to be a plateau effect on the mileage economy on some cars and brands.
My old 1989 Buick Regal REGULARLY got 35 mpg on the highway with the 2.8 litre engine...And it had plenty of snort. (Unfortunately, it was not the most durable and troublefree car I even owned, but nice between failures).
Getting 35 mpg on the highway now, nearly twenty years later, is nowhere nearly as likely.
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My '88 Celebrity with the 2.8 was the most trouble-free car I've owned. It consistently got 28mpg highway on our annual trips Chicago/Florida. But we were always loaded, 2 adults and 4 kids, tail low with the trunk filled with luggage, 80mph, A/C on. Biggest failure was the ECU once, luckily at home. Only time it failed to start and interfered with my plans. Bought in '91 with 31k miles. Junked in 2003 with 190k. Some minor stuff over the years - couple injectors, dogbone, ps pump, couple alternators, a waterpump. Fuel pump. Silver/gray and had that peeling paint on the roof only. At the end it was a rust bucket emergency car, and the headliner was gone. Painted the ceiling with a flat blue latex to seal in that foam. The blue interior was still perfect save my ceiling paint job. Mechanically, cost wise, it came close to being a dream car. Had a bit over a grand total in repairs, and maybe 4 days down time. Think the biggest cost was the fuel pump, costing a few hundred. A little less for the ECU including tow. Oh yeah, the rack was grabbing at the end, and the A/C gone, back right window motor was shot. Bought a new rack, but decided to junk the car before I put it on. The 2.8 was running as good as new. Would not hesitate a second to buy that car again. I hate salt.
--Vic
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The 2.8 litre engine was about the only thing on that car that did not give problems, but it was very good. I had the Metric 440T4 tranny and suspect it was one of the reasons for the good mileage, but it failed twice.. what a POS!
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