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  1. #1

    Default Tacoma Washington to Jacksonville Florida -- Best gas milage route?

    Will have a truck pulling a car and a cadillac escalade maybee pulling car.. Problem is mountains are really hard on gas while heavy and towing... But there is also mountains thru califorina.. SO Anybody who has taken both routes? Maybee would know which way will be harder on my cars? Both gas and maintain wise

  2. #2

    Default Can't entirely avoid them, but.... can minimize the ups and downs.

    Hello Don,

    Mapquest shows I-90/29/70/57/24/75/10 as the shortest, and in my experience, it's the flattest, too.

    You have Snoqualmie Pass just east of SeaTac, Lookout Pass at the ID-MT line, Homestake Pass just east of Butte, an unnamed high point just east of Whitehall, and lastly Bozeman Pass just east of Bozeman. Those are the only passes and at least the MT-ID passes are easy: short run-up, a few miles of grade on each side, then back down low. From map study, I-90 across WA from Snoqualmie to Lookout stays low and fairly flat. I-90 in MT runs in river valleys except for the passes, so it's fairly flat. Mapquest will suggest that you take the US 212 cut-off at Crow Agency to Belle Fourche, SD, but I would not do that 2-lane highway towing like you will be. Stay on I-90 to Rapid City instead. There's a bit of up and down as you cross the Powder River basin in SE MT and NE WY, then just dead dang flat from just east of Rapid City SD all the way to the east side of the Mississippi at St Louis. The hills are very gentle along I-57 and I-24 as far as Nashville, TN. Between Nashville and Chattanooga, there is a few miles of foothills but nothing heavy. Same between Chattanooga and Atlanta where I-75 cuts through the southwestern tail of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but again mere dozens of miles and nothing heavy. South of Atlanta on I-75 you're in gently rolling Piedmont, then coastal plain the rest of the way to JAX.

    I would not add a single mile to the trip to avoid any of the described topography.

    Be aware of the elevation profile mapping capability within the Map Center tab at the top of this page. I haven't yet used it personally, but it looks like a cool tool.

    Is this by chance a Navy PCS move? If so, thanks for your service. One of my sons is a Seabee and we're one Navy-lovin' family.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Although I-90/I-82/I-84/I-80/NE-2 to I-29 is about 25 miles shorter, I would just take I-90 all the way to I-29 because the elevations are less.

    Take I-435 around the NE side of KC to get to I-70.

    There's really no good way to get through/around STL, but you need to take I-64 out the other side, not I-70. If you hit STL in rush hour, forget it - stop and get some dinner, then get through or around before stopping for the night. I would pick up I-64/US-40 at Wentzville, take that to I-270, take that south, it turns into I-255, stay on that back around to I-64. I do not recommend going through downtown on I-64 when towing.

    Atlanta is another mess - I don't know if I'd try to go straight through or take the west I-285 bypass.

  4. #4

    Default Thanks.

    Thought there might have been consideration of going south first thru california, but it doesnt sound bad the way you all have described. I only get about 10mpg or less going up snoqualmie.. but its not that bad.

    Not a Navy move, but I know people in both navy bases. Just lived in the same county in washington my whole life and looking for a change.

    Thanks for the help!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Going down through California would not be a good choice, actually. First, it wouldn't avoid mountains, as you'd have mountains on I-5 in Oregon/Northern California, and again with the Grapevine before LA. Then you'd still have elevation across I-10 through AZ and NM.

    And for all that effort, you'd have a route that adds 600 miles, so you'd need a whole lot more fuel and a whole extra day (and motel costs) on the road!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Bottom line - shortest is cheapest!

    If you get 10 mpg towing, you are doing quite well. I'd expect single digits.

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