How Many Gallons Does A Jeep Wrangler Hold? Fuel Tank Capacity Explained

how many gallons does a jeep wrangler hold

The Jeep Wrangler is an iconic off-road SUV known for its rugged capability and open-air freedom. Versatile enough for daily driving yet tough for off-road adventures, a Wrangler can take you anywhere. But how far can you go before needing to stop for gas?

All Jeep Wrangler models, from the early YJ to the current JL, have fuel tank capacities ranging from 15.9 gallons up to 22.5 gallons.

In this in-depth article, we’ll cover every Wrangler’s gas tank size, why the newer models can hold more fuel, fuel economy tips to maximize your range, and how to estimate driving distance per tank. Whether you already own a Jeep or plan to buy one, knowing the Wrangler’s fuel capacity is key to understanding its capabilities.

A Brief History of the Jeep Wrangler

Before diving into fuel tank specs, let’s take a quick look back at the evolution of the iconic Jeep Wrangler. This context will explain why newer models have larger capacities.

The Wrangler as we know it began in 1987 when Jeep introduced the YJ generation. Boasting a square profile with classic Jeep styling, the YJ was a simple off-roader with few comforts or luxury features.

In 1997, the second-generation TJ Wrangler arrived, bringing some refinement while retaining the solid front and rear axles for serious 4×4 capability. These were also the last Wranglers to offer a 2-door model with a short wheelbase.

The third-gen JK Wrangler premiered in 2007 for the first time offering 4-door Unlimited models with a longer wheelbase. This brought more comfort yet maintained the ruggedness expected of a Jeep.

Finally, the latest JL Wrangler launched in 2018 with an emphasis on balancing off-road prowess with modern comfort and technology. These are the most refined yet still trail-ready Wranglers ever made.

Now that you understand the Wrangler’s origins and design changes over the generations, let’s look at how gas tank capacity has grown over time to enable more adventurous journeys.

Fuel Tank Size by Jeep Wrangler Model Year

The earliest Jeep Wranglers were designed for off-road purists, prioritizing rugged dependability over comfort or convenience. But newer models cater more to overlanders and those using them as daily drivers. To keep up with these changing expectations, Jeep has increased the Wrangler’s fuel capacity substantially over the years.

Here is a detailed look at the gas tank size of every Jeep Wrangler ever made:

Jeep YJ (1987-1995)

The boxy first-generation YJ Wrangler offered only the bare essentials for off-roading. Available in 2-door and 4-door versions, it came with two engine options:

  • 2.5L 4-cylinder – This economical engine was paired with a small 15.9 gallon fuel tank.
  • 4.2L 6-cylinder – For more power, the 6-cylinder received a 20 gallon tank.

With a short wheelbase and light curb weight, the YJ achieved decent fuel mileage for an off-roader. But the small tank limited its range between fill-ups. Expect around 250-300 miles per tank.

Fun fact: The YJ was the last Wrangler to use a carbureted engine before fuel injection became standard.

Jeep TJ (1997-2006)

The second-gen TJ gained more comfort while retaining ruggedness. It expanded the gas tank slightly:

  • 2.5L 4-cylinder – Base models included a 15.9 gallon tank, same as the YJ.
  • 4.0L 6-cylinder – Upgraded models got an 18.6 gallon tank, a bit larger than before.

The TJ’s fuel economy was similar to the outgoing YJ, so drivers could expect about 300-350 miles between fill-ups depending on conditions. The Wrangler was still a basic machine, but the extra gallons provided some welcome additional range.

Fun fact: The TJ adopted the classic round headlights returning to the iconic Jeep look after the YJ’s square lights.

Jeep JK (2007-2018)

The JK was a significant turning point for the Wrangler, bringing long-awaited refinements. For the first time, Jeep offered 4-door Unlimited models alongside traditional 2-door versions. Plus, the JK featured more premium interior options catering to daily drivers.

All JK Wranglers came equipped with an 18.6 gallon fuel tank, which was an upgrade for the base 2-door models. Combined with enhanced efficiency from the new 3.8L V6, you could squeeze 350-400 miles out of a tank in the JK.

Fun fact: 2011 saw the arrival of the JK’s max tow package allowing up to 3,500 pounds of towing capacity.

Jeep JL (2018-Present)

The latest JL Wrangler represents the most radical leap forward combining off-road prowess with modern comforts and technology. It’s the most refined Wrangler ever, yet equally capable in rugged terrain.

To keep up with these improvements, the JL increased fuel capacity to 22.5 gallons – the largest of any Wrangler. This enables an impressive max range of 450-500 miles per tank thanks to its efficient 2.0L turbo engine.

No longer just for purists, the JL Wrangler appeals to overlanders and daily drivers who appreciate the extra gallons while exploring off the beaten path.

Fun fact: The JL was the first Wrangler to offer a hybrid plug-in version called the 4xe with increased torque and fuel efficiency.

As you can see, newer Jeep Wranglers hold substantially more fuel than their predecessors, even as mpg has also improved. Let’s look at why the gas capacity has expanded over the years.

Why Do Newer Jeep Wranglers Have Bigger Fuel Tanks?

The Wrangler has come a long way from its humble barebones origins. While maintaining legendary off-road performance, today’s models also cater to daily drivers and road trippers.

Several key reasons explain the expanded gas tanks in newer Jeeps:

1. Bigger Overall Size

Recent Wranglers have grown in physical size, especially the 4-door Unlimited versions. The larger footprint provides more interior space for passengers and gear, which also allows room underneath for a larger fuel tank.

2. Improved Fuel Economy

Thanks to advanced engine technology and engineering, newer Wranglers achieve better mpg than their predecessors. Jeep wisely leveraged these efficiency gains to increase range rather than just reducing refueling frequency.

3. Rise of Overlanding

Taking extended trips off the pavement into the wilderness is surging in popularity. With the JK and especially the latest JL, Jeep tapped into overlanding enthusiasm by boosting the Wrangler’s capacity to handle long distances off-grid.

4. Appeal to Daily Drivers

By improving comfort and drivability, Wranglers attract more people who rely on them for daily transportation beyond just off-road use. The added fuel provides reassurance for suburban commuters.

5. Extended Range Desired

Regardless of use, all drivers appreciate fewer stops at the pump. More gasoline means greater freedom to adventure further from civilization without worrying about the next fill-up.

With gas tank capacity more than doubling from 15.9 gallons in early models to 22.5 gallons in the JL, Jeep has transformed the Wrangler into a more capable all-around vehicle ready for any journey.

Tips to Improve Jeep Wrangler Gas Mileage

While fuel economy has improved in newer Wranglers, they still rank behind most other SUVs. Expect combined city/highway mpg in the low 20s for newer models. But there are some techniques you can use to squeeze out every possible mile from a tank of gas:

1. Drive Conservatively

Avoid aggressive jackrabbit starts and hard braking, and go easy on the throttle to save on fuel. The Wrangler’s torquey engine loves guzzling gas under hard acceleration. Gentle acceleration maximizes economy.

2. Mind Your Speed

Higher speeds devour gas, so keep your cruising speed around 55-65 mph on the highway. Use cruise control on flat roads to maintain steady pacing. Limit quick surges in speed.

3. Lighten Your Load

All the extra weight from oversized tires, armor, and accessories hurts mpg. Remove heavy gear when not needed around town. Also take off roof racks and windshield frames to improve aerodynamics on highway drives.

4. Check Tire Pressure

Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended PSI per the driver’s door placard. Underinflated tires create more rolling resistance burning more fuel. Don’t exceed the maximum pressure either.

5. Use Premium Fuel

Running premium gas recommended by Jeep can net 1-2 mpg over regular, especially under heavy loads. The higher octane helps high-compression engines run more efficiently.

6. Stay on Top of Maintenance

Follow the scheduled maintenance and service the Wrangler regularly. Issues like worn spark plugs, dirty air filters and old engine oil waste gas.

Making a few key adjustments to your driving and vehicle condition goes a long way toward optimizing mileage and taking advantage of those extra gallons.

How Far Can a Jeep Wrangler Go on One Tank of Gas?

Now for the big question: Exactly how far can you expect to travel in a Jeep Wrangler before needing to refuel? Here are rough estimates for driving range by model generation:

  • YJ – Approximately 250 to 300 miles
  • TJ – Around 300 to 350 miles
  • JK – From 350 to 400 miles
  • JL – Ranges from 450 to 500 miles

Of course, your specific fuel range depends on many factors:

  • Engine and drivetrain – The available engines, transmissions and axle ratios all impact mpg.
  • Model and accessories – Heavy add-ons like winches, steel bumpers and oversize tires reduce economy.
  • Driving conditions – Mountainous or rugged off-road terrain burns more fuel than flat highway cruising.
  • Personal driving style – Aggressive acceleration and high speeds waste gas.
  • Vehicle maintenance – Poor maintenance leads to inefficient operation.
  • Weather conditions – Headwinds, cold weather and use of A/C all decrease mpg.

Given all these variables, use the above ranges as a rough guide not an absolute guarantee. Building in a safety buffer is wise when planning remote travel far from fuel stations.

Under ideal conditions on the highway, a brand new JL Wrangler could achieve a maximum range approaching 500 miles. But for off-road trail driving with heavy modifying, cut that estimate by 100 miles or more.

Knowing your Wrangler’s realistic fuel range allows you to confidently embark on adventures without worrying about the next gas stop. Now let’s recap everything we’ve covered.

In Summary

We’ve explored all aspects of fuel capacity for the iconic Jeep Wrangler:

  • How gas tank size has increased across all generations from 15.9 gallons originally up to 22.5 gallons in the latest JL
  • Why newer Wranglers offer more capacity to keep up with growing expectations
  • Tips to maximize your gas mileage for longer range between fill-ups
  • How far you can expect to travel per tank based on your model and conditions

Whether you are choosing your next Jeep or want to get the most from the one you own, this deep dive into Wrangler fuel tank specs offers useful insights. No matter which rugged yet refined Wrangler you drive, you can journey confidently off the beaten path knowing exactly how many miles it has in its tank.

Now grab your gear, fill up that fuel tank and hit the trails to fully experience the ultimate adventure vehicle!

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