Do Diesel Pickup Trucks Deliver More?

Dec 9, 2019

New diesel options now available for consumers in America’s most popular selling vehicles – pickup trucks – are delivering more benefits for their owners, including fuel savings and performance gains that turn into energy savings and clean air benefits across the economy.

According to new research from IHS Markit, consumers choosing a diesel engine option in full-size half-ton pickup trucks can achieve on average 33% more miles per gallon (24 mpg diesel vs. 18.1 gasoline, combined fuel economy) saving about 200 gallons of gasoline every year. Beyond the fuel savings, the diesel options have greater vehicle driving range before refueling at 550 miles per tank for a diesel compared to 420 miles for gasoline. Additional performance gains for diesel come in the form of higher torque, 450 lb.-ft for diesel compared to 394 lb.-ft for gasoline.

If all full-size pickup trucks in the U.S. were to be powered by a diesel engine, the research found that it would realize a savings of approximately 500 million gallons of fuel for one model year; an amount equivalent to 15% of the U.S. car fleet switching entirely to EVs.

“New diesel engine options now available in full size/half-ton pickup trucks, including those from Chevrolet, GMC, and Ram Trucks, now bring important new fuel savings opportunities to America’s most popular selling vehicles,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The new diesel engine options already have some impressive accomplishments.  The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax diesel posted EPA combined fuel economy numbers of 33 mpg. And just a few weeks ago the 2020 Ram 1500 was named the 2020 Green Truck of the Year for the second consecutive year from Green Car Journal, due in part to its new EcoDiesel engine option.”

The benefits and diesel options don’t stop with full-size pickups. In the midsize pickup truck category, for example, a Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon with a diesel engine option will achieve on average 34.7 percent better mpg (26 mpg diesel vs. 19.3 mpg gasoline), saving about 200 gallons of fuel annually, with 37.5 percent greater driving range over gasoline (550 mile range diesel vs. 400 mile range gasoline). Beyond fuel savings and greater driving range, diesel pickup truck owners will get more performance in the form of torque, about a 26 percent improvement (350 lb.-ft diesel vs. 257 lb.-ft gasoline). If all mid-size pickup trucks were to switch to diesel engines, the U.S. would realize a fuel savings of about 150 million gallons of fuel for one model year.