With so many engine and transmission options on the market today, this can turn into quite a complex question. It’s easy for a manufacturer to claim most fuel-efficient truck, but they are most likely referring to the one with the least power or smallest engine. We want trucks to do truck things right, so the smallest engine might not work for everyone. To make it easier, I’ve compiled a list, taking the fuel economy numbers from the U.S. Department of Energy with vehicles placed in order based on ‘combined’ fuel consumption figures.
Compact Pickup Trucks
The only compact pickup trucks with a diesel engine at the moment are the GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado.
- GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado 2.8L Turbo Diesel Auto 6-speed 23 mpg combined (20mpg city/28mpg highway)
4 Cylinder Gas
- GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado 2.5L Auto 6-speed 21 mpg combined (19mpg city/24 mpg highway)
- Toyota Tacoma 2.7L Auto 6-speed 20 mpg combined (19mpg city/22 mpg highway)
6 Cylinder Gas
- Toyota Tacoma 3.5L Auto 6-speed 20 mpg combined (18mpg city 22 mpg highway)
- GMC Canyon and Chevrolet Colorado 3.6L Auto 8-speed 19 mpg combined (17mpg city 24 mpg highway)
- Nissan Frontier 4.0L Auto 5-speed 17 mpg combined (15 mpg city 21 mpg highway)
Full size (half ton) 1500 pickups
Currently only one vehicle in this segment, however, Ford will be coming out with their diesel F-150 in the next few months.
- RAM 1500 EcoDiesel 3.0L V-6 (240hp/420lb-ft torque) 27 mpg comined (21/29) ¹
Due to the Ford F-150 having two options for the twin turbo Ecoboost on smaller displacement engines, it wouldn’t be fair to list these by cylinders. These are grouped in accordance to horsepower.
Less than 310hp- it’s a three-way tie!
- RAM 1500 3.6L V-6 (305hp/269lb-ft torque) Auto 8-speed 19 mpg combined (16/23)
- Ford F-150 3.3L V-6 (290hp/265lb-ft torque) Auto 6-speed 19 mpg combined (17/22)
- GMC Sierra/Chevrolet Silverado 4.3L V-6 (285hp/305 lb-ft torque) Auto 6-speed 19 mpg combined (17/22)
- Ford F-150 2.7L V-6 EcoBoost (325hp/400lb ft torque) Auto 10-speed 21 mpg combined (19/24)
- GMC Sierra/Chevy Silverado 5.3L V-8 (355hp/383 lb-ft torque) Auto 6-speed 18 mpg combined (16/22)
- Ford F-150 3.5L V-6 EcoBoost (375hp/470lb ft torque) Auto10-speed 18 mpg combined (16/21)
- GMC Sierra/Chevy Silverado 5.3L V-8 (355hp/383 lb-ft torque) Auto 8-speed 17 mpg combined (15/20)
What’s interesting here is that the 6-speed auto is more fuel efficient than the 8-speed transmission in the GMC Sierra
This category is interesting because the trucks listed previously are all either regular gas or diesel. In this section, not all the trucks are based on regular gasoline, so whilst the mpg might be similar it may be based on premium fuel, which costs more than regular fuel. Therefore this section will be based on fuel costs as listed on U.S. Dept Energy. (*Based on 45% highway, 55% city driving, 15,000 annual miles and current fuel prices)
- Ford F-150 5.0L V-8 (395hp/400 lb-ft) Auto 10-speed 17 mpg combined (15/19) Regular gas Annual fuel cost $2,200*
- RAM 1500 5.7L HEMI V-8 (395hp/410lb-ft) Auto 8-speed 17 mpg combined (15/21) Midgrade gas Annual fuel cost $2,450*
- GMC Serra/Chevy Silverado 6.2L V-8 (420hp/460lb-ft) Auto 8-speed 17 mpg combined (15/20) Premium gas Annual fuel cost $2,650*
- Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 (381hp/401 lb-ft) Auto 6-speed 14mpg combined (13/17) Regular gas Annual fuel cost $2,700*
- RAM 1500 5.7L HEMI V-8 (395/410 lb-ft) Auto 6-speed 14 mpg combined (13/18) Midgrade gas Annual fuel cost $3,000*
“Compare Side-by-Side.” 2018 Nissan Titan 4WD, 14 Dec. 2017, www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=39668.
Photos from respective manufacturer media sites
¹Per FCA Media
Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. A car geek, photographer, big game chaser and bagpipe player, powered by coffee. Send your questions to: