There’s no denying that pickup trucks are an integral part of our culture. They’ve been instrumental in building our infrastructure and giving the public access to remote locations and myriad recreation activities. Trucks aren’t known for being particularly fuel efficient though, with boxy silhouettes and considerable weight negatively affecting their gas mileage ratings. The times are changing and not only are trucks getting more economical, but there are also several new smaller alternatives.
What is the most fuel-efficient truck?
So what’s the most fuel-efficient pickup truck on sale in the U.S? It depends on which class of trucks you’re looking at. For this list, we’re focusing only on internal-combustion trucks. The small crop of all-electric trucks are certainly worth considering, but it’s not so easy comparing EVs to ICE trucks here. In most cases, these trucks are the two-wheel-drive versions since they return the best mileage, but there are a few four- or all-wheel-drive models that we call out.
Not surprisingly, the revival of the compact pickup has altered the truck landscape. In many cases, these petite trucks may be just the right size for many shoppers. That’s great because most owners would rather not lug around a ton of weight that they don’t necessarily need.
The simplest answer to the question posed above is the Ford Maverick Hybrid. It tops this list with an impressive 37-mpg EPA estimate for combined city and highway miles. With only 191 horsepower and a continuously variable transmission, it’s not as capable off-road or for towing as other trucks, but if you just need something to haul stuff around, you really can’t do any better. Its 4.5-foot bed has a slight advantage over its only rival, the Hyundai Santa Cruz, which has a 4-foot bed and an estimate of 23 mpg. So now we know what truck uses the least amount of gas.
What is the most fuel-efficient midsize truck?
Let’s say you need more capabilities than small trucks offer. The growing midsize class is topped by the Jeep Gladiator and its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 that is rated at 24 mpg. With standard four-wheel-drive, a 5-foot bed and a towing capacity of 6,500 pounds (that’s triple what the Maverick can pull), the Gladiator is far more capable, though it’s more focused on off-roading than typical truck duties. That makes the Jeep Gladiator the best 4×4 truck with good gas mileage. Or in this case, diesel fuel mileage. Note, however, that Jeep’s EcoDiesel won’t be around much longer as it is being phased out of the automaker’s range for good.
For jobs that include more traditional on-road truck duties, perhaps the Ford Ranger may be a better choice. Its 2.3-liter four-cylinder is estimated to return a competitive 23 mpg.
What is the most fuel-efficient full-size truck?
Full-size trucks continue to be the best-selling class of vehicles and require fewer compromises in regard to utility. The most fuel-efficient are the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra twins with their available 3.0-liter turbodiesels that should return 26 mpg. Properly equipped, they can tow up to 13,300 lbs. A diesel powerplant isn’t offered in the Ford F-150, but a 3.5-liter V6 hybrid is. It’s estimated at 25 mpg and towing capacity comes to 12,700 lbs. RAM’s 1500 diesel also deserves a shout-out for its 24-mpg estimate.
- 2023 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra
- 3.0-liter Duramax diesel inline-six engine
- 26 mpg combined (EPA estimate)
Just for fun, the worst fuel economy goes to the high-performance Ford F-150 Raptor R and Ram 1500 TRX variants, which are both estimated at a lowly 12 mpg.
What heavy duty trucks get the best gas mileage?
For the most demanding tasks, heavy-duty trucks are the only way to go, but they’re exempt from having to report their fuel economy numbers publicly. Consumer Reports performed their own unofficial tests, and the results were fairly predictable with the best estimates hovering in the 15 to 16 mpg neighborhood.
That’s a far cry from the Maverick’s 37-mpg estimate, but then again, a Ford F-350 can safely tow more than seven of those compact pickups at a time. For most shoppers, price and capabilities are key decision drivers, but this list should shed some light on what’s available and perhaps convince some that the biggest truck isn’t always the best. Having the right tool for the job – no matter the size – is best. There’s no point using a cannon to kill a mosquito, after all.