26. September 2017 · Comments Off on Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck Fuel Economy (Consumer Report – Sept 2017) · Categories: Around The Campfire, Current Events


Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck Fuel Economy (Consumer Report – Sept 2017)

Every new passenger car and light-duty truck sold in the U.S. is required by federal law to have a fuel-economy estimate on the window sticker. Heavy-duty pickup trucks, however, continue to be sold without this valuable information being made available.

While light-duty pickups such as the Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, and Ram 1500 dominate sales year after year, contractors and serious trailer-towers often rely on more robust rigs, so hundreds of thousands of heavy-duty trucks are sold each year.

Many truck buyers are tempted to buy heavy-duty trucks because of their powerful diesel engines. But while diesel can be more fuel-efficient than gas engines, the weight of heavy-duty trucks actually reduces their mpg.

Even though the Environmental Protection Agency collects data from automakers on heavy-duty pickup truck emissions and fuel economy, it has never mandated that the results be made available to the public, largely for budgetary reasons.

To determine how the the heavy-duty trucks stack up, CR recently tested the Big Three of heavy-duty diesel trucks: the Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, Ford F-250, and Ram 2500. All were equipped with four-door crew-cab bodies, turbodiesel engines, and four-wheel drive.

Nissan has tried to bridge the gap between the light-duty and heavy-duty trucks with its Titan XD (eXtra Duty)—with mixed success. CR tested the diesel-powered XD along with the three-quarter-ton diesel domestics. (Learn how CR tests fuel economy.)

What we found in our tests was that the efficiency of the diesel engines wasn’t enough to offset the added bulk of these monstrous trucks. The heavy-duty diesels achieved only 14-15 mpg, which was 1-2 mpg less than their gasoline-powered light-duty counterparts.

The extra power and brawn of the heavy-duty trucks do give them more hauling capability. But for those just looking for improved fuel efficiency from a diesel engine, it’s not worth upgrading to a heavy-duty truck. There is one exception: The Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is a light-duty diesel that returned an impressive 20 mpg overall in CR’s tests.

Of course, fuel economy will vary significantly depending how you equip your truck, how much weight you haul, and whether or not you’re towing a trailer on a regular basis. Our tests were conducted without a load or trailer, so consider these best-case scenarios. Heavy-duty trucks are less affected by hefty loads, so it is possible that a heavily laden heavy-duty truck might achieve the same or better fuel economy than light-duty pickup bearing that same load.

Consumer Reports is providing fuel economy data on these heavy-duty trucks to help shoppers make an informed decision on what pickup truck they buy.

But shoppers have a right to see the results of the EPA fuel economy tests as well, as they reflect a variety of powertrains and configurations, consumer advocates say.

“Heavy-duty pickup shoppers shouldn’t be left in the dark when it comes to fuel economy,” said David Friedman, director of cars and product policy and analysis for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization arm of Consumer Reports. “NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and the EPA should get this information to consumers as soon as possible and Congress should make sure they have the funds they need to do so.”

Consumers Union believes NHTSA and EPA should make fuel economy, emissions, and expected average fuel costs for heavy-duty trucks available to consumers, both at the government’s fuel economy website, fueleconomy.gov, and through the same kind of window stickers used for light-duty pickups.

Consumers Union is calling on Congress to ensure that these agencies have the resources they need to provide this information to consumers.

Here is how each of these models did in our fuel-economy tests, followed by a summary of what we like—and don’t like—about the trucks themselves. Read about Ford, GM, Nissan, RAM 3/4 & 1 Ton Trucks

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