Fuel economy for a pickup truck:
The average fuel economy for pickup trucks is 20.6 miles per gallon (MPG) and the median is 18 MPG. The average pickup truck is 30% less fuel-efficient than the average automobile.
The averages are skewed with the recent addition of electric pickups, which may make it seem like pickup trucks are a lot more fuel-efficient than they really are. So, a better measure would be the median fuel economy.
What is a good fuel economy for a pickup truck?
A fuel economy of 21 MPG, the 75th percentile, or higher, is considered good for a pickup truck. Anything between 16 and 21 MPG is normal fuel economy, while anything below 16 MPG is considered poor.
|75th||Toyota Tacoma 2WD||21|
|Median (50th)||Ford F150 Pickup 4WD FFV 5.0 L||18|
|25th||GMC Sierra 4WD 5.3 L||16|
|1st||Ram 1500 TRX||12|
Fuel cost of pickup trucks
The median annual fuel cost for a pickup truck is $3600. On average, you will spend $600 more on fuel than the average driver would.
As seen in this chart, the fuel cost-to-fuel economy ratio is not linear. The most significant changes in fuel costs are generally in the lower MPG ranges.
Annually, the fuel cost for pickup trucks will range from $950 (at 70MPGe) to 6300$ (at 12MPG).
This is a general answer for all pickup trucks across the board. There are, however, many factors that should go into consideration when determining what is or isn’t an expected fuel economy for a given pickup truck.
Pickup trucks vary in size and come with many different trims, specs, and drivetrains, all of which affect the fuel economy.
How pickup trucks compare with other cars in fuel economy:
Pickup trucks are, on average, the 2nd most expensive vehicles to drive. Full-size SUVs are slightly more expensive to own.
While coupe cars might, on average, have slightly better fuel consumption than pickup trucks, coupes are more expensive to drive because most sports cars/coupes only consume premium gasoline, which is normally 15% more expensive than regular gasoline.
SUVs vs Pick-up Trucks
Pickup trucks have a lower average fuel efficiency than full-size and mid-size SUVs, with 20.7 MPG compared to 24.9 MPG. But that includes large crossovers, which are classified as mid-size SUVs. SUVs are less fuel-efficient when solely considering vehicles built on a pickup truck chassis.
As shown in the preceding graph, pickup trucks are almost always more fuel-efficient than their SUV counterparts that share the same platform.
SUVs are typically 5 to 10 percent heavier than pickup trucks because they have an extra cabin in the back; therefore, they are less fuel-efficient.
See our equivalent article for SUVs here.
Full-Size vs Mid-Size Pickup: Fuel Economy
The average and median fuel economy for full-size pickup trucks are 19.1 and 18 miles per gallon, respectively.
Mid-size pickup trucks have an average fuel economy of 20.8 miles per gallon, the median is 21 MPG.
All of the electric pickup trucks are full-size. This is mainly the reason why the average MPG for full-size is higher than that of mid-size.
Mid-size pickup trucks are more fuel-efficient on average (not accounting for fully electric trucks). However, all of the most fuel-efficient pickup trucks, within the same brand, are full-size.
For example, the median MPG for a mid-size Ford Ranger and a full-size Ford F-150 is 22 and 20 MPG, respectively. However, the most fuel-efficient F-150 trim does 25 MPG, while the most efficient Ranger does 23 MPG.
Most fuel-efficient full-size pickup trucks
|Car||Least Efficient Spec (MPG)||Median (MPG)||Most Efficient Spec (MPG)|
The most efficient production full-size pickup truck is the Ford F-150 Lightning. It has an efficiency of 70MPGe and an annual fuel-equivalent cost of $950. The F-150 Lightning is 240% more efficient than the average pickup truck.
The most fuel-efficient non-electric full-size pickup truck is the RAM 1500 HFE EcoDiesel. At 26 MPG, the RAM 1500 HFE EcoDiesel does 7 miles per gallon more than the median MPG for pickup trucks.
With a 33 MPG highway, the RAM is only slightly more fuel-efficient than the most efficient Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra Spec.
The RAM 1500 HFE EcoDiesel has an annual fuel cost of $2950, 21.5% less than the median fuel cost for full-size pickups. However, due to the higher cost of diesel fuel, the RAM 1500 HFE EcoDiesel is significantly more fuel-expensive than the cheapest full-size pickup truck.
The Ford F-150 HEV 2WD has the lowest fuel cost of a full-size pickup truck. At $2600, it is $1000 less expensive than the median annual fuel cost for full-size pickups and $350 less than the RAM 1500 HFE EcoDiesel.
Most fuel-efficient mid-size pickup trucks
|Car||Least Efficient Spec (MPG)||Median (MPG)||Most Efficient Spec (MPG)|
The most fuel-efficient mid-sized pickup truck is the Jeep Gladiator 3.0L 6-cyl EcoDiesel, which does 24 MPG.
Fuel Economy by Powertrain Type
Among the many factors which affect the efficiency of a pickup truck, the most significant is the powertrain.
The average fuel economy for a gasoline pickup truck is 18 MPG, and the median annual fuel cost is $3600.
The average fuel consumption for a 4-cylinder pickup truck is 20.5 MPG, while the median annual fuel cost is $3100.
Pickup trucks equipped with 6-cylinder engines have an average MPG and median annual fuel cost of 19 MPG and 3450$ respectively.
8-cylinder pickup trucks have an average fuel consumption of 17 MPG, and the median annual fuel cost is $3850.
The average diesel pickup truck gets 24 miles per gallon. On average, diesel trucks are 25% to 35% more fuel-efficient than regular gasoline trucks.
The average fuel economy of hybrid pickup trucks is 22.8 MPG. Most hybrid pickup trucks are mild hybrids (MHEV), which explains the relatively low MPG, despite being hybrids.
How engine size and power affect fuel economy
Bigger engines, which are heavier and have higher power outputs, burn more fuel than smaller engines. However, this does not mean that a car with a bigger engine will always have a lower fuel economy than a car with a smaller engine.
Many factors can affect fuel economies, such as engine efficiency, vehicle weight, and wheel size.
A small 4-cylinder engine from a Honda Civic towing a 10,000 lb load would burn far more fuel than a larger V8 engine would. As engines approach their respective power output limits, the fuel economy decreases exponentially. Heavier loads require larger engines.
Most fuel-efficient 4-cylinder gas pickup trucks
The most fuel-efficient 4-cylinder pickup truck is the Ford Maverick 2.5L HEV, with a fuel economy and an annual cost of 37 MPG and $1750 respectively. The Ford Maverick is one of two small-size pickup trucks sold in North America, the other being the Hyundai Santa Cruz.
4-cylinder engines are better suited for small-size and mid-size pickup trucks. Full-size pickup trucks are seldom fitted with 4-cylinder engines.
The Chevrolet Silverado 2.7L Turbo is the most fuel-efficient 4-cylinder full-size pickup truck. It does 20 MPG and has an annual fuel cost of $3250.
Most fuel-efficient V6 gas pickup truck
The Ford F-150 3.5L HEV is the most fuel-efficient pickup truck with a V6 gas engine. It has a fuel economy of 25 MPG and an annual fuel cost of $2600. This is 31% more efficient than the median pickup truck.
Most fuel-efficient V8 gas pickup truck
The V8 gas pickup truck with the highest fuel economy is the Ford F-150 5.0L FFV. It has a fuel economy of 20 miles per gallon and an annual fuel cost of $3250, which is 11% more fuel-efficient than the median for the full-size segment.
Fuel Economy in Diesel Pickup Trucks
Why diesel pickup trucks are more fuel-efficient than their gas counterparts
The two main reasons why diesel engines are more fuel-efficient than gas engines are:
- Diesel fuel contains about 10% more energy per gallon than gasoline.
- Diesel engines have higher thermal efficiency than gas engines, due to higher cylinder pressures.
The average diesel pickup truck is 33% more fuel-efficient than its gas engine counterpart.
Are diesel pickup trucks cheaper to drive than gasoline trucks?
Although diesel fuel is more expensive than regular gasoline, diesel engines are significantly more fuel-efficient than an equivalent gasoline engine of similar size and power.
While diesel is 18% more expensive than gas, diesel engines are 25% to 35% more fuel-efficient than gas engines.
The 2WD Ram 1500 V6 HFE EcoDiesel has the same annual fuel cost as its 2WD V6 hybrid gas counterpart, at $2950. However, the Ram 1500 does 26 MPG (23 city, 33 hwy), while its gas counterpart does significantly less, at 22 MPG (20 city, 25 hwy).
Most fuel-efficient diesel truck
The most fuel-efficient diesel pickup truck is the 2WD RAM 1500 HFE EcoDiesel. At 26 miles per gallon, this RAM 1500 is the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup truck.
|Car||Median MPG (Across All Diesel Models)||Median Annual Fuel Cost|
Fuel Economy in Hybrid/EV Pickup Trucks
Depending on the type of hybrid, a pickup truck with a hybrid system is 10% to 35% more fuel-efficient than a non-hybrid pickup truck with the same engine.
A mild hybrid system, like the ones used in the RAM 1500 and Toyota Tundra, usually increases the truck’s fuel economy by 15%.
A full hybrid system, like the ones used in the Ford F-150 and Ford Maverick, usually increases the efficiency of the truck by 20% to 35%. Opting for a hybrid Ford F-150 can save you about $650 a year on fuel costs.
Most fuel-efficient hybrid pickup truck
|Car||Median MPG (Across All Hybrid Models)||Median Annual Fuel Cost|
Currently, the most efficient hybrid pickup truck is the Ford Maverick HEV FWD (37 MPG, $1750/year), which is a small-size pickup truck.
The most notable and fuel-efficient full-size hybrid pickup truck is the Ford F-150 2WD HEV 3.5L Turbo, which does 25 miles per gallon, at $2600 per year.
As of today, there are no mid-size pickup trucks that have hybrid systems. This is mainly the reason why the most fuel-efficient mid-size pickup trucks are not as fuel-efficient as the most fuel-efficient full-size pickup trucks, despite being smaller in size.
Most efficient EV pickup truck
The Rivian R1T and the Ford F-150 Lightning are the most efficient EV pickups sold on the market today. Both get 70 MPGe and have an annual energy cost of $950.