For some pickup shoppers, Fuel economy: is a high priority alongside traditional truck strengths such as towing and hauling. But just how fuel-efficient can a pickup truck be? If that’s what you’re wondering, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve sorted through all the numbers, giving you the best in the midsize, full-size and heavy-duty segments — and some of the best diesels to choose from, too.
From no-frills midsize work trucks all the way up to the largest of heavy-duty pickups, every truck offers a unique set of skills and specific trade-offs when it comes to Fuel economy:. Midsize trucks, for example, will have the lowest payload numbers and the smallest towing capability, but they’ll return higher fuel mileage. Diesel-powered rigs will give you extra towing power and a Fuel economy: boost, but the cost of upgrading to a diesel powertrain can be very high.
Whatever your choice of pickup segment, there are several competitors to choose from with varying virtues. Come along for the ride as we review the best mpg trucks for 2020 — and don’t forget to check out our expert Truck rankings, which are updated in real time to show you how today’s trucks stack up overall.
Best Gas Mileage Trucks for 2020
For this list, the segments we’re covering are midsize, full-size, heavy-duty and diesel. Of course, you can get diesel powertrains in your pickup in all three size segments, but some buyers may prefer to look exclusively at diesel, while others may want to avoid it entirely.
Midsize rigs are modest and capable of towing small trailers with motorcycles or other small vehicles. Full-size trucks are a bit more versatile and capable of towing car trailers and big-box moving trailers, and they have more interior space. Then the heavy-duty rigs come into play. They can tow north of 30,000 pounds in some cases, and although they’ll hit you hard in the wallet when you visit the pump, it might be worth the trade-off. How did we choose the best gas mileage trucks for 2019? Simple: We looked at the EPA fuel mileage estimates for every truck on the market and found the top performers for 2019. They’re listed below with all the key specs. Please note, however, that we’ve given you the max towing and payload capacities only for the most fuel-efficient version of each truck. If you’re interested in the best trucks for towing, we’ve got a list for that, too — and if you’re interested in leveraging all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive for off-pavement adventures, check out our list of best off-road trucks.
Diesel vs. Gas Trucks
So, why buy a diesel? What benefits will you get? What are the cons?
In general, diesel engines offer increased fuel economy and more towing power. The increase in fuel economy reaps obvious benefits, allowing more miles between fill-ups and lower annual ownership costs, assuming diesel doesn’t cost much more than gas. But diesel engines are more expensive up front, so you may never see a net savings on fuel after paying the additional upfront cost for a diesel. Also, diesel fuel has historically tended to be more expensive than regular gasoline in the U.S., so a truck that only has a 1 or 2 mpg advantage over its gasoline-powered counterpart might actually lose ground in your fuel log.
But if you need the extra capability or you just like the driving sensation of all that additional torque, a diesel engine could be right up your alley.
Whether you’re looking at a bare-bones midsize pickup truck, a more versatile full-size rig or a massive heavy-duty pickup truck for towing medium-size planets, there are lots of ways to save at the pump. Whether you go with a basic four-cylinder engine in a midsize truck or an optional diesel powertrain offered across all three pickup truck segments, you can get very respectable fuel economy in all shapes and sizes.
After you decide what class of truck is right for you, be sure to check out our expert Truck rankings and read our reviews to find the perfect pickup for all your needs.