Fuel efficiency should always be an essential consideration when shopping for a new truck, especially given rising gas prices. Therefore, finding one with optimal mileage efficiency is more essential than ever.
Hyundai Santa Cruz, one of the smallest trucks on the market, achieves an admirable 23 MPG combined mileage rating; however, larger midsize models such as the Ram 1500 outperform it by far.
Aerodynamics play an integral part in improving fuel efficiency, with drag being one of the primary sources. Wind resistance has an especially profound impact on this aspect. Both original equipment manufacturers (OEM) and aftermarket suppliers are continually producing products designed to decrease aerodynamic drag – helping drivers achieve greater gas mileage.
Toyota Tacoma stands out as an outstanding fuel economy truck, reaching up to 26 mpg with four-wheel drive combined. Ram 1500 EcoDiesel also prioritizes efficiency with its aerodynamic body and fuel-efficient engine options. On the semi truck side, Freightliner Detroit rear axle boasts lower sump volume, gear cutting for parasitic loss reduction and optional lubrication that reduces friction – these simple changes can dramatically enhance a fleet’s fuel economy.
Reduced vehicle weight can improve fuel efficiency by 6-8 percentage points. Advanced materials, such as aluminum, magnesium (Mg) alloys, carbon fiber and polymer composites can all help to cut weight while retaining strength.
Lightweight materials also contribute to enhanced aerodynamics by creating more streamlined surfaces, like truck bed tonneau covers that cover them and reduce air resistance.
Modern pickups have evolved to prioritize fuel economy alongside their go-anywhere utility. From midsize models with lighter frames to the hybrid powertrain options that have rapidly proliferated among full-size models, today’s pickups rely on cutting-edge technology to reduce your pump pain.
The Jeep Gladiator stands as one of the most fuel-efficient midsize pickups, boasting an EPA estimated 24 mpg combined. Its unibody construction provides lighter driving dynamics and an ergonomic interior for maximum user convenience.
Low-rolling resistance tires
Tires play an essential part in improving vehicle fuel efficiency, with low-rolling resistance tires being among the biggest contributors. High gas mileage trucks feature tires with this trait to maximize every mile traveled. Low rolling resistance tires use silica compounds that lower tire temperature to help minimize energy lost from friction with the road surface, and feature optimized tread patterns designed for stronger grip even at slower speeds.
Tire manufacturers are actively pushing manufacturers towards producing low-rolling resistance tires to meet CAFE standards, and many new models come equipped with them as original equipment. Fleet operatorss understandably accept paying extra due to anticipated long-term savings in fuel costs that offset initial investments costs.
Not to be underestimated is the benefit of low-rolling resistance tires without regular preventive maintenance. Proper inflation of tires is key to improving fuel economy as well as tire life and safety; so be sure to regularly monitor their pressure, check tire tread depth and purchase replacements with similar dimensions as your originals.
Some truck owners think adding a tonneau cover will help improve gas mileage, believing tonneau covers will reduce drag and increase efficiency. Although adding such a cover improves aerodynamics, this alone does not contribute to improved mileage; other factors also impact it.
Tonneau covers can help reduce drag, but they won’t make an appreciable difference to your fuel economy. Plus, their additional weight could have negative consequences.
MythBusters have debunked the belief that tonneau covers and tarps save gas. Their team used a wind tunnel to test hard tonneau covers, tailgate mesh covers and an open tailgate without cover; finding that only tailgate mesh increased fuel efficiency; however these tests only ran at 25 and 55mph; therefore their results may not apply to most pickup drivers.