The days of small diesel-powered vehicles in the United States are gone, but some trucks and SUVs still offer a diesel engine as an option. Mostly, we associate this fuel with larger vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, semis, full-size SUVs, and commercial trucks. These vehicles typically require a diesel engine to provide the most towing power to the owner, helping to accomplish whatever work is ahead for that particular day.
Diesel trucks are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts
Even though trucks that reach the size of the Ford F-250 Super Duty, Ram 2500, and Chevrolet Silverado 2500 HD do not require fuel mileage ratings, smaller trucks do. Currently, there are two half-ton pickups offered with a diesel engine option and a pair of midsize trucks powered by diesel fuel. These trucks are:
- Ram 1500
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500
- Jeep Gladiator
- Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon
Reviewing the fuel mileage for each of these trucks will give us a good idea of how to answer our initial question.
Fuel economy comparison: diesel vs. gas
If we look at each of these trucks and take the diesel powertrain numbers compared to the best gasoline numbers, we can understand which is more efficient. Using numbers from the Kelley Blue Book reviews, we find:
|Gasoline Fuel Economy||Diesel Fuel Economy|
|2022 Ram 1500||3.6-liter V6 20/26 mpg||3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 23/33 mpg|
|2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500||2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 19/22 mpg||3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 23/31 mpg|
|2022 Jeep Gladiator||3.6-liter V6 16/23 mpg||3.0-liter diesel V6 22/28 mpg|
|2022 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon||2.5-liter four-cylinder 19/25 mpg||2.8-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder 20/30 mpg|
From this chart, you can quickly see that diesel engines are more efficient than their gasoline counterparts. If you have one of these trucks and want your fuel to last the longest, you’ll want the diesel option.
How big are the fuel tanks for these trucks?
To understand how long a tank of fuel lasts in any of these trucks, you need to know how big the tank is. These four trucks offer tank sizes of:
- Ram 1500 – 26 gallons
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 – 24 gallons
- Jeep Gladiator – 22 gallons
- Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon – 21 gallons
Using the sizes of the gas tanks and the highway mileage for these trucks, we find a tank of diesel fuel will last:
- Ram 1500 – 858 miles
- Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500 – 744 miles
- Jeep Gladiator – 616 miles
- Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon – 630 miles
How far do you need to drive every day?
The distance you drive daily offers more insight into how long an average tank of diesel fuel lasts in the truck you choose. If you drive approximately 100 miles per day, you won’t have to fill up any of these trucks during your typical work week. With the current fuel price, this could be a big deal in the amount you pay at the pump.
Are there more vehicles offered with diesel engines?
You’ll find several trucks, work vans, and SUVs powered by diesel fuel. This list from Car and Driver covers the 2021 vehicles sold in the United States with diesel engines. A quick review of the list shows you there aren’t any small vehicles in this market using diesel power.
Should you drive a vehicle powered by diesel?
The diesel alternative is more efficient than the gasoline engines in every case. Using diesel fuel also provides more low-end torque, which improves the tow rating of these large vehicles. If you need more towing capacity and want better fuel mileage, diesel power is the way to go.