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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

The 2022 Ram 1500 can use diesel fuel to give you many miles of driving power.
2022 Ram 1500 | Ram

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:

Half-Ton Trucks

  • Ram 1500
  • Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 1500

Midsize Trucks

  • 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 EconomyDiesel Fuel Economy
2022 Ram 15003.6-liter V6 20/26 mpg3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 23/33 mpg
2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500/GMC Sierra 15002.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder 19/22 mpg3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 23/31 mpg
2022 Jeep Gladiator3.6-liter V6 16/23 mpg3.0-liter diesel V6 22/28 mpg
2022 Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon2.5-liter four-cylinder 19/25 mpg2.8-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?

A blue Chevrolet Silverado 1500 truck is parked.
The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 | Chevrolet

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 2022 Jeep Gladiator off-roading in mud
2022 Jeep Gladiator | Jeep

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?

2022 GMC Canyon AT4 in white
2022 GMC Canyon | GMC

You’ll find several trucks, work vans, and SUVs powered by diesel fuel. This list 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.

Next, learn more about how solar power can recharge cars, or watch the cost of ownership comparison of gas vs. diesel trucks in the video below:

This article was updated on 8/20/2022.


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