Fuel Economy Test

Fuel Economy Test


Though fuel prices have fallen considerably from their summertime highs, fuel economy is likely to remain a top consideration for truck buyers. We tested all the trucks at the same time over a 90-mile loop. About 50 percent of the driving was highway, 30 percent was on rural roads and 20 percent was in small-town and urban traffic. The trucks ran the circuit twice, for a total of 180 miles — once unloaded and once while towing a 6,500-pound trailer.

We recorded the average combined mpg for each of the trucks and ranked them. All the trucks were filled up at the same gas station before we started the route and filled again at the end to measure how much fuel had been consumed.

The Ford F-150 was the most fuel-efficient truck we drove, averaging 16.8 mpg. Considering it was also the heaviest truck, this was a remarkable achievement. Its new six-speed transmission, well-executed tow/haul mode, and fuel-saving features that cut gas as soon as drivers lift their foot off the pedal all contributed to this score; we’ve driven unloaded midsize trucks that can’t touch that number.


The Toyota Tundra was just over a half mpg behind the F-150, at 16.26 mpg. The Tundra was the second-heaviest truck, but it has a much larger engine. We think the Tundra’s six-speed transmission played the biggest role in its fuel economy.

The Dodge Ram and Nissan Titan were in a near dead heat, at 15.85 and 15.83 mpg, respectively. Not bad for five-speed transmissions, but still about 1 mpg below the F-150.

Most surprising were the GM trucks. The Sierra and Silverado pulled up the back in the fifth and sixth spots, respectively, with their 6.2-liter V-8s. Those are powerful engines for pulling, but they’re mighty thirsty. The Sierra averaged 15.19 mpg, while the Silverado got 14.77 mpg. Just to rub salt in the wounds, the GM trucks both require pricier, 93 octane premium fuel in order to run at optimal power.

Next: Best Overall Half-Ton


The GM 6.2L V8 does not have the active fuel management engine since it is only available on the Vortec 5.3L and the 6.0L. The 6.2L is supposed to have the Ethanol option. I wonder what the mpg would have been if you used one of the active fuel management engines.

@Paul: I'd guess that FE would have been much better but the pure performance numbers would have been way down relative to the other trucks.

Wow!!!!!! For big thirsty engines they need the best fuel to run at optimal horsepower. I love GM's truck but it looks like the 5.3 liter is right for me.

It would be nice to know the final drive ratios for the different trucks. The GM twins might have suffered if they had the 3.73 gears, and the Ford might have had the 3.08 gears which combined with the six speed would really help on the mileage front. Either way, you have to hand it to Ford for a nice improvement for 2009.

@Red: Final drive ratios are published in the introduction to the Shootout. The GM trucks were 3.42s, the Ram was 3.92, F-150 was 3.73, Tundra was 4.30 and Titan was 3.36

the breaking numbers will suffer on the gms if you go with the 5.3. You only get 4 wheel disk with the 6.0 or 6.2.

Their are only two real trucks on Here Chevrolet Silverado,Ford F-150. When are the japs gonna learn??

I think the japs have learned you might want to look at the pulling in 1/4 mile times I think the japs took that... If you want lux. go by a bmw r somthing they just showed you which truck pulled 6500lbs the fastest JAP crap won!!

the tundra seems the champ for performance to gas mileage ratio. always has been. looks like the 6.2 doesn't dethrone it well enough in performance to be worth the extra fuel. i have a hemi ram, so dont quote me a ricer.


Your Tennessee education is evident in your post. “Their” should have been spelled there. Anyway, the "japs" have learned and are building a better truck. I have an utmost respect for GM and Dodge, but it looks like the Toyota is superior. If Nissan were to continue making their own Titan, I think it could make some waves. I am not a Ford fan, and never will be.

but the the engine on the chevy is a beefy 6.2L, If it was the 5.3 it will get 21 mpg

All you gm guys should try running a 5.3 against the F150 before you say s#@t! Bragging about a 6.2 thats lame! Look at the washboard test and frame twist test on utube. More ford victories.

The 6.2 is lame...LMAO. Dont hate. We would try the 5.3 if we wanted to win by a slim margin. Why not use the 6.2 and blow the F-150 away.

the 5.7L toyota tundra preform's the best on towing and fuel economy and slip the one that preforms the badest is the titian.

toyota tundra is the best truck

toyota tundra 5.7 is the best ford not good

I would definitely not say the ford is a bad truck. Its all around a good performer, it just doesn't excel in any real truck areas. The tundra tows a lot better, end of story and when buying my new truck it came down to the f-150 and tundra. I chose the tundra but i still think the ford a good solid truck. And the 6.2's a joke, GM threw that out there so they could have a comparable truck. Have fun buying 93 octane with your 6.2 or you could get a 5.7 buy 87 octane and still beat a 6.2 in all areas real truckers care about. Not you "bad-ass" boys out there who don't use a truck for anything. Leave the comment section for people who actually use there trucks for work and have a respectable opinion to share.

gm have more engine power.to any company,ford engine is not the best engine for serious puller..

i am a Nissan Titan owner and i give all the other companies their dues... there is no bad truck on the market right now, and anyone that uses their truck for work knows that half ton trucks are not for work anymore. they are meant for street use, and have 4wd for snowy conditions only not for offroad use. if you are going to use your truck off road you will most likely put a lift on it like i have on mine. all the trucks have low front ends... a 4 inch lift makes the trucks more level and supplies the needed approach and departure angles for most users without making the trucks too high for daily street use.

on a personal note if you buy a used titan make sure it is an 07 or later due to front diffs grenading. dont get me wrong i would not trade my 05 titan for any domestic truck.

p.s. those who say avalanche was the first truck to have bedside storage look up late 60s ford camper specials.

Well as trucks go the big three have it hands down. Because all the money you pay for the truck stays here in the good old USA. Paying workers salary and helping this country get back on its feet. Not some other country where they won't let us sell our trucks without heavy taxs. Yeah I know they build some of them here but a large percentage of the money goes back to Japan. Buy American it is good for our country!!!!!!!

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