The Best Used Fuel Efficient Trucks and Fuel Economy Tips For Every Truck Owner

The Best Used Fuel Efficient Trucks and Fuel Economy Tips For Every Truck Owner

As a general rule, the bigger the vehicle, the more fuel it burns. Take, for example, the humble pickup truck.

The most recent EPA figures show pickups get, on average, 19MPG combined. That figure has largely plateaued over the past three decades, whereas other categories of vehicle have managed to dramatically improve on their performance.

One factor is consumer behaviours. Compact pick-up trucks like the iconic Jeep Comanche have largely disappeared from the market, making way for larger alternatives. These typically come with more powerful V6 or V8 engines, which increase the rate of fuel burn further.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Some pickups offer respectable levels of fuel burn. And if you’re careful with the way you drive, you can stretch the gas in your tank that bit further.

Strategies for efficient driving

While there are limits to how high you can raise your MPG, particularly if you’re behind the wheel of a full-size pickup, moderating your speed and braking can go a long way. Here’s what you can do:

  • Drive slower. It sounds obvious, but the harder you make your engine work, the greater the amount of gas it’ll end up burning.
  • Where possible, use cruise control. This feature is readily found across most pickups, and will limit your levels of acceleration and deceleration.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your momentum. If you’re behind the wheel of a manual, pushing down on the clutch as you descend an incline will reduce your fuel consumption. Gravity is your friend.
  • When tackling long stretches of open road, avoid pressing down on the brakes too much. The more you decelerate, the more often you’ll have to pump the gas to return to your original speed.
  • When using a manual, ensure you’re using the right gears at the right times. If you’re in a gear that’s too low, or too high, your engine will have to work extra hard to keep up.

What manufacturers are doing

In the mid-2000s, car manufacturers started taking the issue of fuel efficiency seriously, in part due to rising oil prices. With consumers paying as much as $4 per gallon at the pump, appetite for larger trucks and SUVs plummeted.

Over time, fuel prices dropped. Manufacturers felt less pressure to improve efficiencies, and so little progress was made in reducing the rate of fuel consumption across pickups.

We’ve started to see a reversal of that trend, driven by a wider environmental awareness among the public, as well as the threat of potentially tougher fuel economy rules.

General Motors has taken the lead here. In 2016, it started offering the Silverado with a four-cylinder engine. This replaced the previous V6 engine, and reportedly delivered 22 percent improved torque, as well as higher fuel efficiencies.

It has also taken efforts to reduce the weight of its vehicles, cutting 450 lbs from the Silverado in 2015 alone. Ford has followed a similar path, reducing the weight of the F-150 by 700 lbs in the same year.

There’s also a move to electrification. Ford has already sold over 70,000 units of its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup, which is expected to see a release next year.

Tesla is expected to start production of the Cybertruck later this year, and already has one million orders in its backlog.

Say no to 18MPG

But as a pickup driver, the best thing you can do to reduce your gas consumption is buy a fuel-efficient truck. Here are some good options.

2019 Ford Ranger XLT (from $32,950)

 2019 Ford Ranger XLT (from $32,950)

No surprises here. The Ford Ranger is a small truck, helping it achieve its impressive EPA fuel consumption ratings. You can expect 21MPG in the city and 26MPG on the highway.

Size is a factor here, but I wouldn’t overlook the engine. Ford equipped the 2019 Ranger XLT with a smaller 2.3L four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Although not a V6 or V8, it’s still rather capable, delivering 270HP and 310lbs of torque.

The cabin has room for up to five passengers, with decent levels of head and leg room. The built-in Wi-fi and capable media system will provide entertainment on long journeys, while the multi-zone AC and heated sites ensure you’ll remain comfortable no matter the weather. For this, you can expect to pay around $32,000.

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 2019 Ford Ranger XLT (from $32,950)

No surprises here. The Ford Ranger is a small truck, helping it achieve its impressive EPA fuel consumption ratings. You can expect 21MPG in the city and 26MPG on the highway.

Size is a factor here, but I wouldn’t overlook the engine. Ford equipped the 2019 Ranger XLT with a smaller 2.3L four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Although not a V6 or V8, it’s still rather capable, delivering 270HP and 310lbs of torque.

The cabin has room for up to five passengers, with decent levels of head and leg room. The built-in Wi-fi and capable media system will provide entertainment on long journeys, while the multi-zone AC and heated sites ensure you’ll remain comfortable no matter the weather. For this, you can expect to pay around $32,000.

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Shop Used 2019 Ford Ranger XLT

2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T (from $27,700)

 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T (from $27,700)

The Honda Ridgeline is often jokingly described as an SUV with a flatbed attached. It’s not far from the truth.

Honda, after all, isn’t exactly known for its prowess in the pickup space, and the Ridgeline’s aerodynamic design is far removed from the boxy Ford F-150.

But is that a bad thing? For starters, the 2017 Ridgeline RTL-T gets 19MPG on city roads and 26MPG on the highway. And that’s despite packing a beefy 3.5L V6 engine, which provides 280HP and 262 lbs of torque.

Meanwhile, the interior is fitted with everything you’d expect from a high-end SUV, from luxury leather fittings, to remote ignition. Depending on mileage, you can look to pay around $27,000.

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 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T (from $27,700)

The Honda Ridgeline is often jokingly described as an SUV with a flatbed attached. It’s not far from the truth.

Honda, after all, isn’t exactly known for its prowess in the pickup space, and the Ridgeline’s aerodynamic design is far removed from the boxy Ford F-150.

But is that a bad thing? For starters, the 2017 Ridgeline RTL-T gets 19MPG on city roads and 26MPG on the highway. And that’s despite packing a beefy 3.5L V6 engine, which provides 280HP and 262 lbs of torque.

Meanwhile, the interior is fitted with everything you’d expect from a high-end SUV, from luxury leather fittings, to remote ignition. Depending on mileage, you can look to pay around $27,000.

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Shop Used 2017 Honda Ridgeline RTL-T

2016 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT (from $34,950)

2016 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT (from $34,950)

The Chevrolet Colorado is an unlikely candidate for this list. As a full-size pickup, you’d expect a pretty steep rate of fuel burn. And yet, it delivers 19MPG and 24MPG across city and highway driving.

How is that possible? Well, a major factor is General Motors’ dogged crusade to remove as much weight as possible from its pickup lines. This has in part been accomplished by the use of lighter materials, such as aluminum, rather than steel.

And yet, it’s still a highly capable vehicle. Under the hood is a 3.6L V6 engine, which delivers 305HP and 269lbs of torque. It’s no slouch, capable of towing and hauling heavy loads. For this, you can expect to pay around $35,000.

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Shop Used Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT
2016 Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT (from $34,950)

The Chevrolet Colorado is an unlikely candidate for this list. As a full-size pickup, you’d expect a pretty steep rate of fuel burn. And yet, it delivers 19MPG and 24MPG across city and highway driving.

How is that possible? Well, a major factor is General Motors’ dogged crusade to remove as much weight as possible from its pickup lines. This has in part been accomplished by the use of lighter materials, such as aluminum, rather than steel.

And yet, it’s still a highly capable vehicle. Under the hood is a 3.6L V6 engine, which delivers 305HP and 269lbs of torque. It’s no slouch, capable of towing and hauling heavy loads. For this, you can expect to pay around $35,000.

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30-days warranty
No-Contact Test Drives
Shop Used Chevrolet Colorado 4WD LT

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (from $39,950)

2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (from $39,950)

As mentioned, General Motors has pushed to lower the fuel consumption of the Silverado, and the 2019 model accomplishes 20MPG on city roads and 24MPG on the highway.

The LT model packs the aforementioned 2.7L four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which delivers up to 310 HP and 348lbs of torque. The cavernous interior comes with room for up to six people, while affording plenty of personal space.

And it comes with all the interior comforts you’d expect from a Silverado, from multi-zone AC, to a capable audio system and Wi-Fi. Prices for this model typically hover around $40,000, depending on the number of miles on the odometer.

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Shop Used 2019 Chevrolet Silverado
2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT (from $39,950)

As mentioned, General Motors has pushed to lower the fuel consumption of the Silverado, and the 2019 model accomplishes 20MPG on city roads and 24MPG on the highway.

The LT model packs the aforementioned 2.7L four-cylinder turbocharged engine, which delivers up to 310 HP and 348lbs of torque. The cavernous interior comes with room for up to six people, while affording plenty of personal space.

And it comes with all the interior comforts you’d expect from a Silverado, from multi-zone AC, to a capable audio system and Wi-Fi. Prices for this model typically hover around $40,000, depending on the number of miles on the odometer.

Free 7-day return
30-days warranty
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Shop Used 2019 Chevrolet Silverado

Conclusion

Pickups will never be able to shake their reputation for high fuel consumption. Still, by picking the right truck, you can limit the amount of money you spend at the pump.

Shift makes it easy to find your next truck. And with no dealerships or haggling to worry about, it’s totally stress free. All our trucks are inspected by a trusted mechanic before sale, and come with a seven-day returns guarantee. To find out more, head here.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team