Lack of fuel data on heavy-duty trucks a non-factor?

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Updated Aug 13, 2016
2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD All Terrain2016 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD All Terrain

It’s interesting…heavy-duty pickup sales continue to take-off, yet most consumers don’t seem to care too much about their lack of fuel consumption data.

What they do seem to care about is more luxury and greater towing and hauling capacity—all attractive selling points for sure.

Unlike their Class 1 counterparts, heavy-duty vehicles weighing 8,500 pounds or more are not required to post fuel economy information on the sticker. CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) mandates created by Congress in 1975 only require fuel consumption information from cars and light trucks weighing under 8,500 pounds.

But with emissions standards becoming increasingly strict and heavy-duty pickups becoming increasingly popular, it’s possible that CAFE numbers for those trucks will be a requirement before too long. Some say that could come as early as 2021 as the EPA enacts Phase 2 of the fuel efficiency and GHG emission standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles.

The fuel economy omission is not hurting heavy-duty pickup sales, or if it was, you can bet that OEMs would probably be doing something about it.

The conventional wisdom here seems to be: If you have to ask, then you can’t afford it, so move on down to something that doesn’t require as much fuel.

Owners of heavy-duty trucks often use their vehicles for serious hauling and towing where the important goal of traveling from Point A to Point B supersedes stopping at Point C for fuel. Others may need the four-wheel-drive capability of a truck. And still others may just like the notion of driving around a big truck.

No matter how a truck is used, fuel economy does matter, and it’s often referred to as the single greatest expense for a company that relies on trucks at the core of its business.

Before buying a heavy-duty truck, fuel economy can still be gleaned thanks in large part to the internet. One website,, allows users to input vehicle and fuel information each time they fill up. The site organizes data and looks for trends, allowing users to get better insight into how best to maximize fuel savings.

Currently, there are 1,141 Ford F-250 Super Duty pickups registered on Fuel consumption varies depending on data provided by users and ranges from 6 (2 trucks) to 31 mpg (2 trucks). The most common fuel consumption average for all of the trucks is 15 mpg (189 trucks).

Filters can be applied at to sort by engine type, body style and sub-model.

By comparison, there are 608 Chevrolet 2500 HD trucks registered at the site. The most common fuel consumption average for all of the trucks is also 15 mpg (94 trucks).

Interestingly enough, reports that Ram 2500 pickups have the best fuel economy at 17 mpg, based on 106 trucks.

Of course, fuel consumption reported on is going to vary depending on a number of factors, including towing, hauling, fuel type (ethanol lowers mpg, for instance), topography, highway and city driving. Nonetheless, it’s at least one other tool to consider when fuel consumption matters.