Pickup trucks might not be known for their fuel efficiency. Some pickup truck engines use diesel for power, while others operate on standard gasoline, and, when towing, the gas mileage of a pickup truck can decrease even further.
Not all car buyers purchase a pickup truck for their towing power or even for the vehicle’s capabilities. Some want a pickup truck for off-road adventures or because they like the design of a truck. These buyers might want the most fuel efficient pickup to ensure they don’t break the budget at the pump. What are the best gas mileage trucks? These models offer the best MPG:
- Toyota Tundra I-Force Max
- Ford F-150
- Ford Maverick
- Hyundai Santa Cruz
Hybrid Trucks are the Most Fuel Efficient
Standard pickup trucks might not offer the best fuel efficiency and some might be gas guzzlers. The most fuel efficient pickup models tend to be hybrid pickup trucks. There are numerous hybrid models available including the Toyota Tundra, Ford F-150, and Ford Maverick. While the Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t a hybrid, it is fuel efficient.
How efficient are these models? Here’s what to know about each pickup truck:
The Toyota Tundra I-Force Max is the hybrid Tundra model. The 2023 I-Force Max can get an estimated 20 MPG in the city and 24 MPG on the highway. The Tundra starts at around $36,965.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Hybrid maximizes fuel efficiency on the highway and in the city, too. The hybrid half-ton pickup starts at $46,230 and can tow up to 12,700 pounds. It can get an estimated 24 MPG combined.
When the Ford Maverick debuted for the 2022 model year, it proved to be so popular that Ford stopped accepting orders. The Maverick is back for 2023 and starts at a budget-friendly $22,195. It offers space for five. Although the fuel efficiency data for the 2023 Maverick has not yet been released, the 2022 Maverick could get an estimated 42 MPG in the city and 33 MPG on the highway.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz starts at $24,440. It can get up to 27 MPG on the highway. The Santa Cruz has a towing capacity of 3,500 to 5,000 pounds. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz received a Top Safety Pick rating/award (with specific headlights) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Light Pickups Aren’t Necessarily Gas Guzzlers
Although pickup truck models aren’t known for their fuel efficiency, there are models on the market that won’t cost a fortune at the pump. While hybrids are the most fuel efficient choice, some standard smaller pickups also are fuel efficient choices.
The GMC Canyon is a lighter pickup truck. It starts at $26,800 and can tow up to 7,700 pounds. The Canyon can get an estimated 18 MPG in the city and 25 MPG on the highway. While this isn’t the most fuel efficient pickup truck on the market, its MPG specs are still decent for a pickup.
The Nissan Frontier also is a light pickup truck. The 2023 Frontier starts at $29,190. It can get an estimated 24 MPG on the highway and can tow up to 6,720 pounds.
Car buyers who want a pickup truck but need fuel efficiency, too, could gravitate towards smaller pickup trucks. Again, though, the Maverick is still one of the most affordable fuel-efficient pickup trucks on the market; those who are interested in a Maverick might place their order sooner rather than later. Last year, the Maverick was so popular that Ford ceased accepting orders.
Electric Pickup Trucks are an Efficient Option
While the most fuel-efficient pickup truck models might include hybrids, some buyers want to untangle their wallet from the pump. There are several electric pickup trucks that allow buyers to plug-in and charge their motor. However, the choices for electric pickups are a bit limited.
Currently, buyers can choose from the following electric pickup trucks:
- Chevrolet Silverado EV
- Tesla Cybertruck
- Rivian R1T
- GM Hummer EV
- Lordstown Endurance
- Ford F-150 Lightning
Buyers who purchase a standard ICE vehicle (internal-combustion engine) are used to measuring efficiency of their vehicles via MPG stats. With electric vehicles, though, efficiency is measured by the vehicle’s range. Buyers might gravitate towards the electric pickups that let them drive further on a fully charged battery.
The Silverado EV cannot be purchased yet, but buyers can place an order (or reservation). The base MSRP isn’t available, but Chevrolet’s site for the new vehicle notes that the Silverado EV will have an estimated range of 400 miles and will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.5 seconds.
Those who placed an order for a Tesla Cybertruck are still waiting for the delivery of their truck, and Tesla is still accepting orders for the electric pickup. The Cybertruck starts at $39,900 and has a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds. The Cybertruck offers an estimated range of 500 miles and can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 2.9 seconds.
The Rivian R1T starts at $73,000 and can tackle off-road adventures and tough terrain. It offers a towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds and can accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in three seconds. Depending on the battery and motor, the R1T has an estimated range of 260 to 400 miles.
The Hummer EV is available in either an SUV or pickup truck body design; interested buyers can sign up to receive email updates about the EVs. The Hummer EV pickup will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in three seconds. Both models will be able to take on off-road adventures. According to a 2021 press release from GM, the Hummer EV will have an estimated range of 329 miles.
New to the electric pickup truck scene is the Endurance model from Lordstown Motors. The Endurance will have an estimated range of 200 miles and the specs on the model released from Lordstown Motors note that it should have a towing capacity of 8,000 pounds. It will be able to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 6.3 seconds. The starting price of the Endurance is not yet listed. However, Car and Driver notes that it should start at around $65,060.
The Ford F-150 Lightning is the electric version of the incredibly popular F-150 pickup. The EV debuted for the 2022 model year, and, like the Maverick, proved to be in such demand that Ford stopped accepting orders. The Lightning is back for 2023 and will start at $51,975. It will offer an estimated range of 240 miles and will accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in 4.1 seconds. The electric Lightning will have a towing capacity of 7,700 pounds.
What to Know When Buying an EV Pickup Truck
Buyers on a budget might find that electric pickup trucks are too expensive for their finances. While electric pickup trucks might be more expensive, they save money for drivers who are used to fueling up at the pump. Electric vehicles let car owners plug in their vehicle at home and charge it overnight.
An EV could include a level 1 charger which is simply a cord that connects the vehicle to a standard outlet. Unfortunately, these chargers could take almost two days to fully regenerate a dead battery.
Level 2 chargers are an additional investment, and some car owners also might need to pay a professional electrician to upgrade the wiring in their garage. Level 2 charging stations require a higher voltage and not all homes are equipped for this. These chargers are more efficient than the level 1 charger, though; a level 2 charging station could regenerate a dead EV battery overnight.
In addition, some hybrid models are designed as PHEV (plug-in hybrids) while others don’t require a plug. Those who are planning to use their pickup truck to tow will discover that towing extra weight will decrease the fuel efficiency or the range of the vehicle. The range of electric vehicles also could be decreased by using the heat or air conditioning or just by driving faster.
The Most Fuel Efficient Vehicles Aren’t Pickups
While some buyers need a pickup truck for the vehicle’s power and capabilities, others might want a pickup truck because of the style and design of the vehicle. If these buyers are looking for a fuel-efficient vehicle, though, a pickup might not be their ideal choice.
Buyers that need to maximize every drop in their gas tank might look at SUVs that can go off-roading (if they need a car with this capability). However, hybrid SUVs might again be the most efficient option but perhaps not the most affordable.
If buyers are focused only on fuel-efficient pickups, then their best choices are to choose a hybrid or an electric model. While some smaller pickup trucks are more fuel efficient than larger models, they still aren’t priced as low as the fuel-efficient and budget-friendly Maverick.