Fuel economy matters in pickups. General Motors announced new EPA fuel economy ratings Thursday for its 2020 Chevrolet Silverado light-duty pickup powered by its new 3.0-liter inline-6 turbodiesel.
The 2020 Chevy Silverado 1500 diesel will rate 23 mpg city, 33 highway for two-wheel drive models with a 10-speed automatic transmission, Chevy said. Four-wheel-drive models will rate 23 mpg city, 29 highway.
That's a big improvement over the brand's new 2.7-liter turbo-4 gasoline truck, which was rated for 2019 at 20/23/21 mpg. The diesel engine will also have more torque for towing trailers or hauling heavy loads up hills. It's rated at 277 horsepower and 460 pound-feet of torque, versus 310 hp and 348 lb-ft for the turbo-4.
2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 diesel
As on most trucks, the diesel doesn't come cheap. The turbodiesel option adds $3,890 to the cost of mid-trim LT and RST models that come standard with the turbo-4 and $2,495 to the base price of high-end LTZ and High Country models, which come standard with a 5.3-liter V-8. The turbodiesel is not available on lower trims.
General Motors is the last of the major Detroit automakers to offer a diesel in its half-ton pickups. Ram began offering a V-6 turbodiesel in 2014, and is expected to offer a revamped version of the engine for 2020, though its ratings haven't been released. Last year, Ford introduced a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 in the F-150 rated at up to 30 mpg highway.
American automakers sold nearly 3 million pickups in the U.S. last year. And since they account for a huge portion of gasoline and diesel consumption in the U.S., the fuel savings add up. The EPA estimates that between 40 and 45 percent of American driving occurs at highway speeds, and that may be higher for trucks, which sell in even higher numbers in the Midwest, South, and rural areas. A full-size pickup that can get up to 33 mpg on the highway is worth writing home about.