The method used to estimate pickup truck fuel economy ratings changed in 2008
, but it still doesn't reflect the actual mileage you'll get when you drive your truck -- and never will, since vehicles aren't tested in the real world and because everyone's driving habits differ. But comparing ratings within a class gives you a good idea which vehicles in that category performed best. With today's high cost of gas, fuel economy is an important feature to consider when it's time to buy a pickup truck.
Photo © Jason Fogelson
Take a look at EPA fuel economy ratings for 2011 pickup trucks. Tacoma trucks made both the best and worst-in-class ranks for small pickup trucks, and General Motors' hybrids are ranked highest for the full-size truck class.
Compare the EPA gas mileage estimates for trucks built in 2010. The V8 Tundra truck carries one of the lowest ranks, along with Nissan's 2010 Titan. Ford's basic Ranger is among the best rated when it comes to fuel economy.
Gas mileage estimates took a dip in 2008 and 2009, after the EPA changed the way it calculated fuel economy to come somewhat closer to the figures you'll achieve in real life. The amount of gas you actually use depends on the truck, of course, but also varies depending on how you drive the vehicle. Sometimes actual mileage matches the EPA's projections, but in most cases you should expect the actual specs to be lower.
Some of the small pickups available in 2008 are either gone or going away, but used trucks will be available for many years. Compare gas mileage estimates for the 2008 model year.
You'll find some older truck and SUV fuel economy ratings and comparisons in this index, mostly dating back to the 2004 model year. Trucks from these years may appear to have higher gas usage projections, because the specs were determined before the EPA changed its fuel estimation methods.