Fleets will have more fuel-efficient options in the most popular vehicle segments as 2020 brings the first full year of opportunity to invest in diesel engines in America’s most popular vehicles, full-size 1/2-ton pickup trucks along with new options in the SUV segment, according to the Diesel Technology Forum (DTF).
“Since 1980, full-size pickup trucks have held the ranking as the most popular, highest selling vehicles in the U.S, for American families and businesses alike. This new year will be the first full year of a fuel-efficient diesel option available from all manufacturers in that segment in those top-ranked vehicles,” said Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum.
Diesels are a natural fit for the 1/2-ton pickup and full-sized SUV segment, just as they have been a mainstay option in the heavy-duty pickup truck segment for nearly four decades. "The diesel enables manufacturers to provide consumers with a no-compromise vehicle experience: power, performance, driving range, towing capability and more fuel efficiency, all in a larger vehicle," Schaeffer said.
Among the choices, DTF notes the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax diesel already have impressive recognition and industry awards under their belt. Rounding out the lineup of new diesel options in pickup trucks coming later in 2020 is an all new for 2021 Jeep Gladiator with the 3.0L EcoDiesel option.
“Second only to full-size pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) are the most popular and fastest growing vehicle segment in the U.S., so the availability of a fuel-efficient diesel engine option is welcome news," Schaeffer said. "Diesel options in this segment boost the utility factor with extended driving range and new towing capabilities along with easy access to fueling. Diesel options provide more ‘no-compromise’ utility and performance that consumers increasingly demand."
In this segment, 2020 is off and running with DTF noting five exciting new diesel options in popular SUVs with recent announcements by General Motors’ Chevrolet and GMC divisions of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon and Yukon XL.
All new products will offer the all-new 3.0L Duramax turbo-diesel engine option that already has some impressive accomplishments in the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck where the Duramax diesel posted EPA highway fuel economy performance of a record 33 mpg for a 1/2-ton truck. Jeep also debuts the 3.0L EcoDiesel option in its iconic and popular Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon in 2020, achieving an EPA rated 29 mpg in highway driving.
“New diesel options becoming available will deliver more benefits for their owners in the form of fuel savings that translate into fewer greenhouse gas and other emissions, delivering clean air benefits across the economy," Schaeffer said.
According to recent research from IHS Markit commissioned by the Diesel Technology Forum, choosing a diesel engine option in full-size half-ton pickup trucks can achieve on average 33% more miles per gallon (24 mpg diesel vs. 18.1 gasoline, combined fuel economy), saving about 200 gallons of gasoline every year. If all full-size pickup trucks in the U.S. were to be powered by a diesel engine, the research found that we would realize a savings of approximately 500 million gallons of fuel for one model-year.
“American consumers are increasingly interested in the eco-performance of their vehicles, and choosing a more-efficient diesel engine opens up even more possibilities such as the ability to use high quality advanced biofuels, including biodiesel and renewable diesel fuel. By doing so this further lowers the vehicle carbon footprint, beyond the fuel efficiency advantage over gasoline. Renewable biofuels add an important dimension to the diesel offering; one that boosts sustainability of a personal vehicle choice.”
All told, there are nearly 50 diesel-powered choices for 2020. Current diesel offerings range from light-duty and heavy-duty pickup trucks and vans to sport utility vehicles.