Diesel power offers plenty of benefits for pickup truck owners. Oil-burning engines tend to offer more torque than similar-sized gasoline equivalents, and it usually makes its power lower in the rev range — two traits that make it superior for towing and off-roading alike. But diesel fuel is also more power-dense than gasoline, which means, all things being equal, a vehicle can travel further on a tank of it than on the same amount of super unleaded.
Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than Ram’s latest diesel-powered pickup truck, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel. Thanks to the efficiency of its oil-burning turbocharged V6, the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel can travel up to 32 miles for every gallon of diesel consumed. And that’s not some pie-in-the-sky conjecture. That’s the official word from the Environmental Protection Agency, which rated the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel and its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 making 260 hp and 480 lb-ft at 22 mpg city, 32 mpg highway.
Admittedly, that’s only for the two-wheel-drive version of the turbodiesel-powered Ram 1500. Most of us are more interested in the 4×4 version — it makes up 80 percent of full-sales the added weight and drag of the extra drivetrain components in that version, however, drag the gas mileage fuel economy down to 21 mpg city / 29 mpg highway. Still, those numbers for the 2WD and 4WD diesel Rams are two mpg better in-town five mpg better on the open road than the next-best gas-powered V6 model, and 8–10 mpg better than the V8 version.
(A quick note: while the heavy-duty Ram 2500 and 3500 also pack diesel engines, don’t expect to see the same sort of efficiency from them; those trucks’ 6.7-liter Cummins unit is more than twice the displacement as the Ram 1500’s EcoDiesel, and designed more for maximum torque than range.)
That highway-crushing mileage comes in particularly handy when paired with the Ram’s optional larger 33-gallon fuel tank. Use it to its full potential, and the EcoDiesel 4×2 can roll a stunning 1,056 miles without stopping — more than 16 hours straight at 65 miles per hour. The 4×4 EcoDiesel’s reduced mileage knocks its range below the magic 1,000-mile mark, but not by much; it can still go 957 miles on a single tank. That, for the record, means the four-wheel-drive version packs enough fuel to drive from Gear Patrol‘s Manhattan office to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (or, less excitingly, Jacksonville, Florida) without stopping; the RWD one, in turn, can drive from Los Angeles to Yellowstone National Park on one tank, or from Seattle to North Dakota.
Granted, that range may drop in the real world; keeping the speedometer pinned north of the speed limit, towing, or driving around with a full load in the cabin and/or bed might bring those impressive fuel economy numbers down. Still, assuming you’re making good use of the new Ram‘s plethora of cupholders, you’ll almost certainly need to stop to empty your tank before you need to fill the truck’s.
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