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Should heavy-duty pickup trucks have window stickers and fuel mileage estimates?

Jeremy Korzeniewski

If you were to stroll into your nearest Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Nissan, or Ram dealership, you'd find a bunch of pickup trucks. Most of those would have proper window stickers labeled with things like base prices, options prices, location of manufacture, and, crucially, fuel economy estimates. But you'd also run across a number of heavy-duty trucks with no such fuel mileage data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA doesn't require automakers to publish the valuable miles-per-gallon measurement for vehicles with gross weight ratings that exceed 8,500 pounds. That makes it difficult for consumers to compare behemoths powered by turbocharged diesel engines – between one another, and between smaller, gasoline-fueled trucks. Consumer Reports doesn't think it should be this way, and it's spearheading an effort (PDF link) to get the government to require manufacturers to publish fuel economy estimates.

In its own testing, CR found that heavy-duty pickups powered by Ford's Power Stroke, GM's Duramax, and FCA's Cummins diesel engines (which doesn't include the Ram's EcoDiesel) get worse fuel mileage than their lighter-duty gas-powered siblings. We're not so sure HD-truck buyers are unaware of this fact – big diesels don't really come into their own until big loads are placed in their beds or attached to their trailer hitches.

Under heavy workloads, the diesel trucks will almost certainly return greater efficiency than a similar gas-powered truck. What's more, HD trucks with lumbering diesels in general make the driver feel more confident while towing due to greater torque at low engine RPM than gas trucks. They also offer greater max-weight limits.

Still, we agree EPA fuel mileage estimates should be offered for heavy-duty pickups. And we think the comparisons provided by Consumer Reports might be interesting to potential buyers. Click here to see the results of CR's tests, and let us know what you think using the poll below.

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