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Old 01-09-2017, 08:59 AM   #1
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Bigger truck better fuel efficiency?

Currently I am at about 80% of my F150's capacity. I'm starting to think of the next truck. The new diesel option in the F150 is interesting but I'm really wondering if a 3/4 ton at 50% towing capacity gets better mileage than a 1/2 ton at 80% of its towing capacity.

I tried scanning some threads but I couldn't find a clear way to compare. Of course there are a ton of other factors to evaluate. It will probably be my daily driver as well.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:29 AM   #2
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It might not be just like your situation, but I generally get a little better mileage with the bigger truck. It's not a lot, and certainly not as dramatic as I had hoped it would be, but it is better.

I went from a 2012 GMC Sierra 5.3L to a 2015 RAM 2500 6.4L (both gassers). Towing in the Sierra I routinely would get around 6-10; in my ram I generally get around 8-10. So, no, not a dramatic difference at all. But then, I'm also towing a bit faster in the RAM than I did in the Sierra. I probably avg around 60-62 MPH in the Sierra, closer to 68 or 70 in the RAM with upgraded trailer tires.

In my Sierra I was probably close to 90% capacity or more (once or twice, I'm sure I was close to 100% or over), in the RAM, I'm closer to about 50% on payolad, and around 70% of "towing capacity".

Really, at the end of the day, it wasn't about mileage for me, it was about a better tow. I also added some features on the RAM that I didn't have in the Sierra; namely 4WD. I use it a lot now. Also, I've discovered the biggest factor in towing mileage is wind. If I'm going with the wind, I get A LOT better mileage, even if it's just a breath of a breeze. Towing against the wind, and she gets REAL thirsty, so I tend to slow down to keep mileage reasonable.

Keep in mind, this is all gas-to-gas. I would expect better mileage out of a diesel. But then there's a whole host of other things (advantages and disadvantages) that comes along with a diesel vs gas.
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Old 01-09-2017, 09:57 AM   #3
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Trying to justify a new pickup truck huh?
I doubt if you would see much difference in fuel economy with a larger truck. Also, today's diesels, with all the pollution controls(DEF regens, etc), are not as good as a gasser for daily driving, IMO.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:26 AM   #4
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Switching to the diesel will make far more difference than a larger gasser powerplant. It is like night and day. Far better mileage and far better fuel economy, towing or empty. Living with a diesel has a couple of caveats. With today's ultra low sulphur diesel fuels, it's good to use a fuel additive to preserve life of the fuel pump and injectors. I typically use Stanadyne Performance Formula. But then, the gasoline blends we have nowadays take their own toll on gassers for a few of the same reasons, plus a few others. Yes, DEF is a pain in newer diesels. But it's a rare task, and well worth the advantages if you tow more than a couple of times each year. I used to own a Duramax crew cab 4X4 pickup for towing our trailer, and my wife drove it daily. She loved it. We now have the same drivetrain in our motorhome, and it's really very good.
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Old 01-09-2017, 10:56 AM   #5
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In my experience, towing with F150 ecoboost maxed out on payload compared to 1 ton diesel truck towing pretty well maxed out, the difference in fuel mileage is negligible. I would not recommend making the decision based off fuel mileage.

My F150 would get about 18 mpg (hand calculated) unloaded with mixed hwy and city driving. The 1 ton diesel gets about 19 mpg (hand calculated) unloaded with same driving.

Towing the F150 would get 6-10 mpg. The 1 ton diesel is 7-9 mpg.

Not an exact comparison to your situation because we load the 1 ton heavier than the F150.

If I had to comment on your situation, I would decide which motor you want personally and fits in your budget. Most motors in the F150 will out tow the truck capacity. I think the ecoboost is hard to beat. Ram ecodiesel drivers are posting how their unloaded mileage is less than advertised. Ford has a history of seeing less than advertised mileage. The diesel has more to keep up with (DEF, water separators....). To many variances in driving habits and personal preferences to predict exact mileage.

For me, making the decision on a hypothetical over a couple mpg is risky because you just don't know what you'll get till you have it. I would say the difference in towing is night and day between half ton, and a HD truck which is more significant than the mileage. If you are buying a new truck and ever see yourself moving into a larger camper, the HD truck makes good sense. If you towing needs won't ever exceed the camper you have now, I would keep the half ton truck due to comfort of the ride as a daily driver.

If you go with a 3/4 ton HD truck, the difference in gas and diesel motor seems to become more prevalent. The gas motor may get 12-15 mpg unloaded. The diesel can get closer to 18-20 mpg unloaded.

My diesel is my daily driver. I prefer the diesel to gas mostly because the gas motor was slower. The diesel was quicker and noticeably better mileage (my opinion). There are disadvantages to the diesel as a daily driver depending on your commute. I'm turning 30,000 miles on my diesel and probably only will get 35K out of my tires. I did not consider the extra weight of the truck when considering my tires. My nephews F150 just got 70,000 off a set of LT tires. I'm looking at 35,000 miles...uhg.

Happy shopping!
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Old 01-09-2017, 11:28 AM   #6
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Depends on what you consider "maxed out". F150 towing 8000 lbs vs 3/4 HD or 1T diesel towing 12k-15k, maybe. But we regularly achieved an average of 13 mpg on longer trips with hills and wind towing 10k toy hauler with the 2003 Duramax crew cab 4X4. 10mpg climbing and 16mpg descending back the same route. It also towed much better than our old gas Suburban 7.4liter V8. Far more stable, and climbed at twice the speed with moderate effort. The F150 with Ecoboost is a good hauler for sure. But if you're only getting 6-10 with it, it's no contest. Over the course of 10 years, the diesel paid for its extra cost twice.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:08 PM   #7
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When I pulled my 28BHS with my 1500 5.3 I actually got better mileage then with the 2500 6.0. I could get 10 and on a great day 11 but with the 2500 around 9. But that was the only positive, the 2500 is better in every other way.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TaftCoach View Post
Currently I am at about 80% of my F150's capacity. I'm starting to think of the next truck. The new diesel option in the F150 is interesting but I'm really wondering if a 3/4 ton at 50% towing capacity gets better mileage than a 1/2 ton at 80% of its towing capacity.

I tried scanning some threads but I couldn't find a clear way to compare. Of course there are a ton of other factors to evaluate. It will probably be my daily driver as well.
3 years ago I traded an 08 Silverado 1/2 ton for a 2010 Silverado 3/4 with the duramax diesel. As a daily driver they are about equal. I don't feel I gave up mileage with the upgrade . As a tow vehicle with my 2014 WhiteHawk, I get a mile or 2 per gal improvement with the Diesel but the big gain is in the towing itself. Not a mechanical person but there is not a groan or a jerk when I pull my fully loaded TT and pickup bed. Unless you're hot to get a diesel, [not a bad thing] I would stay with the 1/2 ton until you are ready to upgrade to a bigger TT.
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Old 01-09-2017, 12:56 PM   #9
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Our '03 Expedition 5.4 gasser got 9-ish mpg pulling the 4500# HTT, the F350 6.7 diesel gives us 12mpg pulling the 12700# 5er.
It's an apple/orange comparison but it does impress me.
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Old 01-09-2017, 01:20 PM   #10
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I went from a 2004 2500HD Silverado CC 6.0 gasser to a 2015 2500HD Duramax and my average mileage was doubled. From about 6mpg to 12mpg. Love my Duramax!
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