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Hybrid vs. diesel: Which is better for fuel economy?


I was recently asked a question on hybrid vs. diesel fuel economy and savings at the pump from a new Ford F-150 hybrid owner. He is thinking more about the General Motors 3.0-liter diesel and is trying to figure out if he made the right choice in going hybrid.

The question this week comes from viewer Aaron B.

I watched many of your videos when you purchased the hybrid F150 last year and I found them insightful.  They helped inform my decision to also buy one.  I can say that I do like the truck a lot but have been a little disappointed in the overall gas mileage.  This brings me to my opinion question:  I had a super good deal on any American made truck I wanted (I could buy any of them at cost to the dealer – story for another day), and I went with the hybrid but looking back I think I maybe should’ve went with the GM 3.0 turbo diesel.  If you where in my shoes what would you have done?  (I decided over the diesel because of what you and many other people said about how the truck handled and how comfortable it is to ride in, which it is).

Before I go I just want to say that I do appreciate your channel and I have been watching your videos about the EV trucks.  Curious to see what kind of videos you’ll do when the Silverado EV comes out.

Best of luck,

Is diesel fuel economy better?

My response pulls from current gas prices and a some research from Fuelly.com, a website that tracks, shares and compares fuel economy from real owners:

Thanks for the email and thanks for watching the channel. Fuel economy is an interesting question with the hybrid vs. diesel fuel economy. On one hand, I got better fuel economy with the hybrid at times driving slower and around the city, but that’s not always possible. The diesel is a much more consistent performer; however, with diesel at $1 more a gallon than gas right now, you’ll have to figure out how much fuel savings there really are right now.

For example, if you drive the average 12,000 miles a year and you get 19 MPG from the hybrid (per Fuelly.com), you will use 631.6 gallons of gas. Let’s make it easy and say gas is $4 a gallon and diesel is $5. So, 631.6 gallons times $4 a gallon is $2526.40 in gas per year.

If you go with the Chevy Silverado diesel, you will get around 5 MPG better (25 MPG) (per Fuelly.com). Doing the math again with 12,000 miles divided by 25 MPG and you end up with 480 gallons of fuel used. Now 480 gallons times $5 a gallon is $2,400.

Basically, you will save $126.40 a year by driving the diesel by comparing just gas prices.

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Tim Esterdahl

Automotive Journalist Tim Esterdahl has been a lover of trucks and SUVs for years. He has covered the industry since 2011 and has pieces in many national magazines and newspapers. In his spare time, he is often found tinkering on his '62 C10 pickup, playing golf, going hunting and hanging out with his wife and kids in Nebraska.

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