Considering a Diesel Pickup? Here Are Costs to Ponder

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By Chad Kirchner

Not that long ago, if you wanted a diesel engine in your pickup truck you had to opt for a heavy-duty model, meaning a three-quarter-ton single-rear wheel or one-ton dually. Now, many truckmakers offer a diesel engine option in each of the four classes of pickups: mid-size, half ton, three-quarter ton and one ton.

But how much does it cost to go diesel? The big expenses are the price of the diesel engine, diesel fuel and diesel exhaust fluid. There are other costs to consider, as well, as often the diesel engine requires buyers to purchase other packages and options.

On Sept. 6, the national average price for diesel was $3.18 compared to $2.86 for regular unleaded gasoline, according to AAA. Looking at EPA fuel-economy estimates, a two-wheel-drive diesel Chevrolet Colorado's combined city/highway fuel economy is 3 mpg better than the gasoline engine: 25 mpg for the diesel 2.8-liter inline four-cylinder versus 22 mpg for the gas 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder. On its site, the EPA estimates the cost to drive 25 miles, and it's the exact same for both trucks: $3.22. As a result, the annual fuel cost is calculated to be the same: $1,950. Using EPA assumptions, only in high mileage highway applications will diesel owners eventually recoup their costs on their initial investment.

For some, buying a diesel pickup is all about the increased towing capability, while others appreciate the increased fuel economy benefits. For example, a properly equipped Ford Super Duty diesel has a maximum tow rating of 34,500 pounds. And when compared with their V-8 or V-10 counterparts, diesels offer better fuel economy under heavy trailering or max payload.

Whether you're looking for a large or small pickup from Chevrolet, Nissan or Ford, here's what you need to know about the additional costs related to ordering a diesel pickup:

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  • 2019 Chevrolet Colorado LT: The 2.8-liter inline-four-cylinder diesel requires a crew cab, which is more expensive than an extended cab. It also requires an automatic locking rear differential ($325), the Trailering Package ($250), the LT Convenience Package ($750) and the Safety Package ($690) for a total of $6,980 in options. The engine improves max towing to 7,700 pounds in two-wheel-drive versions and 7,600 pounds in four-wheel-drive versions. It's also the only way to get an integrated trailer brake controller.
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500: The turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder will be available in early 2019.
  • 2019 Chevrolet Silverado Heavy Duty: The $9,395 turbo-diesel 6.6-liter V-8 requires crew-cab models and comes with a six-speed Allison transmission.
  • 2018 Ford F-150: The Lariat is the lowest trim in which one can get the turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 at a starting price of $46,510, including destination. That's $4,000 more than the Lariat with the standard 2.7-liter EcoBoost gas engine. The diesel adds $3,000 to the cost of the King Ranch and Platinum trims. The diesel includes a different transmission, but it's included in the upgrade price.


  • 2019 Ford Super Duty: The turbo-diesel 6.7-liter V-8 costs $9,120 on all configurations except the Limited in which it is the standard engine.
  • 2018 GMC Canyon SLE: The 2.8-liter inline-four-cylinder diesel requires a crew cab, automatic locking rear differential ($325), the Trailering Package ($250), the SLE Convenience Package ($575) and Driver Alert Package ($395) for a total of $6,510 in options. Like the Colorado, it's the only way to get the trailer brake controller from the factory and improves towing to 7,700 pounds with 2WD or 7,600 pounds with 4WD.
  • 2019 GMC Sierra 1500: Just like the Silverado 1500, the turbo-diesel 3.0-liter inline-six-cylinder should be available in early 2019.
  • 2019 GMC Sierra HD: The $9,395 turbo-diesel 6.6-liter V-8 requires crew-cab models and comes with a six-speed Allison transmission.
  • 2018 Nissan Titan XD: The diesel 5.0-liter V-8 is available on all trims of the heavier-duty Titan XD. Upgrading to diesel costs between $5,000 and $6,000 depending on trim, with the jump on a regular-cab S trim 2WD set at $5,550; it costs less for the King-Cab Pro-4X at $5,050.
  • 2019 Ram 1500: The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is not yet available.
  • 2018 Ram 1500: The 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6 is a $4,495 option on entire lineup.
  • 2018 Ram Heavy Duty: The turbo-diesel 6.7-liter inline-six-cylinder is an $8,800 to $9,300 upgrade. On some trims it includes either a six-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission for the same price. images by Mark Williams


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I've owned two HD diesels but they've porked them out to such an expensive degree today I doubt I ever buy another.

I suspect the F150 diesel will die on the vine. The fuel economy is lacking, towing performance is marginal, and only available in a top of the line grocery getter. Ford seems to be struggling.

Emission system cost and associated fuel economy loss took the diesel luster.

If I buy any diesel pickup it ain't gonna be no junky recall ridden Ford product. Only RAM going forward for me and maybe a GM product.

That second under hood picture is a total nightmare

I crack up every time I see that photo of the jumbled Ford (diesel) engine compartment. I looks like someone dumped a wheelbarrow load of engine parts in there.

I crack up every time I see one of those new Rangers. They look so much like a Taurus it isn't even funny. They should fire their design team pronto.

that ford power stoke would be a nightmare to work on.

How about looking at the V6 gas engine compared the the diesel! I just went to the EPA website and compared the 2018 diesel Colorado (2WD) versus the 2018 V6 Colorado gas engine with the 8 speed transmission (also 2WD). The cost to drive the diesel was $3.22 for 25 miles versus $3.54 for the gas engine. Annual fuel cost for the diesel was $1,950 versus $2,100 for the gas. With the diesel you spend $2,000 in fuel cost over 5 years compared to the average new vehicle. For the gas engine you spend $2,750 more in fuel costs over 5 years than the average new vehicle.

Importantly, the diesel will get far better MPG’s while towing than then either the 4 cylinder or 6 cylinder gas engine.

This article contains many biased non factual statements. My new f250 6.7 gets fantastic MPG, uses almost no DEF at all, extremely high quality and fit. I had a 2014 3.5 Ecoboost F150 I really liked too but it was apples n oranges to this thing. So don't believe all you read... especially this article

I bought my checy 2001 2500hd extend cab short bed2wd brand new. I went in the dealership with the intentions of buying the Duramax with the Allison trans 4wd. The wait was three months for the diesel auto. Even with the standard shift option 2 months. I had to clear my head and look at what I needed not what I wanted. I live in VA. It snows maybe 2 times a year were I live (maybe) I not driving anbrand new truck in the woods to hunt and I don't go to the beach often to need the 4 wd often enough. So I saved 7k there. The diesel and trans cost wasn't necessary because I wasn't hauling anything big every day or weekend. I settled for the 6.0, auto trans with a positive traction rear 4:10 ratio. The money I saved still hasn't been used up using the vehicle for what I have been for 17 yrs. I paid 26k for it in 2001. It would have been almost 40k back then. The cost in maintenance is also 2/3 less. Buy what you need. Just because bubba hasnone doesn't mean you do. All my firends but one still has his truck. And that Ford is a rust bucket. My Chevy has one rust bubble 17 yrs later original trans and engine 149k miles. Go Chevrolet.

I just back from a 1600 mile rode trip in my 2018 Colorado Duramax got 26.4 with a hundred pound dog luggage and my wife. So it's strictly with the deisel motors now. My order pickup was lucky to get 17 on a good day. ( 2003 s10).

Also it is the 4x4 four door

Owned the last of the 5.9 Cummins, probably the best diesel engine ever put in consumer truck.
No anti pollution garbage added to engine, 24 hwy for 4x4 crew cab 8ft bed 2500.
I bought this truck used and drove it 6 years problem free and sold it last year for $12000 more than I played for it.
The gent that bought it new exactly what he was buying versus new junk.
It will be my last diesel, not going to get stuck into new overpriced and complicated new diesel engines.

The newer Diesel engines are powered down with your emissions clean B.S. for your Diesel engine to have good mpg you need to spend 3k to pull the EGR off DPF system and get a good tuner.
I have a 2010 Cummins that was getting 14 mpg 11 when towing on the highway. Now that I pulled all that junk off my truck breaths better has more hp and torque.
All of your clean emissions stuff puts a lot of Wear and tear on your engine. I helped my buddy with his 2015 gmc 2500 duramax having 12 mpg highway and now he is getting anywhere from 20 to 25 mpg. A dpf system from the dealer once it’s clogged and your EGR is clogged you are looking at a 7k+ fee.

Forget buying new diesel, cheaper to get pre def and rebuild it. New diesel trucks are all crap.

New diesls forget it, have to put aftermarket EGr cooler oil catch cans and still have particulate filter issues, also have cost of def fluid. Buy older rid rebuild it if you need diesel torque for towing otherwise get V 8 gas and suck it up.

This article also fail to cover, depreciation, after a couple of years the gas model looses over 50% of it's value compare to a diesel about 30%

X2015 SL 2500 Cummins 6spd 4x4 4door Crew cab deleted 4" pipe, KN flat air filter camper shell EdgeCts2 computer 20gallon extra tank, 3 light bars =970watts, Setup as 1st responder, 10k+#, same mpgs since deleted by
25-32mpgs freeway
20-25 city, 10-20 off road
Avg.MPGs From 78k to 193k
Better efficiency is tonXMiles per gallon used by scientist in the diesel truck industry. I'm 5.2tons X 28+mpg=146Tmiles/gallon😀
Toyota Prius is 3200=1.6tX50 mpg=80Tmiles/gallon 😆

6ways MPG confirmation
1-ram computer
2-garmin gps
3-google maps gps
4-USGS maps gps
5-AAA maps Android
6-hand=4 semesters calculus

1:Speed 55 & rpm 1500
2: Close Windows
3: No items on top of car
4: Make truck aerodynamic
5: Inflate tires 2 maximum
6: High rear end gearing3.42
7: Factory tall tires
8: 5-40w Synthetic Oil
9: avoid 4x4 driving
10: Remove excessive weight
11: Fuel is heavy too
12: Plan journey wisely
13: warm up engine
14: clean outside
15: Avoid RAIN
16: No aggressive driving
17: Don't over-rev.
18: Gear fast, slow & accelerate
19: Avoid idling.
20: Overdrive & cruise control
21: Ele&AC worsens MPG
22: Exploit cruising down hill
23: Avoid a complete stop
24: red>roll in neutral gear
25: Tune engine to low HP
26: Change oil regularly.
27: Replace air filters regularly.
33: Leave early Family drama
34 constant Mph=Mpg
36: avoid drama & stress
37 Park in shade
38 distance to prevent braking
39: Forced induction =MPG
41:Rough asphalt tire wear+7%
42:Use brakes to slow down.
43change fuel filters often
44change power train oils
45avoid wider tires
46avoid jacking truck height
47used tires =better MPGs

Obama Diesel Exhaust Cooker warranty expired 80k. 3rd Cooker by 75K so 78k I deleted. Save 10c mile or $1000/10,000 miles
Or $10,000/100k miles!
So if I deleted@0, $7800 saving + $10,500=$18,400 fuel savings!

I have owned several GM diesels by now 9-8-2018. I recently discovered that the EPA rating for a diesel engine are in error for they use a program basd on the energy content in Gasoline. Diesel has 30% more energy. My 06 Durmax bought new would average 25 mpg highway with the best being 28 and worst while towing 18,000 lbs at 14. Next Duramax was newer but didn't get quite as good for milage at 23 average. While owing that I bought a 2014 Chevy Cruze with 2L diesel. average highway with it was 50mpg and best was 80.2mpg which I have photos to prove it and I drove 1100 miles on that tank of fuel.. Now we have one 2018 Chev Equinox rated at 28 city and 38 hiway for the 1.6L diesel. Real numbers are 35 city and 50 highway. I can get 800 miles from a tank highway.

Sure would be good for landscapers. I small truck that can yank 7000+ pounds is nice and so is all the cab room for dry cargo or a crew. I would feel funny loading lots of fertilizer in the cab if it rained though. Rust galore...

People that buy diesel trucks don't really care a bout fuel milage. I We they all knew that walking in the dealership. You walk in exspecting 30mpg diesel then your a ignorant fool. Its about hauling towing getting business done. As for all that crap under the hood. You can thank the EPA and out if control governments for that one. Besides if things go wrong it's warranty time.

Where I work (utility) tracks total owning costs down to wiper blades. All 3/4 and 1 ton trucks are diesel. Until about 4 years ago purchase driven by lowest bid between Ford and Chevy. Total owning cost has driven them to buy only Ford.

I own a 2017 ram with 6.7 diesel and 6 speed. Have 42k miles on it and not one single issue. Half that mileage is towing 10k trailer. I get 22mpg empty and 14 mpg towing. I wouldn’t trade it for a gas jobber. I went through the hills in west virgina at 68 mph with 10k trailer and had no complaints. I know dpf and def is not ideal but it works. If you don’t want a new truck then don’t buy one. I live in the north east and a 10 year old truck Will have no body left on it to rebuild. I trade every 5 years and will continue to do so.

They'd all be a nightmare to work on. I can't afford anything much newer than a '90 model anyhow, lol.

I own a 94 ram 3500 with the first generation, 12 valve Cummins turbo diesel with over 300,000 miles. Hard miles. It started out with a 10 foot reefer box doing mostly city deliveries then a few years as a farm truck with a 10 foot armor plate flat bed. I tow a 14,000 lb. gooseneck plus quite a few different bumper pulls with no problems. The trans was overhauled at around 200,000 miles but the motor has never been opened. The only issue it has is it blows the fuse to the AC compressor regularly. Replacing the compressor should fix that. I wouldn't part with it for anything, even though the engine is worth more than the whole truck.

You think the PS is hard to work on, try changing injectors or a turbo on the Duramax. My owner is an idiot.

I am on my 3rd 6.7 Ram dually 3500 and wouldn't change for anything. I previously had a 7.3 ford dam good truck last of the good ford diesels. All these wild claims of milage is amazing. I drive a lot of miles and tow a lot. Best milage empty highway speed 70 is 17.5 on a good day no big hills towing 15,000 lb. Trailer 8.5 to 10 mph driving 60 to 65 mph. Anybody that claims much more is just blowing smoke.

Wow an honest article that did their homework. Pretty soon we can buy electric drive with more torque than a diesel and more HP than a gasser for cheaper to own. Thumbs up from the economy seating on this article.

Should also note the Ford and GM midsize need timing belts changed at 150k miles, def maintenance and all carry less payload and cause more wear and tear on brakes, steering and suspension parts and tires. Imagine running around with a quad in the back of your pick up for its entire life, that's how much more a diesel weighs in at. Harder to off road and the added weight is hard on the truck.

Did you seriously just compare the 2.5L basic 4 banger to the 2.8L Duramax? No one considering a 2.8L Duramax is ever going to consider the 2.5L. All of the cross shopping is with the 3.6L V6. Oh, and by the way, can you even get the 2.5L in 4x4? I think you just compared a 4x2 gas to a 4x4 diesel to suit your argument. The diesel gets 30 mpg hwy in 4x2 for the record.

Love my powerstroke, wouldn't buy anything but that!

Where I work (utility) tracks total owning costs down to wiper blades. All 3/4 and 1 ton trucks are diesel. Until about 4 years ago purchase driven by lowest bid between Ford and Chevy. Total owning cost has driven them to buy only Ford.
Posted by: FrankinFlorida | Sep 8, 2018 7:30:46 PM

Ford builds the most expensive component of their truck in Mexico, which gives them the edge in pricing against GM and their Ohio-built Duramax. Our accounting department intervened and stopped running Powerstroke trucks due to their high running costs. We didn't mind, most of us would rather do IFS ball joints than cab off engine repairs on Powerstrokes. Especially when the Ford ball joints don't last any longer than the GM parts and take a lot more work to replace.

Actually PUTC, as of 2017 the ITBC can be had on both gas and diesel variants of Colorado/Canyon. So diesel only is false.

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