2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel MPG Report After 900 Miles

2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel MPG Illustration

Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

By Brian Wong

Our First Drive of the 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel finished with overwhelmingly positive results. Turns out that adding an efficient, torquey engine on top of a nearly impeccable cabin is a pretty good formula for success, and the diesel engine also proved adept at towing and off-road applications.

Related: 2020 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel MPG: How It Compares to Chevrolet, GMC, Ford Diesels

The only thing missing was a chance to put the EcoDiesel's fuel economy to a long-distance test. A 900-mile trip from Los Angeles to Zion National Park in Utah to test the Jeep Wrangler EcoDiesel that features roughly the same diesel engine made for a perfect chance to see just how fuel efficient the Ram 1500 diesel can be.

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My test vehicle was a luxurious Longhorn model in crew-cab 4X4 configuration with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21/29/24 mpg city/highway/combined — the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel tops out at 22/32/26 mpg for 4X2 models. I drove the route within 5 mph of posted speed limits while braking/accelerating normally. The adaptive cruise control was used on the highway for portions of route and tire pressures were set to the manufacturer's recommendation.

The MPG Results

Over the 901.7-mile round trip, unloaded, the Ram used 36.112 gallons of diesel fuel for a calculated average of 25.0 mpg. The truck's trip computer showed an average of 23.8 mpg, which was surprisingly lower than our observed mpg for this test. Both figures, however, fell short of the EcoDiesel's highway number, which was disappointing considering that the route was composed of nearly all highway miles. There are a few reasons that might explain this.

The 900 miles weren't flat and came with a lot of elevation change, from Los Angeles at sea level to Zion at 3,000 feet above sea level, plus you have climb over mountains to get there. Additionally, though the truck didn't keep track of average speed, it would have been quite high for this route considering raised speed limits in parts of Arizona and Utah where the Ram just isn't as efficient above 70 mph.

I would be remiss to conclude without mentioning that a gussied-up Ram 1500 Longhorn with the diesel engine is a near perfect companion for a long road trip. The interior is fantastic and comfortable, and with the 33-gallon tank I did about 600 miles on the first tank alone and could have gone farther. And, it is quiet. There's some diesel growl when accelerating, but while cruising the noise vanishes and the cabin is impressively serene for a pickup. The EcoDiesel may not have reached its lofty EPA fuel economy estimate in my test, but it certainly made a big fan out of me.

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