Upgrading to a more efficient truck

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My current truck is a 2018 Tacoma 2.7 6AT 4wd. I average 14.5 mpg winter, 17 summer(hand calculated) It’s not bad for a truck...but IMO seems abit low for a 4 banger that has no power. I’d be happy if I was closer to 20 mpg but it’s just not possible when keeping up with traffic.

I placed a reservation on the new F150 lightning, but there are a few drawbacks so I looked into both the F150 PowerBoost Hybrid and Chevy half-ton Duramax 3.0 to see what their fuel costs are.

Currently
87 Octane $3.19/gal
Diesel $3.48/gal
I’ve been driving my other car lately and haven’t kept track of my monthly mileage. But I figure it’s about 1000/mo give or take.

Tacoma - 20 gallon tank - 280-330 miles per tank - roughly 17-18 gallons per fill up runs $60 each. Assuming I can feather the gas pedal and get 330 miles per tank, it’s at least $180/mo

F150 Hybrid - 36 gallon tank - fill up 33 gallons is equivalent to 800 miles per tank(estimated 24 mpg combined) - would be $105. To make it a complete 1000 miles figure another $30 which puts at $135 a month.

Silverado Duramax 3.0 - 22 gallon tank - fill up 19 gallons is equivalent to 494 miles(estimated 26 mpg combined) - $65 per fill up. 2x that for 1000 miles and it’s about $135/mo also

F150 Lightning extended range - no exact specs on the battery but I assume $10 per charge($0.04 per mile) 4 charges per month(250 miles). $40/mo? Is that too optimistic?

Am I doing the math right?

I don’t hate my Tacoma. It’s the perfect size, just wish it had higher payload/towing capacity or better MPG for how little power it has. And I know those numbers for the hybrid/diesel are just estimates compared to my Tacoma’s real world numbers. I’d assume the cost gap would be smaller in the real world.

ideally I want half ton capability with mid sized fuel economy. The new Maverick hybrid is great on paper but id probably snap it in half pretty quickly. My Tacoma is already starting to drive a little weird after hauling a few max weight loads.
 
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Are you doing a lot of city driving or idling? That really hurts fuel economy. Have you put a lot of miles on the Tacoma? Are you flooring it all the time because it doesn't have enough power?

I have a 2011 Ford Ranger with the Amazing Fuel-Gulping SOHC 4.0 V-6, yet I'm managing to get mileage in the low 20s on the highway. If you're getting <15 mpg with a four, I'd wonder if you have a mechanical or electronic problem brewing. Eliminate that possibility before you try to find another truck, because trucks are scarce right now.

Maybe try a fuel system cleaner or Marvel Mystery Oil? Is the engine direct-injection and in need of a valve cleaning? Just throwing out some ideas.
 

avacado11

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Are you doing a lot of city driving or idling? That really hurts fuel economy. Have you put a lot of miles on the Tacoma? Are you flooring it all the time because it doesn't have enough power?

I have a 2011 Ford Ranger with the Amazing Fuel-Gulping SOHC 4.0 V-6, yet I'm managing to get mileage in the low 20s on the highway. If you're getting <15 mpg with a four, I'd wonder if you have a mechanical or electronic problem brewing. Eliminate that possibility before you try to find another truck, because trucks are scarce right now.

Maybe try a fuel system cleaner or Marvel Mystery Oil? Is the engine direct-injection and in need of a valve cleaning? Just throwing out some ideas.

85% of my driving is city stop and go. The fuel economy isn’t great, but I’ve found that highway driving offers no benefit. Uses even more fuel simply from accelerating and merging.

I try not to floor it and try to take it easy almost every time I can. But the truck is soo gutless I have to WOT when pulling onto a 30-40mph road otherwise I’ll get rear ended.

last winter I saw 14.5-15 max. Summer I currently see 17 give or take. Maybe 20 on the highway in absolute perfect conditions doing 60 mph. Funny part is its a 17k mile Toyota...there certainly can’t be anything wrong with it right? Lol. I’ve ran 2 cans of seafoam consecutively then a bottle of gum out with PEA - no difference. It’s based on a older engine design and has multi port fuel injection. I’m currently running HT tires at recommend PSI with no weight in the truck other than a back rack.

I think the horrible fuel economy is due to the fact the engine is so underpowered(and gearing isn’t perfect) that it needs to be rung out from a stand still otherwise it won’t move with the pace of traffic. It’s not uncommon to see 4500 rpm just going up a hill because it loses momentum going up.

i really don’t want to get rid of it because the truck is so simple and reliable, but some times it isn’t fit for what I need
 

avacado11

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If you do decide to replace the Tacoma, ask yourself: do I really need 4WD? That's a big fuel-economy buster. My hunch is that most people with 4WD never use it, but it's parasitic. It is also a potential big-dollar repair item waiting to happen—something else to break, that is.

definitely considering 2wd on the next truck. I think I used 4wd 5 times this past winter. 3/5 times was because I wanted to use it and decided to drive up a snow bank. 2/5 times was actually getting stuck, but I could have made it with a set of snow tires, weight, and technique. I don’t go off road at all.

but the big factor on 4wd is resale. Nobody wants a 2wd truck here in the salt belt because they all think 4wd is the holy grail. Do I care about the next owner? Absolutely not. But it’s always a harder sell when time comes. It’s funny because people will take a fwd car but not a rwd truck.
 
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If you love the size of the tacoma and you mention hauling some max weight loads what is the consideration of the diesel Colorado? I havn't looked at payload or tow ratings for that but it would seem to be comparable size wise and not bow out on mpg carrying a load. You say you like the tacoma for the simplicity and reliability but everything breaks faster when it is driven toward its limits constantly. A better suited truck will likely age better within its limits than the best of them outside of theirs.
 
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I think the horrible fuel economy is due to the fact the engine is so underpowered(and gearing isn’t perfect) that it needs to be rung out from a stand still otherwise it won’t move with the pace of traffic. It’s not uncommon to see 4500 rpm just going up a hill because it loses momentum going up.
An under powered four cylinder pushing a heavy 4wd vehicle is the problem. Probably should have opted for the larger engine. These Tacoma's are not noted for their fuel economy. Stop and go city traffic and trying to keep up with traffic doesn't help. You can buy a lot of gas for what you are going to spend on a new truck. Learn to live with it.

BTW: I'm quite pleased with the little over 20mpg my Ranger and 4Runner get with mixed driving. But, I drive like the old geizer I am and let others deal with it with their steering wheel.
 
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Central NY I would definitely get a 4x4. That fuel economy is appalling, there has to be something wrong.

Normal around here (Hudson Valley NY) for a Taco to have that type of gas mileage. Great trucks but they are NOT modern, fuel efficient designed engines. My friends that have Tacoma's all have the same and often only complaint; for such a weak power plant this 4 banger gas mileage sux's!
 
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Sounds like you need a 1/2T, if the Taco is feeling tweaked then maybe it’s undersized. I have to wonder if going to 3/4T is advised, not sure on the payload (towing?) differences between Taco and 1/2T but tossing that out there.

IMO while the fuel cost is important, I am not sure if you are taking into account the cost to change. I know with the pandemic trade-in prices are crazy so maybe you could truly slide into a different vehicle for no money out of pocket. But you still have registration and insurance to look at.

Anyhow. Personally I would not give up on 4WD in Central NY, not unless if you were only going to drive this on bare pavement. Yes people got by for decades with 2WD trucks I know. They also got by without RKE, automatic HVAC, automatic transmissions, power steering, so on and so forth. 4WD has its uses, and yes it might cost more to repair, just like every other option & feature that makes our lives better. Just having a feature does not mean it will automatically break during term of ownership.

I’m not sure what you are doing but if I can play a bit of devil’s advocate, could a trailer behind one of your cars help here? Keep the truck for when the load is just that big, use a trailer otherwise. A small 4x8 utility can be towed by almost anything while giving that car upwards of 1,000lb moving capacity. It won’t do everything that a truck can do. But I found that, despite having the pickup, I only ever liked moving sheets of plywood and maybe some 2x4’s in the truck—the rest of the time I would rather hook up a trailer to the truck as I hated getting into the bed for anything. Backing up a trailer sucks but at the same time, I can beat on my trailer, get scratched and dented, and not give a rip. Or give much less of one.

I have to wonder if getting anything newer will automatically do better on mpg. Unladen yes. But sometimes under load we find vehicles converge back to the same mpg. Hook up a big travel trailer to anything and unless it is diesel then it’s 10mpg if taking it easy—the wind drag of the trailer sets the loading, which then sets the power required, and then the engine simply has to output that much hp/tq to get the job done.
 
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Just keep your experience in mind when it is time to trade due to age or miles. Getting a different truck purely for fuel economy reasons likely won't pencil out. Also note that bigger trucks tend to have more expensive tires, general maintenance, registration, etc.
 
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I have a 2010 2.7 4wd Taco with a 5spd manual. I have the 4 leaf rear leafs from the TSB and use slightly oversized LT tires. I have a lifetime 22mpg average on something over 210k miles. All synthetic lubes.
I have towed a Camry on a dolly 550miles and gotten a little under 15mpg.
I have put a 1200# transformer in the back and driven 250 miles and gotten 20mpg.
Anything much over 65mph and the mileage starts to drop. I do tend to run 5-10mph over the speed limit or with the flow of traffic depending on the situation.
I don’t know if the gear ratios on the 3rd Gen AT are poorly chosen, but 15mpg is bad mileage. My driving is not stop&go, but short of one of the cars that shuts itself off or an electric car, that isn’t going to change much. Electric cars don’t really like winter much either.
If you hate the truck, now is the time to sell it and get something you like.
If you are trying to save money based on 12k/yr driving, probably not going to happen.
 
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So, to save $45/month in fuel, you’re buying a new truck?

Even though this truck meets all your needs and is “the perfect size”?

How much more is the new truck payment?

How much did you have left to pay off on the Tacoma?
Exactly! From appliances to air conditioners to furnaces to vehicles very few people actually perform the calculation to see if it makes financial sense. Too many times the more "economic" choice will pay for itself...in 27 years...lol
 

JTK

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Sorry if I missed it, but I didn't see you mention Ram. A Ram 1500 with a pentastar V6 would feel like a rocket compared to the 2.7L Taco and will achieve 20+ MPG average tank/tank without even trying. A Ram 1500 classic, quad cab, 4x4, pentastar could be had for just under $30K pre-rona. Today I'm not sure.

I average 20mpg tank/tank with my 2019 Ram 1500 classic, crew cab, 4x4 with a hemi, but I do lots of highway travel.
 
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My current truck is a 2018 Tacoma 2.7 6AT 4wd. I average 14.5 mpg winter, 17 summer(hand calculated) It’s not bad for a truck...but IMO seems abit low for a 4 banger that has no power.
Thing probably weighs 4,000 pounds. People think a 4 cylinder will get better mileage than a V8, but when your right foot is to the floor most of the time, not really.
 

avacado11

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So, to save $45/month in fuel, you’re buying a new truck?

Even though this truck meets all your needs and is “the perfect size”?

How much more is the new truck payment?

How much did you have left to pay off on the Tacoma?

Tacoma is owned in full. Cost of new truck would be about 24k plus tax & tag.

The Tacoma is the correct size for driving but lacks in capability. Another factor im taking into account is that it’s falling apart. I brought it used...long story short went to the dealer to buy NEW but they sold it. This was the same exact spec with 10k miles used.

I can put up with the fuel economy and the lack of power, but i was planning on the F150 Lightning anyways. The hybrid/diesel truck idea really branched off that. If there was no lightning the Powerboost/duramax would never cross my mind.
 
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