Older Trucks With Good Gas Mileage: Our Top 11 Picks

Patrick Oziegbe
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When shopping for a new vehicle, a significant consideration is the purpose of the vehicle. What will you mostly be using it for? 

Generally, this will come down to carrying items or commuting. It could also be for both, as evidenced by the people who opt for trucks thanks to their more versatile qualities.

With trucks, you get a ride for commuting, moving, offroading, and other everyday activities. They also have a “sporty” look and purpose many people love.

Where trucks tend to fall short, however, is in fuel efficiency. That large engine size, heavy structure, and powertrains rarely translate to fuel economy.

But we want to emphasize the “rarely” because there are, in fact, fuel-efficient models, even older trucks with good gas mileage, on the market.

Older Trucks With Excellent Fuel Efficiency

Need the budget for the latest fuel-efficient pickup trucks? Keep hope. Here are 11 awesome trucks with excellent fuel economy I happily recommend:

2013 Toyota Tacoma

Toyota Tacoma
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

The Tacoma is one of Toyota’s best pickup trucks and with good reason. It’s safe, reliable, stylish, and has great fuel efficiency.

Fuel economy is not normally associated with pickup trucks, but the Tacoma is a gas-saving beast.

Here’s a summary of the Toyota Tacoma specifications:

  • A 2.7-liter engine with an average of 19 mpg (city) and 24 mpg (highway)
  • It holds up to 21.1 gallons of fuel in the tank, which is more than enough for long trips
  • Great gas mileage compared to other trucks its size
  • Produces up to 159 hp at 5,200 RPM
  • 180 ft-lbs torque at 3,800 RPM
  • Automatic transmission

Some of Tacoma’s smaller counterparts land far from it in fuel economy. It’s also got some stunning features for a truck released in the early 2010s.

If you want an older model that can keep up with today’s best, this one’s a strong candidate.

  • 1997 Chevy S10

strong reliable old pick up truck

As far as pickup trucks go, you can never count Chevy out. But who would have thought they had an older model, a 90s model no less, that offered great fuel economy?

The 1997 Chevy S10 is a truck many in the United States are well-acquainted with today. Some say it still gives some newer trucks a run for their money, especially on the fuel-efficiency front.

Here are some of this ride’s notable features:

  • 2.2-liter, 5-speed manual transmission
  • 20 mpg in the city, 27 on the highway (four-cylinder truck with a combined 23 mpg)
  • 118 hp at 5,200 RPM
  • 130 lbs-ft. Torque at 2,800 RPM

It’s not the most powerful truck. Even for an old truck model, it pales compared to the powerhouses of its time.

That’s one of the reasons why it’s a major gas-saving older vehicle. It also has less environmental impact, making it an awesome choice overall.

2009 Chevy Silverado Hybrid

Best Chevy Silverado years

Fuel efficiency is an issue for trucks mostly because they don’t have it. Well, tell that to the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid and the rest of the models on this list that can help you do your part in saving Mother Earth.

This Chevy option is fantastic, even among the fuel-conserving monsters on this list. Chevy has also always been about helping the environment with its processes, and this older Silverado Hybrid model is a prime example of that.

Here are some of this ride’s top features:

  • 22 mpg for highway driving and 21 for city driving
  • Spacious trunk and cabin, so its fuel economy is even more impressive
  • 332 SAE horsepower at 5,100 RPM
  • 367 lbs-ft. SAE torque at 4,100 RPM
  • Spacious cabin

Remember, though, that as a 2009 model, this Chevy Silverado Hybrid was one of the earlier hybrid models and is not to be compared with today’s models.

Still, this one remains one of the best fuel-efficient picks for a large truck released when hybrid models were relatively new.

2015 RAM 1500 Ecodiesel

older version model

The RAM division by Dodge lands a spot in our list of best trucks for fuel efficiency for a few reasons, namely:

  • Advertised by RAM as a 30 mpg economical workhorse
  • 240 hp 3.0-liter engine (diesel)
  • Different engine to the RAM model before it

The previously released RAM 1500 was also impressive regarding fuel economy ratings. However, this one had marginally better mileage, so we picked it over that one.

Overall, it’s a decent MPG truck that should help you save more money on gas and become a better caretaker of Mother Earth.

2015 Ford F-150

©Photo Credit: UnlimPhotos

The full-size truck that is the Ford F-150 is not something you would expect to score high in fuel economy ratings, but its 2015 model certainly does.

In particular, its impressive fuel economy performance is because it possessed the Ford Ecoboost engine. It was the first F-150 to hold this engine, so this is the farthest back you can get to find a decent gas-saving F-150 model.

Other notable features of this F-150 option are:

  1. 300 hp engine
  2. Low cost, decent mpg for a large truck
  3. Some of the best pickup trucks on the market since they came into production.

2015 Chevy Colorado

The height of Tacoma’s popularity saw several car manufacturers release what many deemed was their main competition for the sought-after Toyota truck series.

The Colorado was Chevy’s entry to the competition. True to its purpose, the truck impressed with fuel economy and other things.

Here are some of them to name a few:

  1. 2.5-liter inline-four engine
  2. 200 horsepower engine (weaker than the RAM but a bit more powerful than the Tacoma)
  3. 27 mpg for highway driving.

2017 Honda Ridgeline

Honda Ridgeline Years to Avoid

2017 wasn’t too long ago, but it’s long enough that significant changes have already occurred in the industry to alter the definition of a “modern truck.”

That said, while this model no longer fits the description, it’s still an awesome car. It possesses decent fuel economy but also has a host of other features that are worth noting, such as:

  1. 3.5-liter V6 engine
  2. 280 hp
  3. It goes up to 26 mpg
  4. Tows up to a total of 5,000—impressive for a fuel-efficient vehicle
  5. An all-around truck
  6. Powerful enough to tow a boat or trailer through a steep route.

2016 GMC Canyon

GMC Canyon Years to Avoid

Another “newer” car that made it to our list is the GMC Canyon 2016 model. The truck has two engine options, with the 2.5-liter inline-four engine being the better alternative if you’re aiming for fuel efficiency.

Other notable features of the ride include:

  1. 200 horsepower engine is not for breaking speed limits, but that tends to be the case with fuel-efficient trucks
  2. Better mileage than its Honda counterparts

2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid

GMC Sierra
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

We drive back to 2009 to revisit this older hybrid version of the GMC Sierra. This full-size pickup uses a two-mode system to land atop the fuel efficiency ratings during its time.

But that’s not all that impressed us about it, as the following features were quite notable as well:

  1. EPA ratings are the same as the Chevy Silverado
  2. Robust 6,100-lb towing capacity; very impressive for a vehicle that scores high in fuel economy
  3. Four-wheel drive option
  4. Excellent fuel economy grades (similar to Silverado’s 20 mpg in all facets)
  5. Outstanding fuel efficiency performance
  6. Technology-rich pickup truck (Bluetooth, heated front seats, rearview camera); all the more reason why its high fuel efficiency rating is so impressive.

1994 Toyota Truck

©Photo Credit: UnlimPhotos

You thought we weren’t going to go farther back? The 1994 Toyota Truck says think again. Despite being older than many of the truck models on this list, it holds its own against them in terms of fuel efficiency quite impressively.

In a way, the truck’s non-imaginative fit its qualities well. It was no more than a simple work truck, and that’s what it owed its decent fuel economy to.

The following years would see this truck given the name we all recognize: Toyota Hilux. This 1994 version of the classic American pickup had the following things to offer:

  1. 22 mpg (city driving); 27 mpg (highway driving); 24 mpg (combination)
  2. 5-speed manual transmission.

VW Rabbit Pickup Truck

©Photo Credit: UnlimPhotos

More than a decade before the Toyota Truck, the VW Rabbit Pickup Truck was already doing its bit to curb climate change across the streets of America.

Some have reported being asked $10,000 for this classic gas-saving ride. That may sound a little steep initially, but you may yet change your mind when you hear the following good things about it:

  • Arguably the best truck mpg ever
  • 1.6-liter four-cylinder diesel engine
  • 45 mpg
  • Possesses 1,100 pounds of towing power

Older Trucks With Good Gas Mileage Are Worth It

high powered old pickup

Finding a fuel-efficient truck that meets your budget requirements can be difficult in a sea of gas guzzlers.

Fortunately, older trucks with good gas mileage are still an option. They’re usually by brands like Toyota, GMC, Ford, RAM, and Chevy—ironically, the usual-suspect gas-guzzler manufacturers.

But let’s pay no mind to that and be happy these brands released their fair share of earth-saving units once upon a time.


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