Is a Hybrid Really More Efficient than a Diesel?

Let's look at an analysis comparing a diesel truck versus a hybrid truck to see which uses the most fuel while towing. It’s long been thought that you needed a diesel pickup to tow the most weight, but is that still the case with new hybrid options?

Highlight Features of a Hybrid vs Diesel

Ford F-150 PowerBoost

2021 Ford F-150 | Ford

 The Ford F-150 PowerBoost uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged V6 engine plus a hybrid electric motor. This power setup returns 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque and offers 25 city/26 hwy mpg in 2WD models, while 4WD versions deliver 24 city/24 hwy mpg. The transmission used is a 10-speed automatic. The curb weight of the Ford truck is 5,840 pounds. This hybrid truck can tow up to 12,400 pounds and carry 1,546 pounds of payload.


Chevy Silverado 1500 Duramax Diesel

The Chevy diesel truck has a strong 3.0-liter turbo Duramax diesel V6 engine attached to a 10-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain returns 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. The fuel mileage for this diesel pickup is 23 city/33 hwy mpg for RWD versions and 23 city/29 hwy mpg for the 4WD models.

The Silverado, for this comparison, is 400 pounds lighter than the Ford, and it carries a payload of up to 1,709 pounds. The towing capacity for this Chevy truck is 9,000 pounds.

Did the diesel or hybrid truck have the better fuel mileage results? Let’s take a look:

Ford F-150 PowerBoost

Fuel used: 9.119 gallons

Miles driven: 71.3

Calculated MPG: 7.8 mpg

Chevy Silverado Duramax Diesel

Fuel used: 5 gallons

Miles driven: 65.2

Calculated MPG: 13 mpg

It’s pretty clear that the diesel truck outperformed the hybrid truck while towing, here's the reasons.

Essentially, when a hybrid truck tows a trailer, the hybrid portion of the powertrain is not engaged during the process. In this case, the Ford PowerBoost does not use the hybrid system in the top two gears. That means the towing work is left to the gasoline engine, which uses more fuel than a diesel truck.