The average national price for gasoline has gone up almost $2 over the past year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That’s not good news for some of the thirstiest vehicles on the road: pickup trucks. But there is a relatively new option if you’re looking to save on gas: a hybrid pickup.
As with other hybrid vehicles, these trucks have a gasoline-powered engine that’s augmented with electric motors and a battery to help improve fuel economy. But there are nuances to each automaker’s hybrid systems. The experts at Edmunds round up all four hybrid trucks that are on sale today to help you decide which one is the better buy. All prices below include the destination charge.
PowerBoost is the name given to the first-ever F-150 hybrid engine, and rightly so. It produces more power than any non-hybrid F-150 with the exception of the off-road-focused Raptor: 430 horsepower and 570 lb-ft of torque. It’s 3-5 mpg more efficient than a comparable non-hybrid F-150 and can tow more than 12,000 pounds when properly equipped, which is plenty for your average truck owner.
The PowerBoost engine also comes with a handy feature called Pro Power Onboard. It’s a built-in electric generator that allows you to run various power tools and even large appliances like a TV or microwave. The PowerBoost powertrain is available on any F-150 SuperCrew cab trim level. On the downside, it can cost up to $4,495 to add to the truck. But overall the gains in efficiency and performance are compelling. You may need to adjust your driving style, however, since we’ve found in our testing that the EPA numbers are difficult to match in the real world. That said, the F-150 is currently Edmunds’ highest-rated full-size truck.
Starting price: $45,210
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23-25 mpg combined
The Tundra’s 2022 redesign modernized the aging truck in many ways and introduced the all-new i-Force Max hybrid engine. It’s the most powerful hybrid truck on this list, boasting 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft, but it’s a little less efficient than the F-150 PowerBoost. The hybrid powertrain is also only 1-2 mpg more efficient than the Tundra’s regular engine.
Toyota only offers the hybrid engine in the Tundra’s Limited trim and higher, plus it needs to be equipped with the CrewMax cab, making it a somewhat costly choice. But like the hybrid F-150, it offers a solid towing capacity of more than 11,000 pounds. All hybrid Tundras come with a large 14-inch touchscreen and heated and ventilated front and rear leather seats.
There’s a lot to like about the well-rounded Tundra. But know that it doesn’t lead or excel in towing, comfort, efficiency or any major truck category.
Starting price: $54,695
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 20-22 mpg combined
The Ram 1500 eTorque is the only mild hybrid system on this list. Ram offers it on both the V6 and V8 engines and on any trim level. The eTorque system doesn’t increase the total power output of either engine, but instead it adds short bursts of supplemental power when the engine needs it the most and smooths out the operation of the engine’s stop-start system. Most importantly, it improves fuel efficiency by 2-3 mpg compared to the Ram’s non-hybrid gasoline engines.
Surprisingly, there is no upcharge for the eTorque system on the V8, and it’s standard on the V6. The Ram 1500 is currently Edmunds’ second-highest-rated full-size truck. It’s the most comfortable truck in its class and its mild hybrid powertrain is silky smooth.
Starting price: $38,295 (V6); $41,090 (V8)
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 21-22 mpg combined (V6); 19-20 mpg combined (V8)
The Maverick is an all-new compact truck that comes standard with a 191-horsepower hybrid powertrain. It’s by far the most efficient truck on the market and is as efficient as a small hybrid SUV. Although the hybrid engine is only available with front-wheel drive, so if you plan on taking it off-road or live in a cold climate, you might want to reconsider.
On the plus side, the little Maverick has a low starting price, about the same as a compact car, making it the most affordable truck you can buy. It can tow as much as your average small SUV and has a solid payload capacity of 1,500 pounds.
The Maverick hybrid’s pricing and fuel economy are attractive, but beyond that, it’s quite the utilitarian truck.
Starting price: $22,490
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 37 mpg combined
Hybrid pickup trucks are great for their additional power and efficiency. Most will cost extra, but if you have the budget for one, we think the benefits are worth it.
This story was provided to The Associated Press by the automotive website Edmunds.
Michael Cantu is a contributor at Edmunds and is on Instagram.
Michael Cantu, The Associated Press