EPA fuel economy estimates are great for cars and crossover SUVs but for many truck owners the numbers just don’t matter if they use their trucks to tow and/or haul on a regular basis. That is exactly why we like to conduct mpg tests with a trailer, to provide more information for truckers. In this case we have a Ram 1500. The test consists of hooking up a 5,600-pound trailer – the same one we use in all our tests – and driving at 70 mph on a 98-mile stretch of highway just northeast of Denver. The road is more or less flat but since it is a loop, any fuel economy advantages or disadvantages due to elevation changes should be negligible.
The truck featured here is a 2016 model year in 2WD with a 5.7-liter V8 gasoline engine. It has a 3.92 rear axle ratio and Ram’s 8HP70 8-speed automatic transmission. The results of the unladen portion of the test are what one would expect based on EPA estimates. The 21.8 mpg we calculated matches the EPA’s estimate of 22 highway mpg almost exactly. The fuel economy observed from towing, however, was a little bit lower than predicted. The calculated result was just over 8.5 mpg, although the vehicle’s trip computer said 9.7. Based on prior experience with this test, we expect trucks to get roughly half the fuel economy when towing versus not towing. Check out the video below to see the test.
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn Crew Cab 4×2
Engine: 5.7-liter HEMI V8
Power (hp): 395 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque (lb-ft): 410 @ 3,950 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Rear axle ratio: 3.92
EPA-estimated fuel economy (mpg): 15/22/17 (city/highway/combined)
Base price: $48,785
As-tested price: $50,805
Watch the video here: