BEND, Ore. — Heating up the sales race between the Chevrolet Silverado and Ram pickups this year will be a battle to wrest away the Ford F-150's fuel economy crown.
A year after Ford Motor Co. became the first automaker to release a light-duty full-size pickup with an EPA-certified 30 mpg in highway driving, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are expected to raise that bar again.
As GM awaits EPA certification of its new 3.0-liter inline-six Duramax diesel engine, Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer of GM's full-size trucks, last week said internal testing has the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado achieving 30-40 mpg at speeds of 50-65 mph.
The automaker released the results — collected from testing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — last week after FCA announced a redesigned EcoDiesel V-6 engine that it said would probably lead the segment in fuel economy and offer segment-leading torque of 480 pound-feet.
GM didn't dispute FCA's claims and declined to comment directly on the expected fuel economy ratings of its diesel pickups.
The internal results are based on a controlled environment but give a glimpse at the potential of GM's new engine to achieve more than 30 mpg highway — a feat once considered a moonshot for a pickup.