Why GM Pickups Are Now Less Efficient

Truck fuel efficiency is about to get worse before it gets better.

In a day and age where electric vehicle investment is the biggest cost column in nearly every automaker’s R&D budget, there’s still a tremendous amount of focus being placed on the other end of the vehicle spectrum: namely, pickup trucks.

In fact, the three best-selling vehicles in 2020 in ANY category were all pickups, with the Ford F-series, Chevy Silverado and Ram pickups nailing the top spots. 

And while these vehicles have their benefits, fuel economy is not generally one of them… an issue that, based on a recent report from Reuters, is about to get worse before it ever gets better.

Unfortunately, a highly publicized shortage of critical semiconductors is forcing GM to move along production of certain 2021 light-duty pickup models without their standard fuel management module.

A spokesperson for GM told Reuters that the lack of the fuel management module will mean affected models will see their fuel economy reduced by one mile per gallon, as the design normally deactivates some cylinders in an engine, when possible, to improve fuel efficiency.

The change, which will remain in effect through the end of the 2021 model production run, will allow GM to move forward with producing these highly popular models and the company says the adjustment won’t seriously impact its fleetwide fuel economy ratings as required by the EPA.

The chip shortage is expected to last at least through the end of this year, as supply shortages stem from high demands for electronics, backlogs from pandemic-related shutdowns and the US-China trade war.

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