Since today’s half-ton pickup trucks have the same capability as last-decade's three-quarter-ton trucks, there's a strong case for a diesel half-ton.
In third-quarter 2013, Ram Trucks will become the first brand to offer a small-displacement diesel for its half-ton pickups. The 2014 Ram 1500 will offer a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel engine mated with the eight-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission. The powertrain is expected to deliver better than 25 miles per gallon, with the increased torque of a diesel.
The 3.0-liter V6 EcoDiesel produces 60 percent less emissions than those produced by diesel powertrains 25 years ago. Ram’s newest turbo diesel engine is manufactured by VM Motori, a Chrysler Group diesel engine supplier since 1992.
Typically, gasoline engines make more horsepower, while diesels produce more torque. Torque is the twisting force that determines how much load can be moved.
Gasoline engines rev faster and reach faster peak speeds than diesels. This allows them to develop more horsepower and quicker acceleration.
The relatively high compression ratio necessary to ignite diesel fuel (17:1 diesel vs. 9:1 gas) gives diesel engines a flatter torque curve. They make nearly maximum torque lower in their rated speed range, and continue to generate high torque up through the range.
Diesel may cost more per gallon than gasoline, but diesel engines are more efficient. The increased economy of a diesel engine must pay for the difference in initial purchase price over the life cycle of the pickup. But you also you need to factor in that diesels last longer than gasoline engines.