The transition from May to June signals the annual start of the summer travel season. It’s a time filled with forecasts of “more people hitting the roads and skies than ever before.” The American Automobile Association predicts that 43 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, up to 50 miles or more. That’s a 6% increase from last year.
If you’re among those driving to reach your destination at the lake, shore, or mountains, chances are you’ll be joined by lots of pick-up trucks and SUVs on the roads. You can expect many of them to be towing travel campers, trailers, or boats so stay alert. This year 61% of Americans report they are planning a road trip or vacation in an RV, which is up 13% rise from last year according to Wakefield Research. RV News reports that through November 2022, the number of new towable RVs shipped reached more than 434,000. That made it the third highest year on record. There are a lot of American’s who prefer to spend time on the water boating. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, there were nearly 12 million registered recreational boating vessels in the US in 2021, so you’re sure to see a good number of boats being towed on trailers during your travels.
Many of the pickup trucks, vans, and larger SUVs doing the towing are likely to be powered by diesel engines. With more than 25 diesel vehicle choices available, it’s no wonder that in 1st quarter 2023, diesel powered trucks, vans and SUVs accounted for 20% of the sales of alternative fueled vehicles in the country. This holiday weekend, diesel drivers will pay less for fuel because diesel prices are $1.71 lower than last Memorial Day. Diesel is cheaper than premium gasoline in many areas now.
Why diesel? Towing a boat or camping trailer adds additional strain on the engine to get moving, sustain highway speeds, and climb steep grades. That typically requires more fuel. Diesel engines offer no compromises, delivering powerful torque to get moving as well as maximum power and fuel efficiency for running at highway speeds over all kinds of terrain. Incredible driving ranges of more than 500 miles on a single tank of fuel can also be expected when choosing a diesel.
SUVs outfitted with a diesel engine are modern road-warriors for the getaway weekend, hauling the maximum amount of people and their cargo in the most fuel-efficient way possible. Diesels typically achieve 35% greater miles per gallon compared to gasoline options. Consumers have six efficient and powerful diesel SUV options available from General Motors; the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, the GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, as well as the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV. There’s no range anxiety here with these vehicles able to travel up to 560 miles on a single tank of fuel. And like pickup trucks, all diesel SUVs and pickup trucks are manufacturer-certified to use blends of up to B20 of low-carbon, renewable biodiesel to fuel their tank, making the weekend getaway greener, with lower emissions.
Chevrolet, Ram Trucks and Jeep have good options for the towing and trailering lifestyle, both large and small. Chevrolet just launched a new powerful and more efficient Duramax™ diesel engine in its 1500 Series Silverado pickup truck giving it a towing capacity of 13,000 lbs. The Jeep Gladiator offers legendary 4x4 capability and maximum on and off road utility with its Ecodiesel™ engine option that has towing capability of up to 6,500 lbs.
For larger campers, boats or trailers or towing longer distances, heavy-duty diesel engines in larger pickups provide more performance and efficiency. Here there are 10 options available from three manufacturers:
· Ram Trucks’ offers both a 2500 series and 3500 series HD outfitted with a Cummins diesel engine with a 20,000 lb. towing capacity.
· The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado HD is rated at 36,000 lbs. available trailering. According to news reports, Chevrolet reported that about 65% of current buyers of heavy-duty 2500 or 2500 series Silverado pickup trucks choose the diesel engine over the gasoline engine.
· Similar Duramax™ options are available from the GMC brand in both the Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 series pick-ups.