The Chevy Silverado is primarily a gasoline-powered vehicle, but there is now a diesel available. Gasoline engine options include a 4-cylinder turbo, a V-6, and a V-8 that come in three iterations. The diesel is a six-cylinder inline turbo-powered engine. An all-electric Silverado is also available.
The latest generation of Silverado made its debut in 2019, and there are a lot of configurations available. The Silverado 1500 is the base full-size pickup truck option, and there are 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty trucks on the market as well. You may mix and match cab size and truck bed length as well, increasing the many options available.
The Silverado 1500 has nine trim levels to choose from, and only one of them has the diesel option. The trims start with the Work Truck, which is a very basic truck, as the name implies. It is the only level with a standard cab.
More features are added as you go up the various trim levels. The High Country is the top of the line, and it is the only level to have the diesel option.
The 2022 version of the Silverado 1500 has four engine options which depend to some degree on the trim you choose. Each trim level comes with a standard engine, but most of the trim levels give you some options.
These engines have options for Active Fuel Management or the new Dynamic Fuel Management system. These systems can shut off cylinders when not needed and can automatically make other adjustments that affect fuel economy.
- 2.7 liter I-4 – 310 horsepower and 9,500-pound towing capacity
- 5.3 liter V8 – 355 horsepower and 11,200-pound towing capacity.
- 6.2 liter V8 – 420 horsepower and 13,300-pound towing capacity.
- 3.0 liter I-6 – (Diesel) 460 horsepower and 13,300-pound towing capacity
Types of fuel
As long as you know the difference between gasoline and diesel fuel at the gas pump, you won’t have a problem using the wrong fuel in a Silverado. Regular gasoline, 87 or 89 octanes, is fine for all of the gasoline engines available on the Silverado.
Chevrolet does recommend using premium 93 octane gas on its top-of-the-line V8 engine to get the highest performance, but it will run fine on regular gasoline.
Fuel prices are different for different octanes. You can put premium gas in your Silverado at any trim level, and it won’t cause any problems. Car experts agree there is no advantage to using higher octane gas in a standard engine.
Fuel prices go up as you go up in octane, so it makes sense to use the lowest you can.
Diesel fuel does not use a spark to ignite the fuel in the combustion process and has no octane rating. Diesel fuel does have a rating system, however, but usually, you are given only one option when you fill your tank.
Using the wrong fuel
You cannot use the “wrong” gasoline in a gasoline-powered engine. You could do some damage by putting gas in a diesel engine or diesel fuel in a gasoline engine. The engines are very different, and putting the wrong fuel in will damage the engine severely and could destroy it.
If you do happen to put gas in your diesel engine, or vice versa, it is best to have it towed to a repair facility without trying to start the engine.
The way gas and diesel engines work prevent the fuels from being interchangeable. Gasoline engines work when the compressed air and gas are ignited by a spark plug. Diesel engines use a much higher amount of compression, which causes combustion.
Gas in a diesel engine
Gasoline is waiting to be ignited by a spark. The diesel engine has no spark, so there will be no ignition. If it does ignite, it will be too strong for the engine and cause problems. Diesel fuel lubricates parts of the diesel engine, and gasoline does not lubricate.
The internal parts would have no lubrication, which would quickly cause permanent damage to the engine. It can also damage the fuel system and other engine parts. If you could get the car started, it would destroy the engine before it was driven very far.
Diesel fuel in a gas engine
Diesel fuel in a gasoline engine would also destroy the engine, but not as quickly. It may cause the engine to not start at all and could make the engine seize up. Diesel fuel is thicker and denser.
The fuel pump will have trouble moving it through the system, and fuel injectors will get clogged. If the car does happen to start, it will run on the gas until it runs out. The diesel fuel will quickly gum up the engine to where it won’t work.
If you do happen to put diesel in a gas engine, or vice versa, have it towed immediately. Even letting it sit still with the wrong fuel in the tank will cause damage.
The gas tank will have to be drained, and lines will have to be cleared. Some gas tanks have a drain that can be opened. If it does not have this, the whole gas tank will have to be removed so it can be drained and cleaned. The repair bill could be well over $1,000.
Which is better?
There are advantages and disadvantages to gasoline and diesel-powered engines. A lot depends on how much and in what capacity you use your Silverado. If you drive a lot and tow often, a diesel might be best.
If you are using your Silverado as an everyday vehicle with occasional towing, a gasoline engine would be better.
- Diesel engines use less fuel, but diesel fuel costs more.
- Diesel engines have more power at lower RPMs, which gives them an advantage when towing from a dead stop. Gasoline engines are the opposite and offer faster acceleration. The gas engine would also be better on steep hills.
- A diesel engine will add a few thousand dollars to the price of your vehicle. Diesel engines last significantly longer. The longer life span would offset the higher initial cost.
- Diesel engines require more maintenance, and they are more expensive. You have to find a certified dealer who can work on diesel engines, as opposed to taking your gas-powered car to one of many mechanics. A simple oil change is not all that simple for diesel, for example.
- One big advantage gasoline-powered Silverados have over diesel engines is the availability of fuel. Every gas station does not have diesel available, so you might have to spend more time looking for fuel for diesel engines.
The Silverado has been primarily a gas-powered truck since its beginnings as a trim level in the 1980s. The three major truck makers in America, the Silverado, along with the Dodge Ram and Ford F150, all offer diesel options now.
Edmunds says the Dodge Ram is best at towing, the F150 has the best fuel economy, and the Silverado is the best compromise between the three.
The Silverado offers a compromise between power and fuel economy. There is a significant difference in fuel economy. The diesel in the Silverado is rated at 27 MPG, while the gasoline engines are rated at 17 MPG.
Towing has a wide range depending on the engine. The base engine, the 4.3 six-cylinder, has a towing rating of 7,900 pounds. The biggest engine, the 6.2 liter V-8, has a towing rating of 13,400 pounds. The diesel-powered Silverado is rated at 9,300 pounds.
While the towing capability differences are significant, keep in mind your needs. If you are going to tow a 4,000-pound camper – and nothing else, there is really no advantage to having the highest towing capability.
If you are towing fifth-wheels or horse trailers, the higher towing capacity will become more significant.