Chip Shortage Makes GM Pickups Less Fuel-Efficient

The automaker is moving ahead without a standard fuel management module.

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 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: the Ford F-Series, Chevy Silverado and Ram. 

And although 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 1 mile per gallon. 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-year 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 fleet-wide fuel economy ratings required by the EPA.

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

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