September 11, 2020


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What is The Most Fuel Efficient Cargo Van?

worker with safety gears inspecting the cargo van

Fuel is one of the largest fleet operational expenses – along with maintenance and insurance – accounting for 20 ~ 35% of the total cost of ownership.

There are many variables that impact the fuel economy of a cargo van, which makes predicting real-world MPG difficult. As an example, bad driving behaviors like speeding and sudden acceleration/braking can lower fuel efficiency by up to 40%.

To make the matters worse, MPG ratings claimed by manufacturers are often inflated, by as much as 19%. And remember that one time Volkswagen was caught red-handed, falsifying their fuel economy estimates on 1 million Audi, Bentley, Porsche, and Volkswagen vehicles.

It took some leg-work but we aggregated the data from EPA publishings and real-world drivers reports like Fuelly to determine the most fuel-efficient cargo vans you can purchase in 2020. 

Some of the findings were obvious: diesel performed better than gasoline. One data point that stuck out was that the cargo van with the best gas mileage is 70% more fuel-efficient than the worst. It is obvious that owning a cargo van with good gas mileage will have a seismic impact on your bottom line.

Cargo Vans Gas Mileage Comparison

11 cargo van MPG compared and ranked

?Green = Compact Cargo Vans, ?Orange = Diesel Cargo Vans, ?Blue = Standard Gasoline Cargo Vans

Ford Transit Connect has the best MPG for work vans as it boasts the best in class fuel economy at 25.5 MPG. Unsurprisingly, the compact cargo vans scored the best MPG with Ford Transit Connect, Nissan NV200, RAM Promaster City, and Mercedes-Benz Metris topping the list. If your business does not require a large loading capacity, compact cargo vans are definitely the way to go to save costs on fuels.

Diesel versions of full-size cargo vans (Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter: 22 MPG and 21 MPG respectively) are more fuel-efficient than gasoline versions and give compact cargo vans a run for the money. For those needing full-sized cargo vans with good gas mileage, diesel-powered engines provide a clear benefit in fuel economy.

The worst? Nissan NV came in dead last with a dismal 15 MPG.

Model Combined Fuel Economy (MPG)
Ford Transit Connect 25.5
Nissan NV200 25
RAM Promaster City 24
Mercedes-Benz Metris 22
Ford Transit (Diesel) 22
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Diesel) 21
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Gasoline) 18.16
GMC Savana 17.1
Ford Transit (Gasoline) 17
RAM Promaster (Gasoline) 16.5
Nissan NV 15


Estimated Annual Fuel Cost of Cargo Vans

?Green = Compact Cargo Vans, ?Orange = Diesel Cargo Vans, ?Blue = Standard Gasoline Cargo Vans

MPG alone doesn’t tell the full picture of the economics of owning and operating cargo vans. Here, we compare the annual fuel cost of cargo vans with the following assumption: 15,000 annual miles driven and 50/50 city & highway usage.

The formula used is (Annual miles driven x Gas Price) / Combined Fuel Economy

Model Annual fuel cost
Ford Transit Connect $1,282
Nissan NV200 $1,308
RAM Promaster City $1,363
Mercedes-Benz Metris $1,486
Ford Transit (Diesel) $1,657
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Diesel) $1,736
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Gasoline) $1,801
GMC Savana $1,912
Ford Transit (Gasoline) $1,924
RAM Promaster (Gasoline) $1,982
Nissan NV $2,180


Ranking of Cargo Vans GPS Compatibility

Cargo van makes and models vary widely in their compatibility with GPS and Telematics devices. This is due to the fact that GPS device manufacturers are in a constant, year-round effort to understand information from the vehicle’s on-board computers. Those makes which are well understood, and which don’t change much from year to year, offer the best GPS device support. Makes which are rare among U.S. fleets, or not made in the U.S., typically pose the most challenges in terms of GPS compatibility.

Additionally, diesel and some electric vehicles can have issues when a GPS device is plugged into the OBD port.

Here’s a ranking of common vehicle makes and their GPS compatibility:

Model GPS Compatibility
Ford Transit Connect 10
RAM Promaster City 10
GMC Savana 10
Ford Transit (Gasoline) 10
RAM Promaster (Gasoline) 10
Nissan NV200 9
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Gasoline) 9
Nissan NV 9
Mercedes-Benz Metris 4
Ford Transit (Diesel) 4
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Diesel) 3


Ranking of The Cargo Vans with the Best MPG


1. 2020 Ford Transit Connect

Ford Transit Connect MPG

  • Combined Fuel Economy: 25.5 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,282
  • Range: 402.9 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 15.8 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 104.8 to 127.4 cubic feet


2. 2020 Nissan NV200

2020 Nissan nv200 mpg

  • Combined Fuel Economy: 25 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,308
  • Range: 362.5 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 14.5 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 122.7 cubic feet


3. 2020 RAM Promaster City

  • Combined Fuel Economy: 24 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $ 1,363
  • Range: 386.4 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 16.1 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 131.7 cubic feet


 4. 2020 Mercedes-Benz Metris

2020 mercedes benz metris mpg

  • Combined Fuel Economy: 22 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $ 1,486
  • Range: 406.78 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 18.49 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 183 cubic feet


5. 2020 Ford Transit (Diesel)


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 22 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,657
  • Range: 550 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 25 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 246.7 ~ 542.2 cubic feet


6. 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter (Diesel)


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 21 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $ 1,736
  • Range: 514.5 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 24.5 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 319 ~ 532.6 cubic feet


7. 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 18.16 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,801
  • Range: 399.5 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 22 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 319 ~ 532.6 cubic feet


8. 2020 GMC Savana


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 17.1 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,913
  • Range: 530.1 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 31 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 283.6 cubic feet


9. 2020 Ford Transit


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 17 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,924
  • Range: 425 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 25 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 246.7 ~ 542.2 cubic feet


10. 2020 RAM Promaster


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 16.5 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $1,982
  • Range: 396 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 24 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 259.2 ~ 462.9 cubic feet


 11. 2020 Nissan NV


  • Combined Fuel Economy: 15 MPG
  • Annual Fuel Cost: $2,180
  • Range: 420 Miles
  • Tank Capacity: 28 gallons
  • Cargo Volume: 234.1 ~ 323 cubic feet

Leave A Comment

  1. Steve Foti March 28, 2023 at 12:45 pm - Reply

    It would be nice if all the pictures above identified the vehicle in the pictures.

    • Nathan Wheadon March 29, 2023 at 3:00 pm - Reply

      @Steve – Thanks for the comment. Good call. We’ll get the photos added AND we’ll update the post with information about 2023 models. Thank you.