DETROIT— Ford Motor Co. is offering a diesel engine in its F-150 pickup for the first time.
Heavy duty trucks like the F-250 or F-350 have always had diesel engines, but full-size trucks like the F-150 have not. Ford is hoping to gain some customers from rivals Ram and Nissan, which both offer diesels in their full-size trucks.
The F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
Ford expects the F-150 to get 30 miles per gallon on the highway with the new 3.0-liter V6 diesel and a 10-speed transmission. That's 4 mpg better than the current most efficient gasoline-powered F-150.
The company offers six engine choices for the F-150. It says the diesel is targeted at customers who tow or haul big loads and want better fuel economy.
Ford expects around 5 percent of F-150 buyers will opt for the diesel, which costs $4,000 on the Lariat and Platinum versions or $3,000 on the King Ranch.
Customers can order a diesel F-150 starting this month. Deliveries will begin in the spring.
Here are more details about the F-150 diesel:
— The diesel will put out 250 horsepower and 440 pound-feet of torque.
— It can tow up to 11,400 pounds and has a 2,020-pound payload capacity.
— Ford says the team that designed the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel for its heavy-duty trucks designed the engine for the F-150.
— Retail customers can only get the diesel on higher trim levels. Fleet customers will be able to opt for it on the lower XL and XLT trims.
American truck buyers spend an average of $46,844 on pickup trucks, according to Kelley Blue Book. That's more than the starting price of luxury SUVs like the Mercedes GLC or the Lexus RX. In 2016, pickup trucks made up a little more than a third of all vehicles that sold for over $50,000.
Ford announced last year that it would spend $4.5 billion to introduce 13 new electric and hybrid vehicles globally within the next five years -- including a hybrid version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck by 2020.
"In the long term, the trend will continue to be toward lower emissions and more electrified vehicles," Joe Hinrichs, Ford's president for the Americas, said in April.