2021 Chevy Silverado Fuel Economy Ratings Fall for 5.3L V8

Jack R. Nerad | Mar 15, 2021

A global semiconductor chip shortage is wreaking havoc across the automotive industry. In many cases, the limited availability of microchips is delaying and reducing production, creating dealership inventory shortages. Now, General Motors has announced it will cost some 2021 Chevrolet Silverado and 2021 GMC Sierra pickup trucks in terms of their fuel economy ratings. 

2021 Chevrolet SIlverado 1500 LT Silver Front View

The situation forces GM to decide between slowing production or building some of its full-size pickups without the automatic cylinder deactivation systems that typically improve gas mileage. The technology deactivates a portion of the cylinders in the pickups' engines on the highway and when coasting down hills or to a stop, making them more fuel-efficient. 

GM Will Continue to Build Pickups

GM is electing to build its trucks without the technology rather than completely shutting down production of the vehicles. GM execs want to make sure its dealers can supply the demand for the strong-selling and profitable full-size pickup trucks, especially since similar microchip shortages have forced rival Ford Motor Company to limit production of the competitive 2021 Ford F-150.

Chevrolet Silverados and GMC Sierras fitted with the 5.3-liter V8 engine are affected by the decision. Up to now, pickups with that engine featured either Active Fuel Management accompanied by a 6-speed automatic transmission or the more sophisticated Dynamic Fuel Management accompanied by an 8-speed automatic. Through the balance of production of the 2021 model-year pickups, GM will fit neither system to the 5.3-liter V8-equipped models.

Without the systems, a GM spokesperson said fuel economy could drop about one mile per gallon. As this article is published, neither the EPA nor GM has published new fuel economy estimates for the trucks. Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups with the 5.3-liter engine built before the recent production change should have the fuel-saving technologies.

Shortages of GM Vehicles Not Expected

GM temporarily halted production at its Grand River assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan, this week due to microchip shortages. The plant builds the Chevrolet Camaro, Cadillac CT4, and Cadillac CT5

The automaker has also paused production at other plants that build the Cadillac XT4, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Trax, and GMC Terrain over the past few weeks for similar reasons. Production at those plants is forecast to resume by the end of April.

Dealer inventories of most GM vehicles are not likely to face shortages despite the production pauses. 

The semiconductor chip shortage is a global problem afflicting automakers and makers of a wide variety of consumer and business products, all of which use microchips. With more people working from home, a spike in purchases of laptop and desktop computers and displays has contributed to the problem, and those electronics manufacturers are competing with car companies for microchip supplies.

The chip shortage is expected to cost carmakers dearly. GM said the situation could cost it $2 billion this year, while Ford said it could cost the company as much as $2.5 billion. Ford is currently in the launch stage of the newest version of its bestselling and highly profitable F-150 pickup. The chip shortage has limited the production of the vehicle.

General Motors is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on March 15, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.

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