The global semiconductor chip shortage is affecting General Motors vehicles and that’s directly making an impact the wallets of Chevy truck buyers.
Certain 2021 Chevrolet Silverado models will be built without a fuel management module, which will directly impact their fuel economy performance, making the trucks one mile per gallon less efficient. A spokesperson for GM told Reuters that the company does not expect the change to make a major impact on the Detroit-based automaker’s U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) numbers.
The active fuel management module issue will occur only on light-duty Silverados equipped with the 5.3-liter EcoTec3 V8 engine. That engine is available with either a six- or eight-speed automatic transmission.
For the 2021 model year, the Chevrolet Silverado gained GMC’s MultiPro Tailgate under a new name.
Photo courtesy of Chevrolet
Currently, trucks with that engine get between 16 and 19 mpg combined depending on drivetrain configuration, as estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The government agency estimates that some Silverado owners with the engine spend as mochas $4,500 more on fuel over five years than the average new vehicle buyer.
New Silverado 1500s are either equipped with a 28.3- or 24-gallon fuel tank, depending on the buyer’s choice of cab. The average price of fuel in the U.S. right now according to AAA is $2.86 per gallon for regular unleaded. Doing some simple math using those numbers, the lack of chip would cost the average Silverado owner around $3.00 more at the pump per fill up.
For the average family, that number may be absorbable. For fleet managers that are already struggling to save every cent in the wake of the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic, that figure may be a tougher pill to swallow.
By continuing to build trucks, Chevrolet will likely escape some of the plant shut downs and slowdowns other automakers have experienced. Chevrolet’s chief rival, Ford, shut down its Louisville plant for two weeks in January and February hindering production of the F-150, the Silverado’s biggest competitor and America’s best-selling vehicle.
With Ford truck shortages on dealership lots, Chevy may be hoping that this build strategy will keep their dealerships stocked and perhaps sway customers into becoming bowtie owners.
The company has not made it clear if the chips, once available, will be able to be installed into the engines of the vehicles that are missing them. If they are able to be installed, it’s also unclear if that the customer or GM would absorb that cost, and whether or not a recall notice would be issued to add the chips.