How Much Horsepower Does a Semi-Truck Have?

August 6, 2019

Trucker's Corner

At Trucker’s Corner, you can navigate to topics regarding the trucking industry, lifestyle while on the road, and truck health. International Used Trucks has the information you need to keep you on the Road to Revenue

When it comes to semi truck horsepower, figures can vary depending on the engine, truck size, and brand. However, semi trucks typically stay within the 400 to 600 hp range, making them exceedingly powerful machines. The higher the horsepower, the more worthwhile it is to consider factors like aerodynamics, weight, and fuel economy. Below, International Used Truck Center provides more information about powerful semi truck engines, including answering the question, “How many gallons does a semi hold?” Learn more, and then explore our used trucks for sale!


Semi truck engines are completely different beasts than the engines found in regular cars, trucks, and SUVs. They’re larger, more powerful, and demand much more oil and gas than your average engine. Here are a few interesting facts about semi truck engines vs. car engines:

  • Semi truck engines are about six times larger than those found inside passenger cars.
  • On average, semi truck horsepower ranges from 400 to 600 hp, while average lb-ft of torque ranges from 1,000 to 2,000.
  • Unlike passenger car engines, semi truck engines should only be stopped to change the oil or perform engine services, due to anti-idle laws.
  • Semi truck engines have 12+ gears, as opposed to the 4 to 5 found in passenger cars.
  • The engines inside semi trucks can hold about 15+ gallons of oil compared to the 4 to 6 quarts held by passenger car engines.
  • How many gallons of gas does a semi hold? The range is between 125 and 300 gallons of fuel. In order to distribute the truck’s weight, there are actually two fuel tanks: one on each side of the tractor.


Each of the top truck manufacturers in the USA has an engine or range of engines that help set them apart. How powerful are the engines produced by International, Kenworth, Peterbilt, and other top brands? Find out below:

  • Navistar: Navistar offers a variety of powerful engines for Class 5 and Class 6 trucks for lighter duty applications, as well as a capable Cummins for Class 8 trucks. The Cummins ISX, one of the most popular heavy-duty engines, produces 400 to 600 hp and up to 2,050 lb-ft of torque.
  • PACCAR: PACCAR engines are available in Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks and include fuel-conscious diesel options with impressive torque ratings. They produce up to 500 hp and 1,850 lb-ft of torque.
  • Volvo: Volvo offers 13L and 16L engines with horsepower and torque ratings of about 600 and 2,050, respectively. The 13L engine is the most popular option and found inside many of their trucks.
  • Freightliner: Freightliner has 13L, 15L, and 16L engines, which are based on a Mercedes-Benz design for European models. Freightliner engines produce up to 600 hp and 2,050 lb-ft of torque.


Does your semi truck have a diesel engine? How many gallons of gas does your semi truck hold? If you have any additional questions about your truck’s engine or semi truck horsepower, contact us at International Used Truck Centers. You can also visit us in person at any of our locations throughout the country!

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International Used Truck Center 41.776180, -88.200918.