Cut the Cost of Gas: Buy a Truck?

Fuel efficiency innovation puts money back in every consumer’s pocket.

With gas prices still up, March car and truck sales figures showed robust sales of fuel efficient cars and SUVs.   And this time, as we’ve seen gas prices rise, US automakers and dealers have been ready with driver friendly fuel efficient vehicles.  GM’s well received 40 mpg Cruze, for example, showed a massive jump up in sales against the model it replaced.

But stories that rightly tout the Cruze and the Fiesta usually add some caveat like “but as consumers gobbled up fuel efficient cars, the Ford F-150 pick-up truck remained America’s best-selling vehicle”. 

One point just keeps being missed  – fuel economy improvements aren’t just for cars.  Today, very significant fuel economy improvements are happening in trucks and larger vehicles of all kinds.   

For example, someone who trades in a 2005 F-150 pickup (with a combined fuel economy of 15mpg) for the new 2011 F-150 (combined fuel economy of 19mpg) is buying a 21% more fuel efficient vehicle.  Put differently – the moment that truck owner drives off the lot he or she just slashed what they spend on gas by 21%  — that’s like cutting 75 cents off the cost of every gallon at today’s prices – or as EPA estimates it  – saving $700 a year on gas. 

And stop the naysayers right there… The 2011 F-150 is ALSO a more powerful truck.  The 2011 F-150 has 50% more horsepower and more torque than the 2005 model.

Innovation, combined with strong and smartly structured fuel economy and global warming pollution standards, is delivering vehicles – in all size classes – that are just plain better.

I want that.  This is the kind of real world solution to high gas prices we need.   

Improvements in larger, less efficient vehicles like trucks also make a big difference to the environment and energy security.  Going from a 15mpg to 19mpg truck cuts as much global warming pollution and saves as much oil as switching from a 30mpg to a 52mpg car.

Of course, if a driver switched from the 15mpg vehicle to the 52mpg one, his or her savings would be really big.  And with gas prices high, new sales figures show that more consumers are making shifts in the kind of vehicle they drive.

But most people stay mostly with the type of vehicle they have  – one that meets their family, lifestyle  , or business needs.  What strong fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas standards ensure, is that every driver – no matter what kind of car they need – gets a chance to save money, save oil, and do well by doing good.  Everyone can be a hero.