Better Faster Stronger 2… The Truck

Photo: NWF M. Smith

25% better fuel economy

20% less pollution

365 horsepower

420 lb-ft of torque

Its fall, and while many of us are throwing gear in the back of our trucks for the last weekend fishing or getting ready for the opening of hunting season, new pickup trucks are showing how cutting pollution and improving fuel economy gets done. 

The fuel economy story is about great new cars, and it’s about improving what’s inside our most familiar brands –it means consumers have more and better choices no matter what they drive. 

Let’s take a close look at America’s best-selling vehicle – the Ford F-150 pickup. Americans bought nearly 400,000 F-150’s last year.  The F-150’s efficient new EcoBoost engine is getting a lot of press, but we compared all the 2011 F-150 models with the previous generation they replaced and found improvements across the board, whether you’re looking for good value, the lightest carbon footprint, serious towing power or “all-of-the-above”. 

The charts below give a head to head comparison:  A truck owner who trades in a 2005 F150 for the 2011 model sees fuel use drop by 15 to 20 percent or more under most configurations.  A 20 percent cut in fuel consumption has the same effect on your wallet as a 20 percent cut in the price of gas —– it’s like driving into the dealership paying $3.70 a gallon, and driving out paying $2.95.

The 2011 trucks also maintain great performance. In fact, the efficient 3.5 liter, six-cylinder EcoBoost—– delivers 365 HP, 420 lbs-ft. of torque at 2500 rpm and has a towing capacity of 11300 lbs —– outperforming the larger 5.0 liter V8. 

And the combination of superior performance and efficiency is making sense to customers.  More than four out of ten F-150 customers are opting to purchase the vehicle equipped with the EcoBoost V6, although it costs $750 more than the larger V-8.   Ford increased its sales forecasts for the F-150 EcoBoost further this week, and it announced recently that it would be bringing a 1.6L EcoBoost engine to the Escape SUV which would achieve better fuel economy than the current Escape hybrid.  

“Customers are prioritizing fuel economy above every other trait,” said Ford product chief Derrick Kuzak in a statement. “Ford is meeting people’s needs by offering a family of fuel-efficient vehicles.”

With overall car and truck sales up too, new fuel economy standards are looking good for car dealers, auto companies and auto workers as well. 

The F-150 isn’t the only success story.  We look at the technology and cost savings for heavy duty truck owners under the new heavy duty truck standards in our report Trucks that Work, and my earlier Better Faster Stronger blog highlights of some great cars from the Chevy Cruze to the Cadillac ELR  – that show that whether you’re shopping for cost-effectiveness or a Corvette, new cars and trucks coming to meet fuel efficiency and carbon pollution standard s are cutting pollution and protecting wildlife, saving families and businesses money,  and improving quality and performance at the same time – that’s a win-win-win.