By on September 19, 2014

30 mpg30 mpg average in a full-size pick-up truck is possible: the proof.

I started this New York to Los Angeles Coast to Coast trip by driving South along the East Coast all the way through to Charleston SC and Savannah GA. It’s now time to go north-west, taking Interstate 16 to Macon then the 75 through to Chattanooga, Tennessee via Atlanta, and continuing on the 24 to Nashville. A total of 585 miles (940 km) from Savannah to Nashville, the longest daily stretch so far in this Coast to Coast trip. And this is where Albert – my Ram 1500 EcoDiesel pick-up truck – met his match in the form of a bright yellow Peterbilt truck, and beat his fuel economy record to reach a very symbolic milestone…

Full report below the jump.

Albert Peterbilt 2Albert rubbing shoulders with a Peterbilt truck

At the last update (Savannah), Albert’s average mpg since the start of this road trip was 27.1. That was already on par with this model’s advertised highway mpg average (27) even though my trip has included quite a lot of city driving so far, notably in Manhattan for 3 excruciating hours of virtual standstill. The combination of a relatively low speed limit across Georgia highways (varying between 60 and 70 mpg), extensive use of cruise control and virtually 100% highway for 9 hours has lifted my pick-up truck’s average mpg to a very symbolic 30 mpg by the time I arrived in my Nashville motel.

New York NashvilleUS Coast to Coast trip so far. Picture courtesy of Google Maps

This means that since my departure from New York, I traveled 1,664 miles (2,678 km) on just 55.5 gallons of diesel. For those of you who are reading this outside of the United States, it won’t mean much unless I translate this fuel consumption into 210 litres or 8.1 litres/100 km. Back to the US, where I have to admit a 30 mpg average for a full-size pick-up truck had every local I shared it with raising their eyebrows. Fuel economy had not been much of a concern for full-size pick-up buyers. Then we saw the Great Recession, spikes in gas prices and a raft of economy-concious powertrains. Chrysler is the first to offer a diesel engine on a base (“1500”) full-size pick-up truck, lifting the mpg average to new heights. Advertised at 28 mpg highway in its 4×2 version and 27 as a 4×4 (the one I’m driving), the Ram 1500 has the best fuel economy in its category, and I completely verified it today. Big tick.

Kia Optima. Picture courtesy of motortrend.comThe Kia Optima is the Hero of the Day…

Now which vehicles did Albert have the pleasure of crossing on our way through Georgia? It should be noted first that I did the entire trip on the highway and only stopped at a couple of exits to rest, refuel and eat, and obviously this impacts the type of vehicles I have spotted and will describe here. Final note is I did not stop in Atlanta (sorry!) simply and sadly for lack of time, and after I left Chattanooga in Tennessee, it was night time which meant I could not recognize most of the cars on the other side of the highway, limiting my findings on Tennessee for now.

Hyundai Elantra. Picture courtesy of motortrend.com…with the Hyundai Elantra not far behind.

Once again we have a very unique vehicle landscape on Georgian highways. The Car of the Day is… wait for it… the Kia Optima, going from extremely discreet so far despite its #26 year-to-date ranking in the US overall (#15 passenger car) to contender for #1 passenger car – no less! There is a very simple explanation for this sudden change of heart: the Optima is manufactured locally in West Point GA… The Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento, manufactured in the same plant, are much less frequent than the Optima on Georgia highways but still frankly above the numbers I spotted up until now. The other very impressive model today is the is the Hyundai Elantra, also a contender to the title of #1 passenger car in Georgia based on my observations, and manufactured in neighbouring Alabama.

VW Passat ChattanoogaNot that many VW Passats near Chattanooga…

I can already hear some of you wondering out loud whether I saw lots of VW Passats in Chattanooga, Tennessee where they are manufactured. And the answer is no. I paid special attention to this very model the entire day to try and get a feel for its success (or lack therof) as we approached the border with Tennessee and I specifically drove in and around town to try and spot a surge in popularity for the VW sedan. The result: I saw my first Passat of the day 70 miles before Chattanooga (some 300 miles after leaving Savannah), only two in Chattanooga itself and around (if anything I saw more Jettas than usual but this model is manufactured in Mexico) and 3 between Chattanooga and Dalton in Tennessee. In other words, had I not known the Passat was manufactured here, I wouldn’t have noticed anything abnormal.

Albert Peterbilt 1

Apart from the Optima/Elantra surge, pick-up trucks continue to rule the roost in this region and their ratio to the overall traffic keeps increasing, rising to almost 50% in Georgia’s heartland but receding somewhat as we get North and into Tennessee towards Nashville. Other models spotted in higher than expected numbers across Georgia include the Ford Focus – truly popuar for the first time in this trip, the new generation Toyota Highlander – not seen at these levels since New York, the Ford Taurus, Nissan Versa Note, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, Nissan Sentra, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Dart, Jeep Cherokee, Ford Mustang and Dodge Charger.

Chevrolet Suburban2015 Chevrolet Suburban

All-in-all, mid-size sedans dominate the Georgian landscape as they do nationally, with the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Nissan Altima the most popular. A special mention once again to the new generation Chevrolet Tahoe/Suburban – GMC Yukon/Yukon XL combo, spotted on the highway as if it was a Top 10 model, and to the defunct 2007 Saturn Sky: none in the 1500 miles coming up to the first one spotted and a total of 3 today!

2007 Saturn Sky2007 Saturn Sky

I will close this update by thanking the Peterbilt of Atlanta dealership in Jackson GA for letting me roam their massive parking lots, loiter for a good hour waiting for the sun to come back and take hundreds of pictures of Albert in various settings along with their trucks. To the salesman who drove to me in his golf buggy to apologetically let me know that the dealership had to close now: it’s ok. I got it all in the can! Next update will be on Nashville, Tennessee.

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70 Comments on “Best Selling Cars Around The Globe: Coast to Coast 2014 – Crossing Georgia and Tennessee...”


  • avatar
    cargogh

    Interesting. There’s an anomaly on every trip for me similar to the three Skys. 30 in the truck is incredible. Based on the Challenger’s 22 yesterday, I’m thinking a diesel Hellcat may best Ford’s 1.0 liter’s sipping ability.

  • avatar
    NN

    it’s amazing to me that the artists formerly known as the Big 3 have been so dense as to not put diesel motors in their 1500 series trucks until now. Kudos to FCA for being the first, and the market share they’re taking from the others is well deserved. I am aware that GM killed their Duramax/1500 program during the bankruptcy, but they should have picked up on it right afterwards. Not to mention, both GM and Ford should have diesel V6’s ready for the taking from their European commercial business (Transit/Vivaro) that could have worked here with slight modifications.

    Think about a 30mpg hwy Suburban…how amazing would that be?

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Ram is the first *modern* iteration, GM used the 6.2 and 6.5 for years in suburban, K5s, Tahoe’s, and 1500s.

      Getting 25mpg on a 6.2 wasn’t a big deal, mainly because no one was willing to put up with the lack of power, but none the less…

      I’ve seen on eBay a 4.5L duramax H2 GM made before bankruptcy, of course the guy would talk about selling me anything…. But the drivetrain.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        My family had a succession of diesel Suburbans and a 3/4ton “camper special” GMC pickup back in the ’80s. No shortage of power towing enormous campers or in the case of the pickup, a gigantic slide-in. I find it hilarious that people feel the need to be able to drag-race their trucks.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          150HP and 250TQ in a nearly 3 ton vehicle isn’t really excessive.

          I find it hilarious you must ridicule every thing you disagree with, and find anything with more power than your fiat excessive.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Don’t be ridiculous, my FIAT has an excessive amount of power – I never even use Sport mode. If the SCCA would allow it to Autocross, I would have bought a 101hp 500 Sport.

            It’s a TRUCK. It has no need of going fast. Those old trucks towed exceeding well, just not at 75mph up the side of a mountain. You should not be going 75 while towing an 8K trailer anyway.

            I just find it hilarious that the average American “needs” 200-300hp, but can’t find full throttle with a GPS. I’d be perfectly happy with 1/2 that, and use every bit of it every time I drive the car

          • 0 avatar

            Hummer’s view, though he sometimes says things that make sense, is challenged whenever cubic capacity and truck-ish bodies are mentioned. To each their own, though I do wish he’d remember that. As should we all.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            The point isn’t to go fast, its to get up to speed in a reasonable time, no extra weight, or a 15k trailer.
            Keeping up with traffic is a high priority issue. Many trucks are used for family vehicles, no one wants 1970 farm equipment power.

            What’s wrong going 75 hauling 15k with traffic going 80? The bigger concern should be weight reduction in these trucks that are supposed to tow 10k. That’s scary.

            There’s no need to detune engines, the more power when towing, the safer your going to be in traffic.
            I’m pretty sure more people than you realize use that power. You don’t have to go to the HP peak or TQ peak to actually be using needed power, having 300 HP, with 200 below 1800 RPM, VS 200 HP that makes that peak at 3,400 RPM is a big difference.
            The 200 has to wring it out, the 300 HP is cruising and has room for fun.

          • 0 avatar

            See, when you spell it out, you make a compelling case. I, of course, would argue the need to be going at 75 when towing 15k, but that’s just me.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            Because there is absolutely no reason to be going that fast with a tow rig. You have a vehicle combination that weighs 12K pounds or more. Compared to a car, it can’t stop. It can barely steer. If anything happens in front of you, you are screwed, and while you can try to leave acres of following distance, some fool is always cutting in front of you. The old diesels had enough power to tow what they were rated for at *reasonable* speeds. I spent plenty of time driving these rigs, never a problem. I also never exceeded 60mph, and I still won’t when towing. If we lived in the Rockies I could see wanting more power (really, a turbo to make up for the altitude) but the majority of this country is very flat.

            As in so many things, the Europeans get this right with rigidly enforced towing speed limits of ~90km/hr right across the continent.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Properly loaded, properly equipped with trailer brakes, and having a heavy 3/4 or 1 ton dually, your really not much less safe than tractor trailers that run the same speeds. Yes, there’s always a chance of someone cutting you off and immediately slowing down, been in that situation, either slow down before they’re completely over, or don’t let them over.
            The majority of the time if traffic sees something large, its going to try to get ahead of it to not get stuck behind it, and/or give it space.

            You can’t prevent every accident, but the accidents involving 3/4-1ton trucks pulling >10k at highway speeds are far and few in number.

            Common sense will go far in keeping you alive.

        • 0 avatar
          Onus

          I want agree.

          I have an 1990 IDI F250 myself. A bit more power @ 185hp and 370 lb / ft of torque @ 1400. The truck is awesome off line, highway speeds, and puttering around. It can tow another f250 at idle speeds.

          Needs a turbo so the upper end can wake up a bit.

          I’ve watched people tow with these and they tend to get bogged down with big loads. Then again according to my manual it is only rated to two 12,000 lbs iirc and most people end up towing way more, and the chassis has a ton of curb weight to spare with a 12,000 lb trailer.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @Onus,
            I do agree with your comment.

            I do feel a 200hp/350ftlb diesel in any full size will more than suffice for most people.

            What the ignorant fail to realise is a modern small turbo diesel lays down most of it’s torque between 1 500-3 000rpm.

            So, if I have 350ftlb or in the case of this Ram 1500, 410ftlb. I actually have more horsepower driving my wheels than many V8’s could provide.

            I’m also getting those horsepowers cheaper with the use of less fuel.

            This is why these small diesels are ideall suited to highway cruising and towing.

    • 0 avatar
      dwford

      No one wants to pay the premium to get the diesel motor, then pay a premium for the fuel too. The economics aren’t there right now.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @dwford,
        And yet the economics are correct to buy a V8 full size or even HDs?

        Really?

        If what you state is true then everyone would be driving 4 cylinder cars.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        “No one wants to pay the premium to get the diesel motor, then pay a premium for the fuel too. The economics aren’t there right now.”

        The tens of thousands of buyers of F250’s, C2500’s, and Ram 2500’s would beg to disagree. Considering they pay a roughly $9000 premium for the engine and matching automatic transmission combo there IS value there to some customers.

        A smaller diesel in a half ton truck does not make sense for some buyers, but makes a lot of sense for pickup owners who haul or tow. There is a huge fuel economy difference when you are actually making the truck do some work, and if you keep the truck long term there are definitely benefits.

        • 0 avatar
          dwford

          If there was a market for a light duty diesel pickup, the automakers would have filled it by now. That Dodge is taking a shot at it is great. We will see what happens. It is still alight duty truck. The heavy duty trucks have much larger diesels and insane towing capacity. That’s where the market for diesels is right now, not in personal use trucks to get 28mpg on the trip to home depot.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @dwford,
            The US market is weighted for gasoline in small to large vehicles.

            The EU has is weighted for diesel.

            Australia is quite neutral. Application, use, and size of vehicle determines if it’s gas or diesel.

            Here if a vehicle is a light commercial (work) or 4×4 (hi/lo) a small diesel is used, not gasoline generally.

            If you want performance gasoline is used.

            Why do you require performance with a BOF vehicle? If you want performance why not just buy a performance vehicle?

            Most of the BOF frame vehicles are speed limited to under 100mph in the US. Most any light diesel commercial vehicle we have will exceed that.

            Looking at those figures of a speed limited light commercial at under 100mph means that a diesel would suffice.

            Even this Ram will exceed it’s speed limiter in 6th gear out of the 8.

            What I’m saying is in 6th gear this Ram should be able to haul ass up most any hill. Especially with it’s 410ftlb.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @BAFO – If the diesel engine was a FREE downgrade in the US, for passenger cars and 1/2 tons (anything below HDs), most would still skip it. In fact, the diesel engine would have to cost substantially less.

            Without even looking it up, I know you’ll skew the facts to make it appear the US consumer is dumber than the average Aussie. Not happening.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @DiM
            WTF is your gibberish.

            If you want a response wait until your oxycodone/alcohol has worn off, then re-write you comment in a language that most can comprehend.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      @NN,
      Here in Australia we’ve known of the great FE you get from a diesel pickup.

      The new turbo diesels are great. V8 torque and 4 cylinder FE.

      Considering the US Federal Highway system I’m really surprised diesel isn’t the choice. They are great high speed highway cruisers. They excel in the mountains as well.

      I’m actually impressed with Albert’s FE.

      All Fiat have to do is turn the Ram into a truck and give it a suspension that can do some work.

      • 0 avatar

        Please also consider the historic problems with diesel fuel gelling in the cold as part of the disinclination to diesels.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @crazycarlarry,
          You used the correct term “historic”. Yes it is history in most cases.

          I have read that diesel is good to around 40 below.

          Oil producers refine diesel for climatic conditions. In extreme cold diesel will still jell. But, one the other hand gasoline in extreme heat has issue with it’s aromatics and volatility. Gasoline is also refined to suit prevailing climates.

          Most of the continental United States would not have too many issues with diesel.

          • 0 avatar

            I’d been concerned about fuel gelling, and that was what had kept me away from diesels…but then I did the research and realized that it’s never really going to get cold enough here in Oklahoma that a modern diesel wouldn’t start at all. So I feel pretty safe with mine. And I’ve been averaging an excess of 600 miles per tank (and I hate stopping for fuel), so I’m happy in my TDI…

          • 0 avatar

            Memories are long and people are risk adverse when your life may depend on your vehicle starting in winter, and your battery may only have enough power for one attempt at starting. But I agree most of the US would not have problems with diesels.

        • 0 avatar
          brettc

          Is diesel gelling really a big concern to people? I’ve been driving VW diesels since 1998 and have had exactly one problem with cold fuel and it was due to a VW design flaw on a fuel pickup unit. Drilled the part out to make the orifice larger and it was fine for the rest of its life. Diesel does gel if it’s not properly winterized, but most fuel stations know how to winterize fuel. And if you don’t feel confident in your local station’s winterizing ability or you bought fuel in the south and are heading north in cold weather, buy one of the many choices of diesel fuel supplements that have anti-gel in them.

          If I had to buy a pickup, it would probably be this thing. I’m just wondering how much longer it’ll take GM/Ford/Toyota/Nissan to offer something similar.

          • 0 avatar
            redmondjp

            We should stop using the term “gell” because that really isn’t what happens to the fuel in most cases.

            The correct term that we need to be concerned with is the “cloud point” – this is the temperature at which wax crystals start forming in the fuel. The fuel will still flow, but these crystals will not pass through the fuel filter media and thus can cause fuel starvation. The fuel lines are not “gelled”, but the filter is blocked (until it warms up).

            This is why my 1997 Passat TDI has the (somewhat heated) return fuel from the injection pump circulating through the fuel filter if the thermostatic ‘tee’ on top of the filter determines it is necessary.

            Google ‘diesel cloud point’ and start reading!

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          Modern diesels typically incorporate a fuel conditioning module which contains an element to raise the temperature of the fuel in conditions cold enough to cause gelling. Of more concern is the diesel exahust fluid freezing (even though they incorporate heaters in the tank) as it does at a much higher temperature. Emissions related de-rates are a PITA.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Al-

        How much of a premium is the duratorque diesel in the Ranger over a gas engine? I think we’ll eventually see diesel engines in all the half ton trucks, but the big question is when. I think it makes sense for Ford or GM to offer it in their BoF SUVs first. Those buyers have shown that they have no problem paying a premium.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          @bball40dtw,
          I actually just did a pickup build of the new Colorado Australia vs USA.

          The outcome actually surprised me. We don’t pay as much for vehicles as we used to.

          Here a cut an paste.

          I have stated that in Australia the 4 cylinder turbo diesels cost the same as a V6 in the same vehicle. The V6 diesel costs the same as a V8, ie diesel Grand Cherokee vs Hemi Grand Cherokee.

          The US diesel premium is a regulation cost. Is it necessary?

          @Todd,
          I just built a Chev Colorado Z41 for $36 720.

          I did the same here with our equivalent, a LTZ. It came to over $44 000. Our one comes standard with a sports bar and all of the delivery, rego (plates), stamp duty (State tax), essentially all of the pre delivery costs. We call ‘drive away price’.

          I don’t know how much extra the sport bar and on roads costs are in the US.

          Our one also has the 2.8 diesel.

          So, our on road costs are around $2 000, a sports bar is $500. So, the price would be around $41 500, in Australian dollars or $37 350 USD.

          Our one comes with leather and not leatherette.

          So, our trucks aren’t to badly priced. You guys seem to be catching up. $36 720 (US Colorado) vs $37 350 (AU Colorado) for a diesel with real leather.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Some may be regulation costs, but in 3/4 ton and above trucks, it’s price gouging because they can. I was pricing out Transit Vans, because I’m a dork, and the 3.2L diesel has a $6000 premium over the 3.7L and a $4000 premium over the 3.5EB. The 6.7L diesel is an $8000 option on the F250 over the 6.2L!

            I’d hate to see how much Ford would want for the 3.0L V6 or 3.2L I5 diesels in an Expedition.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball40dtw,
            As I’ve stated and I continually get shot down, Detroit doesn’t want diesel to be popular and nor does US energy and the ethanol crowd (corn farmers, etc).

            Diesel is penalised at many levels within the US.

            But the corn farmers can grow canola for bio diesel like in France as well.

            The refiners are making a killing selling the EU low sulphur diesel and the US uses distillate for central heating and industry.

            I do think GDI engines will soon be hit with a particulate filter and NOx reduction as well.

            I’ve been reading articles around the net that the EU is currently researching the requirement for a DPF on GDI engines. TTAC did an article on this a while back.

            Believe it or not GDI gas engines are emitting around 100 times the particulates of a modern diesel.

            So, I think the gasoline vehicle price advantage will reduce. From what I’ve read, DPF for a gas engine will be cheaper than a diesel DPF setup. But it will still cost.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @BAFO, bball

            If this is true about DPF for GDI motors (which is pretty much most of whats being sold now in US) get ready for even MOAR debt. Detroit/EPA/CARB/corn lobby will never embrace diesel, they’ll force us into either EVs or ethanol burning hybrids.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I don’t agree with the statement that Ford (less knowledge about Chrysler/GM) doesn’t want diesel to be popular. Ford would love to market a super high MPG diesel engine in the US. They’ve tested it in different vehicles that didn’t make it to market here. The F150 was supposed to have a diesel a few years ago, but it was cancelled. If Ford thought they could make more money by selling diesel anything in the US, they would be.

            A good example of a vehicle that could be diesel that isn’t is the C-Max. Why is it a hybrid instead of a diesel or traditional gas vehicle? US Department of Energy loans.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @bball

            You’re one of the resident Ford experts in my eyes so I’ll take your word for it. Ford could make a killing if they could develop a US approved reliable turbo diesel and offer in in their three car models… I could see it blowing gas EcoBoost right out of the water. But then if they go in such a direction, what about all of the investment in gas EcoBoost (for the cars not the F150)?

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            If we’ve learned anything about Ford, good or bad, is that they are willing to do new things that they can market the $hit out of. If they thought a diesel whatever was going to make money in the US, that slap a fancy name on it, have Denis Leary yell about it, and put big giant MPG number EVERYWHERE.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            @bball40dtw,
            Ford has been a risk taker, like the aluminium F-150.

            I just hope Ford doesn’t become another Sony.

            FCA is also taking large risks, probably more so than Ford, so far.

            From what I’ve read diesel Rams are sold as quick as they can get them. I think the VM Motori V6 diesel plant is running flat chat.

            I do know that Ford is getting it’s US 3.2 Duratorqs Transit engine from Port Elizebeth in SA.

            The plant has been geared up for quite some time now to manufacture an extra 60 000 of these engine per year. So I suppose Ford has anticipated that at least 60 000 Transits will be diesel.

            But, looking at how the Ram diesel is selling, Ford will sell all of the diesel Transits it can get.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If I was forced to choose between a turbo diesel product or a GDI product and both required DPF and/or similar emissions controls, I would take the diesel in a heartbeat. Your major downside (aside from a fuel price difference) is a more limited supply of diesel stations, your upside is torque and in theory long term engine durability.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Al-

            Both the Lima, OH and Cleveland, OH plants will be making engines with the CGI-blocks (Lima has the 2.7EB and assuming there is a next generation 3.5EB it will probably be made in Cleveland). Since the V6 ecoboost engines seem to be going to CGI, the volume may make it possible for Ford to build a diesel engine with a similar block.

            28-

            The torque between the V6 GTDI engines and turbo diesel engines isn’t that much different. Look at the new Navigator. That thing dials up 380 HP and 460 lb.ft of torque.

          • 0 avatar
            benders

            BAFO, you’re forgetting about soy biodiesel that is already popular in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            On road costs in the states depend on where you are, but in Maine it would be 5.5% sales tax on the difference between your trade-in and whatever price you negotiate for the truck, then 2.4% of MSRP first-year excise tax + $100 or so in fees when you first register it. Some states are more, a lot of states are less.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            “in 3/4 ton and above trucks, it’s price gouging”

            It costs more money to make a diesel engine. (Higher compression and all that.) Those are the kind of costs that get passed on to customers; those who don’t want to pay them have cheaper gas options available to them.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            PCH-

            I shouldn’t have said price gouging. It is Ford, GM, and FCA selling diesel 3/4 tons for what people will pay. I think the Scorpion diesel being an $8000 premium over the Boss V8 is rough (sometimes more based on discounts that exclude the diesel), but Ford is not a charity.

            I have purchased 3/4 ton trucks in the past and always purchased the gas engine because there was no benefit to purchasing the diesel. I never towed near a truck’s limit though.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            There is no WAY that the diesels cost as much more as they charge in the big trucks. They charge $8K+ primarily because they can. Which is fine, the market will bear it. You got to make some money somewhere.

            At a reasonable premium (ex TDI, BMW 328d, or this RAM), I would buy diesel every time simply because I like the way they drive. Even if it doesn’t save me anything in the long term. Sometimes it is not about money. If nothing else, I would rather give the money to the automakers and possibly my mechanic than to the oil companies. TANSTAAFL

    • 0 avatar
      Carilloskis

      I grew up driving VW TDIs and those things are great, driving my moms 2012 Passat when I was visiting i averaged 52 MPG without trying, and before that with the 04 Jetta drove from Salt Lake to Colorado Springs and got 49 there and 42 coming back (compared to the Raptors 17 and 12MPGs) the return trip always seems to have 55mph headwinds on I80. I’d love a small TDI in a half ton and if i was shopping for a half ton the Ram eco diesel would be high on my list, but I need sigificatly more payload then what half tons offer so im stepping up to the HD market. On the Jelling issue, i have worked in vehicle managment and Fuels managment, the only issues ive seen where with the higher concentrations of bio diesel that because of contract reasons was mixed in the delivery trucks, then put in vehicles that the OEMs didnt design to run b20 leading to probembs with both facilities and fuel systems. If you want to see what bio diesel does put your olive oil in the frige over night, you’ll get the idea.

  • avatar
    jeoff

    If you made it to any of the intown Atlanta neighborhoods you would have seen a ton of Nissan Leafs, and quite a few in the suburbs as well. With the tax incentives in Georgia they can be leased for next to nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      Very true. I almost got one myself, before finding out the insurance costs bordered on half the monthly lease payment. Nice little vehicle regardless, and absolutely everywhere in Atlanta.

      • 0 avatar
        petezeiss

        “the insurance costs bordered on half the monthly lease payment.”

        Whoa! I’m hoping that has more to do with your age bracket and gender than it has with the Leaf.

  • avatar
    dwford

    Somehow the swap driver that brought my Sierra 1500 5.3 from upstate New York to Connecticut got 27.2 mpg over a 50 mile stretch. Pretty impressive for a big truck with a big V8, but the best I’ve done is 23.3.

  • avatar
    shaker

    Laudable that your experiment centered on maximum MPG, but more than a few of these trucks in the South will be modified to “roll coal” onto Priuses and cyclists. Can’t have that kind of fun with a gas powered truck.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I doubt anyone will mod a 3.0 diesel to roll coal.

      3 point oh liters, you would be laughed out of the state by the other coal rollers.

      Hell of a truck, but you have to really be concerned about fuel mileage or heavy amounts of towing. This isn’t a young mans dream truck.
      I’d like one, but at 3.0 it would have to stay whisper quite and that ecodiesel badge would require removing the Eco prefix.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Hummer,
        Why would you be embarrassed to drive a modified Ram 1500 diesel?

        It doesn’t really matter what vehicle you own. Since the advent of the motor vehicle or even the horse man has attempted to improve it’s performance.

        Even here in Australia we have people modifying small capacity FWD vehicles, and I’ve seen it in the US as well.

        Your little d!ck issue is coming to the fore again. Your commentary is so similar to DiM’s ;)

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          Sorry, I don’t have issue with my “package”.

          I’m guessing you don’t feel like a “full” man unless your 3L diesels are belching out thick smoke.

          I’m stating none of the people who enjoy that in America would risk doing it on a small diesel, its like putting a loud exhaust on a civic, its embarrassing.

    • 0 avatar
      bosozoku

      The best part is when their white trash girlfriend hangs out the window to issue forth some variety of gender/sexual orientation/ethnic slur immediately afterward.

  • avatar

    30 MPG in a full-sized truck is great. I really don’t have the need for a pickup truck, so I won’t hog road space with one, but for those that *do* need them…I hope the EcoDiesel becomes a lot more popular, and maybe Ford and GM will follow.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Holy cow. My 1987 dakota averages 12 mpg, and my 93 jeep cherokee (although lifted and heavily modded) gets around 11.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Dear Chrysler:

    Put this engine in the Durango.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I only wish our author could have a twin driving the same truck with a gas motor to see what the fuel economy difference truly is. For whatever reason, EPA estimates seem to inflate big gas engine numbers across the board, and penalize diesels across the board.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      With the lower speed limits and Matt not driving particularly fast, I would bet 25-28 with the Pentastar and in the low 20s with the Hemi.

      • 0 avatar
        Carilloskis

        when I was in that part of the country for 2 months when the raptor was a year old I stayed right at the speed limit so i wouldnt be a target for those southern lawmen, I was squeezing 22-23 MPG out of my 5.4l Raptor. Where i live the speedlimits are much higher 80mph in many parts of utah and wyoming i15 and i 80 exxcept in the SLC metro area, so needless to say my mpgs hover significanty lower. I’d be curious to see if Matt takes a northernly route throught denver and across wyoming to utah on I80 and see how 50 mph head winds and 80mph speedlimits affect the fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      SOneThreeCoupe

      Look on Fuelly, which I’ll admit gives only averages and is honestly a little lacking in scientific data, but the typical error rate is likely similar across the board.

      The EcoDiesel averages 23.03mpg, the Pentastar V6 averages 19.36mpg. Maximums for both are 29.7mpg and 23.7mpg, respectively.

      It does not really make financial sense to choose the EcoDiesel unless you plan on keeping the truck for a minimum of several (5+) years, but if you’re interested in reducing your fuel usage over your current car (current car averages around 19mpg [added it all up recently] with a high of 23.3mpg) and doing things your current car cannot do (like tow your track car or become a swimming pool), it makes a lot of sense. The EcoDiesel also makes sense over the gas V6 because it makes more torque- 151lb-ft more torque, as a matter of fact.

  • avatar
    Numbers_Matching

    One of the big fears that the domestic (and Japanese) light duty truck manufacturers have with dieselizing their products is the maintenance habits of the typical light duty truck buyer. There is no tolerance for neglect with modern turbo-diesels. Things like fuel filters, oil and fuel quality are not optional. Deep down, light truck mfgs know their clientele may like the idea of having a diesel, but would probably not commit to the maintenance requirements.

  • avatar
    DevilsRotary86

    Small point of note that really doesn’t matter but I feel compelled to mention all the same; I actually live 40 miles from the Peterbilt factory.

  • avatar
    chicagoland

    “driving on the 75”

    Only in the Los Angeles area do people use ‘the’ before in Interstate #, ;-)

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