By on April 19, 2018

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel, Image: Ford

Ford Motor Company claims its 3.0-liter Power Stroke diesel V6, due to appear under the hood of the F-150 starting in May, blows the competition out of the water in terms of fuel economy. The automaker now cites an EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway figure for its light-duty diesel pickup, beating Ram’s 3.0-liter EcoDiesel in pump-passing power.

The real test, however, comes later this year, when General Motors debuts its own light-duty Duramax mill — a Flint-built diesel inline-six of unannounced power and efficiency.

While the Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t yet added the rating to its website, Ford has happily announced its status as having the highest MPG rating for a full-size truck. In rear-drive guise, the F-150 diesel rates a 22 mpg figure in city driving, and 25 mpg combined. A 2018 Ram 1500 Ecodiesel RWD consumes fuel at a rate of 20 mpg city, 27 mpg highway, and 23 mpg combined.

The Ford truck sees environmental assistance from a 10-speed automatic transmission, whereas the Ram makes do with a six-speed. Dearborn also tops Auburn Heights in terms of twist, too. The F-150 Power Stroke meters out 220 horsepower and 440 lb-ft of torque, good for a 11,400-pound towing figure. That’s 20 lb-ft more than what’s on offer from Ram. Retail customers can expect a payload capacity of 1,940 pounds, while fleet operators can boost the number by an extra 80 lbs.

In the Blue Oval stable, a base rear-drive F-150, boasting a dual-injection 3.3-liter V6, carries a rating of 19 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and 22 mpg combined. The thriftiest 2.7-liter F-150 has a rating of 20 city/26 highway/22 combined.

“Even a few years ago, customers wouldn’t have imagined an EPA-estimated rating of 30 mpg highway would be possible in a full-size pickup, but our team of crazy-smart engineers rose to the challenge,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford’s executive vice president of product development and purchasing, in a statement.

Given that the HFE version of the 2015 Ram EcoDiesel carried a 29 mpg highway rating, it’s safe to say buyers probably felt 30 mpg was within the realm of possibility.

While GM’s 3.0-liter Duramax won’t be available for the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado 1500’s summer launch, it shouldn’t be too long before we see figures for that oil burner. What’s worrying for Ford is that the GM truck also carries a 10-speed automatic. Who wants to place MPG bets?

[Image: Ford Motor Company]

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85 Comments on “Green Oval? Ford Claims Top MPG Marks for Upcoming F-150 Diesel...”


  • avatar
    3XC

    Power and torque figures align nicely with early 1970’s big block offerings. Of course, those trucks got 10mpg with a slight tailwind.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      My favorite mechanic was telling me that his son got his hands on an early 80s big block one ton Chevy crew cab. He’s been teaching him how to work on carburetors using the truck as a test-bed.

      He showed him what a jet/timing setting for max fuel economy would look like and then forced the kid to drive it roughly 300 miles round trip to Albuquerque.

      Although things are getting too complex in some parts of the automotive world, thank god for the progress of technology.

    • 0 avatar
      carguy

      Who would have thought 20 years ago that a full size truck could hit 30 MPG with no electrification?

      This is exactly the reason why efficiency standards need to continue to rise as this will provide the technology to deliver the large vehicles that the America likes without the sticker shock at the pump or excessive environmental impact.

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        If you told someone from 1995 that their well-appointed 2018 pickup would cost $50,000+ and they’d be responsible for maintaining turbochargers and a 10-speed transmission and an electronics suite of 150 sensors, they’d probably murder you on the spot for ruining America.

        And they’d be right.

        Regardless, most people believe some regulatory mechanism should be in place to encourage fuel efficient motoring. The debate is about what regulatory mechanism we should use, and how it should function. People who eschew the debate to push for brain-dead regulations (CAFE 2025), need to be sent back to 1995 to deal with their forebearer’s wrath.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @TW5: You keep talking about how things need to be fixed. Please, tell us how we can improve fuel mileage, reduce pollution AND be safe in our vehicles without all of the things you just panned.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @Vulpine – well said.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            $10+/gal gasoline would fix it all. Safety too, in that we would have a ton fewer 6000lb trucks being driven around haphazardly, so everyone would less feel the need to drive motorized bunkers.

            CAFE is simply dumb. Controlling the supply side when the demand side has almost polar opposite desires never really works. If we have a societal interest in higher efficiency, then we need to incentivize demand for higher efficiency. But of course, car makers don’t vote.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            I’ve mentioned at least a half dozen tweaks that could be made to CAFE 2025 to thwart vehicular apocalypse. One of the most important tweaks is the elimination of the footprint attribute-specific mileage requirements, which not only threaten to wreck the US car market, but also lack compatibility with foreign regulations.

            The issue is not whether I’ve mentioned modifications. The issue is whether the common man has the capacity to imagine a world in which progress is made without regulation and/or a world in which regulation has steeply diminishing marginal returns.

            For many people this is a bridge too far.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            CAFE alone does not resolve the issues you brought up. Keep going.

            Oh, and tweaks to CAFE is not the elimination of regulations, it is only the modification of one.

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            The elimination of CAFE is not going to happen, and within the context of this thread, I’ve never demanded it. Furthermore, the problems I mentioned in my post, primarily the over-complication of an otherwise simple work vehicle, and the corresponding bloated MSRP are directly related to CAFE 2025. One of the biggest problems with CAFE 2025 is the attribute-specific regulations based upon footprint. At the very least the footprint regulations have been terribly conceived, and they will require overhaul. It would be better to scrap them.

            The problem is not that I haven’t suggested improvements and pointed out paradoxical idiocy within the regulations (like eliminating cheap economy cars to subsidize the voracious fuel consumption of pickups). The problem is that the average person doesn’t even understand the basics of how CAFE works, and they have even less understanding of what it means for various segments.

            The reality is CAFE 2025 is so far removed from their positive feelings about fuel efficiency regulation that the simply discard relevant information that causes cognitive dissonance.

            How many times do I have to say that CAFE 2025 is going to kill off entire segments of vehicles, like fullsize family sedans, and imperil the US auto industry by making it increasingly reliant on fullsize pickups, before people start to “get it”. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Trump administration’s plan to scrap certain provisions really is a conspiracy by Vlad Putin to destroy the earth with CO2.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Believe it or not, TW5, I don’t disagree with your intent; I specifically agree that basing the ratings on size was a serious mistake–one that goes back beyond the 2016 CAFE as that growth problem has affected every vehicle on the roads–or nearly so–for the last 15 years. You only have to look at the 2004 models compared to the 1997 models and older. Vehicles have gotten taller, heavier and notably more powerful just to handle the weight of these newer vehicles. My 1997 Ranger gets more in-town mileage than most modern pickup trucks, including the mid-sizers. These high-mileage versions such as the F-150 discussed in the article are exceptions to the rule; not the rule itself, when it comes to fleet fuel mileage.

            The point is that CAFE in itself isn’t bad, it’s that the methods they use to allow for lower permissible economy has always favored bigger and heavier vehicles over smaller ones; based first on GVWR and later on footprint. When pickup trucks started pushing their capacities towards their class limits (remember the discussions about how GM and Ford had to remove parts just to stay below Class 4?) then size itself was used to give the OEMs an out. These waivers and exceptions should have never been allowed in the first place. You’d be seeing a very different market today as a result.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “How many times do I have to say that CAFE 2025 is going to kill off entire segments of vehicles, like fullsize family sedans, and imperil the US auto industry by making it increasingly reliant on fullsize pickups, before people start to “get it”. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the Trump administration’s plan to scrap certain provisions really is a conspiracy by Vlad Putin to destroy the earth with CO2.”

            No. The OEMs have discovered another way–one that can be extremely effective IF CAFE remains unchanged. Size won’t matter any more if the average vehicle can get 3x to 5x better mpge than they do now and exceed CAFE’s 54mpg by more than 30mpge for all the vehicles but trucks. A BEV can get 4x the fuel mileage of an equivalent ICEV while some hybrids can already double their ICEV stable mates. When you have nearly half the upcoming fleet capable of 80mpge and more (the Chevy Bolt claims 120mpge) then the trucks can run at 20-30mpg and still average higher than that 54mpg target set by CAFE.

            And CO2 is a greenhouse gas. It’s not a pollutant per se but it is rising to pre-historical record highs at a very uncharacteristically rapid pace. What should take thousands of years has taken barely hundreds of years, and this has been proven over and over again by multiple methods including direct measurements of atmospheric gases from Antarctic ice, reading back hundreds of thousands of years. Similar readings have been taken from a number of geological sources. And gasoline/diesel-powered vehicles do emit CO2. There are more cars on the road today than any time in the past so the amount of CO2 being generated, not even considering that used for industrial purposes (like carbonated soda?) is continuing to rise at increasing rates.

            Increasing the fuel economy of cars is one way to slow that rate of growth and if a significant percentage of cars can convert to mostly battery use, the rate of growth FOR that percentage can be cut in half.

            People can deny that Climate change is accelerating all they want but the evidence is unmistakeable; deniers are refusing to see the big picture in their efforts to refute the obvious. It won’t be much longer before they’ll be unable to refute it even with their twisted logic. Once the ice caps melt and the ancient glaciers are gone, there won’t be enough natural ice left on this world to slow the warming any more. When we reach that point, we’ll have to find some much more active and potentially drastic means to reduce the amount of heat reaching the surface.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        carguy,
        The same is occurring outside the US with smaller vehicles.

        The difference between nowadays and the past remain. Big vehicles suck more fuel than small vehicles.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Why does a half-ton truck need a 5-ton towing capacity? That should be the purview of a ¾-ton truck at a minimum.

    No, I expect the vast majority of these will be little more than ego machines with a bit of green-signaling attached.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I agree that anyone regularly towing 10K plus should be in a 3/4 ton. But it’s comforting for the average recreational tower to know that

      1) The truck is capable of towing extra occasionally without an issue, and without the trade off in ride quality of an HD.

      2) The components are overdesigned for the more typical loads. Someone pulling a 5-7000# trailer every weekend in the summer can feel confident that they will never approach the mechanical limits of the rig. I wouldn’t have the same confidence towing at 90-100% of GCVW.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        I disagree, Jack. A half-ton should carry 1500# and tow 6000#. The ¾ should carry 2000# and tow 11000#. The one-ton should carry 2500# and tow 21000#. That gives you all the capacity you need for a LIGHT DUTY pickup and puts the heavier loads on the medium-duty trucks, where they belong.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          If my trailer is 6000-10000 lb, why should I need to settle for the worse ride quality and fuel efficiency of a 3/4 ton truck, when the technology allows me to tow it safely and without drama in a 1/2 ton?

          This article is about a vehicle that can tow 11,000 when needed, and return 30 mpg highway when empty. That combination was inconceivable just a few years ago and is still remarkable today. Why limit ourselves with outdated “ton” classifications? Give me the best truck that can handle the work I need it to do, whatever they happen to name it.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            How about because of the fact that the trailer weighs twice as much as the truck and will throw the truck around on windy or icy stretches of road? Granted, trailers today do have electric brakes which help • a lot • but under certain condition they can and will take the tow vehicle out of control. A bigger, heavier truck is needed for better control simply for safety’s sake. If it were me, I’d limit a trailer to half the weight of the tow vehicle UNLESS it’s a fifth-wheel or gooseneck hitch, at which point I could accept 1.5x the weight of the truck. I don’t make that call and I do understand certain improvements but that doesn’t mean I’m happy with seeing how so many trucks are so badly loaded/hitched after having towed a 5000# RV behind an old-school BoF sedan for thousands of miles. Half these people don’t even understand how to use a load-leveling hitch (assuming they even have one.)

            It’s not that the truck can’t handle them, it’s that too many truck owners don’t know how to use them properly and don’t want to learn.

          • 0 avatar
            jack4x

            “I’d limit a trailer to half the weight of the tow vehicle”

            Let’s be thankful then that you are not in charge of the rating process. Your method would limit an average 1/2 ton truck to a 2500 lb trailer, and a 1 ton diesel to 4000 lb. Even granting your higher limit for 5th wheel/GN, you are topping out at 12k or so on a dually. In all cases less than half of the real life ratings. I trust the powertrain, suspension, and braking engineers at OEMs to have done extensive testing and allowed for a significant safety margin before developing their towing and payload ratings.

            Of course foolish or ignorant people can tow dangerously or with the wrong equipment. They can do this with any truck or any trailer. That should not prevent responsible people from using trucks for what they were designed, and taking advantage of the amazing technology we now have.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            If it’s a class I, 2 or 3 vehicle, Jackie, that’s what I would do. I’ve acknowledged that I don’t have that kind of control over others, so I have to hope SOMEBODY realizes that un-trained operators are towing trailers way beyond their driving skills.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @Vulpine – rated capacity has to include passengers and since most pickups sold are crewcab, a 1500lb rating is often too little. I don’t mind the ratings of new pickups.

          The problem lies in the fact that one needs to buy certain configurations to get the better rating. Some people assume that their Limited p/u on 22 inch wheels is rated the same as one on LT rated tires.

          I don’t need a HD pickup for the amount of times I tow or haul near my truck’s stated rating. I went with a 1/2 ton simply because a “mid-sized” truck did not have the ratings I wanted. The current Colorado diesel crew would be all that I now need. In 2010, the Tacoma was to “lite” on capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I can’t agree, Lou. Trucks are supposed to be working vehicles first and passenger vehicles second, not the other way around. Most every car is rated for one driver, one passenger and payload, whether that be in passengers or cargo.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Because most of the other 1/2 ton pickups have at least on version capable of that even if a 3/4 ton would be more suitable.

      I suspect the percentage of buyer that buy these as a status symbol to be lower than those who buy the EcoBoost or 5.0 versions. I suspect a lot will go to fleets simply because the have diesel fueling capabilities and don’t have gas pumps, or a truck full of diesel. When I drive by the big light rail project the place is littered with F150 SuperCrews along with the F350s, F550s and heavy equipment. There is also frequently a service truck with a big tank of diesel to feed that heavy machinery. So now they won’t have to take those F150’s off site to fuel.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Suspicion, Scoutdude, is not necessarily fact. Not two miles from my house is a shop that “tunes” diesels for showoffs–installing vertical pipes, upping the horses… even rigging the coal-rollers until they became illegal in this state. The typical diesel in their shop is brand new or at the oldest I’ve seen, about five years. 90% of the diesel pickups in my semi-rural community are either show trucks or ‘pull’ trucks for the county fair, with on-highway horseplay the rest of the time.

        Oh, I’ve seen diesel trucks used for their intended purpose… they typically don’t have ‘tunes’ and have commercial markings on the side and more often than not fifth-wheel towing a car hauler with up to five cars/trucks on board. They’re also 350/3500 models.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Yeah and those people who do that to their diesels will continue to buy 3/4 and 1 ton trucks, because bigger is better. I know I haven’t seen lifted Ram EcoDiesels.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Consumers demand more in the pissing contest that is full size truck specs. Not everyone is content being stuck in the past.

      If I customer can get a light duty full size truck that can drive comfortably, get good fuel economy and tow more than 10,000lbs, why would they not want that? The truck can do it, why would we go backwards?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    LOL by the time GM announces power, MPG and what the other engines will be in the 2019 Silverado/Sierra Ford and FCA will be announcing the 2020 models.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Hey GM tell us more about that 3.0 ltr inline 6 diesel your bringing out.

      (crickets)

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Could be they are just playing mum and waiting for Ford’s announcement so they have a target to be able to tout “More HP”, “More Torque”, “More MPG” or “More towing capacity” than Ford. So now they have their bench mark and can decide which one of the area they can beat Ford, which ones the must at least meet Ford and which ones to let slide for now.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I hope for their sake it fares better than the last Powerstroke V6.

  • avatar
    ajla

    All the fuel savings can go to your PremiumCARE package.

  • avatar
    phreshone

    30 mpg rating highway on a Ford… so that means it will get about 23.7 mpg on a 500 mile non-stop run

  • avatar
    JMII

    So what MPG could be achieved with a smaller (Ranger) sized vehicle? I guess on the highway weight savings wouldn’t help a bunch, but the smaller frontal area (better aero) would get into the mid 30s easy.

    Cleaning up the underside of these trucks would be my focus if chasing MPG. Unlike unibody coupes and sedans you never see any aero panels on a BOF vehicle. You basically get some skid plates covering the vital bits (oil pan, transfer case, etc) on 4×4 models for off road use. So why not have a 2WD “aero” model that is a touch (OK a lot) lower with some sleek under tray work? A few plastic panels would go a long way to helping the air flow smoother at highway speeds. I never take my truck off road, its purely a tow vehicle (mostly highway too), so I don’t need any more ground clearance then your average CUV.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The “Jellybean” F-150 wasn’t known for it’s fuel efficiency. In fact it’s kind of pointless to nosecone the front end when there’s so much turbulence all around pickups.

      Not the least of which is the bed area. A ground hugging, full “Ground FX” would help a bit, while nullifying it as a “truck” mostly, but check how abrupt/vertical back windows and tailgates have to be. Tow mirrors don’t help either.

      Even with the much reduced ‘frontal area’ of midsize trucks, most rival the fuel economy of fullsize for similar wind drag.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        In part, DM, you’re wrong. And that fact has been proven time and again. An empty bed actually helps the fuel mileage, not hurts it. This is due to the fact that the tailgate actually helps develop an atmospheric fastback for the truck, cutting its rear drag roughly in half, much as though you’d put an old-style Mustang fastback hatch over the bed. The shaping of the air is such that the suction behind the truck is drastically reduced and the different experiments have demonstrated that the economy is roughly 15% better with an open bed and the tailgate up than with any other form of slip-streaming. This includes tonneau covers, by the way.

        The ‘jellybean’ F-150s suffered from the idea of downsizing the engine and putting too low a final drive on… at 3.2x or 2.9x vs a 3.5x or 3.8x ratio. Note also that horsepower was down even on the V8s compared to today’s engines. Even so, a pre-Jellybean long bed with the 5.0EFI could just make 20mpg at 65mph, so I’m sure the ‘jellybean’ could have done better with a little effort.

        And no, the ground effects package by no means would have nullified it as a ‘truck’. It would have nullified it as an off-roader, though.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Show one of those “studies”. You can see the turbulence following a pickup with an aluminum can in the bed. They levitate and fly around, sometimes settling back down before flying out.

          Abrupt vertical surfaces obviously cause lots of wind drag, upsetting the flow of air.

          It not that all pickups need to go “off road”, although “the ability” is part of what makes them “a pickup”. But thankfully you don’t have do slow down, or crawl through dips, transitions, driveways, etc. Plus you don’t need a snorkel for 8″ of water.

          Or 4″ of snow.

          Then a heavy load would have to raise the suspension or lift the air dams, skirts.

          You’re simply overstating the effectiveness of groud effects on pickups which are basically “made” for disturbing the air they go through.

          Don’t try to change pickups into something they’re not. You don’t want to take away the ability to pull on to a soft shoulder, and never mind parking space bumpstops and curbs.

          Stick to CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Don’t have to show you one. Just look up the Mythbusters episode; just look up the Consumer Reports article; just type in “pickup truck fuel mileage, tailgate up or down” in your search engine.

            That tin can you’re talking about is riding that bubble of air I was telling you about. That’s why the tin can hardly ever flies out unless it either gets too close to the side or somehow bounces up out of the circulation.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “It not that all pickups need to go “off road”, although “the ability” is part of what makes them “a pickup”. But thankfully you don’t have do slow down, or crawl through dips, transitions, driveways, etc. Plus you don’t need a snorkel for 8″ of water. Or 4″ of snow.”

            —- The ability to go off road is NOT what makes it a pickup truck; the ability to carry or tow a load is. Add 4WD and now you have a purpose-built off-road vehicle that needs a couple inches of lift (not so high you have to have a running board just to climb in.) 7″ of ground clearance is plenty enough for 4″ of snow and you CERTAINLY don’t need an air intake at shoulder level for 8″ of water. My little Jeep Renegade is good for 19″ of water and it only has 7″ of ground clearance WITH AWD.

            “Then a heavy load would have to raise the suspension or lift the air dams, skirts.”
            —- Why? The “heavy load” (within rated limits) should, at worst, level the bed from its tail-high attitude. Modern suspension systems are designed to level the bed no matter the load (within limits) if its an active suspension. Weight will make a difference on economy, certainly, but the presence of the air dam and side skirts should have next to know deleterious effect on capacity or handling whether loaded or unloaded.

            And no, pickups are not “made for disturbing the air”, they are made to carry a load or tow one. Their enormous size disturbs the air. Their blunt faces disturb the air. In fact, everything that makes a pickup truck desirable to a status-seeking owner, “disturbs the air.” Popularity has made pickups into “something they’re not.” Popularity has made them into gigantic, over-capable Road Whales™ when they used to be much lower and MUCH more utilitarian. I’m just trying to get them back to what they were meant to be instead of dangerous masses of steel and aluminum more prone to rolling over in lively driving than being true working vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Yes they are “designed” to disturb the air they go though, ipso facto.

            Any other “design” would put them outside the pickup category, at least as we know them.

            Just in the everyday city-scape and onroad-countryside, you really appreciate a pickup’s ability to navigate efficiently without fear of damaging its lower body, like say a lowered custom truck from the ’80s, unless that’s what you’re into.

            Weight gets applied to the front axle too, depending on how you load and what you’re hauling, ahead of the driver too (lumber racks, cabover campers).

            Trucks aren’t like cars. What works for cars does’t necessarily apply.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Try again, DM; you’re only proving how little you really know.

            “Just in the everyday city-scape and onroad-countryside, you really appreciate a pickup’s ability to navigate efficiently without fear of damaging its lower body, …”
            — With a 6″ to 7″ ground clearance, you have nothing to worry about in everyday conditions. Today’s trucks START at 8″ and go higher.

            “… like say a lowered custom truck from the ’80s, unless that’s what you’re into.”
            — Which only you would bring in to this discussion.

            “Weight gets applied to the front axle too, depending on how you load and what you’re hauling, ahead of the driver too (lumber racks, cabover campers).”
            — Key words, “depending on how you load”, i.e. ‘when you load it properly.’ Too many people don’t do that, while cabover campers are specifically designed to balance the weight. Overhead lumber racks are, A. Not designed by the OEM and
            B. Designed for long loads, NOT weight distribution.

            Trucks need to be more like cars if they want better economy. They need proper aerodynamic design (which is improving with the latest models but still tend to be more slab-nosed than necessary) and they need to be lowered back to more conventional heights. There is no reason for 8″ ground clearance for a 2WD pickup truck and Ram boasts a lift of only 0.6″ between 2WD and 4WD versions of its trucks vs the near-two inches by Ford and GM. Those ridiculous lifts for 4WD we see on so many trucks are nothing but eye candy for the status-challenged.

            It has all come down to one thing with pickup trucks:
            “Hey! My truck is … “(choose your options)
            • bigger
            • taller
            • longer
            • wider
            • stronger
            • heavier
            • faster
            “… than your truck!”

        • 0 avatar
          ajla

          “This includes tonneau covers, by the way.”

          So why did the Ram HFE come with a factory installed tri-fold tonneau cover?

          autoinfluence.com/look-makes-2016-ram-hfe-fuel-efficient-truck/

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Or why don’t the vehicles in the NASCAR truck series run full carved out beds instead of flat panels?

            Vulpine could literally be the next Smokey Yunick with his insights.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Look at those “flat panels” again. Are they truly flat, or are they sloped?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Because autoinfluence dot com doesn’t understand the aerodynamic science around pickup trucks. The tonneau is good for covering the load and looking good, but it does NOT help the economy of the truck.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Flatter than the average tonneau cover, aside from the sometimes installed spoilers at the rear.

            “Because autoinfluence dot com doesn’t understand the aerodynamic science around pickup trucks.”

            Your understanding is better. Because Mythbusters.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Because Mythbusters.”

            — … as one of several sources.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            FCA’s own press release on the HFE claimed that the tonneau cover increased efficiency.

            “A tri-fold tonneau cover offer owners a double-bonus: greater functionality and best-in-class aerodynamics contributing to better fuel efficiency.”

            media.fcanorthamerica.com/newsrelease.do?id=16294&mid=745

            So are they lying to consumers? Are they incompetent engineers at FCA? Why would FCA put something that hurts fuel economy as standard on their “high fuel efficiency” trucks?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            That depends. If they specifically engineered for it, then maybe they’re right. However, road tests by Consumer Reports and others have stated that uncovered, closed tailgate beds average 10%+ better fuel economy. The Tonneau creates TWO drag areas on the truck, one immediately behind the cab and the other behind the tailgate. With the open bed, the so-called ‘parachute’ generates a vortex that rounds out the airflow over the entire vehicle, minimizing even the lower two-step suction of a covered bed.

            A full bed topper is worse, creating one LARGE vacuum hole to fill, generating more than twice as much drag.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Are we really that dumb? It takes Mythbusters to prove to the world tonneau covers improve air flow?

            I’m definitely not in the tonneau cover “demographic”, nor anyone I know. It must be an east coast or NYC thing.

            Still what can be done about the flat tailgate ‘after the fact’, and back window beforehand?

            But a pickup has to cease being “a pickup” or make some serious changes before the wind cheating effects learned from cars apply to them.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Ah, if only you would stop, read and learn once in a while instead of relying on your years of uneducated opinion. I have decades of experience in vehicles of all types, in nearly every part of this country and even overseas. I learned from my experience, observation and by study. That’s how I know the things I know. You’ve never once been able to prove any of your theories about anything.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Here’s the design manager of the F-series from 2004 – 2015 in the FMC wind tunnel saying that tonneau covers increase efficiency on their trucks.

            youtube.com/watch?v=oEkiDsVGr9c&feature=youtu.be&t=1m26s

            Consumer Reports tested one brand of truck, in one configuration, with one type of tonneau cover at a constant speed (65mph). That’s hardly a comprehensive “case closed” sort of test. I don’t know what Mythbusters did, but I’m guessing it was similar to what CR did.

            I doubt the impact is huge either way, but in this case I’m more inclined to believe what representatives of Ford and FCA have to say over a TV show and CR.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Mythbusters went tonneauless–they did tailgate up/down exclusively and demonstrated the effect using a water tank and dye for a more graphic example.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Oops I forgot you’re a genius.

            You said: “…an empty bed actually helps the fuel mileage, not hurts it..”

            What does that even mean? Does the swirling wind vortex create a turbo effect?

            Or as opposed to not having a bed at all? Or a loaded one?

            I don’t know about the “mileage hurting”, but that comment hurts my brain.

            Then you said: “…this is due to the fact that the tailgate helps develop an atmospheric fastback…”

            So now you’re saying the tailgate pulls the air stream across, over past the bed, like if it jumps from the cab to the tailgate, fastback style, just because there’s a tailgate?

            Are you up on your meds today?

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            A tonneau cover has a negligible improvement on mpg. Something like 0.5 mpg.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @JMII: “So what MPG could be achieved with a smaller (Ranger) sized vehicle? I guess on the highway weight savings wouldn’t help a bunch, but the smaller frontal area (better aero) would get into the mid 30s easy.”
      — You would think so, but the OEMs are in the bad habit of disadvantaging the smaller vehicles by maintaining a set, empty, power to weight ratio. Rather than taking advantage of a larger engine’s horsepower and torque to improve economy at highway speeds, they use a smaller engine in the belief that a lighter, smaller, vehicle will sip less fuel through that smaller engine. What effectively happens is that the smaller vehicle gets almost the same fuel mileage as the bigger one despite the smaller engine.

      The power to weight ratio needs to go up to realize more economy. At 200 horses, that big truck is realizing roughly 30mpg (supposedly.) Use that exact same engine with slightly taller final drive (let’s say 3.05 vs 3.55 as a rough example) and the lighter vehicle would realize similar acceleration to the larger at lower RPMs. The same would hold true at highway speeds as the higher horsepower engine would be able to turn more slowly and still maintain speed without loading the engine. That 3.0 in the F-150, with just that ONE drivetrain change, should be capable of 32-34mpg in the smaller, lighter, Ranger.

      They do tend to make the final drive taller in the smaller truck, but then put smaller horsepower and torque in front of it, loading the smaller engine down again. Of course, that means performance suffers so they stick the bigger engine in as an option… and put the 3.55 final drive in, meaning virtually no change in fuel mileage from the big truck just to get a little performance back.

      Now, my old Ranger has a 2.3 under the hood–rated at 112 horses. It’s pushing a 5-speed manual and turning 2200revs at 60mph. Guess what final drive is? Thing simply doesn’t have the power to give any kind of economy at highway speed because the gear ratios are all screwed up. Oh, getting up to speed is quick enough but the “overdrive” is set to cruise at 50mph, where it actually offers decent economy for what it is, but well below where it could be. 200 horses? I could get away with a much taller final drive AND still have the horsepower and torque to maintain it.

      “Cleaning up the underside of these trucks would be my focus if chasing MPG…”
      — You’re right here. Lowering the truck to 7″ (with 4×4) and putting proper air dams and body cladding to lower the side sills a bit would probably give you another 10%-15% boost in economy. In fact, with the next truck I purchase (I intend to buy new) I plan to lower the suspension roughly 2″, since the AWD/4WD will be used for foul weather driving, not hard-core off-roading. I’ve had my play in the mud and off-road trails, I just need something that can get me where I’m going, even if the road happens to be a little soft. You didn’t always need a monster truck to cruise access roads and logging trails.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        Midsize trucks have the disadvantage of very similar wind-drag to fullsize. Except with much smaller engines, with a lot less power means you gotta have your foot deep in the carpet constantly, nullifying the potential benefits of a smaller packaged truck and engine, at the gas pumps.

      • 0 avatar
        JMII

        I get the underpowered thing: I had a V6 Ranger and it got the same mileage as my V8 Dakota when towing the same boat. I knew it was power related because I had to push the Ranger much harder then the Dakota to maintain highway speeds. I’m sure the two had different final drives as well so it wasn’t all power related. Both were 4 speed autos. I’m pretty sure with the extra torque of the V8 the Dodge would benefit from another over drive type gear for highway cruising. I live in flat Florida, so down here once your up to speed you don’t need much RPM to maintain it.

        Over the years we’ve seen some performance / sport orientated truck models with high output engines, lower stances and some added aero bits (air dams, side skirts), but that market seems dead now as lifted 4x4s are preferred these days.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          @JMII – EPA ratings have been very similar for a V8 midsize pickups vs the same trucks with the V6, but the way most ppl drive, never mind towing/hauling, the V6 will get dramatically worse mpg than the V8, real life.

          V8s will fit in midsize pickups no problem, same as their sister SUVs, but they don’t fit the political scheme.

        • 0 avatar
          Carlson Fan

          My 2DR Chevy Tahoe w/350 Vortec got the same mileage towing a 23′ cuddy boat on a tandem axle trailer as my compact Toyota PU w/3.0 V6 got towing a 16′ boat on a single axle trailer. The 23′ boat was twice as heavy as the 16′. Once you start working a small engine towing, the fuel economy goes down the crapper quick!

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Reducing the ride height is probably enough by itself. It will reduce frontal area and clean up underbody flow naturally.

      A neighbor was over the other night. She’s drives a 1997 Silverado in practically mint condition. It’s step-in height for her at 5’9″. I bet the tailgate is also well below her waist when it’s down, which means she can actually load things into the back, and she can probably reach over the side and touch the bottom of the bed.

      Over time, pickups were skyjacked and belt lines were raised to make them look more rugged. Somewhere along the way, it stopped mattering whether they were useful work vehicles or not. People were buying compulsively, regardless.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      JMll,
      I have a 3.2 diesel BT50, which is Mazda’s Ranger based midsizer.

      On my regular Brisbane to Sydney runs I average 36mpg (US gallon). That’s sitting on 60-70 mph. I did one trip and sat on 60 mph and returned 39mpg (US gallon).

      Half the driving is through the mountains.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @JMII – just look at the Colorado for your answer. It isn’t much different from the global Ranger in size.

  • avatar
    kkop

    Pretty sure the Ram Ecodiesel has the 8-speed in it, not the Aisin 6-speed.

    Anyway – the price premium does not make up for fuel savings probably – how much extra is the Ford diesel compared to gas siblings – that’s the real question.

    • 0 avatar
      Clueless Economist

      That is thee question that is on everybody’s mind.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      These diesels are generating CAFE credits. The market will adjust transaction prices until it makes financial sense because the manufacturers want to sell diesel trucks. I’m assuming customers would rather have diesel power, too, rather than a gasoline hybrid truck. The issue is whether the manufacturers can equip diesel emissions equipment and still keep MSRP close to gasoline engined pickups, without losing profit margin.

      Based upon the R&D going into eco diesels, the manufacturers seem optimistic.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @kkop – people will buy the diesel based on characteristics as opposed to fuel savings. If one looks that the Colorado, it is financially beneficial to go with the diesel even if one looks at DEF and higher diesel costs.

  • avatar
    walleyeman57

    Just in time for $4/gal diesel.

  • avatar
    PwrdbyM

    I’m probably the target market for the half ton diesel. Currently I tow an enclosed race car trailer (8-9k lbs) anywhere from 2-6 hours about once a quarter with a 5.7 Tundra. Damn it eats gas and I have to plan merges and passes carefully, however since I don’t tow frequently I really don’t want to pay for, nor manuever, a 3/4 ton everyday. The cost difference and extra ass pain of daily driving have kept me in the Tundra.
    Let me tell you what I really want, a Duramax I6 Suburban!

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I have the same setup and I can’t justify a bigger truck or a diesel for that little use. I have a Ram 1500 Hemi and 9-10mpg is what it gets towing that loaded brick. Never wants for power though. I thought about getting the 1500 Ecodiesel, but the added maintenance cost and potential downsides of my wife’s daily drive cycle, combined with low yearly mileage overall didn’t justify it either.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    The EcoDiesel Ram 1500 has the ZF built 8HP70 transmission—which is an 8 speed automatic.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    Who would have thought that to get an actual EcoBoost in the F150 you’d have to get a non ecoboost engine?

    Of course this is all smoke and mirrors. When yiubfactor in the drastically increqsed purchase cost along with the much kore expensive fuel, you’ll find this is not very eco on the wallet.

    Such a joke.

    • 0 avatar
      No Nickname Required

      Hey you leave the “ancient Greek statue of a clothed young woman standing with feet together” out of this. I’m certain it has nothing to do with the price of diesel fuel in the United States.

  • avatar
    ChevyIIfan

    If Ford sees real world mileage numbers of 30 mpg from their new Powerstroke then… they will have caught Ram from 2015. I have an uncle who has a 2015 Ram with the Eco Diesel and he routinely sees 35 mpg highway on his (calculated via pump, not the onboard computer). 30 mpg is the lowest he has ever seen on a highway tank, and he has made quite a few long trips from PA to St. Louis to visit his daughter.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    I think the smart move in the 1/2 ton diesel wars was made by GM to go with a I6 vs V6. GM was paying attention to the success Dodge/RAM has had with the Cummins I6 in their 3/4 and 1 ton trucks.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    Wait a sec. Pickup junkies decry Prius’ as virtue signalling, deny the role in climate change of humans burning gas, claim oil is essential to the economy and say worrying about mileage is unmanly. And they’re going to buy this thing?

  • avatar
    arach

    I’ll buy one!

    30 MPG is freaking awesome from a PICKUP Truck.

    And where I live (already had this argument on another site), diesel is cheaper than midgrade gas (what is required by the V8s) (OH-IO!). (After a bunch of people compared gas buddy and otherwise, thats not true in places like california and the east coast, but in the midwest, Diesel is about the same price as regular, sometimes cheaper, sometimes more, but ALWAYS cheaper than midgrade)

    But If you live in the costs, fuel price and maintenance costs will likely make it “not worth it”.

    More Horsepower in daily driving and haulting situations + better fuel economy? count me in.

    Now I can probably justify a truck for DD duty… which is going to make some people mad.

    So therefore you anti-truckers out there.. as trucks get into the 30MPG territory, their popularity is only going to grow. thats what I get out my Hyundai, and I only bought it for the fuel economy because 14 MPG in a truck wasn’t going to cut it… but 30? sweet!

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    “I read an interesting article on the direction and what current Baby Boomers want. They want a small to medium SUVs.”
    — Your article seems to have missed a class. Those boomers also want a small to medium pickup truck, not a Road Whale™ full sized or Road Whale Junior™ of a “mid-sized” pickup truck.

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