Taking the most popular truck in the US for the last thirty years, the Ford F-150, suggesting that people make improvements to their fuel economy, might be construed as a highly UN-American thing to do, but we’re only talking a little bit for a large aggregate dent in fuel consumption, just one mpg, actually.
Running the numbers, some writers over at Gas2 asked what would happen if they may some small improvements to the Ford F-Series, which sold over 645,000 last year at a dismal fuel economy of 13-18mpg each. Aerodynamics could be improved by taking off the mirrors and replacing them with rear view cameras. Covering up that oversized grille and smoothing out the bumper would also yield some good flow over the front of the vehicle. A manual or automatic air-dam might come in handy to yield the same effect and improve winter heating and maintaining proper engine temperature for best efficiency.
It may go against the grain, but how many of these trucks are actually used for hauling? Couldn’t we lower the suspension a little and smooth out the undercarriage? You’d be amazed how much air gets sucked in under the frame, engine, and bed, simply adding to the drag and siphoning off the fuel economy. Honestly, what ever happened to good old airbag suspension?
Interestingly, Gas2 comes up with a conservative estimate of just one mpg improvement for making a few small changes that wouldn’t end up adding that much more to the cost of the vehicle, if anything. What could one mpg do? Over 12,000mi per year and over 645,000 Ford F-Series pickups, one mpg could save 22.6 million gallons of gasoline, saving some $80 million from being released from drivers’ wallets and nearly 222,000 tons of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere.
That’s just one mpg on one vehicle!