Your Wallet Dry: Are Pickup Owners Paying Too Much at the Gasoline Pump?
Michael Levine Posted:
2002 © PickupTruck.com
month the Union of Concerned Scientists, a nonprofit
organization of scientists and citizens dedicated to improving the
environment, released the results of a study that revealed pickup truck
owners pay more at the gasoline pump to keep their trucks moving than
any other segment of vehicle owner.
the 50 most popular cars and trucks sold in the United States in 2001,
pickups took 6 of the top 10 spots as the most expensive vehicles to fill
up, even though pickups make up only 20% of total vehicle sales.
list, at $1468, was the Dodge
Ram 1500. Ram owners, according to the study, can expect to pay over
$250 more per year on gas than the average light truck owner (pickups,
minivans and SUVs), and nearly $13,000 for gas over the lifetime of the
in tandem with the report were the results of a national survey of 600
pickup truck owners from 38 states.
if they favor or oppose government mandated increases in the average fuel
economy of pickup trucks, a 76% majority of owners voiced their opinion
in favor of higher fuel efficiency standards. Support dropped slightly
after hearing opposing arguments representing the views of auto manufacturers,
but 3/4 of the 76% still continued to support federal requirements stipulating
increased fuel economy in pickups.
truck owners be willing to pay extra for higher mileage trucks? 87% of
pickup trucks owners surveyed said they would pay an additional $500 if
they could expect to save $2000 at the pump over the lifetime of their
pickup truck owners who participated in the survey favor some type of
increase in their truck's fuel economy.
10 Most Expensive Light Trucks and Cars to Fuel
Cost of Fuel in 2002
Lifetime Fuel Cost
Dodge Ram 1500
Dodge Durango 1500
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
Average Light Truck
leveraging criticism prematurely, the report's author, David Friedman,
stated "Automakers have fallen asleep at the wheel on fuel economy.
It's time for manufacturers to give pickup drivers the gas mileage performance
they want and deserve."
this view, the UCS report fails to make mention of current and upcoming
research and action on the part of pickup truck manufacturers to increase
seems to be most active when it comes to improving engine efficiency.
By 2004 GM plans to begin offering "Displacement-on-Demand"
engines in V8 equipped pickups. Displacement on demand saves fuel by using
only half of the engine's cylinders during most normal driving conditions.
The system automatically and seamlessly reactivates the other cylinders
when the driver needs the engine's full capabilities for brisk acceleration
or load carrying.
a mileage boost of between 8 to 25 percent in miles per gallon while adding
very little to the cost of the truck because DoD is almost totally controlled
by the engine's computer control module.
for 2003 Ram owners' wallets, Dodge's all new 5.7-liter
HEMI will soon replace the ancient 5.9-liter V8 across its entire
line of pickups. The 5.9-liter Magnum engine is notorious for poor fuel
economy while the HEMI promises at least an 8-10 percent bump in fuel
economy, using technologies like dual ignition for improved combustion
and aluminum components to reduce weight.
also rumored to be hard at work on a cylinder deactivation system similar
to GM's displacement on demand. It may be available as soon as 2004.
waiting around for government regulation either. It hopes to offer Hydraulic
Launch Assist on its future pickups to improve fuel economy. Hydraulic
Launch Assist recovers some of the energy lost during braking and converts
and stores it as hydraulic pressure. During acceleration this stored energy
is released and its torque applied to the driveshaft through the clutch.
For 10-15 seconds all acceleration comes from the HLA system while the
engine idles. This system may be ready as soon as 2006.
information, read the UCS report "Paying
at the Pump" in Adobe Acrobat Format.