Want To Save On Fuel? Buy A New Pickup, Says The US Dept Of Energy

We take certain things as given. The sun, for example, always shines from the east; E=mc2; and hybrids are more fuel-efficient than pickup trucks. Right?

Not so fast, says the US Department of Energy. The latest statistics from the government body, cited by the Detroit Free Press, indicate that fuel-efficiency improvements in pickups are more vital than those achieved by dedicated hybrids like the Toyota Prius.

One reason for the ostensibly counter-intuitive assertion comes down to numbers: pickups sell in far greater numbers in America than do hybrids. Last year, Ford sold nearly 900,000 F-Series trucks, Chevy sold 585k Silverados, GMC another 217k Sierras, and FCA a solid 556k Ram trucks – compared to the 108,000 examples of the Prius sold in America in 2017. And that’s not even including all the Japanese automaker’s trucks, or domestic mid-size pickups. So any improvement made to those trucks will have a greater effect on the total amount of fuel used.

But that only tells part of the story. A greater part comes down to the law of diminishing returns. According to the Energy Department figures, a one-mpg improvement from 16 mpg to 17 mpg has the same net effect as a 6-mpg improvement from 46 or 52. So someone replacing their 2009 Chevy Silverado with a 2019 model, for example – both with the 5.3-liter V8 engine – will save more fuel than someone upgrading their Prius from a 2009 model to the 2019 version. For every 100,000 people who do, in fact, there’ll be 4.4 million gallons of gasoline saved every year in the case of the Silverado, versus 3 million gallons in the case of the Prius – representing a startling difference of 35 percent between the two.

That’s why improvements being made to new pickup trucks – like mild-hybrid powertrains and lightweight construction – matter much more than whatever Toyota does to the Prius or any other automaker does with its electrified vehicles. And if you’re a pickup driver, upgrading your old truck to a newer model will do more to save the environment and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels than whatever your tree-hugging neighbor is driving.

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  • Mr. EP9

    No. The hell I need a pickup truck for? I’m not hauling anything.

  • G82FS

    What a load of crap, I bet someone would not have to dig very deep to find out that this “research” was funded by oil…

    • Hirise444

      Do the numbers your self.

  • kachuks

    Somebody please shave the sideburns off that Chevy.

  • FordMopar

    I get all that. But no. 17 mpg is worse than 26 mpg in city for a sedan with 4 cyclinders. Me. It’s my money that I’m saving at the pumped each week or more. I don’t care about joining with millions of Americans to get a new truck so we can prove this article. Ughhh…

  • MD

    Uh…. Yeah that’s one way to look at it. The other is too also take in to account all the petroleum and metal that goes in to making the thousands of pounds of plastic, steel and aluminum that goes in to those new pick ups.

    This is another BS theory put forth by the oil industry. And I have a pickup truck that is used for hauling. A used Ram 1500. I love pick ups and need them to pull trailers.

    But Monday through Friday I am in a prius going to work.

    • Wayne

      I would not be caught dead in a Prius. I bought a 2018 Tahoe RST with a 6.2 to replace my 2015 5.3. I don’t mind getting 21 mpg in my truck.

      • MD

        You wouldn’t be caught dead in a prius? Why? It’s a fantastic commuter car. Do you need a big truck to compensate for something ?

        • Nick099

          No, cause it’s ugly as sin……as in really ugly. The latest iteration is even uglier than the last…which is quite an accomplishment for Toyota.

          There are people who love cars; appreciate design…it’s a sensation thing. They really love to drive…again a sensation.

          Then there are people who just drive and view the automobile as a simple transportation device…their senses are numb.

          Prius drivers are the latter.

          • MD

            People who generalize and stereotype people by the car they drive have a simple minded view of the world. I agree the Prius is not attractive, but I own 4 cars and it’s so efficient and convenient to drive in Los Angeles in heavy traffic. My other cars are a 2011 Dodge Ram, a 1975 FJ55 Land Cruiser and a 2015 4Runner. I happen to really love Toyotas and respect the way they are built.

            I love cars and I do accept that they can be a clue in to someone’s personality, but it’s really just a tired and stupid trope to suggest that “Prius drivers” are one kind of people. It’s just a lame assertion that demonstrates a lack of critical thinking.

          • Nick099

            You started it with the “compensation for something” comments . Normally I wouldn’t care what you drive or what anyone drives. Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it.

          • MD

            Not only can I take it, I’m relentlessly continuing it 🙂 I’m sorry if you two are just now realizing that making sweeping generalizations about prius drivers demonstrates a lack of thought and emotional maturity.

            It’s 2018. The world is dying because of our destuctive behaviors. People who buy Prius because that’s the car they need (not a truck or SUV) should be praised, not denegrated. Just the same if you NEED a truck for hauling or towing you shouldn’t be criticized. Living in Los Angeles with horses, I need both. I’m not going to commute in a RAM or a Tundra because I’m worried someone might see me in a Prius and not think im a big tough truck guy. Who cares. That thinking is so dumb and lame I can’t believe there are men like you guys out there continuing to perpetuate it.

          • Nick099

            Oh you are too funny!

            Yes the world is dying Chicken Little. Those of us who have been around long enough have heard this ever since we can remember. If it’s not one pestilence, it’s another disease, it’s some type of world cataclysmic event. It’s all going to end in one giant Frozen ball of ice or one big flame out. Take your pick.

            But what I find really, really amusing is when all of you save the world, sanctimonious types fawn over electric cars with their wonderful lithium ion batteries as the cure-all for the ills in the world.

            Yes let’s do that Skippy and breathe in all of those wonderful deadly gasses leaking from those lithium batteries. It’s not green kid, nothing really is if you ever bother to go beyond the superficial and actually examine the subject.

          • MD

            Oh Nick. Again with the sweeping generalizations. The world is not back and white. Those of us with a brain are able to see that. I can buy an electric car and run it off my solar panels while also realizing that the lithium ion batteries are toxic, the plastic panels are petroleum based and the the rubber tires are going to end up in a landfill. The beauty of having a brain capable of critical thinking is that I don’t assume there is a perfect solution to any problem. I get to make choices based on a multitude of variables and see what has the least detrimental impact on society as a hole. Making these purchasing decisions always involves compromise.

            Turn off the Fox News. It’s destroykng your brain.

      • S3XY

        I don’t mind leaving my house with a full charge of 52 electric miles in my Volt which only cost $2.30.

        • MD

          I just bought a house with a ton of solar panels and I think I’m going to sell the Prius for the Volt. I wish Toyota made an electric, but the Volt makes so much sense.

      • Nick099

        I agree. That 6.2 has some grunt.

        Tahoe’s are great looking trucks.

  • WalthamDan

    That new Silverado is going to put Chevy in 3rd place for pickup sale in 2019.

  • Jason Panamera

    These MPG values are ,,estimated averages”. But when you buy a truck, you also tow stuff or put more wieght in the back, so MPG will be higher, yup ?

  • diesel_vdub

    While I get the logic of “if you have to have a truck, replace your 5+ year old truck with a newer, more efficient one” that doesn’t negate the fact that all the fools buying trucks and SUVs as family haulers could save a ton more money and dramatically help the environment by replacing them with a more fuel-efficient sedan or wagon. Those massive full-size trucks do not fit in cities and barely fit in the suburbs. Shrink them by 25% and stop using high horsepower engines to offset your insecurities about the size of your manhood, that’s where the real savings will come from.

    • MD


  • S3XY

    “Want To Save On Fuel? Buy A New *Tesla Pickup, Says The US Dept Of Energy”

    *Fixed. Once the Tesla pick up comes out it’s game over for gas guzzling trucks as well.

  • salamOOn

    well, i can see the point, but this is really really stupid logic and poor justification…
    switch your old truck for a normal car and you will save even more….

    btw the last sentence in this article is pure WTF….. its pure BS.

  • salamOOn

    you are right. “Buy a truck if you want to save more fuel.” is not the same as “Buy a smaller lighter car if you want to spend way less on fuel.”

  • ace_9

    I’m not even surprised by this article. And the ending was quite amusing 😀 The earth is overpopulated and mentally weaker are reproducing the most, so we get these kind of things every day…
    However, don’t get me wrong, I get that it is of course natural, that someone needing a pickup will save a little bit on fuel and produce less emissions when he buys a new one. It’s the same practically for all types of cars. But it takes a special person to look at it in a way presented in the article.

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