Designing fuel-efficient light-duty trucks isn’t easy. Light-duty trucks, including vans, pickups, and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), can weigh as much as 8,500 lb, with payload capacities up to 4,000 lb. Squeezing an extra mile-per-gallon or two from such behemoths is a major achievement.
To be sure, high mileage numbers can be achieved, but a radical approach is often required. The Toyota RAV4 EV sport utility vehicle, for example, is rated at 76 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent), thanks to an all-electric powertrain. The hybrid version of the Toyota Highlander SUV features a combined rating of 28 mpg. In most cases, though, the line between best and worst is a fine one.
We’ve collected photos of the US Department of Energy’s least fuel-efficient light-duty trucks. From pickups and minivans to sport utility vehicles, we offer a peek at a few of those, bearing in mind that, in some cases, the worst aren’t much different from the best.
Click on the 2014 FWD Toyota Tacoma below to start the slideshow.
The 2014 FWD Toyota Tacoma shows how slim the margin is between best and worst. At 17 mpg, the four-wheel-drive truck ties for the lowest-rated small pickup. Oddly, it is 6 mpg worse than the two-wheel drive Tacoma, which gets DOE’s nod as the most fuel-efficient small pickup. The FWD Tacoma checks in at 16 mpg in the city and 19 on the highway. (Source: Toyota)
Did your ride make the list? Tell us in the comments section below.
The Toyota Tacoma is great in terms of safety but horribly bad for mpg. A friend of mine swears by them though. They used them in Afghanistan and while out on patrol one night they came under mortar and RPG fire from the Taliban. They weren't able to drive out and there was no cover to run to, so they did the next best thing and crawled underneath the truck's engines. Suffice it to say those engines can take a pounding and no one was injured. No matter the mpg rating, he will never drive anything else.
I like lists like this. It allows me to see in a condensed format how bad a mistake I can make if I let old (emotional) or antidotal info cloud my thought process when shopping for a vehicle.
I have started weighing replacing my 97 Ranger with something more substantial. The Ranger was bought new and has been both my primary, and my secondary vehicle at different times. I've owned a bunch of trucks and vans over the years (mostly used high-mileage/beaters) because they allow me to do a whole 'nother facet of living that the little 5 seaters don't.
I like Ford and will probable buy a new F-150 in the next year or so. But I'll be checking it's mileage against the main contenders just to see where that truck stands. It will be my primary for a few years at least. The Accord has 150,000 on it and if I baby it a little it may last a couple more years as my people mover. I'm not looking forward to a big jump in my gas budget but I suspect it'll be part of the deal.
I really don't know how I survived all these years without my truck. I bought a 1998 Toyota Pre-Runner about eight years ago. It had 36K miles on it and now has 256K miles. I have hauled everything but dead bodies in that little thing and (apparently) am the "go-to-guy" in our neighborhood when someone needs to move furniture, make a quick trip to the land-fill, etc. I get about 19 MPG, which I'm not too worried about, BUT I have it serviced every 3,000 miles. (OK, I'm paranoid. ) If it fell apart right now, piece by piece, I could not say a bad thing about it. Great post Charles.
Ramjet, First, thank you for attempting to make this discussion more rational and civil, and moving it away from personal attacks.
I wholeheartedly agree that we should promote trains over trucks for long-haul freight--and for passengers, too. Also I recognize your special need for a vehicle like the Xterra but my protest was was about a fellow who claimed to drive a gas-hog solely for the hell of it. That's a bit different.
A number of philosophers have eaxmined the question (called the li'l old me problem) where an individual claime that his or her actions--good or bad--don't count because they are diluted by the bulk of society. There are two rebuttals. The first is that such a position could justify almost any bad behavior. "Thousands of people lose their watches every year, so what's the incremental harm if i steal yours?" Second is that each of us is responsible for his own behavior, regardless of what others may do. And our behavior sets an example. Thus if I want to live in a society that values, say, honesty, then each honest or dishonest act will strengther or weaken that norm.
As I see it, I am obliged to do what is right for whatever small effectit may have, without first taking a survey of how many others might behave similarly or different.y.
I drive a small cab Tacoma with a 4 cyl engine and 4wd stick shift. I go off roading frequently, and it has all the power I need. It is also used frequently for hauling building and garden supplies. most of the mileage is highway, and the mpg varies from 21-23. It seemed big enough for me. Yes, it only holds two people, but I do not run a family taxi service. I intentionally purchased this configuration because I wanted good fuel economy.
OK, I'm gonna fall in the middle on this rising debate.
Yes, Each of us is free to drive what they want and can afford. Yes, it may be harmful in a slight way to others. He pays for the fuel, not the rest of us, so it's still his choice. Now, does that drive up the cost for everyone? Not enough to notice and you will ask WHY?
Simple, the total consumed is insanely large, one person cannot make a 10th decimal place difference in the total if they try. The majority is burned by large fleet operations.
Want to make a real difference? Lobby Congress to stop helping Truckers and push the freight back onto TRAINS. A Train can move a ton of freight 400 miles on a gallon of diesel. Yes, it is the economy of volume writ large. those trains also take 5 miles to get moving and 5 more to stop. Don't pull on the track in front of them, they CANNOT stop in time. Personal pet pieve there.
On a personal note: I drive a 2012 Nissan XTERRA S, it gets 20 MPG at best. Less when commuting to work. So Why do I drive this beast?
1. I'm 6' tall 250 lbs with big shoulders, I don't fit in economy cars at all. 2. I live in New Hampshire, it is often impossible to get to work from my house in a car, lots of snow, dead end street and slow plow response mean I'm making my own road often and the winter is long. 3. I DO go offroad with my family for camping and such events. 4. It hauls a large amount of cargo internally, my hobbies are all good at consuming that area. Like my Model Rockets, Several feet tall each piece, up to a foot in diameter, and I need plenty of support equipment like a popup shade, table, bag chairs, engine box and so on.
So while I do care about gas milage, It gets balanced with my transport needs. I will continue to drive my Xterra. It's the second one I've owned, the first was traded in on it after 13 years and 150,000 miles. And I only traded because I got a massive Rebate on the new one. I bought a 2012 new in in April of 2013. The old one still had lots of life left. Dependability, another reason I like it.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the country’s worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If you’re an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then you’ll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, “Analog Design for the Digital World,” running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
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