With miles per gallon figures more competitive than ever, automakers are being tested on the full life-cycle emissions of production vehicles. Automotive Science Group (ASG) has taken a comprehensive approach to calculating a vehicle’s impact on the environment as well as the complete cost of ownership and impact on social justice issues. On all three counts, the 2015 Ford F-150 beat out the competition in the pickup truck class.
F-150: Lighter footprint than Ram EcoDiesel
ASG took into account the full life of vehicles from sourcing parts during production to projected use and disposal. In regular cab, crew cab, and extended cab, the F-150 XL Supercab with 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine topped other light-duty pickups for “environmental performance.”
Despite its advantage in city and highway economy, Ram’s EcoDiesel (23 combined miles per gallon) was determined by ASG to have a a bigger impact on the environment than the aluminum F-150 (22 combined miles per gallon). Since Ram’s diesel model releases a higher amount of particle emissions per mile than the 2015 F-150, the life-cycle edge goes to Ford’s pickup.
Widening the angle to include “economic performance” and overall “social performance,” Ford’s F-150 also was the winner in both cases. In annual fueling costs, there is no comparison between Ram and Ford: F-150 would save owners $2,750 over the EcoDiesel model over the course of five years. Chevy Silverado (20 combined miles per gallon, $750 more in fueling costs compared to F-150) is much closer to the Ford model with gasoline currently cheaper than diesel fuel.
Fuel economy in the marketplace
When the 1500 EcoDiesel won Green Truck of the Year, Ram CEO Ron Hegbloom reiterated that fuel economy in the top priority of truck buyers, but the shift in gas prices has made the F-150 far more affordable while providing nearly the same efficiency. In terms of particulate emissions, there is an even better case to be made for the Ford EcoBoost model that comes in at a lower sticker price.
J.D. Power’s 2015 U.S. Avoider Study (taken between April and May 2014) showed fuel economy continued to be the most important factor when buying an automobile, according to The Car Connection. Despite the rush on SUVs and other large vehicles, J.D. Power believes consumers look to the long-term when buying vehicles. (Automakers do, too, as Ford’s development of a hybrid F-150 would prove.)
Life-cycle emissions tests are becoming more common when comparing green vehicles against gasoline alternatives, and the conversation should include the source of electricity when electric vehicles are concerned. While it may not carry as much weight in the pickup class, Ford F-150 is leader of the pack.