The Most Eco-Friendly Half Ton Truck Engines
Many hard-core “greenies” long for the extinction of the pickup truck. These people view pickups as an anachronism – a hold-over from a time when Americans actually worked for a living. If you’re reading this blog you already know, but here it is again:
Pickup trucks aren’t going away. High gas prices won’t end the American love affair with pickups because people buy trucks for a reason – they need em.’
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, what about the “greenies” who need a pickup but want one that’s eco-friendly? Some would say that there’s no such thing, but we disagree. Using federal fuel economy and carbon footprint data provided by the EPA, we’ve put together a list of the most eco-friendly pickup trucks.
Before we give you the rankings, here’s the methodology:
- We’re looking at more than just total carbon footprint – aka the total tons of carbon a vehicle produces. While the total footprint figure is important, it’s important to qualify the total footprint against the power of the vehicle.
- We did not use any manufacturer towing figures because we believe all half-ton tow ratings are inflated. We didn’t use payload ratings because they’re just as dependent of suspension as they are on engine power. We kept it simple and looked at SAE standard torque, horsepower, and published displacement only.
- All of our footprint numbers are based on the annual EPA data for the 4×4 versions of the trucks…we wanted to maximize the total carbon footprint number of every vehicle.
- We ignored E85 because most people don’t use it. We also ignored V6’s because very few people buy them in a half-ton truck.
If you think our methodology is flawed, feel free to publish your own article. We’re making some arbitrary choices here to try and get these numbers under control – deal with it.
Here’s the total annual carbon footprint data (sorted by annual CO2 output):
|Year||Make||Model||Engine||Annual CO2 Tons||Peak HP||Peak TQ|
Keep in mind that the annual carbon footprint numbers are a simple calculation. The EPA uses their average fuel economy rating and average annual miles driven to calculate the number of barrels of oil used.
Here are the results in terms of efficiency – peak horsepower per ton of carbon, peak torque per ton of carbon, and tons of carbon per liter of engine displacement:
|Year||Make||Model||Engine||HP/Ton CO2||TQ/Ton CO2||Tons CO2/Liter|
First Place Overall: Dodge Ram 5.7
The Dodge Ram with the 5.7 is one of the most powerful engines on the truck market, yet the EPA annual carbon footprint is less than the Tundra 5.7, Titan 5.6, and Silverado 6.2 (despite very similar HP and TQ numbers). It might sound crazy, but the HEMI might be the best compromise between power and low carbon output.
Second Place: How about a three way tie?
The Silverado 5.3, F150 4.6 3V, and new Tundra 4.6 are all powerful V8’s with solid performance and the lowest carbon output in the group. Unless you need maximum power, any one of these truck engines will suit you just fine.
Third Place: Chevy Silverado Hybrid
Ya, that’s right, the hybrid came in third. Considering that the Ram (which is substantially more powerful) produces the same amount of carbon on an annual basis, there’s no way the Silverado Hybrid could rank first. Since all the engines in second place produce less carbon annually and have similar power, the hybrid is the obvious third choice.
This is yet another example of marketing getting in the way of science. Chevy’s own 5.3 (based largely on 1960’s pushrod technology) nearly matches the Hybrid 6.0 in terms of horsepower and torque per ton of carbon. What’s the point of the hybrid?
Least Eco-Friendly Half-Ton Engine: Of all the V8s, Ford’s soon-to-be-discontinued 4.6L with 2 valves per cylinder has the least efficient HP and TQ per ton of CO2 numbers. It’s also the least efficient in terms of tons of CO2 per liter of displacement. Ford’s getting rid of that engine to make room for the new EcoBoost, which will likely rock these ratings.
Bottom Line: Give Dodge credit – they integrated a number of fuel-saving technologies into their most powerful engine, and the result is a truck that is environmentally efficient – at least as far as trucks are concerned.
Filed Under: Toyota Tundra Reviews and Comparisons