ford f-150

“Ford changed the game this week when it unveiled its aluminum-intensive pickup truck, the 2015 F-150, that is as much as 700 pounds lighter than a comparable steel-bodied vehicle. To the casual observer, the anticipated 3 mpg (20%) increase gained by Ford’s high-tech ‘light-weighting’ (a term of art) may seem marginal, but I assure you it is a figure of immediate and national consequence.

[Gives example of fuel economy gain and resulting net efficiency of Toyota Prius, which averages 50 mpg, with that of low-mpg vehicles like pickups, in which the fuel-saving effect is multiplied: to nearly four times that of the Prius, in his example.] Now reckon with the Big Multiplier: 763,000. That is the number of F-series trucks Ford sold last year, a figure that on its own would make the F-series the seventh largest vehicle company in the U.S. market. By virtue of the hundreds of millions of miles rolled up by the F-series annually, you are looking at the single biggest real-world advance in fuel economy in any vehicle since the Arab oil embargo.”

-Dan Neil, in his “Rumble Seat” column in this weekend’s Wall Street Journal