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Posts Tagged ‘fuel economy’

Plunging Fuel Prices Could Create Problems for Ford, Says Product Chief

Maker intends to do “the right thing,” but must balance CAFE and consumer demands.

by on Dec.04, 2014

Ford's 2015 F-150 4x2 with Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost engine has EPA-estimated ratings of 22 mpg Combined.

With gasoline prices plummeting below $3 a gallon in much of the country – and with further cuts expected – American motorists are shifting gears. November’s booming sales numbers were given strong momentum by the resurgent demand for fuel-hungry pickups, SUVs vans and even muscle cars.

Ironically, that’s not entirely good news for automakers like Ford Motor Co. On the positive side, sales of the new 2015 Mustang nearly doubled over last year’s volume, and Ford has a massive backlog of orders for its new F-150 pickup, the most profitable model in its portfolio.

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But plunging pump prices also create some serious challenges, cautioned Raj Nair, Ford’s global product development chief.

“Certainly, low fuel prices make it hard to sell some vehicles like hybrids and electrics,” he said during a lunch at the Ford test track near the maker’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.

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Truck, SUV Sales Driving Down Fuel Economy Average

Second consecutive month for mileage drop.

by on Oct.06, 2014

Despite big increase in fuel economy for the Ram EcoDiesel, sales of trucks and SUVs are driving down the average fuel economy of new vehicles in the U.S.

The upturn in the sales of pick-up trucks and sport utility vehicles is taking a toll on the average fuel-economy of vehicles sold in the United States, according to the University of Michigan.

The average fuel economy based on the mandatory window-sticker mileage figures of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in September stood at 25.3 mpg — down 0.5 miles per gallon from the value in August, U-M researchers reported.

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“This large drop likely reflects the increased sales of light trucks and SUVs,” the survey’s authors said in a statement. (more…)

Ram Diesel, Toyota Highlander Hybrid Win Consumer Reports Nods

Both deliver unexpected mileage, magazine says.

by on Aug.27, 2014

The Ram EcoDiesel delivers sedan-like mileage, according to Consumer Reports testers.

Consumer Reports has placed Fiat Chrysler’s Ram 1500 EcoDiesel at the top of its full-size pickup truck ratings due to its performance in fuel-economy tests, while the influential magazine also lauded the Toyota Highlander SUV.

The choice of the Ram Diesel underscores the growing intensity of the competition in the full-size pickup segment, which is undergoing a technical revolution as truck makers roll out new, more fuel-efficient powertrains and make other significant improvements meant to boost fuel-economy.

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Ford Motor Co. will launch a new, aluminum-bodied F-150 this fall that sheds up to 700 pounds and is expected to gain significant mileage, but the all-new truck wasn’t included in this round of tests by Consumer Reports.

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Ford Pitches Innovation as it Prepares Launch of Aluminum F-150 Pickup

But nagging concerns remain.

by on Aug.14, 2014

It all adds up - the new sliding rear window on the 2015 F-150 saves about a pound.

(The story has been updated to include results of a new survey of pickup owners.)

Ford Motor Co. is so eager to show off the innovations and weight-savings built into its aluminum-bodied 2015 F-150 pickup, it held a press conference to show off a new sliding rear window that saved just slightly less than one pound.

The maker is racing to get ready for the launch of the new truck and knows there are plenty of concerns about the switch to an “aluminum-intensive” body – made all the more of a challenge by a fire that destroyed a prototype of its next-generation heavy duty pickups, expected to switch to the lightweight metal a year after the launch of the half-ton F-150.

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The 2015 pickup will be as much as 700 pounds lighter than the old, steel-bodied F-150, much of that due to the switch to aluminum. But Ford also has cut mass in a number of areas, large and small. That includes the use of a new “seamless” sliding rear window developed in a collaboration with Canadian-mega-supplier Magna International, noted the appropriately named Noah Mass, the Ford engineering manager responsible for sliding windows and sunroofs.

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Automakers Reap Benefit of Better Mileage, Low Fuel Prices

Fuel economy improves as truck sales ride high.

by on Aug.06, 2014

UMTRI notes that despite the increase in sales of large vehicles, like the F-150, fuel economy levels continue to improve.

Automakers are maximizing the sweet spot in mix of sales, fuel economy and gas prices – bigger vehicles getting better gas mileage as fuel prices drop – and enjoying robust sales as a result.

Fuel economy trends continue to improve despite the continuing surge in the sales of light-duty trucks and sport utility vehicles. Meanwhile gasoline prices continue to decline as the end of the summer driving season looms.

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The University of Michigan’s monthly measurement of the efficiency of new vehicles sold in the U.S. during July fell just shy of the all-time high, according to researchers at U-M’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI).  (more…)

New Stop-Start Engines Boosting Mileage up to 7%, Reports AAA

Technology becoming more widely available, often as standard feature.

by on Jul.24, 2014

A full 97% of Chevy Malibu buyers are opting for the version with Stop-Start standard.

With increasingly stringent mileage standards coming down the pike over the next decade, automakers are frantically racing to find ways to boost the fuel economy of their vehicles. Some new features would yield benefits that are barely measurable, others could add significantly to a vehicle’s price tag. But new Stop-Start engines are delivering significant mileage benefits, often without additional cost to consumers.

A new study suggests that Stop-Start technology – which shuts an engine off, rather than idling – can reduce fuel consumption by anywhere from 5% to 7%. And it achieves a similar reduction in the production of global-warming CO2 emissions, according to research by the AAA.

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“Up to seven percent improved fuel economy can mean a $179 annual fuel savings* for consumers,” says Greg Brannon, Director of AAA’s Automotive Engineering and Industry Relations team. “The technology requires only minor adjustment for motorists – automatic stop-start technology is simply applied to standard combustion engines.”

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Gasoline Prices Continue Climbing in US

Auto fuel efficiency continues to rise, survey shows.

by on Jul.08, 2014

The strong sales of the Ram 1500 Diesel has contributed to the national improvement in fuel economy for new vehicles.

With gasoline prices inching upward this summer, the fuel economy of the new vehicles sold in the U.S. is continuing to improve compared with historic figures, the University of Michigan reports.

Despite a slight dip in June, fuel economy of new vehicles sold in the U.S. has exceeded 25 miles per gallon for the fifth straight month, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) responsible for the monthly survey of fuel economy trends.

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The average fuel economy – window-sticker values – of cars, light trucks, vans and SUVs purchased last month was 25.5 mpg, down from a record-high 25.6 mpg in May. Vehicle fuel economy is now up 5.4 mpg from October 2007, the first full month of monitoring, noted UMTRI researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle. (more…)

New Car Buyers Pushing for Better Fuel Economy

Report shows federal mandate, consumer demand drives improvement.

by on Jun.23, 2014

Trucks are hot sellers these days, in some measure because they are getting better gas mileage than ever.

With new cars and trucks getting better gas mileage than ever and new vehicle sales hitting record highs, it’s no surprise that consumers expect their new purchases to continue to be more fuel efficient.

The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) released the results of its annual report today, which found that new vehicles are not only more economical, but also consumers are in favor of the fuel-efficiency rules helping to usher these vehicles to the market.

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“Consumers want and expect the vehicles they intend to purchase to get significantly higher fuel economy,” said Mark Cooper, CFA’s director of research. “Many Americans struggle to live within their budgets, and a large majority are troubled about future gasoline prices.” (more…)

How to Save Fuel in Hot Weather

by on Jun.19, 2014

You can save fuel driving in summer - if your're careful. Photo courtesy: DenverExpressCare.

It was a long, cold winter for much of the U.S., and if you live in one of those Snowbelt states you might have noticed that your fuel bills rose whenever the mercury sank, your car working longer and harder to get both the engine and passenger compartment up to temperature. The good news is that hot weather actually can reduce your fuel consumption – at least if you follow some basic tips.

While your engine warms up faster – requiring less fuel – you need to think about ways to keep the passenger compartment cool without putting the air conditioning on at full blast, cautions the Department of Energy (DoE) and other automotive experts.

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“Under very hot conditions, AC can reduce a conventional vehicle’s fuel economy by more than 25%,” notes new guidelines posted on Fueleconomy.gov. And the impact of running your air conditioning in a hybrid, plug-in or battery-electric vehicle “can be even larger on a percentage basis,” it notes.

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Most Pickups Will Adopt Aluminum Bodies, Says Study

But many planners are taking a wait-and-see approach as Ford launches new aluminum F-150.

by on Jun.10, 2014

Ford's new F-150 will be up to 700 pounds lighter than the outgoing pickup truck. Photo credit: Len Katz.

When the new Ford F-150 comes to market later this year it could usher in a dramatic transformation, according to auto industry leaders, who forecast that more than 75% of all pickups will migrate to aluminum bodies over the next decade.

The payoff could be substantial in terms of both performance and capacity, as well as fuel economy, according to the report by the consulting and research firm Ducker Worldwide. The general rule of thumb is that mileage improves an average 1 mpg for every 100 pounds of weight reduction, and in the case of the new 2015 F-150, Ford expects to save up to 700 pounds per truck.

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“The numbers tell a powerful story of aluminum’s explosive growth across the automotive sector,” said Tom Boney, chairman of the Aluminum Association’s Aluminum Transportation Group, which commissioned the new report.

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