|St. Louis, MO — Missouri pickup truck drivers would have saved over $387 million at the gas pump last year and cut global warming pollution by over 3.2 million tons if U.S. automakers had used existing technology to improve the fuel economy of pickups, according to a report released by the Sierra Club. With high gas prices putting the pinch on Memorial Day weekend travelers, the Sierra Club’s new report and online gas savings calculator demonstrate that the technology exists today to make all kinds of vehicles get better gas mileage.
“The biggest single step we can take to save all drivers money at the gas pump, and create less pollution, is to build vehicles that simply use less gasoline,” said Jill Miller, Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club in St. Louis. “Detroit has the technology to make all vehicles, including pickup trucks, get better gas mileage. Don’t drivers in Missouri deserve that choice?”
The Sierra Club’s new report, "Shifting Out Of Reverse: Making Pickup Trucks Go Farther on a Gallon of Gas" reveals that by installing proven, off-the-shelf technology, the average pickup driver in Missouri would have saved $414 last year in gasoline costs, at an average of $1.69 per gallon of regular unleaded. Annual gas cost savings for the 924,500 pickups registered in Missouri would have added up to $387,197,639. Furthermore, better technology would have eliminated nearly 3.4 tons per driver of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2), the main global warming culprit, or 3,203,290 fewer tons statewide.
Since pickup trucks get some of the worst fuel economy of any vehicle on the road, drivers are often hit the hardest by rising gas prices, particularly when the truck is used for work.
“Gas costs were one of my main concerns when buying a new truck," said Bob Lober, a family farmer near Moscow Mills, MO. Lober switched from an 8-cylinder pickup to a 6-cylinder Chevy Silverado just to cut fuel expenditures. He uses his truck on St. Isadore Farm, and makes two to three deliveries each week of fresh, organic produce to St. Louis-area restaurants, about a 100-mile round trip.
According to research by the Union of Concerned Scientists, using existing modern fuel saving technology could raise the fuel economy of a full-size Chevy Silverado from 20.3 MPG to 33.7 MPG. Examples of this technology—advanced ignitions, sleeker designs, smarter transmissions, high-tech engines, and high strength, light weight materials—are already standard in some vehicles, but should be in all. If existing, fuel-saving technology was standard in light trucks, the average American pickup truck driver would save an estimated over $1,900 in net savings at the gas pump over the lifetime of their truck.
Increasing the fuel economy of America’s pickup trucks would also strengthen national security by cutting America’s oil dependence. Improving the fuel economy of the average American pickup truck by 66% would have saved nearly 9.3 billion gallons of gasoline over the past year, representing over 600,000 barrels of oil per day—more than the U.S. currently imports from Iraq each year.
Read the full report here.