2015 F-150 Fuel Economy Ratings Disappoint

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UPDATE: Ford contacted me to ask me to clarify a few things about my post. Specifically:

  1. Ford couldn’t help the timing of the announcement. Evidently, the EPA figures weren’t available until Thursday night, and Ford was in a bind to get the numbers out ASAP as trucks are hitting the ground any day now.
  2. Ford never said that their goal was 30mpg. I presented this as fact, but I should clarify – it was my understanding based on some people I’d spoken to that Ford’g goal was 30mpg…Ford never said that. My 30mpg statement below came off as fact and it shouldn’t have.
  3. Ford’s Mike Levine pointed out that the new 2.7L Nano EcoBoost V6 has a low asking price (it’s a $495 option), as well as excellent towing and payload ratings for the price and fuel economy.

My only response is to item #1. It’s truly incredible that the EPA would release the 2015’s certified fuel economy numbers so that they’d have to be published the Friday before Thanksgiving.

The original article continues below ###

Many people in the PR business believe that Friday afternoon is the best time to release bad news to the press…especially near the holidays. Guess what time Ford chose to release the fuel economy figures for the 2015 F-150?

2014 EcoBoost 3.5L V6 vs 2015

Despite all the weight loss efforts, the same engines on the 2015 F-150 only get a little bit better gas mileage than the 2014. Here’s the comparison for the 2014 and 2015 3.5L EcoBoost.

Despite the extensive use of aluminum in the 2015 F-150, the truck’s fuel economy improved only slightly.

How 2015 F-150 Fuel Economy Shakes Out

When you look at the following table, you see that Ford’s aluminum body made little difference on fuel economy. Here are the highlights:

  • The base 3.5L V6 F-150, for example, gets nearly the same fuel economy rating as the more powerful 3.6L and 4.3L V6s from Ram and GM
  • The 5.0L V8 is 1mpg worse than GM’s 5.3L, but it does offer an extra 30hp
  • The tiny new 2.7L “Nano” is a solid performer compared to both base V6 and small V8 competitors, but it falls far short of the rumored 30mpg goal Ford had in mind.
  • Ram’s EcoDiesel wins the fuel economy competition, and while it’s expensive, it’s a diesel with 420 lb-ft of torque.
 Highway MPGCity MPGHPTQ
BASE V6's----
2015 Ford w/ NA 3.5L2520282253
2015 Ram w/ Pentastar 3.6L2517305269
2015 GM w/ 4.3L2418285305
2015 Tundra w/ 4.6L1915310327
2015 GM w/ 5.3L2316355383
2015 Ford w/ 3.5L EcoBoost2417365420
2015 Ford w/ 5.0L2215385387
2015 Tundra w/ 5.7L1813381401
2015 Ram w/ 5.7L2215395410
2015 GM w/ 6.2L2115420460
2015 Ford w/ 2.7L Nano V62619325375
2015 Ram w/ 3.0L Diesel2820240420

Why These Ratings Should Be Considered A Failure

For years, Ford has been talking about “game changing” F-150 fuel economy, made possible by dramatic weight loss. Yet the numbers clearly show that the F-150’s weight loss only made an incremental difference…in most cases, just a couple miles per gallon.

Is a couple of miles per gallon bad? Not at all. As a percentage, a 2mpg improvement on an 18mpg overall rating is greater than 10%. But consider:

  1. GM managed to get similar improvements with old-fashioned steel and pushrod engines. No aluminum, no rivets, no adhesive, and no fancy twin-turbos.
  2. Ford doesn’t have a lot of levers left to pull. Most automakers view “dramatic weight loss” as a big deal. Ford’s done it, and it didn’t take them very far.

Ford didn’t hit the fuel economy rating they needed to grab headlines (30mpg). They also didn’t manage to beat the most fuel efficient engine (the Ram EcoDiesel). And while the 2.7L Nano V6 is a compelling motor – offering V8-like performance and V6 fuel economy – most truck buyers know that EcoBoost engines don’t get the advertised mileage.

Ford made a big gamble on aluminum, and the gamble doesn’t seem to have paid off. Considering the money spent – and the risks inherent in building a truck from a combination of steel and aluminum – this is a failure.

What Will Ford Do Next?

Ford can still squeeze more mileage out of the F-150 with an 8 or 9 speed automatic transmission. They can make more aerodynamic changes, and find some incremental improvements here and there that will probably all add up to another couple miles per gallon. But that will make their trucks about as fuel efficient as a small diesel in a Ram 1500.

Of course, the Ram 1500 hasn’t been “lightened.” Neither have the trucks from Toytoa or Nissan. What might Ram – or Toyota or Nissan – be able to do when they invest in lightening their trucks? And what about GM’s rumored baby diesel, due out in 2016? Might that be the truck that hits 30mpg, a number that’s sure to impress the general public?

It says here that Ford’s aluminum F-150 gamble is off to a bad start…which is probably why Ford didn’t release the F-150 fuel economy numbers until Wall Street started their weekend.

Filed Under: Auto News


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  1. BrianJ says:

    Don’t throw stones when you live in a glass house. At least Ford is actually improving the MPG of their trucks. Toyota hasn’t improved the mileage of the Tundra since its release in 2007. I think Ford should be applauded for the improvements and strides in technology they are making.

    As for the ecodiesel from Ram…if you take the combined FE of the ecodiesel at 23 mpg and the combined FE of the 2.7L ecoboost at 22 mpg calculated with the increased cost of diesel fuel alone you lose about $300-400 annually (based on 15k miles annually). Then there is the initial premium purchase cost of the diesel combined with the increased maintenance cost. Oh, and every 10k miles you will need to refill that DEF tank. I’ll take the ecoboost given the choice.

    The 5.7 is a great motor, but its kinda hard to take Toyota seriously when they are using technology from 8 years ago while everyone else is moving far ahead. It’ll be interesting to see if/when Toyota makes an upgrade.

    • BrianJ – Totally agree that Toyota needs to make an investment here, and I believe that they’ll be rolling out a new set of powertrain options in 2016, about the same time that GM rolls out their upgraded transmission and “baby diesel.”

      However, it’s important to compare real-world figures to what’s printed on the EPA sticker. Fuelly.com has owner-reported data for all sorts of makes and models, and the real-world data on a 3.5L V6 F-150 is about 17mpg. The real world on the Tundra is 16 (or so). Granted, there’s not a TON of data here, but if you talk to F-150 owners and/or read forums, the numbers seem reasonable.

      The point: The Tundra’s 5.7L isn’t as bad as it may seem according to the EPA test cycle, and the Ford engines arent’ as good. I fully expect the 2015 F-150 to improve another 1-2 mpg, but I ask you, is it worth sacrificing steel construction and a torquey V8 for 19mpg, when the former gets 16mpg? That’s about 100 gallons of “extra” fuel every 10,000 miles for a truck that’s probably better. It’s the proverbial “dollar a day” math people use to justify buying cable, helping kids in Africa, etc. (LOL)

      I agree the math on the diesel isn’t so hot either, but it’s got better resale value, and I think the cost differential will magically decrease as Ram needs to sell more to improve their fuel economy rating. Ditto on the Pentastar V6 (which isn’t too bad all things considered).

      These numbers were a disappointment, which is why Ford sat on them until the Friday before thanksgiving. I call em’ like I see em’.

  2. Larry says:

    Well, if the new high tech twin turbo v6 motors Ford is building turn out to be rock solid engines, everyone will win since all manufactures will be forced to do the same. We won’t know for while how good these motors are until a bunch of them get to the 125,000 mile mark.

    I have to say that I don’t really see the point in comparing the 3.0L ecodiesel ( I really hate those terms, ecodiesel — ecoboost) motor to gas motors. Diesel is a lower RPM high compression slower burning system. It’s main advantage is in moving heave loads as a constant speed. Most who have only driven gas motor all their life are going to think diesel is powerless since it won’t rev up and go like when we step on them like a gas motor. My diesel will jump when the turbo pressure goes up but there is only about 800 RPM available before it red lines.

    As for a comment on another thread. The Toyota 5.7 gas V8 is known to last forever. That makes it a better choice then a high tech unproven Ford V6 for now. An engine that gets it done which is dependable is worth a lot in the long term.

    A lot of people are gong to be taking some serious risk when they put down 40 grand on these new Fords. Ford has essentially bet their reputation that they can put an Indy 500 engine in an F150. I wish them luck.

    • I hear you on ‘Eco’ – it’s dumb.

      I think Ford’s engines will be fine in terms of quality, but I fully expect 2.7L nano buyers to be even more disappointed with real-world fuel economy figures than the 3.5L ecoboost buyers were that engine first arrived. As you’ve said in previous comments, turbos aren’t more efficient unless you refrain from using them, and most drivers tend to waste fuel driving hard.

      I think that Ford is also going to have to restrain themselves on incentive spending, while GM and Ram crank theirs up. Ford was hoping for high gas prices to push the market, but the opposite has happened. Now, they’ve got a truck that costs far more to manufacturer than the truck it replaces, and a marketplace that probably doesn’t much care for the added features.

      This is a failure by any definition, at least relative to the billions Ford invested to make this transition happen.

      However, as you say, consumers all benefit from this in the long run…so Ford’s loss is surely our gain.

  3. Larry says:

    A comment on ecoboost.net from a ford 3.7 ecoboot owner.

    “At about 2,500 miles I pulled a 33′ – 7,500 lb travel trailer 250 miles and got just over 10 mpg. I’ve also pulled a 20 ft boat and get about 13.5 mpg. You go over70 and it really drops.”

    Really, 10 MPG while towing 7500 + truck at 4500 = 12000 pounds???

    He didn’t post what he was expecting. Sounds normal to me.

    What on earth are people expecting? Want 50 MPG get a VW diesel car and don’t tow 7500 pounds.

  4. ricqik says:

    I will probably never ever buy a ford f150 but 24mpg is still better than 18mpg.

    tundra 18mpg x 26gallons = 468miles
    f150 24mpg x 26gallons = 624miles

    That extra 156 miles is worth 8.6gallons of gas or another 2.5hrs of travel.

    In any case, i hope that when toyota does revamp their engine lineups that it is better instead of meet the competition.

    • Hemi lol says:

      Your failing to realize the real world economy, 18 on the tundra can easily get to 20. I do it with mine and I have a crewmax with some ole 22’s with 33″ tires. I bet NOONE ever gets 24 on that truck unless they do 65 mph. A guy i work with consistently gets 22 mpg on his double cab 4×4 5.7 tundra driving 65 mph 40 miles to work and 40 miles home. I’ll take 381/ 401 that will live forever and pull like a freight train anything I want vs 325/375 with a big question mark on everything

      • ricqik says:

        I didn’t forget about real world mpg’s. Real world mpg vary too much to use as a solid number to compare. There will always be some that hit or best the epa numbers then there are some who can’t seem to come close the epa regardless. As much as I disagree with the epa ratings because it’s not a real world test. Which I think they should take 10 vehicles and drive them through the real streets and take the avg for their ratings. The epa is a controlled test and it is the best tool to use as a comparison.

  5. Aaron says:

    I saw and drove this truck in both teh 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines a week ago. At that time, Ford was still awaiting EPA approval of their MPG tests. So it’s not “incredible” that the EPA would release them Thursday afternoon so that Ford could not react until Friday. That, to me, sounds like CYA on your part, Jason.

    As for the numbers being “disappointing,” I’d say.. well, only if you’re a Ford fanboi who’s been over-estimating the greatness of the small EcoBoost. The truth is, the F-150, aluminum or no, is still a big pickup with a lot of weight to move around.

    As for all of the “my Tundra gets blah blah blah” well, those are real-world and guess what? The Ford numbers aren’t. Woops! I saw the numbers for the truck that Ford was towing their trailer around to the events for. That 3.5L EcoBoost was getting over 15 mpg with an ~8,000# trailer going between Utah and Colorado. I was checking out the trip computer at the time and asked the rep where the truck had been, since it hadn’t been zeroed out. He told me they’d left Salt Lake City the day before and driven to Denver over I-70. Knowing that route well, I knew the mileage I was seeing on the computer matched that. So I asked how heavy their enclosed trailer was and he said about 8,000 pounds. Then he realized what I was doing and got a bit nervous until I showed him the numbers I was seeing.

    • Larry says:

      I live in Utah and drive long grades daily. My old 3.0 V6 T100 got about 14 and on a high way trip it got 19. Tow a 2000 pound load and it could drop to 12.

      I will say right now, 15 MPG towing an 8000 pound trailer with a 4500 pound truck didn’t happen. 15 MPG moving 12500 pounds? Someone is smoking something. Didn’t happen, not no way not no how. Was someone looking at a digital readout while going down a grade with their foot off the pedal? Freewheeling down a grade while the tarns was in neutral?

      Move a truck and trailer up the 13 mile grade of 6-7 percent on I80 from Salt Lake to Parleys Summit, 7200 feet elevation at 65 MPH and the thing will be lucky to get 8 no matter what motor is in the thing. I have seen an F150 3.7 turbo towing a tandem axel trailer with 5000 pound car on it and it was blowing up the canyon at 70, I followed just to see the speed. I was really impressed that it had that kind of pulling power but, I don’t even need to measure the fuel to know he wasn’t getting 10 MPG doing it.

      I have a friend who was trying to tell me his V8 Chevy got 23. Every now and then he would look at the gauge and only remember the highest number. I told him he was full of it. We filled the truck drove 100 miles, filled it back up and it got 17 avg. while every now an then the meter said 22. What a load of crap.

      I don’t care what kind of motor is being used, 4 cylinder or 12, it takes a fuel mixture of about 14:1 in a gas motor to move a load. Lean out the mixture too much and kiss the motor good by. After this generation of trucks hit the market, that’s going to be about it for milage gains. From here on 1 percent improvements is going to be almost impossible.

      Aaron, was it a Ford rep who was saying this?

      • Aaron says:

        No, it’s me who was saying this. I arrived at the event early and saw the truck pull in, trailer in tow. It was the only truck on the lot with a hitch kit. It was me who was looking at the trip history and it was the rep who was totally surprised that it hadn’t been zeroed out and that it was that good.

        The travel route would not have gone over Parley’s, it would have been down to I70 and across the hills through to Eisenhower from the long, back side. Not as immediate a grade as is Parley’s, but far longer at grade. I’ve driven that route in a semi-truck many times. This is why I knew the miles driven matched, so the trip meter had probably been zeroed at Salt Lake City.

        Again, the rep didn’t know what it was until I showed it to him as I was fiddling with the dash readouts waiting for another person so we could go for a test drive. The only info the rep gave me was the weight of the trailer, a two-axle enclosed box. He gave me that before he knew what I was looking at as he had just stepped into the truck when I asked.

        • Larry says:

          Well, I can only assume you saw numbers that were in the system and you could only report what you saw. These computers and trip meters are not the real thing. Miles and gallons over time are the real tail. On my current truck I have used 146.17 gallons over the last 2976 miles for 20.36 MPG, with an empty truck, some highway, some local runs. This is the kind of data Ford needs to publish. I wouldn’t waste my time looking EPA numbers. It looks like they are trying to put a silk hat on a pig. I know for certain that the kind of milage yow saw with over 12,000 pounds won’t happen. I have a good friend with an F150 V8 4 door 4WD, short bed 4 speed automatic might be a 2010. On a fishing trip to Montana towing a trailer with a raft at most 3000 pounds that truck got 10 MPG going from the Big Horn River down through Wyoming and a back to Salt Lake. My V6 Toyota got 12. We were driving into very strong winds that day. The F150 V8 had the power to go 65 I had trouble going 50 at times.

          I understand that I70 is not the same as I80 but numbers of 15 MPG with that load don’t add up.

          After all this time it’s strange that I have not seen a published set of numbers outlining a trip with the route, the miles driven, load in the truck and/or trailer then the number of gallons consumed. I expect reviewers to report miles and gallons in trade rags when they demo a truck.

          There is a lot of bad science going on with all this and it’s not a complex issue. Numbers can vary with drivers but averages can be calculated.

          Put a 3.7 twin turbo gas motor in an 18 wheeler and pull 25,000 pounds and it’s going to use about the same amount of fuel used by a 6.7 V8 at the same speeds. It will need to turn a higher RPM but the fuel use isn’t going to be that much different.

          Ford GM and RAM are posting so some much bad information I wouldn’t go near them.

          I left GM years and years ago because of problems and will never go back. Those who move to Tundra will stay as long as Toyota is reasonable honest and continues the evolution of their product. If they screw up then people will leave.

          I just can’t buy 15 MPG with a 12000 pound load. That truck must have bad software.

          • Aaron says:

            I said 8,000, not 15. The truck with that engine is only rated at 12.5k.

            Nowhere has Ford posted questionable information. Only the people who wished that the EcoBoost would be some kind of Godsend did so. At no time has Ford, GM, or any of the others posted wrong information. It’s the speculators and fan boys who do it. Like the guy here claiming 22 mpg in the Tundra. I’ve driven several for various lengths of time. None got anywhere near that. Ever. Not even downhill.

            The really sad thing is that Toyota has obviously given up on the Tundra. They aren’t adding more capacity, redesigning the truck with any intention of improvement beyond aesthetics, and obviously see it as nothing more than a sideline. Meanwhile, Ram, Ford, GM, and even Nissan are all shifting into high gear to build better trucks in order to vie for more market share through better fuel economy, towing, configuration options, etc.

            While the Tundra, with its engine option, outdated transmission, loss of its only unique feature (adjustable rear seating), and new “catch up to the others” body style sits, unimproved. It will soon occupy the same space that the 4Runner does. It will sell because it has a Toyota emblem on it, but nobody will really know what to do with it or what it’s for. Just a relic with the has-been reputation.

            The truth is, if Toyota doesn’t step up, the Tundra will be left far behind and even the Titan will surpass it. Maybe you fan boys don’t want to hear that, but it’s the way it is.

          • Tim Esterdahl says:


            TRD Pro.

            If Toyota was “throwing in the towel” why build a true off-road version of the truck? Sorry, but your statement doesn’t jive with this. Toyota has made a substantional investment in building that truck and marketing it. Clearly they haven’t “given up on it.”


          • Aaron says:

            Also, Larry, you forget that the new F-150 isn’t even in dealerships yet. Nobody else delivers those kinds of numbers until then either. Those numbers usually come from evaluators and first buyers. There is no F-150 in the press fleet anywhere in the nation yet that I know of and I’ve seen no proper reviews of the truck outside of those written by press like me who saw the truck briefly, at a Ford-hosted event, and did a ride-and-drive. I know a lot of automotive journalists in most of the markets nationally. We won’t have one here in the Denver area press fleet until sometime in the Spring.

          • BrianJ says:


            I owned a 2010 Tundra 2wd CMax with the 5.7 and I agree…I never did any better than 19mpg unloaded on the highway on level ground with a tailwind. Put that truck into the wind at 70mph and the mpgs fell to 12! And that was unloaded! I pulled a 2000lb box trailer from Georgia to Texas and averaged 12mpg. Only 2000lbs! Having to stop and fill the tank every 3 hours got old in a hurry. I traded the truck 2 yrs ago as I just couldn’t justify the fuel burn for a truck that I wasn’t towing with anymore. (I originally bought it to pull my camper, but sold the camper later.) Unless its been modified I have a hard time believing 22mpg at real hwy speeds (ie 70+ mph).

        • Aaron says:

          Really Tim? Where’s the new manufacturing facility going to be then? Right. Crickets.

          • Tim Esterdahl says:

            Why do they need a new facility? They are talking about adding a third shift. In fact, they just did in Mexico.

            Plus, they aren’t aiming to be number 1 in truck sales. They have a lot else going on.


          • Aaron says:

            You mean for the TACOMA? Ya, that’ll help Tundra sales. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/.....ueeze.html

          • Tim Esterdahl says:

            Umm…. actually it will. Right now, Toyota is having a problem meeting demand for both products. By shifting production of more Tacoma pickups to Mexico, it will allow them to build more Tundra pickups. This will result in helping them meet the 20-30 percent more demand they currently don’t have enough product to for.

            If you look closely, you will see a fluctuation in monthly sales volume for both trucks. For example, some months the Tacoma sells a little more and some months the Tundra sells a little more. This is due to the product mix coming off the assembly line. Toyota is working to try to meet demand and some months they simply build more Tacoma pickups than Tundra pickups.

            Sorry Aaron, you just don’t know what you are talking about here. You have slivers of the entire picture.


          • Aaron says:

            If that’s the case, Tim, then it continues the question: WHY IS TOYOTA NOT BUILDING A NEW PLANT? IF they have that kind of demand and are having to get hokey with their assembly to try to meet it, they would be actively building new facilities to meet future demands and growth.

            Nissan, for example, has aggressively invested in new manufacturing capabilities. GM and Ford have both been activating shuttered plants or pulling tooling out of storage to be ready to do so. Even Subaru is working to find more manufacturing capability.

          • Tim Esterdahl says:


            The investment in a new plant would create excess product in their view. A new plant would double production and Toyota feels they only need about 20 percent more. So… no new plant. Because then they would have excess.

            After being burned quite a bit after building the Texas plant they are being cautious. Can’t really blame them on that.


          • Larry says:

            Arron, there seems to be something missing in your assumption. It is clear to all how much profit is in these loaded trucks. Most of Ford is bankrolled by the F series trucks which are loaded with options. Tundra is surly a profit machine for Toyota and the sales have been growing ever since the T100 hit the market back in 1994. 1 Tundra sale would bring many, many dollars more then a 25000 dollars low end model car or small SUV.

            As for building new plants, that a difficult proposition. Costs, available labor etc. I think what we will see is that Toyota will expand. Perhaps they are just doing it in less of a boom/bust method. With the current models available I can only buy from the big 3 since I need standard long bed trucks. I will never buy GM, my current RAM is low quality. So that leaves me with the Ford F150 XL work truck. If that was to go away and my only option was an extended cab short bed, it would be Toyota only. The big three are building nothing but low quality trucks and Toyota has a long growth ahead. The just need to play their cards carefully. I see nothing but growing sales for Tundra going forward with expansion in production to get there. It just might be slower then we would expect.

  6. Randy says:

    This site is a little more “sane” than pickuptrucks.com. But if you go to that site you will find “most” do not believe Ford’s marketing spin. The reason is simple they have actually lived with EcoBoost long enough to know it does not work; especially “at” dew point conditions. Failures are still very common.

    Ford is still experimenting with the technology and owners are routinely left high and dry both before and after their warranties run out. There are dozens of unresolved EcoBoost issues even with the latest October 2014 TSBs; all stemming from the condensation/hydrocarbon problems on these trucks.

    A very high percentage of 2011-2013 EcoBoost owners in SE Texas have already changed to another truck and it is not an EcoBoost. Most have changed brands and will not be back in a Ford.

    Those are the reasons Ford’s growth has remained “flat” for 18 months now. Both Tundra and GM have posted growth rate gains and Ram is 2.5 times greater than that. That “flat” Ford growth rate all boils down to the loss of EcoBoost sales in SE Texas.

    Regarding the MPGs: The MPGs on a F150 EcoBoost will typically be from 3 to 7 MPG less than the EPA ratings at highway speed steady state 60MPH “at” dew point conditions. The reason for the variance is due to environmental conditions “at” dew point and the condition of the truck; that is, how much degradation has occurred to the engine from previous “at” dew point driving conditions.

    The only thing that I am aware of that spins better than an EcoBoost turbo is Ford’s Marketing.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Interesting on the SE Texas owners switching. Do you have any sources for this information?

      Also, LOL @ “The only thing that I am aware of that spins better than an EcoBoost turbo is Ford’s Marketing.”


      • Randy says:


        In answer to your question:

        “Interesting on the SE Texas owners switching. Do you have any sources for this information?”

        Essentially my “one on one” interviews with approximately 250 F150 EcoBoost owners that repeatedly had condensation events while driving “at” dew point conditions over a one year period. Every single one of them had the exact same problems my Ecoboost did and they “all” said they would not purchase another and they did not plan to keep it long.


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