CleanMPG Coaxes 32 MPG from Ford F-150 EcoBoost Pickup

Photo courtesy of

The hypermiling mavens from have completed a 2,500-mile cross-country trip in a 2011 Ford F-150 SuperCrew using just three tanks of gas. They squeezed an astonishing 32.281 miles per gallon from the EcoBoost-powered half-ton.

During our recent twin F-150 EcoBoost road test, we averaged 21 mpg with an empty truck. So how'd CleanMPG wring another 11 mpg from the 365 horsepower, 420 pounds-feet of torque gasoline twin-turbo direct-injection V-6? By driving the most efficient configuration slowly.

CleanMPG drove a two-wheel drive model from California to Georgia with a conservative 3.15 rear axle for maximum fuel economy. That doesn't mean they didn't use the truck like it was meant to be used. There were five adults in the pickup for most of the journey plus a cargo box full of camping gear and supplies that pushed the F-150's gross vehicle weight to 7,120 pounds -- 20 pounds over its 7,100-pound GVWR.

Here's a look at CleanMPG's observed Interstate highway steady state fuel economy at different speeds:

  • 70-mph - 22.3 mpg (6th gear with transmission's torque converter locked)
  • 60-mph - 25.5 mpg (6th gear with transmission's torque converter locked)
  • 50-mph - 31.6 mpg (6th gear with transmission's torque converter locked)
  • 45-mph - 33.9 mpg (6th gear with transmission's torque converter locked)
  • 40-mph - 32.6 mpg (6th gear with transmission's torque converter locked)

Another interesting fact -- CleanMPG squeezed 36 gallons of gasoline into the F-150's 26 gallon factory fuel system by following a slow fill approach that utilized all of the gas vapor space in the tank and fuel lines. This required up to an hour to trickle fuel into the truck.

For more details and a full recap of the trip, head over to CleanMPG.


Wow thats impressive!

an Hour to fill up?

So I guess when/if gas prices get high enough we will see a lot of people going 45 mph on the highways :)
An hour to fill that's dedication to the cause.

wow now they need to build a slow lane for pickup to save fuel..

Impressive feat. However I was a little less impressed when I learned it was at 45mph. Any Modern engine would achive good mileage if configured the same way as this particluar Ecoboost ''3.15 rear end and all'' and only traveled at 45mph. I would like to see how close the 5.0L V8 with a 3.15 rear end traveling at 45mph would be to this truck.

Not trying to take away from it...32mpg in a fullsize 5500lb+ truck thats's shaped like a brick is impressive anyway you look at it. Its just that 45mph isn't really a useable ''crusing'' speed. If your lucky you might be able to coast threw a few lights in town at 45mph, but on the highway 45mph is to slow. It makes you a rolling road hazerd. All those traveling at 75-80+mph ''roughly twice your speed, now have to dodge when the come up on you ass really fast.

These figures show the fact that driving under 60 will produce the best fuel mileage, no matter what type of engine is under the hood. It makes a good argument for lowering the speed limit to no more than 60. Side note: When I had my 2002 Ford F-250 Diesel, there were a few times when I put a little over 30 gallons in the 29 gallon tank. Of course I filled it all the way up the neck opening. When the pump would shut off, I could still get 5 more gallons in it to completely fill the tank.

What would really be impressive is if the Ecoboost would average 32 mpg doing 70 miles an hour over the 2,500 mile course. 32 miles per gallong sounds really impressive and it would be more impressive if it was done at highway speed of 70 miles per hour. At 70 miles per hour the Ecoboost was getting 22.3 miles per gallon.

I can do the same thing with the 5.3 liter V8 with Active Fuel management that shuts off half the cylinders when the engine doesn't need all that power. Infact I'll bet the 5.3 liter with the 3.08 rear axle ratio and 40 miles per hour will get better than 32 miles per gallon in V4 mode.

The EPA states that for every 10 miles per hour you slow down you will get about 10% better fuel economy. I challenge to do the same test with GM'S 5.3 liter V8 and report the results to this forum.

I bet you would see very simular results and I know this firsthand from doing the same kind of driving they did in the test. When you in V4 mode you get great gas milage with the 5.3 liter V8 and I hope they run the same test.

So Yes, I am saying that the 5.3 liter engine driven at 40 miles per hour would get the same or better fuel economy and I hope runs the same test as well and reports the results here.

Wow, 32.6mpg without stop and go at 40mph in 6th gear. That's sensational(ism)!

Probably another large Ford pickup truck in the lead blocking wind too. All sorts of unrealistic techniques the normal employed person would never be able to achieve unless, of course, they were employed by a Ford marketing contract.

How does one lock the torque converter at different speeds in 6th gear and KNOW it's locked?

Well the headline is very misleading to begin with. At 32 miles per gallon you would only need 78.125 gallons of gas to complete the 2500 mile trip. At 3 tanks of gas and the gas tank holds 36 gallons of fuel that would be a total of 108 gallons of gas.

I do think 32 miles per gallon is very impressive for a truck, the 32 miles per gallon certainly wasn't driving at 70 miles per hour. They were getting 22 miles per gallon at 70 miles per hour, 25.5 at 60, 31.6 at 50, 33.9 at 45, 32.6 at 40 miles per hour. I don't know many people that drive 40 miles per hour on the highway much less 50 miles per hour.

They should rerun the test at say 65 or 70 miles per hour and report the results the achieved over the 2500 mile trip. I would like to run GM'S 5.3 liter engine with active fuel management over the same trip and speed and report the results.

Bob makes an interesting comment. However, at what engine RPM, velocity, load, etc. does AFM kick in on a Bowtie? I was always under the impression that vehicle velocity had to be above 50 mph. If that's the case, then what Bob is suggesting won't work.

Bob, the GM 5.3 in V4 mode better get the same if not better mpgs that the Ecoboost...its only running on four cylinders while the ecoboost is still using six. If it doesnt than thats a big dissapointment for GM.

This is cool and all, and 32 mog in a 7200 pound brick is great, but there is no one on earth that would drive that slow on a highway. For once I agree with Bob, it would be much more relevent to do this same test at 65 or 70 over a long distance to see real world mpg. I fee that the ecoboost could easily repeat the 21 mpg this site got on the previous test, if not surpass it by several mpg. And it would be interseting to see how other trucks in the class stack up.

No Kevin, you don't have to be going 50 miles per hour for active fuel management to work. It will work just fine at 40 miles per hour as well. They key to Active fuel management is the 32 bit microprocessor determines how much engine load is on the engine and will switch to V4 mode when the engine isn't under a load or driving up hill. I can easily get over 30 miles per gallon in V4 mode driving at speeds under 50 miles per hour. Don't believe me, try it yourself if you have a 5.3 liter engine with active fuel management and a six speed automatic transmission.

Driving home from a Mother's day celebration and setting the cruise control at 70 miles per hour on my Chevy Impala with the 3.5 liter engine I was averaging 35 miles per gallon. With the high gas prices I have been more concious of the speed at which I travel and just slowing down a little bit will really improve your gas milage. I usually do 75 to 80 on the highway.

Something seems odd here - the jump from 60 to 70 is 3.2mpg - from 60 to 50 is 6.1, but from 50-40 is only 1.0 mpg.

So it appears there is a diminishing return dropping under 50 mph... Wonder what the difference from 60 - 55 is (after all, 55 mph was supposed to save fuel when they implemented it in the 70's)

On page 12 of the thread they said they took these readings on a flat section of road between "Savannah and Atlanta’s Hartsfield" with the CC on.

I haven't found what hypermiling techniques they used during the trip - however they DID note that the OD read 98.8 miles instead of 100 (so it read low) which they used as a correction factor for the mpg calcs.

I now have my ecoboost, crew, 6.5 box, 3.73 rear end,4x4, heavy tow package. The power is everything they say it is. It takes a really steep hill to make it shift down. I have 1800 miles on it. If I set cruise at 70 it will get 20mpg. 80 is 17 mpg. I have had a chev with the 5.3 with active management that would get this mileage but the power wasn't even close. Haven't towed with it yet.

Well synergy, while the 5.3 liter does have Active fuel management and the ability to go into V4 mode, your not always in V4 mode and infact your probably in V4 mode only 10% of the time. They key to active fuel management is the engine isn't under a load. When driving up hill or under load the engine reverts to V8 mode to give you the needed power to pull a trailer, go up the hill or drive at 80 miles an hour.

Driving at 5o miles an hour with a unloaded truck and level road conditions, you can stay in V4 mode and you will get great gas milage. So while V4 mode is where you'll get the best gas milage, your usually not in V4 mode. It all depends on how you drive, how fast you drive, or your terrain etc.

BOB Do us all a favor and don't even read the ford articles if you don't like what they say. The ecoboost is better than your precious 5.3 in EVERY WAY. Get over it.

OBVIOUSLY this isn't meant to reflect normal driving conditions for most people. Take this test for what it is. It's impressive. The speed limit from my house to town is 45 mph with only one stop. It's not unrealistic to think I could get 30 mpg going to and from town. That's pretty damn impressive. They were getting 25.5 mpg at 60 mph. You could realistically drive that speed on just about any interstate in America. And that's with a fully loaded truck. You could definitely get better without the extra weight of four people and all that cargo. The conditions weren't even Ideal. The ecoboost is the most efficient full size gas truck out there considering how much power it has. That's pretty much an indisputable fact. It's not like these hypermiling tests haven't been done before. does these tests constantly with all kinds of vehicles. They chose the ecoboost for this test after considering all types of vehicles because they concluded it would perform the best. Some of you guys obviously didn't even read the test.

25.5MPG going 60mph with a maximum load is the most impressive number to me.

They chose the ecoboost for this test after considering all types of vehicles because they concluded it would perform the best. Some of you guys obviously didn't even read the test.

Excuse me? I am sure there alot of vehicles they could have chosen other than a truck to do a fuel economy test. I didn't say I didn't like the test. I said that the headline was misleading because the 32 miles per gallon was at 40 to 45 miles per hour. Do you drive 45 on the highway? Does anyone? So, little beebe, don't get your panties in a bunch because I pointed out the fact most people don't drive under 50 on the highway and the test should have been run at say 65-70 miles per hour and then they could post the results.

Infact, I hope they rerun the same test at a designated speed and report the results. Not just the ecoboost engine either. So take a Ecoboost and a 5.3 liter and get them as comparable as possible, 2wdr, crewbabs, 3.15 and 3.08 rear axle and run the same test and report the results.

Yea hay Bob, I hate to admit it, but now that I own both trucks, I can honestly say the the EB is all they say it is an more-- but be that as it may, I do still like the 5.3 also, to get 21mpg on the hyw with an older tech motor is still saying something. The 5.3 in my Z-71 is a great motor for what it is supose to do, but the EB is a new motor and it does deliver, you bet!! it goes like he__ and gets good mpg even with the hvydty package. I still say U.S.A. all the way!!!

Vehicle weight doesn't make much of a difference at steady speeds, the main load is air resistance. Cutting 1000 lbs out of the bed would drop the rolling resistance by about 15%. And improve the mileage by about 2%.

Stop comparing the 5.3 with the EcoBoost. The 5.3 might equal the EcoBoost in MPG (but I doubt it with the truck weighing 7100 lbs.), but it is down on HP and torque (50 HP and 82 ft. lbs.) and isn't even close in its towing capacity. The 5.3 doesn't even compete with the EB, I highly doubt anyone is going to cross shop the two.

The ecoboost fuel economy becomes most impressive when compared to other trucks with 10k tow capacity. Sure GM's 5.3/6speed can deliver good economy, but it just doesnt have the same power. The Hemi and Tundra with the big motor might pull comperably hard, but fall short on economy. Really, the Ecoboost balances among the best in class in both economy AND towing power.
While traveling 40mph on the freeway may not be realistic, traveling between 50 and 60 on rural roads certainly is. My truck (w/ 4.08 gears) used to average 21mpg between Ann Arbor and Raymond OH. Half the trip at Prudent Ohio speeds, the other rolling along at the posted 55 on 2-lane roads.
A few years back, two chaps drove from the southern end of Whales to northern Scotland in an Isuzu Pickup. They averaged 50mpg (US) and drove very slow.

In my area the speed limit only goes up to 45 mph non highway so this is a relevant test. The limit on the highway is 55-66 mph. It will be nice getting 20+ mpg locally and another 20+ on the highway compared to the 14-15 mpg I'm getting now.

Stop comparing the Ecoboost with the 5.3 liter??? Why? I didn't say they were comparable in power or towing capacity. But then again, the ecoboost has TWO TURBO'S to give it that power. So while the Ecoboost is impressive, it's a six cylinder and not a V8. GM'S 12 year old 5.3 liter engine with Active Fuel Mangement is pretty darn impressive as well and gets great gas milage as well.

I never said the 5.3 liter compares with the NEW Ecoboost engine in power or torque but anyone with a brain should know it shouldn't because it doesn't have TWO FRICKING TURBO'S to give it that extra power and torque.

Put one Turbo on the 5.3 liter and see what happens. I'm not knocking fords new Ecoboost engine. great job by ford for being the first to come out with a turbo or should I say TWO TURBO'S in a truck engine. to compare these engines isn't fair because one is naturally asparated and the other has TWO FRICKING TURBO'S on it. It's like a sword being in a gun fight, they don't compare.

They actually pay people to conduct this kind of lame and completly useless testing? I'm also calling B.S. on the 36gal of fuel. DId they not see the 8 gallon puddle of fuel under the truck when they pulled away? Or maybe it had evaporated after an hour of standing there trying to pump more gas in. LMAO...

you guys wound him up, so here we go again

It is a good start,
Now let's see a 3.08 rear end, 7 speed and
aero upgrades like flat under carriage,
and rounder front.
Mr. Ford, we drive at 70 mph and aero becomes more important to the design. Keep it coming, and don't stop now because
you are starting to head in the right direction.
Now what can you do with the 4 dr Ranger??

I'm getting 24+ on the highway with a Jeep Wrangler 4-door by simply moderating my speed to 62 instead of 65 or higher the way most people drive. You don't have to be a hypermiler to get decent mileage--only to get Great mileage. Dropping to 55 or even 45 could push me close to 30.

Ok. If you want to start seeing EcoBoost vs 5.3 comparisons, here is a good one pulling 6500 lb trailers at highway speeds. The 5.3 sucks pulling trailers. Also note the rear seat room in the Chevy crewcab.

EcoBoost V6:

GM 5.3 V8:

GM 5.3 V8 continued:

The Ram:

I got 28 mpg with my HEMI RAM QuadCab 4x4,with 3.92 gears on a recent trip at 60 mph !

I average 19.5 mpg,mixed city/hwy,on my daily ride through traffic.

I love to hear my V-8 roar,and love doing bursts to 100 mph daily !!

If you worry about fuel economy so much,take off slow and smooth,and you to can have higher gas mileage,but then again you will miss out on the fun driving like an old granny !!

If you really want to save on gas,take the bus !

@ Mark ,

Well the test is biased as they are Ford guys testing other brand of trucks..

Really hard to believe them when they both agree on the WRONG amount of torque that the Dodge has,on a video you can say and make dolts believe anything..

Wait until the 3.5 EcoBoost starts blowing head gaskets,left,right and center,as harder working,higher power smaller engines always do !! Remember the saying no substitution for cubic inches,in long life hard working and racing it is 100% true !!

I have 30 years of experience in building engines,worked at 3 different major manufacturers.The most reliable engines are all motor,no turbo's,no superchargers,no nitro ect..just cubic inches get the job done cheaper and more reliably,that was the way it was and still is !!

What a load of crap !!

Who is going to take an hour to fill up.

I canget 35 mpg out of my V-8 truck if I watch how I drove,and if you drive on level flat land ant the same speed...WHY is this even making any news ?

My 99% stock 68 Charger R/T 7.2 L 440 c.i,runs low-mid 12's in the 1/4 mile,got almost 30 mpg driving on the hwy,with a 3 spd automatic and 3.23 rear gears !

More Furd propaganda,next they will be telling us Global Warming is real...and by 2010 the East and West Coast of North America will be flooded..oh wait it 2011 and we are not flooded ..hmm,same global warming scammers are now driving /working with Ford's eco-boosts !!

I only drive 85 mph.

Great Article! The ECOBOOST does not disappoint, however, it does disappoint the HATERS!

Active Fuel Management, LMFAO!

agreed frank.
Sorry I take the blame for winding him up this time. I need to learn not to argue with.........people like bob.

I get the impression that this test was to show how your driving effects your fuel consumption not which truck or engine is better.
One of the diesel magazines managed to get 30 mpg IIRC out of an old Ram diesel by taping up alll the grill openings, sealing off the wheel holes, folding in the mirrors, and not using AC.
The point is - if you want to save fuel, take a look at your own driving habits, and vehicle maintenance.

No. The goal for this test was: "To find a 6-, 7- or 8-passenger vehicle that could transport 5 to 7 people (and all of their gear) on a countrywide road trip and prove that a large vehicle can be “the right tool for the right job.” The kicker: It also (obviously) needed to be fuel efficient."

That's where the EcoBoost F-150 comes in.

Incorporating guest journalists and CleanMPG members that span the North American continent, we began planning a challenge that would include 400 + mile a day schedule, a wireless hot spot and enough room for 5 adults to be comfortable sitting next to each other without showers for 9 days. (jk )

This ruled out every SUV and minivan simply because there was not enough room to carry both the people and the gear. Combine that with the fact that most of the drivers would be high-fuel-economy enthusiasts, and the vehicle also needed to be uniquely fuel-efficient throughout the fully laden trek.

So what vehicle met the basic requirements? A full-sized 6-passenger pickup truck, of course

Ford’s F150 equipped with the 3.5L EcoBoost

One of the selling points of the 3.5L EcoBoost truck engine for the mass public is that it produces best-in-class 420 lb.-ft. of torque, enabling a best-in-class maximum towing of 11,300 pounds and maximum payload of 3,060 pounds. The selling point for CleanMPG: It also delivers an unsurpassed 22 mpg fuel economy rating on the highway.

I just picked up a rental Suburban with a 5.3 for our family road trip starting on Weds, the 5.3 doesn't feel anywhere near as powerful as the 5.4 in my F-150, let alone against the EcoBoost. I have tried hypermiling it, just to see what it can get, and it is not bad, coasting along at 45mph in 6th gear, the lie-o-meter hovers around 26 mpg. Either way, not as good as what they got with the EcoBoost, also the performance is adequate, but not exciting, also the 5.3 lacks that low end torque for towing, and just getting the truck away from the line with ease. Yes it has excellent (6 cylinder like fuel economy), but unfortunately, the performance is also like a 6 cylinder. Ok, maybe a little bit better, I will be fair. Oh and I don't really care about 0-60 times on a truck. Just torque and fuel economy. My 5.4 and 5.3 both have one of those criteria. The EcoBoost has both.

I should also note that the Suburban benefits from a low ride height, and low front clearance, with a relatively aerodynamic profile. It sits at least a couple inches lower than my Ford. I really don't think the 4 cylinder mode does a whole lot for fuel economy.

I looked up info on the 4 cylender mode in the 5.3 and teh epa setimates that it increases milage 5-7%, so roughly 1-1.5 mpg under ideal circunstances. I also found an edmunds forum with 14 pages of people complaining about their engines with active fuel management having major problems at 35-40,000 miles, i.e. lifters needing to be replaced and pistons being fried.


Unless it's over 30 miles, driving from your home to town with a cold engine at 45mph won't come close to there #'s.

Their goal ruled out the Silverado for this teest because they can't sit 5 adults comfortably, the Ram is pretty cramped too and the Ram is not known for being fuel efficent so that leaves the Ford EB as the best vehicle for the goal to:

"find a 6-, 7- or 8-passenger vehicle that could transport 5 to 7 people (and all of their gear) on a countrywide road trip and prove that a large vehicle can be “the right tool for the right job.” The kicker: It also (obviously) needed to be fuel efficient."

They should rename the test, when coasting down the highway you can get up to 32 miles per gallon. Again, great engine and congrats to ford for being the first to offer a turbo chaged engine in a full size truck.

The Ecoboost has not one but TWO Turbo's that spool up the power. I laugh at posters here because they brag about the towing capabilites of the Ecoboost engine and brag about max tow rating of 11,300 pounds. What they don't say is this is only a two wheel drive configuration and a max trailer package and 3.73 rear axle ratio. The truck on this fuel economy test, a 3.15 rear axle.

And who the H E DOUBLE L drives a fricking TWO WHEEL DRIVE TRUCK???? Why are they not using 4wdr vehicles in the tests? you know the configuration that most people purchase?

@Bob, you know this 2011 Suburban LT 4x4 does not even have low-range. What the freak is up with that?

Bob, that the heck does it matter that it has twin turbos? the DMax, Powerstroke and Cummins all use turbos to get their power and tow ratings. They have been used in vehicles for years, and im sure thay will hold up just fine. With ford selling almost 22 thousand of them last month, any major problems with them should become aparent in the near future.

The configuration of the Silverado that gets 21 mph is a model with a 3.08 rear end, so I fail to see your point about axle ratios.

And plenty of people buy two wheel drives, most fleet vehicles are 2wd, and in much of the country you never need more than a limited slip diff to get through the roads. Many people here in texas buy 2wd as dedicated tow vehicles.

@ Alex
you know this 2011 Suburban LT 4x4 does not even have low-range. What the freak is up with that?

They ran out of money and decided to skip the low-range

@ Tony - thanks for pointing out the CleanMPG groups goals. The table posted does show how one's driving style effects fuel economy.
The recent test with the 3.5 EB showed fuel economy in the 19 - 23 range. Mike also did say there were no attempts made to "hypermile".
32.281 mpg is above EPA and what I've read here and elsewhere. That would indicate an attempt at hypermiling.
It is impressive.
Stay out of he boost and you get V6 efficiency (well, as good as it gets pushing a brick through the air).

The primay goal of the test was as Tony stated. The secondary goal was:
A secondary goal includes “over the shoulder while behind the wheel” hypermiling training in real time so that three guest journalists can perform to the level necessary to meet the primary goal.

I doubt they played much Sammy Hagar " I can't Drive 55".

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