"You can drive a big truck and still be responsible"


I beg your pardon?

Did you just say "You can drive a big truck and still be responsible"?

Those are the words of Jim Press, Vice Chairman of Chrysler, to the BBC as he sings the praises of the new 2008 Dodge Ram - a truck that has 5.7 litre 345 horse power V8 engine and is apparently 5% more fuel-efficient than its predecessor. With that in mind he adds that "it's kind to the environment".

I'm sorry, Jim, but over here in England, our reaction to that would be "Bollocks!" Forgive my crude words, but that's probably the biggest load of old crap I've heard this year. How can driving a 5.7litre 345 HP V8 truck be both responsible and "kind to the environment"?

I had a quick scout of the 'net for MPG figures for the 2007 Dodge Ram and there's evidence that the 2007 Dodge Ram does, on average, 14-16 MPG.

So, Jim Press, let's give you the benefit of the doubt... let's say your new 2008 Dodge Ram does 16MPG and we'll add 5% to that figure... Oooh, that truck does 16.8 MPG! That's a whole 0.8 miles, an extra 1.28 kilometres, an additional 1408 yards for every gallon. Whoopee, Dodge are so environmentally friendly and oh so green.

You can drive my old station wagon and get 26MPG with 5 people and all their luggage in it and be 60% more efficient if you DON'T buy a New Dodge Ram.

Read this forum to see reactions of "WOW, fantastic" to some old Rams getting as much as 10.9 MPG...

Is this greenwash, utter bullshit or just sheer self-delusion?


While I agree with most of what you state please try and be as accurate as possible when stating 'facts'. MPG figures issued in the US are in US gallons which are 3.75 litres NOT the 4.55 as per UK gallon which means your 14-16mpg is actually an equivalent of 20'ish mpg in UK gallons. While I don't for a second believe that is any better for the environment I do believe in fair discussion and you really need to compare like for like. Failure to do this only results in the environmental movement being undermined when the 'bending' of the truth finally becomes public.

Also I have actually test driven this truck in the UK and achieved an actual 26mpg (UK gallon) by measuring fuel used against distance travelled despite the onboard computer telling me I was getting 17mpg!! This was with five people on board and while carrying some 250kg of cargo although admittedly on a motorway run. While this was still poor it was really no worse than people carriers such as the Ford Galaxy or Renault Espace carrying the same weight (which we've also tested) and considering these vehicles have engines half the size and weigh considerably less you have to ask yourself why on earth they can't achieve better?

My daily transport is a diesel pickup truck that in the UK has an official mpg of 29 but I have never dropped this low in 60K miles of driving. My wife and I average 36mpg around town and get 40+ on motorways. As this is our only vehicle and is required to occasionally carry 1 ton payloads for my work it does well as a compromise vehicle and shows that you have to be careful when talking about mpg. The way a vehicle is driven often dictates its achieved mpg and even small hatchbacks will not match our economy when driven erratically or thrashed as many young drivers tend to do.

Personally I think manufacturers are playing lip service to environmental concerns. We test drove a VW polo bluemotion recently with a claimed 74mpg but with my myself, my wife and two children on board it only achieved 54mpg on the motorway. This wasn't sufficiently better than our two ton truck to justify the 10K finance required even basing fuel costs at £1.50 per litre. It is all very well asking those of us with large families to switch to smaller vehicles but if they fail to deliver significant economy benefits why would we change? especially as our current vehicle is loan free and allows us to be a single vehicle household with correspondingly lower service, maintenance and insurance costs.

Hi GoneGreen,

Many thanks for the reply.

In answer to the question on why Chrysler/Dodge don't introduce the diesel option to the Ram. The answer is a little complex.

The US did not put CO2 emissions as a priority for emissions controls as it deemed them less damaging to human health than the myriad of other highly toxic substances emitted from the exhaust pipes - quite true actually. The US instead chose to target the real nasties and in many ways petrol engines where deemed easier to develop to meet the strict pollution laws and easier to market bearing in mind the general public in the US were not used to diesels other than in trucks so had a low opinion of them having not experienced the quiet, smooth european diesels. Typically a larger capacity V8 engine will not be under any stress when moving a large vehicle so rather surprisingly it doesn't produce as many nasties as say a small engine in a heavy car in real world conditions. This has meant that diesels have had little or no development in many decades while petrols have. The 5.7l V8 petrol Ram achieves much the same fuel economy as the diesel variant because the petrol V8 has new technology which shuts down half the engine while at cruising speeds. I appreciate that to many (including yourself?) who may not have driven commercial vehicles 26mpg(UK) seems awful but please remember that the Ram is a commercial vehicle weighing 2.5 tons and can in no way be compared to a family car. I have driven Ford transit flatbeds which are equivalent in size (actually slightly larger) and in the same sort of class as the Ram. They only achieved 28mpg doing 70mph on the motorway with similar payloads.

The reason I didn't use this as an excuse for the vehicle in my first commet was that these Rams, unlike Transits, are not being used for their intended purpose but are being used as pose vehicles by the ultra wealthy (eg. footballers) and with this in mind I completely understand why calls are made to ban certain vehicles. However, I don't believe banning is the answer. The high price of fuel is sufficient to deter all but the wealthy from running these vehicles and the wealthy would simply choose to run a different gas guzzler if these were banned so no environmental gains would be made. Removing freedom of choice should always be the last resort.

Kind Regards,


Ian, thanks for your input. You're absolutely right, the MPG figures are out by approximately 17.5% when you compare US gallons to UK gallons, and the 14-16MPG most certainly is 20ish.. or 17-19 MPG if our calculations are correct.

And if you're getting a better MPG on the new Dodge Ram then that's fair enough, but as you say it's down to driving style and other factors and not everybody can drive so considerately, keep their tyre pressures correct etc.

As for driving a diesel pickup, hats off to you. We appreciate the need for genuinely needed utility vehicles and diesels are more economical, so why don't Chrysler push the diesel some more?

Car manufacturers do seem to be greenwashing their own figures. I remember GM touting a 100mph, 100mpg Vauxhall Nova many years back, but if that was a genuine model then why did it not make it to the high street?

Stick with that diesel truck, the bluemotion doesn't sound like it could haul a ton of works cargo.