High gas prices and needing to buy a truck


Hey everyone

         I am trying to figure out what to do. With gas prices like they are I know I should try to get a hybrid car or a small car with real good MPG. But I NEED a truck. So I am going to get a Ford Ranger which gets 26 MPG and I will do a couple of things to it to get a few more MPG (bed cover better mufflers ect). But one of my friends acts like I am being selfish getting a truck that I need over getting a car with high MPG. Am I being selfish? I am becoming a mechanic plus some of the types of jobs/hobby's I do you have to have a truck to do.


If you need a truck, then get the truck!

When your friend needs something moved, he’ll quickly repent of his opinion on trucks! :stuck_out_tongue:

but, if you still feel misplaced guilt, you can volunteer to haul things for St. Vincent de Paul. :slight_smile:


You mentioned you need a truck. Then you need it. I know that my husband and I have been working alot on our home and yard and we couldn’t haul material in a car. :shrug: I wonder where the bulldozer would have put that dirt in a car :rotfl: I true friend doesn’t judge.


If you need a truck you need a truck. Maybe your friend doesn’t realize that he could save energy by turning his thermostat down to 65 degrees in the winter and doing without air conditioning entirely in the summer. He would survive both, and could do without that energy use a lot easier than you could do without a truck. I believe I would tell him how virtuous he can be if he tries.

And has he bought his motor scooter yet to get to work? It will get him there, you know.


I think that you can try this from another perspective. Look at the amount of driving that you do that requires the load capacity of a truck. Then look at the cost of renting a truck just for the times that you need the truck and calculate whether the cost of the car plus fuel plus truck rental plus truck fuel exceeds the cost of truck plus truck fuel for all driving. If it will be cheaper to have the car and occasionally rent a truck, then go with the car. If the truck full time would be cheaper to run, buy the truck.
My brother had a friend who moved his family to New York City. They ended up selling the car because of the costs related to car ownership. It was cheaper to use public transit and rent anything they wanted for the times they needed it. And they could get anything from a pick up to a Rolls.
Note that your insurance costs may be lower with a car than with a truck. Most auto policies cover the occasional rental of a different vehicle. Talk to your insurance agent.



Why would you be selfish buying a truck when that’s what you need? Buy the truck. Since you’re a mechanic, you’ll know all the tricks to make it more fuel efficient.


If you really want to get better mileage, try a few of my tips. It worked wonders for me:


26 MPG is still very good. I don’t think there is any sin there.

P.S. What does your friend drive?


Doesn’t matter what the gas prices are or what kind of car you drive as long as you’re able to pay for it. Enjoy your truck and your new business.


You don’t need to justify your vehicle to any actual friend.

But if YOU want better mileage than a truck, consider a decent utility trailer. Leave it home when you don’t need it and get 30 mpg in your Camry or Impala V6. Hook up the trailer and haul the 4 wheeler or go get 1,000# of mulch…

Won’t work for ALL hobbies, of course but it is an option for some folks.

I pull a 2,700# popup camper behind my MINIVAN that has 5 of us and our junk in it. All fully within all the ratings of the van.


Get 30 MPG in your Impala V6? Or 26 MPG in a Ranger??
I just looked up the EPA mileage of the Impala V6, and it only gets 22 MPG.

Not as bad as the Ranger, though, which only gets 21 MPG with an automatic transmission or 23 with a manual.

Add an engine upgrade or 4WD to either one of these vehicles, and your gas mileage will be even worse.


Those are the new EPA ratings. The old ones gave both the Camry and Impala V6 BETTER than 30 mpg on the highway. I’ve owned many vehicles and never had a problem achieving the old EPA rating on highway road trips. City? no way. But the highway mileage numbers were very good. Of course, I’m not a lead foot and I prefer not using AC when I can stand it.

Our fleet Impalas at work (previous model) beat 30 routinely when taken on road trips.


I also want to buy a truck. Whenever we need to haul something, no one else has a truck either, and don’t want to mess up their mini van or SUV. I want a double cab - looking at the Toyota Tacoma or Chevrolet Colorado. The utility trailer is also a good idea - will talk to my DH about it.


I get 30-31 MPG in my 2000 Impala V6.


My Dads 97 Cutlass has the same V6 as an Impala and its gets 30.


There can be a lot of difference between cars of the very same make and model. Trucks too. For years I have bought the very same car (always used…I’m cheap…but a long time ago, a partner and I bought the very same car at the very same time). No matter how much they’re serviced, some just get better mileage than others. It’s not always predictable.

Another truck defense. I don’t know what kind of terrain you travel on, but there is no possibility at all of hauling a trailer behind a small vehicle through some terrain that a full size pickup (especially 4wd) will take in stride. Seen broken axles on some of those light vehicles on rough ground, too.

Where I live, much of the ground is really steep. Takes some serious horsepower to pull a load up some of them. Going downhill pulling anything on rough ground is tricky too.

This makes me think of earthmoving equipment. I have a Bobcat 250, and I can move dirt, gravel, rocks, whatever. But compared to a D7 Cat, it’s like digging with a spoon. Some things just require more power and, yes, more fuel consumption per minute. But that D7 will use less fuel on a big job than I will use in my 250.


Heh…I’ve been getting 19 MPG with my Ford Focus. (with no engine upgrades!) On the other hand, my driving conditions are the worst for fuel economy that you could possibly manufacture.

Driving conditions are everything. I’m guessing that you’re getting that 30-31 MPG on country roads at moderate speeds.


My Dads 97 Cutlass with the V6 gets 30 and he does alot of Interstate driving and hwy driving.


Can be gotten on the interstate at 75mph, provided it’s not winter. It’s funny, it gets almost exactly the same mileage as my Audi A4 1.8 turbo (AWD).

But I agree driving conditions and behavior and how the vehicle has been maintained are everything…


It is best to look at a composite milage not just highway. If you are doing a lot of highway driviing you don’t loose as much with a bigger vehicle as you will on city driving.

I endorse the trailer idea or getting a removable platform for the back of a car. That way you have the best of both worlds good milage and the ability to haul. Most cars will haul a 5x8 trailer but The Lincoln Town Car is the only American car that will give you a 2" trailer hitch mount. (They also come on the Canadian Crown Victorians). You will need that bigger mount if you are planning on hauling any larger trailers.

Also if you are woried about the environment you can’t look at just gas milage. The hybrids get good city milage but don’t do much better than their traditional counterparts on the highway. Also those toxic bateries and exotic materials in the body work are very bad for the environment. You will also see that the exotic high MPG cars have low production quantities and consume a lot of extra energy to produce per car. Your best bet is a small simple car that is made in mass quantities.



On this last site select the link to the cost per mile per segment. This shows total energy cost.

an article refuting the claims can be found at:


I worked on the design of a hybrid system and can tell you that The batteries are a major environmental problem. But as they work out the bugs You may see some cars coming out with Hybrid assist; a car that primarily drives with a traditional gas engine but uses hybrid technology and regenerative braking to allow 6 cylinder performance out of a 4 cylinder car.


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