The current rise in gas prices coupled with government policies for greater fuel efficiency standards (54.5 mpg) in corporate average fuel economy has prompted the question of whether the gas guzzling pickup truck will have a future in modern society. The answer is an unequivocal “yes.” The need for construction workers to haul large equipment or farmers to transport their agricultural products ensures that pickup trucks will be around for quite some time. However, consumers may very well see a revamp of current pickup models and designs.
A roaring economy encouraged the production of powerhouse trucks such as the heavy duty Chevy Silverado or Dodge Ram for personal transport. However, the present era of conservative spending makes these vehicles less appealing for the average consumer. These “beastly” pickups may not disappear altogether, but their numbers will decrease substantially in favor of more fuel efficient pickup designs.
Ford and Chevrolet are leading the pack in making the transition to produce powerful yet economic full-size trucks conducive for everyday consumer usage. Ford’s EcoBoost F-150 provides consumers with a 365 HP V6 engine combined with 20+ mpg fuel economy for hauling supplies, towing or packing gear for vacation travels. The Chevy V8 is soon to follow. Chevy also has the launching of a new mid-size truck in the works with the all-new Colorado.
If fuel prices remain high, pickup manufacturers may lean towards producing compact purpose built trucks. Consumers may even see the return of half-car/half truck vehicles offering greater fuel efficiency, hauling capability and easier carlike handling.
Future fuel costs and advances in auto technology will definitely have an impact on the future of the pickup truck. What remains to be seen is consumer reaction to new pickup truck trends in the future, such as choosing to rent a truck rather than buying, which could completely alter the market.