While the current, aluminum-bodied Ford F-150 full-size pickup may have moved away from a conventional steel skin to help meet ever-tightening emissions regulations, some flavors of the truck are still in jeopardy of not meeting federal requirements.
Bloomberg reports that about 40 percent of all Ford F-150 units sold in the United States don’t meet the 2016 fuel economy and emissions mandates. For instance, a 2016 Ford F-150 SuperCab with four-wheel drive and a 3.5-liter V6 falls short of current fuel economy requirements by 1 mile-per-gallon, and exceeds emissions requirements by 15 grams of CO2 per-mile. That truck configuration also happens to be one of the most popular.
Of course, the Ford F-150 program as a whole meets federal requirements, but the fuel economy mandate for trucks of that size will increase by a third to 33.3mpg, while the CO2 emissions requirement will drop by the same amount. To try and meet regulations, Ford is currently developing a hybrid version of the F-150, which is likely to surface by 2020. Rumors also persist that the full-size truck will receive a diesel engine option by 2018, with plenty of evidence to back up the claim.
If all else fails, Ford and other automakers might ask the government for relief at a midterm evaluation of the emissions regulations taking place this month. Still, on the whole, “not meeting the standards is not really an option, especially on your most profitable product,” says H-D Systems President Gopal Duleep. “On fuel economy, the regulators allow you to pay a fine if you fall short. But on greenhouse gas, they don’t.
“You either meet the standard or they shut you down.”