23.6 MPG from a Truck that Runs 222 MPH!

OK, you haven’t heard from me in a while and I’m going to use the same excuse as everyone else; Power Tour, blah, blah, blah. But since I am doing so, I would like to continue my theme on fuel economy with a report from the Power Tour. As you know, we took five vehicles on the Tour, four trucks with diesels of various flavors, and one truck with a twin-turbo small block Chevy. One of the trucks that completed the entire 1700+ mile trip was the Banks Sidewinder Dakota. You remember this truck, it holds the world record as the fastest pickup truck at a top speed of 222 mph. The cool thing is, it is completely street drivable and is actually fun to drive. Now here are a couple of interesting factoids to consider:

• There were many exotic vehicles on the tour with a lot of horsepower. The Sidewinder was most likely the fastest vehicle that was on the tour with a verifiable (time slip) speed of 222 mph. Even with all the exotics there, I could not imagine anyone of them being faster than the Sidewinder.

• During the trip, I kept track of the fuel economy on all of the vehicles. I was amazed to find that the Sidewinder Dakota achieved 23.6 MPG! It occurred to me that this might be the best fuel economy achieved on the Power Tour. The only possible exception that I can think of is that there were a few tuner cars of the four-cylinder variety, and possibly some cars that the drivers didn’t really consider hot rods that may have gotten a little better fuel economy, but certainly none that were on a par with the Sidewinder in terms of power and speed capability. And mind you, none of us were driving conservatively in order to achieve a decent fuel economy number. Heck, this was the Hot Rod Power Tour, you can imagine how these vehicles were driven.

So, you might ask, how do you achieve such good fuel economy with such a powerful vehicle? The trick is really as simple as…airflow. Part of an engine’s power output is consumed with overcoming restrictions to airflow. We call that the pumping losses of the engine; power that is consumed to overcome restrictions. As you remove the restrictions, the power is freed up to either deliver more power to the rear wheels, or that additional power can be conserved, resulting in better fuel economy. That, along with a proper tune on the engine results in great fuel economy. This is a principle that we use with all of our products and is the reason that customers commonly report improvements in fuel economy between 10 and 20 percent depending on their driving habits.

So having great power available doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sacrifice fuel economy. The Sidewinder Dakota is proof of that.