Reader Question: New Tacoma . . . or Old Ram?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Victoria writes: Hi Eric! I’ve been a fan of your site for quite some time now.

I may have found you back when I was a delegate for Ron Paul. Besides being libertarian, I’m a life-long car girl – my dad was an F1 driver. Anyway, I have a 1995 Ram 2500 with only 60k original miles. Since I don’t tow anything, I’m wondering about getting something a little more efficient. The Ram, by the way, is not my daily driver. I like the look of the Tacomas, but can’t seem to figure out if the bed is practical for hauling lumber and stuff.  I knew my favorite libertarian car guy would know! Would love to hear from you if you have a moment. If there’s another smaller(?) long bed truck you’d recommend, please let me know.  Keep up the great work!!

My reply: I urge you to hold onto the ’95 Ram unless you really need to get rid of it. Here’s why: That truck was made at the apogee of vehicle design, prior to its current slide into hypercomplexity and the corollary economic obsolescing (a failure of a major electronically controlled system economically “totals” the thing; it’s too expensive to be worth fixing relative to the value of the vehicle itself).  If that truck has a diesel, it’s even more reason to keep it as it’s mechanically injected and very simple and should last practically forever.  It can also burn homebrew fuel, which may become ver desirable soon.

The Tacoma is a nice truck and I recommend it because it’s relatively simple, relative to other new trucks. But keep in mind it’s a mid-sized truck and only comes with a six-foot bed or a shorter five-foot bed and both are narrower than a 1500/2500’s eight-foot bed.

You can use a bed extender to get close to eight feet – but the width isn’t crutchable.

Then again, the Tacoma may be plenty for your needs. This is something you’ll need to decide  . . . based on your needs. The Tacoma can absolutely haul lumber and stuff – just not as much in a single load. How large are the loads you usually haul?

Also keep in mind that the Tacoma – any truck – won’t be appreciably more efficient. Trucks are inherently gas hogs because of their weight, poor aerodynamics and their capabilities (which require power which uses more fuel).

You might “save” 5 or so MPG by going from a V8 Ram to a V6 Tacoma. But you should ask yourself what it might cost you!

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. I had a 73 Dodge van in the late 70s with the slant 6. On the highway had to run it at full throttle. Got 12 mpg. Put a 318 in it and got 5 MORE mpg because the engine now was not working so hard. And had a lot more torque to get the van moving. Keep that Ram. 8 foot beds are far more useful than those little tyke trucks.


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