The home of the brave and the (electric F-150) pickup truck

With all of the talk of the electric Ford F-150, I ran into this statistic about sales of the current F-150:

Photo by Brett Sayles on

Still, if you’re going to pick an electric ambassador to the gas-loving masses, it would be hard to do better than the F-150. The truck has been the best-selling vehicle in the country for decades; more than 2,450 Americans buy a new one every day.

This is a hard number to understand. Roughly 2,500 a day? Some context might help. Americans like driving. They purchase millions of vehicles each year. According to Statista, they purchased over 11 million in 2020. Back in the early 1980s, the number was just over 2 million but there was a steady rise from the early 1990s to the late 2000s and then again in the last decade.

The anecdotal evidence I have matches these numbers. Having spent much of my life in the suburbs, I do not recall seeing many pickup trucks when I was younger. They were more of an occasional sighting, Now, there are pickups all over the place in all different sizes. The F-150 is indeed popular as are numerous other makes and models. The pickup is now a normal suburban vehicle.

According to Edumunds, the F-150 dominates car sales across the United States (and some other vehicles, including pickups, lead in a small number of states).

This reminds me of a magazine advertisement I used for years in my Intro to Sociology course. The ad was two pages and showed a parked pick-up truck within a swampy area. Sitting by the truck were roughly 15 dogs and standing nearby was the solitary man with his gun and camo. All of it screamed individualism and male vehicle. And this message is repeated over and over in television ads for trucks during sporting events and in many other places.

The electric pickup has the chance to keep Americans driving for decades in the big vehicles there are used to. There might still be a range issue for longer trips. But, imagine pickups that can accelerate even faster and just need to be plugged in at night.

Maybe not just McMansions making a comeback; “Super Gulp” mentality extends to pickup trucks

A review of the 2014 Chevy Silverado starts with some commentary about American consumer behavior: from McMansions to Super Gulps to large trucks.

North Americans are feeling so comfortable with their bank accounts these days that they’re re-embracing a Super Gulp mentality. They’re eating more hamburgers – at restaurants. They’re back to buying McMansions. And, as the major auto makers reported last month, they’re also buying trucks – especially the sort of full-size pickups that could plow sedans asunder.

General Motors reported sales of its Silverado were up an astounding 25.3 per cent in May compared with a year earlier – and that’s before its long-overdue update, which arrived at dealers this month with the same $32,710 starting price as the outgoing model, despite massive tweaks.

Small might have been big in a down economy, but for the 2014 model year, big is most definitely back en vogue.

I’m not sure exactly why this commentary starts the review as it seems to have a decently positive ending:

The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado may have been redesigned as a boxy utilitarian man wagon, but it’s a muscular manservant that even a woman could love.

At the least, this review draws upon a common critique of McMansions, SUVs, and other large items: they are all part of consumer mindset where bigger is better. These sorts of comparisons to large food portions or vehicles are not unusual when invoking McMansions. And lurking behind this is the issue of how to pay for all this size – the review doesn’t mention it but a fully loaded 2014 Chevy Silverado doesn’t come cheap (MSRP starting at $31,715, according to Chevy). Additionally, the size is anti-social as the truck reviewer dreams transforming her commute in the truck into a demolition derby.

It’s too bad we can’t get this same reviewer to look at a few houses of different sizes, or perhaps an economy car, to see if this worry about the size of consumer items is a bigger issue.