Pickup trucks aren't known for their fuel economy, but Ford is trying to change that with a new Facebook driven event meant to spotlight the new Ford F150 EcoBoost that gets up to 22 mpg in highway driving.

Drivers in eight cities putting EcoBoost®-equipped Ford F-150s to the test will compete against one another for best fuel economy and using the trucks for some community service project. Facebookers will vote on whose project is the best. The winner will get free gas for a year, and free gas for people in their community for 2 hours and 22 minutes from two Shell gas stations that will pump for free for that time.

The 2011 Ford F-150s are equipped with Ford's new 3.5-liter EcoBoost truck engine, which is EPA-certified at 16 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. It also offers best-in-class, for a V6, conventional towing of 11,300 pounds and best-in-class payload of 3,060 pounds.

The challenge goes live today on the EcoBoost Challenge tab on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ford.

"This challenge is a great way to highlight the capacities of the F-150 EcoBoost – a truck specially engineered to deliver the capability people need and the fuel efficiency they really want," said Raj Sarkar, F-150 marketing manager. "Plus, this challenge speaks to the spirit of our F-150 owners, who work hard for their families as well as their communities."

Each driver will represent a city, driving an F-150 EcoBoost truck for one week. The first five days of the challenge involve a real-world fuel efficiency competition, with the average mile per gallon monitored via Ford's Crew Chief™ system installed in each truck.

The challenge cities are Louisville, Ky.; Pittsburgh; Houston; San Diego; Orlando, Fla.; Denver; Kansas City, Mo.; and Raleigh-Durham, N.C. The EcoBoost Challenge drivers come from a variety of backgrounds, ranging from a middle school biology teacher to a Twitter user with more than 40,000 followers.

The community service piece of the contest teams drivers up with their local communities to create a goodwill project on Aug. 27 that includes public support. Drivers will create their own community projects, using the F-150 EcoBoost trucks to carry materials to their project sites.

The winning driver will be determined through a blended score measuring the highest average miles per gallon achieved throughout the week, the most votes on the Ford Facebook page and how many volunteers participated in the community improvement project.

EcoBoost is being offered in more Ford vehicles than just the F150. The system, offered on Lincoln MKS, Ford Explorer and Ford Flex, brings together advanced, high-output, smaller-displacement powertrains that deliver improved performance and fuel efficiency. Ford EcoBoost engines deliver fuel efficiency gains of up to 20 percent and reduction of CO2 emissions of up to 15 percent, compared with larger, less-efficient engines. In the case of the F150, the comparison is against a V8 engine.

By 2013, Ford plans to offer EcoBoost engines in up to 90 percent of its North American nameplates, supporting global sales of 1.5 million EcoBoost-powered vehicles per year.