NEW YORK (AP) — Ford Motor Co. introduced a new version of its F-150 pickup Thursday, touting fuel economy improvements that make it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class.

The SFE — or "superior fuel economy" — version of the truck, which is slated to go on sale next month, offers more miles per gallon than versions in the overall 2009 lineup, Ford said.

For example, the 2008 version of the automaker's two-wheel drive F-150 with a 5.4-liter, three-valve V-8 engine averages 13 miles per gallon in the city and 17 mpg on the highway, while the 2009 version gets 14 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway, Ford spokesman Said Deep said.

The SFE package boosts the vehicle's mileage to 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway, though with a 4.6-liter engine instead of a 5.4-liter, Deep said.

That matches the averages of the most fuel-efficient versions of General Motors Corp.'s two-wheel-drive 2009 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, according to Environmental Protection Agency figures.

Ford, based in Dearborn, Mich., said the SFE package will be a no-cost option on its XLT SuperCrew pickups with the chrome package. It will cost $1,095 when ordered on XL SuperCrew pickups with the decor package.

Ford said the improved fuel economy is the result of several improvements, including the use of lightweight steel that cut the vehicle's weight by up to 100 pounds, and better aerodynamics that reduce drag.

Also boosting the vehicle's fuel efficiency are a six-speed transmission, open-valve fuel injection, and an automatic fuel shut-off triggered when a driver releases the gas pedal.