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Buy a ‘greener’ pickup truck?

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently released its list of “Greenest 2010 Vehicles.” Small car and SUV hybrids topped the energy miser list with green scores reflecting high fuel economies and low emissions.

Even so, several pickups and full-sized SUVs made ACEEE’s “Greener Choice” list. The GMC Canyon and Chevy’s twin, the Colorado, both with the 2.9-liter, four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission, made that list.

So did the Chevrolet Silverado hybrid, sporting a 6-liter, eight-cylinder engine and a continuously variable automatic transmission. The Chevy Tahoe C1500 hybrid and its GMC Yukon twin also made the list. Both are driven by the same engine and powertrain as the Silverado.

Key Points

• 2010 “greenest” vehicle list includes pickups and SUVs.

• Web site rates vehicle fuel efficiency and emissions.

• Compact pickups score “green” while Class B trucks are rated “mean.”

Know what you’re buying

Emissions standards and the sensors and catalytic converters sold on new vehicles vary from state to state. According to the nonprofit group, if you live in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont or Washington, you live in a “clean car state” that has implemented California’s stringent motor vehicle pollution control rules.

Typically, automakers will certify a single vehicle to both a California standard and a Tier 2 standard. The cleanest gas-burners — those achieving the Phase II Super-Ultra-Low-Emission Vehicle (SULEV II) and Partial Zero Emission Vehicle (PZEV) levels — are often limited to sale in California and New England.

Rather than wading into the low-emissions technical mumbo-jumbo here, the best way to check out all vehicle listings and engine specs is to visit ACEEE’s Web site: www.greener

The site also lists top-rated models in compact and standard pickups, with separate categories for automatic and manual transmissions. In the compact category, the manual transmission Ford Ranger and Toyota Tacoma rated “superior” with their 2.3-liter and 2.7-liter four-cylinder engines, respectively.

What about ‘bigger horses’?

That “go-to-town” truck may not pull all the loads on the farm. But if you want the power of Class B vehicles, you’ll give up some fuel efficiency. That’s why the Dodge Ram 2500 megacab, the Ford F-250, the Chevy Suburban K2500 and the GMC Yukon K2500 fell into ACEEE’s “meanest vehicle” category.

You don’t buy them for their gas mileage, though. The good news is they beat their meanest stable mates — the Lamborghini Roadster, Ferraris, Bentleys and several Mercedes — in gas mileage.

This article published in the March, 2010 edition of AMERICAN AGRICULTURIST.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2010.