Slowly but surely automobile companies are producing more fuel efficient vehicles for the public. Gas prices will see to it that it that new truck and SUV models will follow suit and introduce more economical options for those whose lifestyle requires them.
We researched some of the most fuel efficient so far and while most of the results were small SUV models offered as hybrids, never fear big truck lovers, it is a step in the right direction.
The highest gas mileage for an SUV award goes to the Ford Escape Hybrid, and considering it was the first hybrid SUV of its kind on the market that is quite an accomplishment.
Introduced in 2004, the Escape Hybrid is actually quite advanced in the industry and offers the option to run on pure gas, pure electricity or a combination of the two.
Said to have emissions at less than 10% of what the average new car spewed in 2003, this is a breakthrough vehicle geared at helping us travel with less damage to the environment.
Another SUV offering high gas mileage is the Lexus RX, tagged by Wikipedia as the world’s first mid-sized crossover SUV.
Its American sales debut in 1998 was made in true Lexus tradition featuring leather seats, wood trim, light-sensing headlights and a high end sound system. It’s second generation revealed in 2003 featuring a streamlined body style and even more options inside, further refining the luxury of the cabin.
Lexus is known for its silent road presence, but the RX goes one step further, under 25 mph the car runs solely on electricity making it virtually silent at low speeds. Beware, pedestrians may not hear you coming.
Introduced to the American market in 2001 the Toyota Highlander subsequently became Toyota’s best selling SUV, which says a lot considering America’s love affair with the trusty 4 Runner.
A second generation Highlander was unveiled at the 2007 Chicago Auto Show featuring more horsepower and more heft. Hopefully it will serve to upgrade some of the transmission problems reviewers experienced, a surprise when Toyota’s reputation is taken into consideration.
Fortunately there are a few pickup trucks that manage to get decent gas mileage, unfortunately for them they don’t all stick around.
Ford offered a battery electric option Ranger, which only lasted for the four years between 1998 and 2002. Its battery power severely limits not only its driving range but its payload capacity as well. The majority of the electric Rangers that were sold were fleets sold to electric and utility companies.
Not a terribly popular option as a truck with high mpg, it is hopefully just the beginning, if any company knows pickup trucks its Ford.
Another pickup making steps to be low emissions is the Tacoma, a well received mid sized pickup truck.
True to Toyota fashion the Tacoma is both versatile and economical. Toyota has been in the pick up truck business since 1935, a suitable rival for even the Ford Motor Company.
The four cylinder option is said to get 23 mpg on the highway and 19 mpg in the city. For a non-electric vehicle coupled with the fact that pick up trucks are among the least aerodynamic vehicles on the road, that is an impressive tribute to Toyota’s research and development.
These are just a few of the high mpg options in the truck and SUV industry, one that remains very popular in North America despite the hike in gas prices.
If we continue to support the car manufacturers that take risks and utilize technology to make our earth a cleaner place they will continue to produce cleaner vehicles.