A recent letter to an environmental columnist in Chicago asked about replacing older pickups with a more fuel-efficient model. The columnist discussed the Chevy and GMC hybrid pickups but had no clue as to the operation of those trucks. They're not really hybrids. Both have a belt-alternator-starter system that shuts down the engine while the vehicle is stopped. Fuel savings are minimal, at best 10 percent, and the operation is hardly seamless. Both times that I drove the hybrid pickups, they were annoying and frustrating experiences.The main reason a few consumers do buy the GM pickup hybrids is the 120V outlet that can power equipment in the field. The writer goes on about other hybrids. Why are hybrids the only solution? How about a diesel pickup? The question was about fuel economy. And the latest round of emissions standards for diesels have the trucks running nearly as a clean as gas engines.

The columnist then suggests that replacing an older truck may not be the "most environmentally sensitive way to go", since another new vehicle hits the road while an old one clogs up a junkyard. Then goes on to say that repairing an old vehicle is usually cheaper than buying a new one.


Officials in California have long wished that old vehicles would get off the road. Governments even sponsor crusher programs and allow pollution credits to be traded or sold for every old car that is sent to the jaws. I don't know the specifics but the majority of smog in the Los Angeles basin is caused by a minority of vehicles that are much older than the current clean-running models. Basically, if everyone was rich in Los Angeles and could buy a new car, hybrid or not, the air quality would improve dramatically.

When it comes to trucks, environmental writers need to research the subject a lot more before giving advice.

[Source: Southwest News Herald]

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