Top 5 Eco-Friendly Pickup Trucks

Electric trucks like the Rivian RT1 and Ford F-150 Lightning are setting a new standard for pickups with a lighter carbon footprint.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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We are on the horizon of an electrified era of low-emissions vehicle manufacturing. Electric vehicles from forward-thinking automakers like the Rivian RT1 and Ford F-150 Lightning are leading the charge to set a new standard for pickup trucks and their environmental impact.
“Eco-friendly” is defined as being not harmful to the environment. According to the EPA, transportation was responsible for
27% of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions
in 2020. Over half of that was produced by passenger cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, and minivans.
To protect our planet’s future, efforts must be made to reduce these emissions. Those who need a work truck—as many people do—can do their part by choosing a workhorse that will have a lower lifetime carbon footprint.
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What makes an eco-friendly truck?

When the carbon footprints of supply chains, manufacturing, electricity production, and battery recycling are taken into account, even electric trucks can’t be 100% eco-friendly. Electric cars are not zero-emission—but they certainly produce far fewer emissions than their gas-powered counterparts.
The best way to measure an electric vehicle’s lifetime impact on the environment is by using the CO2 emissions per mile metric. This takes into account the amount of carbon emissions that result from the production of the electricity being used to power an electric vehicle.
In the United States, the production of 1 kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity results in an average of 386 grams of CO2 emissions, since about 61% of U.S. electricity production is reliant on coal-, natural gas-, or petroleum-based power plants. But as we inch closer to
President Biden’s goal
of “achieving 100% carbon-free electricity by 2035,” electric vehicles will become even more eco-friendly.
While miles per gallon will mostly suffice for determining which gas vehicle is more “eco-friendly” than another, this metric also fails to take into account the difference between diesel and gasoline. On one hand, diesel engines are usually more efficient, but on the other hand, diesel contains more carbon, resulting in higher CO2 emissions per gallon of fuel burned.
According to the EPA
, 10,180 grams of CO2 are emitted for every gallon of diesel consumed. Burning one gallon of gasoline results in 8,887 grams of CO2 being emitted. While these figures ignore certain variables, they are the generally agreed-upon conversion factors used by the EPA and Department of Transportation.
With that, let’s take a close look at several environmentally friendlier new truck models.
MORE: How to choose an eco-friendly car

Top 5 eco-friendly trucks

Ford F-150 Lightning - $39,974 MSRP

EPA fuel economy rating: 78 MPGe city / 63 MPGe highway / 70 MPGe combined (Extended-Range trim)
Average U.S. carbon emissions: 186 grams of CO2 per mile
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning full-size pickup is the top candidate for the best eco-friendly truck award. It has a much more reasonable starting price and comparable fuel economy and emissions as the Rivian R1T. 
But if you want an F-150 Lightning that achieves the 10,000-pound maximum towing capacity and best fuel economy, you need to spring for the Extended-Range model. The standard model gets 2 MPGe less on all fronts.
Pros:
  • Most fuel-efficient truck in the city, tied with R1T for combined gas mileage
  • More affordable than other EV pickups
  • 4-second 0-60 time
  • Looks like a regular F-150
  • 320-mile range with larger battery
Cons:
  • Towing and hauling significantly reduce range and efficiency
  • Better versions result in significant price hike
  • 2023 model year will be much more expensiv

Rivian R1T - $73,000 MSRP

EPA fuel economy rating: 74 MPGe city / 66 MPGe highway / 70 MPGe combined
Average U.S. carbon emissions: 186 grams of CO2 per mile
In theory, the mid-size 2022 Rivian R1T electric pickup truck is tied with the Ford F-150 Lightning Extended-Range for the most eco-friendly pickup truck award. However,
Car and Driver got an average of only 35 MPGe
when testing the R1T, as the towing portion of the test resulted in a significant reduction of efficiency. 
According to Rivian, the R1T has an 11,000-pound towing capacity and a maximum payload capacity of 1,760 pounds.
Pros:
  • 835 horsepower
  • 3.3-second 0-60 mph time
  • Groundbreaking off-road capabilities, including four-wheel-steering system
  • 314 miles maximum EV range
  • Great exterior/interior design
  • Futuristic styling
Cons:
  • Expensive
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity
  • Recent recalls on 12,212 vehicles due to a serious steering problem
  • Fuel economy and range significantly reduced when towing/hauling

Ford Maverick Hybrid - $22,195 MSRP

EPA fuel economy rating: 42 mpg city / 33 mpg highway / 37 mpg combined
Emissions: 240 grams of CO2 per mile
The 2023 Ford Maverick compact pickup’s standard powertrain is a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter four-cylinder plus electric motor hybrid. Thanks to its fuel-sipping engine and compact size, the Maverick is the most efficient gas-powered truck you can buy
It’s not nearly as capable as the EV trucks mentioned above, but it’s not useless! It can tow 2,000 pounds with the hybrid engine, and an optional 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder brings that number up to 4,000 pounds.
Pros:
  • Cheapest pickup truck on the current market
  • Surprisingly capable
  • Best gas mileage among all pickups
  • Fantastic off-road package
  • Non-hybrid is still very efficient; 23/30 mpg (city/highway)
Cons
  • Nowhere near heavy-duty
  • No all-wheel drive (AWD) for hybrid powertrain
  • Cheapest version is noticeably… cheap

GMC Hummer EV - $86,645 MSRP

EPA fuel economy rating: 51 MPGe city / 43 MPGe highway / 47 MPGe combined
Emissions: 276 grams of CO2 per mile
While the GMC Hummer EV is one of the least eco-friendly EVs you can buy, it’s still mighty impressive—when it works. Its massive electric powertrain produces 1,000 horsepower, and if you scrap your Hummer H1 for a Hummer EV, you’ll be saving
612 grams of CO2 emissions per mile
. It also offers the highest range of any EV truck.
Pros:
  • 3.3-second 0-60 mph time
  • Futuristic off-road performance
  • Dare we say, cooler than the original Hummers
  • 329 miles of range
  • Four-wheel-steering for tank-like crab-walking
Cons:

2022 Ford F-150 Hybrid - $46,350 MSRP

EPA fuel economy rating: 25 mpg city / 25 mpg highway / 25 mpg combined
Emissions: 356 grams of CO2 per mile
You might be noticing a trend—Ford is winning the game when it comes to producing the least environmentally harmful trucks. While some diesel-burning trucks get EPA-rated combined fuel-economy ratings of 26 mpg, they all produce more emissions than the F-150 Hybrid! 
And with 400 horsepower on offer, the twin-turbocharged V6 and 35 kW electric motor are forces to be reckoned with.
Pros:
  • 700-mile range on one tank of gas
  • Onboard generator for worksite power
  • Just as powerful as full-size trucks with non-hybrid powertrains
  • 12,700-pound towing capacity
Cons:
  • Sparse equipment on base model
  • More expensive than the F-150 Lightning

Honorable mentions

Two compact trucks are available with four-cylinder gasoline engines that get a combined 23 mpg—the mid-size
Ford Ranger
and
Hyundai Santa Cruz
. Because they don’t burn diesel, they emit 386 grams of CO2 per mile.
Your next best bet would be one of the fuel-efficiency-focused 1500 turbodiesel models. The Ram 1500 Ecodiesel, Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Duramax, and GMC Sierra 1500 Duramax all have 3.0-liter V6 engines that get 26 mpg combined, for a total of 392 grams of CO2 emissions per mile.
We’d talk about the Tesla Cybertruck, but we’re still not convinced any real production models exist yet.

How to find cheap car insurance for your pickup truck

Whether you drive an affordable Ford Maverick or a ridiculous Hummer EV, you’re going to want to make sure you have a
car insurance
policy that gets you the coverage you need at a fair price. That’s where the
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All you have to do is download Jerry and fill in your profile to start saving an average of $800+ on your annual premium.
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FAQs

Based on our calculations, the trucks that are the least harmful to the environment—without considering towing—are the Ford F-150 Lightning Extended-Range and the Rivian R1T.
If you’re a regular person who can’t get your hands on one of these EV trucks, we’d suggest the Ford Maverick or Ford F-150 Hybrid depending on your budget and towing/payload needs.
The Ford F-150 Lightning Extended-Range and Rivian R1T EVs are tied with the highest combined EPA fuel-economy ratings of any trucks available on the current market.
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