Hybrid SUVs to Hit U.S. Market This Year

While a “green SUV” may sound like an oxymoron, Toyota and Ford plan to roll out new gas-electric hybrid SUVs later this year that warrant the label “greener” — or, at least, less egregiously wasteful. Ford’s hybrid Escape will hit U.S. showrooms this summer, while Toyota will start selling a hybrid version of its luxury Lexus RX330 in November or December. These newfangled hybrid SUVs are expected to get 27 to 40 miles per gallon — comparable to standard cars. Enviros don’t love ’em, but say they’re a definite improvement over current gas-guzzling models. “I would definitely encourage people who need four-wheel-drive vehicles to look at these,” said Jim Ball, president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, which spearheaded the much ballyhooed “What Would Jesus Drive?” campaign. No word yet on whether He would prefer an Escape or a Lexus.