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What sort of vehicle do you drive?

i would be interested to know what kind of vehicles green builders and contractors drive. i am considering changing the type of truck i have but the options seem somewhat limited....suggestions?

Asked by erik olofsson
Posted Feb 10, 2013 2:25 PM ET
Edited Feb 10, 2013 2:57 PM ET


15 Answers

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Bicycle 1.jpg Bicycle 2.jpg Bicycle 3.jpg
Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Feb 10, 2013 3:00 PM ET


I used to see alot of very large pickup trucks ( usually 2500 or 3500 size ) but a lot of those
have been replaced lately by Sprinters/mercedez, smaller more efficient trucks with a towable work box trailer ( sorry don't know the proper term in engrisch )

If you wish to be more greener , some awd cars or small suv with turbos are now well suited to tow the regular sized contractor trailers ( a little bigger than ~ 4.5ft X 10ft here is something we see alot )

neway, i don't see many pickup boxes full of work stuff around here,
they are almost always...good move it is to get a 3500hd truck only to carry a 1500lbs single wheeled boxed trailer once in the morning and once in the afternoon
and then go around with that truck during the weekend for activities with the kidds!!

But those usually are not interested in building anything of any efficiency !! :p

I am looking to move into hybrid this year ( probably going to be a slightly used Honda Insight )
and i'll be waiting for the Leaf 2013 or Honda plugin ( if they ever release one for sale ) in the next years ...
Will probably get an RDX or Subaru for working if i need to tow a boxed trailer in the next years...

Moving from a regular 7l/100km car to a 4l/100km hybrid will save us 2-3000$/year
only on the transportation to school for the boys
and a full EV would shave another 2000$ off that .
Then we will still save when moving around here with the 2 cars!!

But i don't think any EV is fitted for a contractor work for now and won't be for some time
( unless Benz start working on some kind of EV sprinter ..that would be very cool!! )

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Feb 10, 2013 5:20 PM ET


i like martin's idea although we don't have a 3 car garage.. :/ there is a roofer in our neighbourhood who uses a bicycle and trailer and is able to pull all his ladders and tools around using just peddle power. he has his material delivered, of course. we are a one-car family but my vehicle needs to tow a 16' cargo trailer and the occassional lift of plywood. it is hard to beat the 20-30 mpg i get with my diesel pick-up. unfortunately, due to the nature of my business, while i might be able to have more materials delivered i need to be able to move the trailer around regularily. of course i haven't even mentioned the excellent utility of the pick-up box...

Answered by erik olofsson
Posted Feb 11, 2013 2:09 PM ET


Erik: may i ask what model/year pk u are using ?

How is the price of diesel compared to regular fuel in usa ??
Here diesel has gotten more expensive than gazoline so some diesel cars are not worth the premium price because you would have to drive 100K KM /year to scoop back the price diff within 4-5 years.

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Feb 11, 2013 5:01 PM ET


I have the same question as Jin: What sort of pickup gets 30mpg? I'm assuming you are in the US. I could imagine one because I have a Vanagon with a TDI diesel conversion in it that can get 30 mpg when it is running right. Sadly VW doesn't see fit to put those motors in things like pickups over here.

Answered by Chris Arai
Posted Feb 12, 2013 3:09 AM ET


I've successfully used a chevy "TRans Sport" van for almost 2 years while building my house.
The reason why i chose it ( other than the sub 1000$ price :p ) is that a full 4X8 fits on the rear floor,
and i was able to pack something like 20 bags of Quad-Lock 2.25" forms :)

The MPG was not terrible, but much lower than a full size van or truck.

Not very reliable though ..

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Feb 12, 2013 10:32 AM ET


For me, it doesn't make sense to have a pickup, since we typically purchase a large(ish) quantity of cellulose at one time, and with a pickup the material is exposed. Same deal with the blowing machine. I get that the trailer is handy, but it seems like one more thing to worry about. A full size van has all the room we need, and isn't affected by the weather. I also have a Nissan Altima and a Suzuki motorcycle that are personal vehicles, so I don't use the work van for anything besides work.

In the future I would like to get something smaller for audits/ air sealing, like a hybrid Ford Escape.

Answered by Armando Domingos
Posted Feb 12, 2013 11:42 AM ET


Would these pics qualify?

1 Horse Power Engine.JPG
Answered by Armando Cobo
Posted Feb 12, 2013 11:49 AM ET


Would be fun to know how much energy does a horse use in a day and or for a certain traveled distance ??
I know we ( human ) are extremely efficient when walking, but how about much larger beasts like horses? It sure has a hefty weight to carry for the minimal power it produces.

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Feb 12, 2013 12:53 PM ET


chris and jin, we have a 1998 and a 2003 dodge ram diesel. both have over 330,000kms and i can get very close to 30mpg/highway. and i do a lot of highway travel for work. i live in vancouver, bc, but we get jobs all over bc.

Answered by erik olofsson
Posted Feb 12, 2013 1:04 PM ET


Erik: what is the diesel price in Bc now ??

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Feb 12, 2013 1:39 PM ET


jin, it is about $1.20/litre CDN right now...

Answered by erik olofsson
Posted Feb 13, 2013 9:37 PM ET


Erik .. we are at almost 1.50$/liter diesel here in country .. u can find 1.4-1.45 in Montreal
and 1.35-1.4 on south west of the province in very large truck stops ...
Gaz prices are at 1.4-1.5$/liter also now :(

Answered by Jin Kazama
Posted Feb 13, 2013 11:29 PM ET


Obviously no contractor is going to use my Honda Fit as his vehicle, but I have to brag that it holds a hell of a lot of stuff anyway and gets 47 mpg highway, 30 mpg in the city. It easily holds 8' long lumber and is only a couple of inches shy of being able to take ten-footers. That's with the hatch closed and locked. I grew up in the '50s surrounded by country boys and their V-8s with the Lake pipes, moon hubcaps, etc., and I have no doubt that this car could hold its own in a drag race with them.

Answered by Gordon Taylor
Posted Feb 14, 2013 3:52 AM ET


I drive a 99 Suburban, 6.5 diesel, 3/4 ton frame. The main reason I got it was to double as a work vehicle (can carry 4x8 sheets of drywall, lumber, etc in the rain/snow, etc.) but also doubles as a family vehicle. I have to pull a 16' cargo trailer fully loaded almost daily. Although diesel prices are not great around here and have fluctuated numerous times in the past six months, I know I'm getting better fuel economy than gas, with the torque and power I need to pull the trailer. I've always been interested in switching to a bio-fuel, which this truck will also offer when/if I get there. I'd love to switch to a small vehicle for running daily errands/meeting with customers, etc., but at this point, with the size of my company, I never know when I'll need to haul materials, tools, etc., so the accessibility is worth it in most cases.

Answered by Mark Miller
Posted Feb 15, 2013 12:17 PM ET

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