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Hefty hybrids hot at L.A. auto show

Apparently, environmentally friendly autos are all the rage at auto shows.

According to BusinessWeek, "green tech continues to dominate major auto shows," and such is the case at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show, where "the theme is hybrids with heft."

The biz news magazine says that at the L.A. event, which opened to the public Friday and runs through Nov. 25:

"The Chrysler Group introduced two new mega-hybrids, the Chrysler Aspen and Dodge Durango, both odd combinations that merge gas-electric power with impressive capabilities like an optional 385 horsepower engine and a 6,000 pound towing capacity.

General Motors unveiled a surprise full-sized hybrid pickup truck, the 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid. It's also touting its hybrid version of the glitzy Cadillac Escalade, which it unveiled at the South Florida Auto Show earlier this month.

And, Porsche made a light-bathed spectacle of its hybrid Cayenne SUV's North American debut."

Green car of the year: The show's organizers even selected a 2008 Green Car of the Year. Judges included environmental group representatives, auto enthusiast Jay Leno and legendary car designer (and Texan!) Carroll Shelby, and they bestowed the title, sponsored by Green Car Journal, on Chevrolet's Tahoe Hybrid (pictured below).


The full-sized hybrid is the first GM vehicle to use the company's two-mode hybrid system. Most automakers incorporate hybrid technology into mid-size or smaller vehicles with four-cylinder engines, as that's where big fuel economy gains are most readily achieved.

You can read why the Tahoe won over the judges here, and check out the four other, smaller vehicles it beat here.

Not creditable yet: The Chevy SUV, however, has yet to get the IRS OK as a tax-credit-eligible alternative fuel vehicle.

The full tax-break-approved list is here, and it's updated as new vehicles qualify. If you're a Tahoe fan, keep checking. Or browse the list anyway; you just might find another eco friendly auto that you like and which could save you some tax dollars.

And you can read more on the L.A. auto show at the New York Times auto blog Wheels, and the paper's special section on the event; at Edmunds Auto Observer and its Straightline blog; and at CNET News (lots of photos!).


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