Love that old pickup but hate the gas guzzling and fumes? Then trade in the noxious growl for a nice, clean hum by converting the beast to lightning. Think of it as a heart transplant: For anywhere from $20,000 to $30,000, an expert like Left Coast Conversions' Reverend Gadget will swap out your old internal-combustion block for an electric engine. Or you can do it yourself for $8,000 to $12,000. (Forgoing the traditional lead-acid route for higher-powered lithium-polymer batteries is where you'll see the tab spike.) "It's pretty easy," says the Reverend. "It takes only three to five days to convert a vehicle." Alas, the process doesn't work on automatic transmissions, but that's the only logistical obstacle besides a few grand lying around between you and a cleaner automotive conscience. You could quadruple your vehicle's energy-transfer rate, get up to 200 miles off every charge, and actually be faster from zero to 60 (!), but the best part will be your license to use the line "Electric that's how I roll." For additional info, and to locate a qualified mechanic, visit go-ev.com. GORDY MEGROZ
Or Burn Less Gas
Not everyone wants to drop the bank it takes to convert a car. So as you head outside to play, keep in mind these fuel-saving tips from Tom and Ray Magliozzi, of NPR's Car Talk.
> Anxious to snag fresh tracks the morning after a honking snowstorm? Don't race up the mountain; your MPG can drop by as much as 93 percent. No kidding.
> It may be a pain and detract from your outdoorsy self-image but leave your roof rack at home if you're not using it regularly. The drag can eat up 5 percent of every tank.
> Unless you're Will Gadd, you probably don't need all your gear in the back of your truck at all times. Every 100 pounds extra taxes fuel economy by up to 2 percent.