The State of California's tough emissions rules seem to be translating into an increase in the number of environmentally friendly cars and trucks on the US market, according to this year's "Green Book", published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.

The book ranks vehicles for fuel estimates, California or federal emissions ratings and their manufacturing pollutants and public health costs. The Honda Insight captured its top spot for environmentally-friendly cars and trucks, in a guide of 2003 models. The two-seater Insight uses gas-electric hybrid technology, with an electric motor that boosts the performance of its small, three-cylinder gas engine.

The council concluded that California's tough new emission standards increased the number of environmentally friendly vehicles. "Last year there were just four cars clean enough to get the California SULEV [super ultra-low emission vehicle] rating, but this year there are 14," James Kliesch, co-author of the guide told the Los Angeles Times.

*For the complete list see: www.greenercars.com

By Philip Fine