A truck or railed hauler is a large motor vehicle usually designed to transport heavy cargo on roads. Trucks range greatly in size, engine power, and other configuration. Smaller types can often be mechanically quite similar to small cars. As a result of their size and general shape, they are often used for carrying goods, carrying ore, transporting liquids, etc., within their designated capacities.
In comparison to passenger vehicles like sedans, passenger trucks (sometimes called minivans) have a smaller footprint when compared to the length of its body. They are also relatively inexpensive to insure, which makes them an attractive option for many consumers. But unlike cars, trucks cannot be easily “ifted” from one vehicle to another, making them particularly useful in harsh, rural environments where it may not be feasible to purchase or lease a new vehicle. Additionally, since most people do not live close to a Wal-Mart or other large retail chain, many consumers find that trucks are one of the few practical ways to commute long distances.
The pickup truck is perhaps the most recognizable form of truck. It is most commonly used for hauling consumer goods, although the uses of other kinds of trucks are beginning to catch on as well. Many people consider the truck to be the quintessential American mode of transportation. There are a wide variety of used and new pickup trucks available, and the cost of such vehicles can be rather high. This has led to a surge in the trucking industry, as companies scramble to sell off old stock or to build new fleets of rigs. The trucking industry is also directly responsible for millions of jobs across the country.
Pickup trucks may be powered by one of several types of internal combustion engines, including gasoline, diesel, or other fuels. Some pickups can even be retrofitted to run on electricity, as are some hybrid trucks, though these vehicles are generally considered to be strictly vocational in nature. Gasoline-powered pickups are still the most common on the road, although diesel pickups are beginning to gain a strong hold.
There are two main types of trucks in use today: the passenger vehicle, which are used for short distance hauls, and the utility vehicle, which is more often used to haul heavy construction equipment. Most people recognize a pickup truck as being big and relatively slow, used most often to haul cargo, such as on the job site. Some passenger vehicles, such as school buses, are designed to be attractive to drivers, with sleeper cabs for passengers. Pickup trucks can also be retrofitted to carry goods in addition to passengers, although this is not common. Utility trucks, which are generally used to haul large loads over long distances, are almost exclusively used as regular trucks.
Some of the more familiar brands of utility trucks include the Ford F-350, which are essentially a small pickup truck, and the GM C-note, which is basically a small semi-trailer truck. The fifth wheel is a relative term and refers to any vehicle with a capacity that exceeds that of the driver or passengers. This is the largest capacity class of vehicle, sometimes used interchangeably with the vans. Many regular trucks fall into this class. Although the term “fifth wheel” may have historical ties to the trucking industry, it has no connection to the size or weight of the vehicle itself.