TRAVERSE CITY, MI – Claiming the ’05 Ford Escape Hybrid is “the cleanest and most fuel-efficient SUV on the planet,” Jim Padilla, Ford Motor Co. chief operating officer and chairman-Automotive Operations, announces here on Thursday U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy ratings for the cross/utility vehicle.

The EPA has certified the front-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid at 36/31 mpg (6.5L-7.6L/100 km) city/highway and 33 mpg (7.1L/100 km) combined, Padilla says.

The 4-wheel-drive Escape Hybrid is rated at 33/29 mpg (8.1L/100 km) city/highway and 31 mpg combined.

dwinter@primediabusiness.com