Light truck or light-duty truck is a US classification for trucks or truck-based vehicles with a gross vehicle weight up to 8,500 pounds (3,860 kg) and a payload capacity up to 4,000 pounds (1,815 kg). Similar goods vehicle classes in the European Union, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are termed light commercial vehicles and are limited to a gross vehicle weight of up to 3,500 kg (7,720 pounds).
The United States government uses light truck as a vehicle class in regulating fuel economy through the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard. The class includes vans, minivans, sport utility vehicles, and pickup trucks. Light trucks have lower fuel economy standards than cars, under the premise that these vehicles are used for utilitarian purposes rather than personal transportation.
Since sales of light trucks in the United States are increasingly being used for personal use, some have advocated applying higher economy standards to light trucks that are not used for utilitarian purposes.
While in the United States and Canada, most light truck are used primarily for passenger transport. Pickups are also used in law enforcement, the military, fire services, and for pickup truck racing, a form of auto racing using modified versions of pickups mostly on oval tracks.
Equipping pickup trucks with camper shells provides a small living space for camping. Slide-in truck campers, though, give a pickup truck the amenities of a small motorhome, but still allow the operator the option of removal and independent use of the vehicle.
Some diesel-engined pickups are modified to produce more diesel exhaust, a process described as rolling coal. Changes are designed to produce visibly polluting sooty emissions and include the intentional removal of the particulate filter, as well as installing smoke switches and smoke stacks. Modifications may cost from $2,000 to $5,000.
Modified pickups can be used as improvised, unarmoured combat vehicles called technicals.