Government Fleet Top News

Wash. Public Agencies Buy More Hybrids Than Gasoline-Powered Cars for First Time

September 27, 2006

OLYMPIA, WA – For the first time, public agencies in Washington bought more hybrid cars than standard gasoline-powered cars in a model year. Public agencies bought 222 of the hybrid Toyota Prius compared to 218 standard vehicles through state contracts managed by the state Department of General Administration. Agencies also bought 206 hybrid Ford Escape SUVs and 390 flexible-fuel vehicles, those capable of running on a mixture of gasoline and ethanol.The sales represent state government’s efforts to manage costs during times of higher fuel prices and better protect the environment. The state gets a price break on hybrid vehicles because of its volume buying. The state contract price for the 2006 Toyota Prius was $20,300, or $2,000 below the suggested retail price. The state contract price for the 2006 Ford Escape hybrid was $24,732, or about $2,800 below the suggested retail price.The state Department of Ecology was the first public agency in Washington to buy a Prius through the state contract. Currently, the agency has 52 Prius and 12 Escape hybrids in its fleet. Ecology bought 15 Prius in 2006 with plans to buy 10 more along with 10 Honda Civic hybrids for model-year 2007, as older vehicles are retired.The City of Seattle ordered 100 of the model-year 2006 Prius, the most by any public agency in Washington.General Administration contracted for the Prius in 2000, making Washington the first state to offer a hybrid vehicle on state contract. The state was also the first to contract for the Ford Escape hybrid in 2004. The state previously offered the hybrid Honda Civic on contract and plans to offer it again.Public agencies have purchased 982 hybrids since these vehicles became available through state contracts. Buyers are able to order vehicles through a convenient online ordering process that eliminates paperwork and speeds delivery. A total of 340 government organizations in Washington bought vehicles through state contracts this year, the most ever. Political subdivisions bought 70 percent of the 2006 vehicles available from state contracts.General Administration plans to add contracts for vehicles that are certified to run on biodiesel. Contracts for 2007-model hybrids are expected to be ready by Oct. 2006.

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