Photo via SGTSAM49.

Photo via SGTSAM49.

The Seattle Police Department has added 90 Ford Police Interceptor Utility patrol vehicles to its fleet in an ongoing initiative to replace less-fuel-efficient Crown Victoria units.

The department chose the vehicle because it provides slightly better fuel economy than the Crown Vics and should be significantly more affordable to maintain.

The agency opted for the all-wheel-drive P.I. Utility based on the Ford Explorer that gets an EPA-rated 17 mpg city. The 2011 Crown Vic gets an EPA-rated 16 mpg city. In agency testing, the new units averaged 8.4 mpg compared to 6.7 mpg for the Crown Vics due to constant idling, reports the Seattle Times.

The P.I. Utility is expected to cost 23 cents per mile to maintain, while the Crown Vics cost the city 40 cents per mile. The department's fleet now consists of 135 Crown Vics and 90 Ford Police Interceptor sedans, in addition to the new vehicles.