MINNEAPOLIS, MN – The University of Minnesota has expanded its environmentally friendly fleet of hybrid vehicles to 28 by adding 12 2007 Toyota Priuses. The hybrid vehicles are one of the most fuel-efficient automobiles and run on a combination of gasoline and rechargeable electric batteries. The Prius has an EPA-estimated rating of 52 miles per gallon (mpg) in city driving and 45 mpg on the highway.

University vehicle users have been happy with its performance as well. In focus groups conducted in January 2007, participants raved about the Prius and requested that the University buy more. The university began using hybrid vehicles in the fall 2001 when they purchased three 2002 Toyota Priuses. In addition, the university currently has five Ford Escape hybrid vehicles with two more on order.

The new Prius vehicles will be used for a variety of purposes. Five will be added to the Twin Cities rental pool, and the rest will be signed to long-term leases for specific departments on all the university’s statewide campuses.

The University of Minnesota has a fleet size of 832 vehicles — mostly cars, vans, trucks and SUVs — including 28 hybrids.