LINDSAY, CA – In 2006, the City of Lindsay began buying 22 Toyota Highlander hybrids, 17 of which were converted to fire department and police patrol vehicles, according to

The Highlanders’ gas mileage is 27-30 miles per gallon compared to a Crown Victorias’ 10-14 mpg. 

Buying the cars proved to be a challenge, however, as Highlander hybrids were in demand back then that Lindsay city officials couldn’t find an individual vendor with the 15 police, three fire department and four city cars the city wanted to buy, nor could they get a fleet price.

The city couldn’t wait because it had a deadline to spend the grant money, so the city took what cars it could get between October and December 2005, some loaded with features normally not needed for public service vehicles, including high-end stereo systems, six-disc CD players and a rear-seat DVD viewing system.

They ended up costing about $836,000, with an additional $261,000 to equip 17 of the 18 police and fire vehicles with cages, radios, and equipment, and the price tag came to about $1.097 million.

But $1.029 million of that cost was covered by grant money, leaving a difference of more than $127,200 that the Lindsay paid for with general fund money, the news report said.

According to the City, the Highlanders actually are faster than the Crown Victoria and provide fuel savings. Instead of refueling patrol cars after every eight-hour shift like they used to with the larger cars, officers only have to refuel the Highlanders a couple of times a week.