October 10, 2005
Columbia County is looking to get rid of gas-guzzling vehicles because of the rising prices. They met Monday to discuss replacing the vehicles they have now with ones that are more fuel-efficient.
The hybrid gas-electric car would help Columbia County cut back on gas. Salesman Donald Tubman has worked with these cars for several years, and he says the roughly $3,000 extra you may pay for a hybrid is well worth it in the end.
“They have been popular with gas prices going up the way they is,” Tubman said.
The hybrid uses electricity, gas and a battery to run. It does not run on gas when it idles, and only uses three cylinders when it’s cruising.
The hybrid gets about 29 miles per gallon in the city and 37 on the interstate. That’s an improvement of about ten miles per gallon.
The current vehicles get about fifteen miles per gallon. The county spent more than $500,000 on gas alone last year. Chairman Ron Cross says they are considering swapping out 650 vehicles they have now for ones that are more fuel-efficient.
“We’re kind of cautious up front about spending money on a program that hasn’t been proven,” Cross said.
If they can’t make their budget, county services, like building inspections, may be scaled back.
The hybrid has mixed reviews with other counties that have converted, and its battery is about $2,000 to replace. But it gets about 22 more miles to the gallon than the average truck. Other options are replacing larger vehicles with smaller ones, alternative fuels, and combining all vehicles from individual departments. They hope to have a plan of action within the next thirty days.