March 14, 2005

BC to add over 300 hybrid vehicles to government fleet

British Columbia will add up to 356 gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles to the government fleet, as part of its commitment to lead by example in the area of sustainable environmental management. "This acquisition will result in a direct and immediate reduction in greenhouse gases from fleet operations," said Management Services Minister Joyce Murray, adding, "Our goal is to have 30% of our overall fleet made up of green vehicles in the next three years."

"Green" vehicles currently make up approximately 15% of the provincial government fleet, including 45 gasoline-electric hybrids as well as natural gas- and propane-powered vehicles. The additional hybrids will be used as part of the provincial fleet in communities across the province, including Victoria, Vancouver, Kamloops, Kelowna, Trail, Prince George and others. The 2005 hybrid vehicle models available to ministries include the Toyota Prius sedan, the Ford Escape (a compact, front-wheel or all-wheel-drive SUV) or the GM Sierra (a full-size, half-ton extended cab, 4X2 or 4X4 pickup).

"The Fraser Basin Council wholeheartedly endorses the decision by the Province to green its fleet with hybrid vehicles," said David Marshall, executive director of the council, which also oversees the Fleet Challenge BC program.

A report released last November by Fleet Challenge BC/Fraser Basin Council on the performance of 100 hybrid vehicles tested in BC documented substantially lower fuel costs and reduced air pollution. Most of the hybrids tested were 2001 model Priuses from the BC government fleet. These vehicles were driven a total of 2.5 million km across the province in all types of weather and road conditions-with no problems.

The average fuel efficiency for the Priuses in the government's fleet was 5.83 litres/100 km. These vehicles reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 25% and surpassed the fuel efficiency of their gasoline counterparts, which average approximately 7.9 litres/100 km.

In its recent budget, the provincial government introduced tax relief for British Columbians who want to buy hybrid vehicles: purchasers of hybrid passenger vehicles will save up to $2,000 in provincial sales tax. This benefit is now in effect and will remain in place until March 31, 2008.

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