(TNS) – While studying the use of hybrid vehicles by the Reno County Sheriff’s Office, Automotive Department Director Kyle Berg found they were not delivering as much fuel savings as expected.
However, the combination of gasoline and electric motors significantly reduced the engine idle time of patrol vehicles.
This prompted Berg to recommend that the county extend the replacement schedule for these vehicles by one year, from four to five years, which could save the county significantly more.
The only problem, Berg noted, is that other county departments often add the vehicles to their replacement fleets when they are removed by the sheriff’s office, so he wasn’t sure what impact this would have on. all operations.
The county commission approved the assessment and ordered its implementation.
Berg said the county saves on average just under 316 gallons of fuel per year with hybrids. At an average cost of $ 2.60 per gallon, that works out to about $ 821 per vehicle compared to non-hybrid interceptors.
Hybrids cost about $ 3,100 more than gasoline-powered vehicles, so over a four-year replacement cycle it was still a savings of almost $ 50 per year, or more if gasoline prices were down. higher.
If they opted for a five-year replacement cycle instead, with the additional purchase cost of the hybrid spread over a longer period, that would equate to a savings of around $ 200 per year.
Comparing the engine hours and idle time of traditional vehicles to hybrids, Berg noted that regular vehicle engines idle almost 40% of the time they were running. But hybrids, which shut off the gasoline engine and run on batteries, only idled about 18 percent of the time, on average.
“This saves a lot of engine life,” Berg said.
“We’ve been very lucky with hybrids, and the future will be hybrids,” Berg added. “The big three [automakers] put so much money into it, like it or not, they’re here to stay. “
Berg also noted in his report that fuel expenses for the county in 2019 were down almost $ 40,000 from the previous year. He attributed this to the impact of COVID-19 on services and falling prices due to lower demand. The Department of Energy is forecasting a retail average of $ 2.76 per gallon by September, so those spending will likely be back, he warned.
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