Local News

Raleigh plugs into fuel efficiency

Posted November 20, 2007
Updated April 30, 2008

— City officials on Tuesday unveiled a plug-in hybrid car that they said should help meet a goal of cutting fossil fuel consumption in municipal government by 20 percent.

Raleigh purchased a $21,300 Toyota Prius hybrid car and spent another $21,200 to outfit it with additional battery capacity and the plug-in technology that allows the car to charge up from a normal electrical outlet. The plug-in hybrid can travel 80 to 100 miles on one gallon of gasoline.

The outfitted Prius will be used by various city departments and is the latest step Raleigh is taking to cut fuel use. The City Council in April endorsed a goal of reducing fossil fuel consumption by 20 percent in five years.

Alternative-fuel vehicles comprise 15 percent of the city's fleet, and fuels like biodiesel, compressed natural gas and ethanol accounted for about 17 percent of fuel consumption in city vehicles over the past year, officials said.

Use of the plug-in hybrid will be monitored over the next six months to measure its fuel efficiency, emissions and operating costs, officials said.


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  • bobbythreesticks Nov 21, 2007

    svo-to-go and smcallah: you are both full of it! I would love to help the environment by not using gasoline, I hate the dependance on middle eastern oil or oil in general. The fact is, they spent $21K on something that does not produce a viable return.

    Everyone who is replacing their bulbs w/ CFL's. They pay a little higher price, but they get a longer life, and lower electric bills. Who wouldn't want to do this. This is a viable option.

    svo-to-go: I applaud you for using converted veg oil. But you can't expect us to believe that you would go buy veg oil from the store at those prices. Unless you have a money tree in your backyard, I don't believe that for a sec.

    If the govt wants to do something, have the kids at the local universities create bio-fuels from veg and sell it at a very low price to the govt to be used in the diesel cars/trucks. That way we all win, we help save the earth and we don't go broke on stupid ideas like this.

  • thewayitis Nov 21, 2007

    At least Raleigh is trying to do something, even as the federal government refuses to...We need a national plan to gain energy independence! I'm so tired of being so dependent on the Middle East. It is not wise to be so dependent on such a volatile region.

  • Made In USA Nov 21, 2007

    If these cars become popular, I wonder if the gov will put a so called "gas tax" on our electric bills?

    Anyway, great thing that this car was purchased. I hope many more are added to their fleet, and that all cities do likewise. That should lower the cost of production if they do, making them more affordable for us all.

  • svo-to-go Nov 20, 2007

    You hit the nail on the head smcallah. I have been using waste vege oil in my 82 mb since 95 but if I needed to I would buy virgin oil at a premium price compared to dino diesel. It is my own energy policy. Seldom do we get to create our own energy policy. It also reduces my carbon footprint as does the Prius and a Prius with the extra batteries and balanceng circuitry (hence the extra $12k). I remember the 73 arab oil embargo, the long gas lines, the gas rationing (as I recall you could only get 5 or 7 gallons at a time) and being attached to the 82nd airborne almost having to fly over there to end it...but deplomacy won out and we stayed in Fayetteville. So much for that. Anyway, have a good day.

  • smcallah Nov 20, 2007

    Most of you are missing the point, harping on the $21,000 upgrade to give it 80 - 100mpg. Sure, they're not going to save $21,000 on gasoline to make up the cost of this car in its lifetime. That is NOT THE POINT.

    The point is to decrease the use of gasoline.

    No one should be buying a hybrid because they'll pay less for gas, they should be buying because they'll be USING less gas.

    It's the same reason why you'd pay MORE to use biodiesel in your diesel engine car, because you want to cut down on the amount of crude oil that you are using.

    Or why you'd use 85% Ethanol fuel, even though it burns less efficiently than gasoline. So that you cut down on the amount of gasoline you use.

    None of this has anything to do with saving money, it's about having alternatives to crude oil, which will one day be used up.

  • Trivr Nov 20, 2007

    In a collision with this little thing...me and my truck win!

    By the way, I heard it causes much more polution to produce one of these vehicles than an ordinary vehicle, mainly due to the battery.

  • Joe Schmoe Nov 20, 2007

    Good Lord... has the state not a single economist, or indeed a single junior-high math student, on staff? What an unbelievably stupid boondoggle.

  • ncsuchick82 Nov 20, 2007

    i see 2 good alternatives
    1) buy two of these hybrids (that way there is an extra should/when something happens to the first) plus, you get double the battery as wanted and can sell the other car if you change your mind
    2) get a gas car that is twice as reliable and 1/2 as expensive - buy water with the rest

  • dnguyen68 Nov 20, 2007

    They could get 2 or 3 low-end Corolla or Civix for $42,000.

  • Fun Nov 20, 2007

    What a waste...another day in Meekerville..