'Magic' Fuel-Saving Buses Fall a Bit Short on Wonders

GM hybrid buses operating in Seattle seen falling short on fuel economy while delivering on promise of less pollution.

Published: 28-Dec-2004

ASHINGTON, Dec. 25 - The fleet of hybrid buses that General Motors promised would save Seattle more than 750,000 gallons of fuel a year will actually save less than half that amount, according to the fleet operator, and although G.M. said the hybrid buses would show a fuel economy improvement of up to 60 percent, the savings around the country appear to be in the range of 10 percent to 20 percent, transit managers say.

General Motors, which got a late start bringing hybrid technology to market in cars, has argued that buses are a better vehicle to convert to hybrid drive, because they are used more heavily than cars.

"We decided we would go after hybrids by going after the highest consuming vehicles first" because that would save the most petroleum, said Tom Stephens, a G.M. vice president for powertrains.

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