Florida To Add 21 Escape Hybrids to DEP Fleet

Selecting hybrid vehicles for the State vehicle fleet reinforces Florida's commitment to clean air and environmental protection...

Published: 27-Feb-2005

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today received the first two of 21 Ford Escape Hybrid SUVs, which will expand the Department’s fleet of hybrid vehicles to 71. Powered by a combination of electricity and gasoline, the vehicles have near zero emissions, maximize energy efficiency and reduce gasoline usage. Named “North American Truck of the Year" for 2005, the Ford hybrid SUV boasts gas mileage up to 36 miles per gallon, making it ideal for DEP inspectors.

Selecting hybrid vehicles for the State vehicle fleet reinforces Florida's commitment to clean air and environmental protection,” said DEP Secretary Colleen M. Castille. “Using low-emission hybrid vehicles protects Florida’s air, reduces our reliance on gasoline and saves taxpayer dollars.”

With a fleet now comprised of nearly 20 percent alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles, DEP is leading by example with a commitment to replace traditional gasoline-only driven models with hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles. Last year, the nation saw a 25 percent increase in registrations for hybrid vehicles, with Florida ranking third among the states.

“Florida is truly a front-runner in adopting clean energy technologies,” said Secretary Castille. “Through a commitment to purchasing hybrid and alternative fuel vehicles, we are demonstrating that these vehicles are the future of transportation.”

Florida is one of only three states east of the Mississippi meeting all federal clean air standards. Burning petroleum-based fuels like gasoline, however, contributes to air pollution. Under the leadership of Governor Jeb Bush, State agencies are investing in cleaner transportation to better protect natural resources and reduce fuel costs.

Florida is also on the forefront of developing hydrogen energy transportation -- Ford Motor Company and BP America have selected the Sunshine State as one of three sites nationwide to demonstrate hydrogen fuel cell cars and hydrogen fueling stations. Last week, Florida broke ground on its first hydrogen fueling station to service the world’s first commercially available hydrogen shuttle busses. In conjunction with the ground-breaking, Governor Bush unveiled the Florida Hydrogen Energy Technology Act to provide $12.9 million in demonstration project funding and $2.1 million in tax incentives to grow Florida’s hydrogen economy.

For more information, visit www.FloridaEnergy.org.

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