FAYETTEVILLE, AR – The City of Fayetteville’s first hybrid vehicle, a Ford Escape for the Police Department’s park patrol, should be a good investment for the city, the city’s Fleet Manager David Bragg said, according to Northwest Arkansas Times.

Bragg estimated that over the life of the vehicle, it could save the city about $3,200 compared to a conventional Ford Escape. Fully equipped with warning lights, radios and park patrol markings, the vehicle cost $28,000. Purchase price was $24,496.

Bragg analyzed a comparative cost of the hybrid and conventional vehicle over an anticipated eight-year life span. Depreciation was part of that analysis, as was an estimated city miles per gallon based on Environmental Protection Agency data.

Police Chief Greg Tabor cited rising energy costs and growing concerns about the environment in a recent announcement about the city’s search for more efficient alternatives for its fleet.

Bragg said two more hybrids were ordered for the city’s fleet rental pool. The Toyota Prius models will be used primarily for out-of-town trips. He anticipates that the Priuses will also be more economical and cost the city about $2,000 to $3,000 less over their life spans than a comparable conventional vehicle.

The park patrol hybrid was purchased as part of the 2007 vehicle replacement process and was delivered to the city early this year.

It first hit the streets and parks in the middle of March and was recently, officially unveiled by the Police Department.

Previous vehicles have been Ford Explorers with eight-cylinder engines.