BISBEE, AZ – A recent study released by Duke University reports that Americans should take a more realistic look at the actual efficiency of fuel consumption in vehicles.

Rather than running out and purchasing the latest and greatest hybrid vehicle, greater gains in fuel consumption can be made by just switching up a model or two from larger gas consuming vehicles: a strategy that has been practiced by Cochise County and proven successful for several years, according to

Inspired while carpooling in a hybrid car, Duke study authors conducted a series of experiments showing that the current standard, miles per gallon or mpg, leads consumers to believe that fuel consumption is reduced at an even rate as efficiency improves. A more accurate measurement would be to consider how many gallons it would take to drive a certain distance.

The County Fleet Management Department began working with County leaders to switch out and replace larger sedans and less fuel efficient vehicles several years ago. County management realized that replacing these with smaller sedans was not only a prudent decision to save on purchasing costs, but also a long-term savings in overall fuel efficiency.

The County’s forethought to replace the larger sedans has saved the County about two gallons per mile for a long time, and according to the study that is significant, even more so with the newer models. The savings would look like the following:

Using the calculation of how many gallons it would take to drive 100 miles:

· Larger sedan (18 miles per gallon) around 5.5 gallons per mile gpm.

· Smaller sedan (about 28 miles per gallon) get about 3.6 (gpm).

· Savings difference of about $8 today.

· Small hybrid vehicle (at 55 miles per gallon) would get around 2.2 gpm.

The County plans to continue using sedans for most departments while looking at other fuel savings alternatives, including training employees in defensive driving for fuel savings, encouraging business and personal carpooling options, and purchasing hybrid vehicles on a pilot basis. Some departments, who utilize both pickup trucks and sedans, have already made a change in their driving habits by assigning more fuel-efficient sedans to inspectors and field personnel who accumulate more miles.