LONG BEACH, CA – The Long Beach Police Department has added 10 Toyota Priuses to its fleet, and will be replacing additional vehicles in the fleet with Priuses as older vehicles are routinely retired, according to www.ci.long-beach.ca.us.

The Toyota Prius is a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle with a four-cylinder engine and self-charging battery. The hybrid system requires less gas than an ordinary car because of its battery-powered electric motor, and it can automatically run on gasoline, electricity, or both. The Prius was designed for maximum fuel economy and reduced emissions, making it environmentally friendly, as well as economically practical in this time of rising fuel costs. Operating at roughly 45 miles per gallon in stop-and-go traffic, the Prius gets about 18 miles per gallon more than most other city-owned vehicles. In addition, the purchase price of the Prius is less than that of most city-used vehicles.

Although the City has been using Priuses for more than a year, they are new to the Police Department, whose fleet consists mainly of Ford Crown Victorias. The police vehicles that will be replaced by the Prius will be those used by police personnel that must travel for training, and those that work details outside of Patrol, including staff at the Academy and the Crime Lab, as well as civilian employees that service the community. In addition, the Prius seats five people, making it ideal for use as a carpool vehicle for training and other travel required by employees.

The Priuses will not be replacing the black and white patrol vehicles driven by the officers due to the Prius’ system not being compatible with some of the features that are necessary for the patrol vehicles, the City said.

While it is unknown at this time just how much the new vehicles will save the City of Long Beach, less of the city budget will be spent on the cost of the new vehicles and fueling them.