WICHITA, KS – City of Wichita officials have unveiled a fleet of Honda Civic hybrid vehicles, saying the 2008 model vehicles will be placed in service in September.

Eight of the hybrid vehicles will be part of the 10 vehicles used by City employees for travel to meetings, training, presentations, and events. The Civic hybrids have an EPA fuel economy estimate of 40 miles per gallon in the city and 45 mpg on the highway. In 2007, City trip cars logged about 120,000 miles and consumed approximately 6,600 gallons of fuel.

The hybrids are expected to reduce fuel costs by at least $8,400 annually by saving approximately 2,400 gallons of fuel. The other four hybrid vehicles will be placed into service in several City departments. They will help City departments evaluate hybrids in different work environments and under unique operating conditions. Employee feedback, along with other variables, will help provide information regarding additional hybrid vehicle purchases.

Besides reducing fuel consumption, the City HEV’s will reduce the City’s carbon footprint by reducing emissions. The Honda Civic hybrid has a smog index rating of only 0.09, compared to 0.38 for the average gasoline-powered vehicle.

The hybrids cost $22,782 each, which is about $7,000 more than the sedans the City has been purchasing. With the fuel savings, if the price per gallon of gas is $3.50, the cost difference is expected to be paid back in about five years.