My hometown, Ann Arbor, MI, will be putting 15 electric-diesel hybrid buses on the road by the end of October, and plans to add another 5 by March 2008. The long term goal is to replace all 69 Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA) buses with hybrids.
It is, of course, eminently logical. While electric-diesel hybrid buses cost more than traditional diesel buses (closer to $550,000 than the $250,000 to $300,000 for a standard diesel bus), the fuel cost savings will be substantial - in Ann Arbor, about $2.5 million over the course of 12 years for the 20 new buses. That's a decent chunk of change. And, according to this Seattle transit web site - where the city runs 235 hybrid buses - the reduction in particulate and carbon emissions is huge:
- Particulate Matter (PM) reduced by 90 percent over the cleanest diesel buses now in Metro's fleet
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) reduced by 90 percent over the cleanest diesel buses now in Metro's fleet
- Hydrocarbons (HC) reduced by 90 percent
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) reduced by 40-60 percent
- Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) reduced by 50 percent
That's good for everybody. So you'd think we'd be seeing a lot more movement in every American city towards electric-diesel hybrids. Step by step, I guess. Seattle is still the leader, and the first to market, so to speak, with hybrid buses. San Francisco is running about 80 (part of Mayor Newsom's goal to be "100 percent emission-free in municipal transportation by 2020"), New York City is planning to run up to 1,000 in the future, Chicago is coming on board, and even Houston is getting in on the deal.
Is that a Republican denier in the background claiming protecting the environment will bankrupt America, destroy the economy, and take jobs away from hard working Americans? Not in this case... cities save money with hybrid buses, they run smoother, and we have cleaner air as a result.
PS - in each of the cases above, at least some of the funding for the hybrid buses comes from federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant money. An example of where government is helpful, contrary to the claims of your typical Republican legislator, who believes government is the root of all evil (and is why they're just so bad at running the country).