Hybrids Help City Control Pollution, Lower Fuel Costs

Article excerpt

Byline: CITY BEAT/EUGENE By Edward Russo The Register-Guard

Eugene's government is getting into hybrid vehicles in a big way.

Earlier this month, 12 Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrids were delivered to the city, the largest shipment yet. At $21,280 each, the vehicles cost the city more than $255,000. However, government tax credits are expected to shave about 25 percent from the cost, city fleet officials said.

City government now has 28 hybrids, including one Ford Escape sport utility vehicle.

With the new Priuses, the city's passenger fleet, excluding police cruisers, will be 34 percent hybrid.

Hybrids typically cost more than similarly sized, gasoline-powered cars, but the Prius's ability to get 60 miles to the gallon in city driving reduces fuel costs, officials say.

Keith Nicolson, fleet and radio communication technical supervisor, said operating expenses have dropped 38 percent since the introduction of hybrids into the fleet.

Also, he said, the vehicles emit less pollution and help the city meets its sustainability goals.

Community gardens still have space available

There's still time and space available to rent a spot in one of the city's community gardens.

The six gardens with more than 200 plots give residents a place to grow fruits and vegetables, and a chance to cultivate friendships.

The average plot size is about 500 square feet. Rent is $60 a year, and includes access to garden tools and water.

The garden locations are: Amazon Park, 27th Avenue and High Street; 15th Avenue and Hayes St. …