On Oct. 1, that changed when the Canton Fire Department purchased a 2012 Toyota Hybrid Prius to save on fuel costs. The white, mid-size hatchback has a gasoline engine and electric motor designed to achieve fuel efficiency and low emissions.
“Typicially, there’s 30 to 40 inspections done monthly,” Bailey said.
In addition to safety and fire inspections, the car will be used for various administrative purposes. The gasoline-electric powered vehicle is said to achieve 45 miles per gallon. The 1998 Ford Crown Victoria that Bailey had been driving got about 16 miles per gallon, he said.
Fire Chief Dean Floyd said he has been pleased with the car’s performance thus far.
The Prius was purchased from Cherokee County Toyota for just under $20,000 with funds from the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. As a result of escalating fuel costs, city department heads were instructed to eliminate “unnecessary driving,” said City Manager Scott Wood.
“We have situations where we’re carpooling at various job sites,” Wood said. “Any administrative redundancy has been eliminated and of course, with fuel cost approaching $4 per gallon, anything we can do to reduce fuel costs is where our interest is.”
In 2011, Toyota sold 178,587 hybrid models in the U.S., according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Jim Pyron, Cherokee Toyota general manager, said sales of the Toyota Prius are doing “extremely well.” A large aspect of the car’s appeal is fuel economy. The vehicle is fueled entirely by regular unleaded gasoline, but runs on electricity when it is not in motion.
“You never have to replace the battery,” Pryon said. “It recharges itself.”
Wood said there are no immediate plans to purchase more hybrid vehicles for the fire department. The city, he said, has placed a priority on replacing old emergency response vehicles, payload vehicles typically used by the public works department, and general administrative vehicles.
The fire department’s Prius is the only general administrative vehicle the city is replacing this year, said Wood.
“Could we in the future go to the more energy saving vehicle – we will,” he said.
“This particular vehicle – I can’t say. We’ll measure what level of satisfaction we have with this in the coming year or two to be able to better address that. So far, we’ve certainly been very pleased with it.”