Office of Energy Policy
Office of Energy Policy Goes Hybrid

Press Release Date:  Thursday, June 23, 2005  
Contact Information:  Lola Lyle

Frankfort, Ky. (June 23, 2005) – The Office of Energy Policy (OEP), an agency of the Commerce Cabinet, has added a 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid to the cabinet’s vehicle fleet.
The new vehicle is one of eight hybrid SUVs currently in use in Kentucky state government. The state also uses four Toyota Priuses and six Honda Civics in its fleet.
Plans are under way for the Transportation Cabinet’s Division of Fleet Management to purchase more hybrid vehicles to help carry out Governor Ernie Fletcher’s mandate to reduce costs to taxpayers and protect the environment.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given the Ford Escape Hybrid the highest fuel economy rating among SUVs -- 36 miles per gallon for city driving and 31 mpg for highway driving. Its combined rating is 33 mpg, which is based on 55 percent highway driving.

That compares with a combined rating of 17 mpg for the large sedans used in the cabinet and throughout state government. The EPA estimates that the Escape Hybrid would yield an annual saving of $530 on fuel – total cost of $927, compared with $1,457 for the large sedans – when based on 15,000 miles of driving and a cost of $2.04 per gallon of regular gasoline.

The Ford Escape Hybrid is the first vehicle to combine SUV capability with the outstanding fuel economy and low environmental impact of a full hybrid.  It was named "North American Truck of the Year" for 2005 by a panel of 50 automotive journalists from the United States and Canada.

Because it's a full hybrid, the Escape Hybrid is able to run on either its gasoline engine or on its electric motor depending on driving conditions. It can drive exclusively in electric mode at slower speeds and does not need to engage its internal combustion engine as long as there is enough power stored in the battery.

On May 17, Toyota Motor Manufacturing North America announced its first North American gas-electric hybrid production will be at its Georgetown, Ky., plant – Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky, Inc. (TMMK) – when production of a Camry hybrid begins in late 2006.  TMMK will have the capacity to build approximately 48,000 Camry hybrid vehicles per year. The addition of hybrid production to TMMK will include a $10 million investment in the plant.

TMMK was established in 1986 and is Toyota's largest plant in North America. It employs approximately 7,000 team members and currently builds the Camry, Avalon and Solara. The plant has the capacity to build 500,000 vehicles annually. Toyota expects capacity and employment to stay the same at TMMK with the addition of the Camry hybrid. The production of these hybrid vehicles will take place on the plant's existing lines, and no new construction is planned.

The use of hybrid vehicles by state government agencies is in support of the goals outlined in Governor Fletcher’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy.  The report urged the state to implement procurement policies that encourage the use of energy efficient and sustainable products.

To view Governor Fletcher’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy, visit