Friday, September 17, 2010

Hybrid mileage

The Lincoln Police Department acquired our first hybrid in 2004, and over the past few years we have worked a handful into our fleet in parking enforcement and unmarked assignments.  This year, however, we are deploying our first hybrids as marked police patrol vehicles.


We aren't alone.  There is an emerging trend in U.S. police departments to mix in some hybrids.  For example, the New York City Police Department deployed some Nissan hybrids last year, and is adding more hybrids of various types this year.  If you Google hybrid police patrol, and click images, you’ll see lots of examples emerging.

We now have three marked Ford Escape hybrids out on the street sporting our new graphics design.  Here’s the early data:  Capt. Joe Wright’s assigned Escape has 699 miles, and is averaging 30.0 MPG.  Sgt. Danny Reitan reports that the Escape he drives has 365 miles, and is averaging 32.5 MPG.  Sgt. Don Arp sayss that the Escape he is assigned to drive has 456 miles on the odometer, with an average of 27.1 MPG.

Our overall fleet mileage has been inching up over the past several years.  For the fiscal year that just ended on August 31st was 12.7 MPG.  These hybrids are more than doubling that average.  When you drive 2.4 million miles per year, that will make you sit up and take notice!


Anonymous said...

I'm curious how these will hold up to the use and abuse that police vehicles take. Will the savings in mileage be worthless by the cost of repairs?

Anonymous said...

I see this as a logical extension of LPD's pursuit practices.

If you have no intention of chasing a bad guy, you'll never need more than a 4 cylinder engine and the weight of the batteries.

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I 'drive' a hybrid.

Don't forget to celebrate this Sunday.

Anonymous said...

"...LPD's pursuit practices"

Point the finger at Nebraska's screwy Strict Liabilty law, which is the 800 lb gorilla in the room, when it comes to determining LE pursuit procedure in this state.

Anonymous said...

"...LPD's pursuit practices"

Point the finger at Nebraska's screwy Strict Liabilty law, which is the 800 lb gorilla in the room, when it comes to determining LE pursuit procedure in this state.

Anonymous said...

Chief-Great looking vehicle. I'd guess the initial cost of these is slightly higher than a Crown Vic but probably in line with the Charger. There should be data available from Ford on the cost of operating them as a fleet vehicle since the NY cab companies have been using them for some time. It will be interesting to hear how they work out down the road.

Is the Tahoe pictured a hybrid as well? Both are significantly cooler than the brown Ford Torino I used to use at LPD.


Anonymous said...

I like the concept but those mpg numbers are extremely padded based on the assigned drivers positions (likely parked most of the time, or put around with no calls to hurridly respond to as a Sgt)Lets assign them to street officers and see how they preform and what the gas mileage for officers who respond to emergency calls utilizing lights and sirens ....and the accelerator.

Nate Ledden said...


I have an unrelated question that I would greatly appreciate your opinion and insight on. It is a question that has come up in my Criminal Justice course. Is being paramilitary an advantage or disadvantage to policing? As a experience officer with multiple agencies and your networking with other law enforcement agencies and administrators do you feel that this paramilitary organization of a police department is important to the success or failure of the agency. Do you feel there are any disadvantages that a the rank structure imposes?

SSG Nathan J. Ledden
formerly 1588

Cash said...


Interesting point about the assigned personnel. I have a question though: how often do street officers have to lead-foot it? I'm a civilian so I have no idea, does someone have a rough percentage? I would think there would be some drop off but not that much. Perhaps costs of repairs (are they really that much greater?) would offset the drop in mileage for street officers, an interesting algebra problem indeed. Anyway, I appreciate the effort, hopefully the hybrids serve their purpose well.


David Bratzer said...

Just curious if arrest rates are down as a result of the restrictive pursuit policy?

Class of '65 said...

In response to SSG's paramilitary question, when I was a twenty-something Navy PO-2, the sailors who worked for me had to obey my instructions. And when I stood shore patrol duty I had an even more inflated sense of my authority. It's a good thing I never became a civilian LEO, because I think my attitude would have lead to a lot of unhelpful conflict. I believe an effective LEO can neither be a wimp nor excessively macho. Too many paramilitary types fall into the latter category.

A paramilitary rank structure works fine for relationships inside a department, but paramilitary attitudes are harmful if carried over to contacts with the public.

Anonymous said...


A pirate with a badge; it doesn't get much better than that. I'm not sure the hair color would meet regs though.

Anonymous said...

She could write me a ticket any day of the week.

Gun Nut

Grundle King said...

Anon 10:38...if the car is parked, it is getting 0 miles per gallon, so I don't know how that could inflate the total.

Furthermore, I don't understand why anyone could complain about the gas mileage on these hybrids. A 2004 Crown Vic police cruiser is rated at 14/19 mpg by don't you think that 14 mpg figure for city is probably just a bit inflated, as it probably doesn't account for a pedal-to-the-metal driving either?

So if the Escape hybrid drops down to 20 mpg and the Vic drops down to 10 mpg during rapid response scenarios...the hybrid still gets double the mileage, and they'll probably get there at about the same time, as you can only drive so fast and still be safe on city streets.

Anonymous said...

More than mileage, I'd be concerned if the light hybrid will hold up to the high stress conditions of patrol work. The supervisors certainly aren't putting them under regular patrol conditions. Driving between the station and the coffee shops.

Watchful said...

Ask any LEO about the ability to 'cram the trunk'. The Charger has almost half the space under the trunk lid. Take a peek at a Charger and you will see the back driver's side seat with what wont fit.

There is lots to say about saving money by being fuel wise. Needing a support vehicle to bring essentials which cant otherwise be close at hand, rather defeats the concept of having an efficient vehicle. The SUV hybrid should be the fleet cruiser of choice and much easier to drive in 12 inches of snow, and for storage/prisnor space, unless you want to go to a larger front wheel drive car.....

That brings up a totally different question.


Why not use a front wheel drive car maybe even (heaven forbid) an import, as a cruiser?