How King County Went Hybrid

In making the decision to convert to hybrid vehicles, the King County Fleet Division extensively researched the level of support for this initiative. In addition, they wanted to know if making this change would be a smart business move for the county.

They Researched Hybrid Technology

King County conducted extensive research to determine the feasibility of investing in hybrid vehicles for the future of the fleet. They found that using hybrid technology reduced vehicle emissions and fuel consumption by 30-50 percent per vehicle, with no loss in performance. At the end of their analysis, the decision to invest in the Toyota Prius and the Ford Escape was a clear winner. The county is using its computer systems to gauge fuel transactions, mileage, and maintenance records. This data will be necessary for making future fleet purchase decisions.

They Surveyed Users

In 2001, King County Fleet Division conducted a user survey. They found that hybrid vehicles held great appeal to potential users. In fact, more than 90 percent of all survey respondents were positive about the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape hybrids. That appeal, along with the promises of excellent fuel economy, low maintenance costs, and high resale value, influenced our decision to begin converting the county fleet to hybrid vehicles.

They Created a Partnership and Drafted the Contract

In 2001, King County collaborated closely with the Center for a New American Dream and its Institutional Purchasing Program, as well as the Government Purchasing Alliance, an organization that provides local governments in the U.S. with non-exclusive contracts for certain commodities. The purpose of this collaboration was to negotiate a contract for the purchase of Toyota Priuses and Ford Escapes. With the assistance of these organizations, the county was able to negotiate a contract for governments in Washington and Oregon. In 2005, they executed the first regional contract, purchasing 125 hybrid vehicles for local governments. Municipal and regional governments across the nation are expected to replicate this purchasing model as a means for filling their fleets with hybrids. Through their original contract, signed in 2001, King County has procured the largest, publicly owned hybrid fleet in the Pacific Northwest with 136 hybrid vehicles.

Learn about how your county can go hybrid.