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Pasadena's 'Green Fleet' is Growing

July 27, 2007

PASADENA, CA - The City of Pasadena has signed on to the "green fleet" goal. Hybrid and alternative-fuel vehicles pop up everywhere from the city's parking enforcement vehicles to its code compliance cars to the popular ARTS buses.

The Pasadena Fire Department expects delivery of two $20,000 Toyota Priuses for use by fire-prevention inspectors, Fire Marshal Mark Fasik said. The City Council will consider funding a compressed natural gas fueling station at the city yards for its CNG vehicles.

It's all part of the United Nations' Environmental Accords initiative that city council members signed on to a few years ago, said Councilman Steve Madison, a hybrid car owner.

"It goes back to talking about the whole `green initiative,' ” Madison said. "I know the city owns 700-800 vehicles, and I know we talk about trying to move greener vehicles, be that cleaner fuel or hybrids. Is it enough? There's certainly always room for improvement." Madison, who drove a sport/ utility vehicle until recently, said his motives for buying a Prius weren't entirely environmental.

"I wanted to do my part," he said, "but I got something like a $3,500 tax credit and a car-pool sticker. As a lawyer who charges by the hour, it’s extra value to me to save time on the commute" to downtown Los Angeles.

Fasik said the Fire Department is "slowly turning our prevention fleet into hybrids and more fuel-conscious vehicles" as the current full-size Chevrolet Caprices are replaced. It will take about five years to do a complete hybrid turnover of the 10-car fleet, he said. "Our incentive is to be more environmentally conscious and be more sympathetic to the environment," he said. "We recognize that the city has ‘green' plans and we, too, want to be responsible."

Having a fleet of green vehicles is "one of the goals for Pasadena, and we are well on our way to meeting that goal," city spokeswoman Ann Erdman said. "In some instances, when it comes to public safety, the technology is not quite there yet," she said. "But eventually it will be."

Madison said his fully loaded, four-door $29,000 black Prius sedan comfortably holds his sons and their sports equipment, is great for getting around town, and "surpassed my expectations." It's not his only car, though.

"Well, I just got a fun car I drive occasionally," he said. "A Maserati. It's not as fuel efficient."

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