SANTA MONICA, CA – The first public sale of a Mercury Mariner Hybrid was held June 2 at the annual charity auction held by Heal the Bay, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based environmental group, according to Green Car Congress. Ford (Mercury) donated a 2006 Mariner Hybrid SUV as the premier auction item at the group’s annual “Bring Back the Beach” dinner. Since 1995, Ford Motor Co. has underwritten Heal the Bay’s “Beach Report Card,” an annual survey of water quality at California’s beaches. The Beach Report Card assigns a letter grade (A-F) based on bacterial levels at beaches from Humboldt County to the Mexican border. Based on the hybrid powertrain used by the Escape, the Mercury Mariner Hybrid is the second hybrid SUV produced by Ford. The Mariner Hybrid delivers an estimated 33 mpg (city), 29 mpg (highway) and is targeted to meet California’s Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle standard — the cleanest a fossil-fuel vehicle can be. Initially planned as a 2007 model, Ford pulled Mercury Mariner Hybrid production ahead one year in response to growing customer interest in hybrid vehicles. Mariner Hybrid is one of four additional gasoline-electric hybrids Ford Motor Co. will introduce over the next three years and will hit showrooms this fall.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials