PHILADELPHIA --- The city of Philadelphia recently bought 20 new Ford Escape Hybrids to add to its 6,000-vehicle fleet, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle. Philadelphia already had six Toyota Priuses in its fleet. The environmental benefits of purchasing hybrids for municipal fleets are well documented. But, the newspaper report pointed out, Philadelphia fleet manager James Muller doesn’t yet know whether the more expensive vehicles will ultimately save taxpayers money. It’s a question that many local governments and fleet managers are wrestling with: whether the environmental benefits and fuel savings of hybrids today justify the extra cost of acquiring the models when taxpayers foot the bill. According to the Houston Chronicle report, many cities are hesitant to make that investment today. For example, city officials in Ann Arbor, Mich., opted against adding hybrids to the city fleet. However, the city has other alternative-fuel vehicles.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials