JACKSON, MI ---  Consumers Energy has added a touch of green to its vehicle fleet with the recent purchase of five Chevrolet Malibu gasoline-electric hybrids. The utility also has bought 150 new cars and trucks with flex-fuel capacity for its fleet.

A number of Consumers Energy employees are driving the hybrid cars to test the possible future expansion of hybrids in the utility's fleet, the company said. The new hybrids are part of Consumers Energy's ongoing vehicle fleet replacement process.

The utility is spending more than $10 million in 2007 and 2008 purchasing 440 General Motors vehicles. About 40 percent of the new vehicles are made by GM employees in Pontiac.

"Our ongoing fleet replacement strategy is designed to enhance safe and optimum performance by our employees. We're pleased that we can support Michigan manufacturers and their employees as part of our plan," said Scott Weber, Consumers Energy's director of fleet services.

The new purchases replace vehicles with an average age of eight to 10 years. The new units support Consumers Energy's ongoing replacement strategy, which focuses on replacing vehicles before incurring excessive maintenance costs and hindering unit reliability.

Consumers Energy, the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, provides natural gas and electricity to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.