GOLDEN, CO - Jefferson County unveiled its new 2009 International Model 7300 Hybrid on Dec. 10 and plans to put it into operation starting next week.

While some companies have used the 2009 International Model 7300 Hybrid as a delivery truck, Jefferson County is the first to have outfitted the hybrid truck as a snowplow. The truck has been shown to reduce hydrocarbon emissions by as much as 65 percent, said the county.

Jefferson County will learn more about the truck's energy efficiency as a snowplow as it begins to use it this winter. If the $162,240 hybrid snowplow performs well, the county may decide to add more to its fleet of 130 snowplows and 12 hybrid vehicles. It will join a fleet of 82 Road & Bridge plows and graders that deploy countywide during a snowstorm.

The snowplow is part of County Commissioners' Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to save energy, sustain the environment and save taxpayers money. The county's Fleet Services Division began working on the idea for a hybrid snowplow two years ago. Fleet Services anticipates that the hybrid snowplow will use 30 percent to 50 percent less fuel than a traditional snowplow, which can cost as much as $250 to fill up the diesel tank.

The hybrid snowplow will be stationed at the county's Central Shop in Golden and will plow roads in unincorporated areas in Jefferson County near Golden and Wheat Ridge. The Road & Bridge Division will use it primarily in urban and neighborhood environments where the snowplow's ability to conserve gas while stopping and starting is most valuable.