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NEW YORK -- The men and women in blue are going green.
Mayor Bloomberg yesterday unveiled the first of 20 hybrid SUVs to be used in a pilot project by the Police and Fire departments as part of a broader effort to cut gas consumption citywide.
The hybrid version of the GMC Yukon 1500 gets 20 mpg, about 25 percent better than the all-gasoline model.
Also being tested for the NYPD fleet are:
* Four all-electric Vectrix scooters capable of going up to 55 miles on a single charge.
* A three-wheeled transporter that can reach speeds up to 25 mph and run three to four hours between charges. Each can carry a single standing cop, much like a two-wheeled Segway.
"Every little bit counts," said Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler. "These cars will be [traveling] 25,000 miles on the road each year. That will save $3,000 in gas costs when gas is $4.50."
He explained that might not seem like much "except if you have 1,000 of these, that's $3 million. If you have 10,000 that's $30 million. The city has 27,000 cars. Because we're so big, because of economies of scale, these things really pay off."
The city government's gas tab hit $103.7 million in fiscal 2008 - an increase of 36 percent from 2007. Besides revamping the fleets, officials hope to save on gas by installing tracking devices to reduce mileage by 3 to 5 percent; introducing anti-idling technologies with automatic vehicle shut-downs; and forcing agencies to make do with fewer vehicles.
In a bit of forward thinking, the city placed a large order with Toyota for Priuses for its non-emergency fleet long before the nationwide run began on the popular hybrids. Unfortunately, many cabbies weren't as prescient and are now having a tough time replacing their gas-guzzlers.
Meanwhile, there was some grim news on the city's energy bill: It'll hit $1 billion this year for the first time.
Bloomberg noted that the city government accounts for 6.5 percent of all the electricity, natural gas and heating oil used in buildings throughout the five boroughs.
Skyler said the city's energy tab has doubled from $500 million in 2003 to a projected $1 billion this fiscal year.
The city has committed to cutting energy usage in its properties by 30 percent by 2017.
On a roll
Stand-up NYPD transporter
* Manufactured by T3 Motion, Inc., and is being used at Orchard Beach, as well as Shea and Yankee stadiums.
* Runs on two lightweight rechargeable batteries, can achieve speeds up to 25 mphl; costs about $9,000.
* It can run between 3-4 hours between charges.
* Officer stands on a platform 9 inches off the ground
* It weighs 300 pounds and has a zero turning radius.
Vectrix electric scooter
* Capable of running up to 55 miles on a single charge
* Has a top speed of 60 mph
* Weighs 464 pounds and has a wheel base of 60 inches
* Officer sits 30 inches from the ground.