A down economy means budget cuts, which then leads to many police departments trying to save money by driving more fuel-efficient police cruisers.
The most common police cruiser, the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, gets about 14 miles per gallon. Municipalities are counting every penny now amid the economic crisis, and a lot of police departments are switching to four-cylinder cars that get mileage in the 30 mpg and above range, reports USA Today.
The Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor is the most common police cruiser.
The Chevrolet Malibu, Dodge Charger, Nissan Sentra and several hybrid models are now becoming more popular choices for police departments to save money on gas.
"We started trying to segue away from the gas hogs," said Mike Cochran, assistant chief of the Lauderhill, Fla. police department. "When we can, and where we can, we are trying to put officers in more fuel-efficient vehicles."
USA Today reports that a growing number of law enforcement agencies across the country also have a goal of getting better mileage.
• The New York City Police Department has about 100 hybrid vehicles in its 5,800-vehicle fleet, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne said. The vehicles include Toyota Priuses driven by officers who issue parking tickets, he said. Also in the city’s fleet are hybrid Honda Accords, GMC Yukons and Ford Escapes, he said.
Police cruisers like the Dodge Charger offer better mileage and still get the job done.
• Seattle police now have 38 hybrids, including Toyota Highlanders, Ford Escapes and Toyota Priuses, according to Bob Miller, the department’s fleet analyst. Administrators and detectives use the vehicles.
• The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department in Louisiana will soon be driving some Nissan Sentras, which get about 35 mpg. The cars will be used by officers who serve court papers, according to Maj. Richard Williams, the department’s fleet operations officer.
The Ford Crown Victoria is still the "the police car of choice, with 80% of the market," said Ford spokesman Dan Jarvis. That might not last long if more police departments across the country have no choice but to purchase more fuel-friendly cruisers for their officers to help save money.