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Re: E-M:/ Ann Arbor Energy Forum February 8th



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Enviro-Mich message from "Konkle, David" <DKonkle@ci.ann-arbor.mi.us>
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I response to your statement that there is "alot of GREEN-sounding stuff
coming out of Ann Arbor these days. But sometimes the reality (like the City
Council and Mayor not including hybrids in their "GREEN" Fleet of City-owned
cars) doesn't line up with their rhetoric." I would like to say that alot of
that GREEN-sounding stuff coming out of Ann Arbor IS really green.  We try
to do what we can but we are certainly not perfect.  There are a lot of
really good people in Ann Arbor trying to push the envelope to move us to a
more sustainable lifestyle.  We are often limited by funding or rules and
regulations.  
As director of the Ann Arbor Energy Office, the Clean Cities Program
(alternate fuel vehicles) and the Green Fleets Program in Ann Arbor, the
decision not to consider hybrid vehicles for purchase last year was mine,
not the Mayor's.  First I have to say that we do understand the value and
reasons for buying hybrids, I have put 32,000 miles on my own personnal 2004
Prius and love it.  However, at the time we were considering vehicle
recommendations for last year, we were being told that 50 people would be
losing their jobs due to budget constraints.  When we can get a Ford Focus
for $13,000 it was very difficult to justify spending $22,000 for a hybrid
to do the same job.  The vehicle would have saved about $400/yr in fuel
costs but that does not come close to offsetting the $9,000 in extra costs.
Over the lifetime of the vehicle the lifecycle analysis calculations, even
assuming higher re-sale value which is unproven, the hybrid does not pay for
itself.  Of course the value of clean air and healthy children and
preserving limited resources of fossil fuel is high and should be
considered.  This is why I own one myself.  
But at a time when we were all being asked to make drastic budget cuts and
many fellow workers were facing job cuts, spending 60% extra for hybrids did
not send the right message.   It's another year, and although budgets are
still tight, it does not seem as bad as last year.  We will seriously
consider adding some hybrid vehicles to our fleet this year for all the
right reasons.   The tight budget may not allow us to but any vehicles.
FYI, the Ann Arbor Area Clean Cities Program has put over 950 alternate fuel
vehicles on the road in Ann Arbor and displaced nearly 1,000,000 gallons of
fossil fuels last year.  http://www.aacleancities.org/ 


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