High gas prices are affecting buses too, and Hawaii is taking note. Hawaii has the highest energy prices in the US and hybrids provide great efficiency as well as reducing pollution. Last year they purchased ten General Motors hybrid diesel electric buses, now they're planning to bring dozens more of them to Honolulu. The buses are getting even better mileage than they anticipated.
The buses have a 75-passenger capacity, offer 90 percent cleaner emissions than conventional diesel buses and can accelerate 50 percent faster. The buses, at $749,000 each, are about $150,000 more than regular buses, but the fuel savings justify the cost.
Hawaii is not the first place to use hybrid buses. New York City Transit, starting their program in 2000, currently has 180 hybrid diesel electric buses in operation and will have 325 buses on the street by the end of 2005. The hybrids are the Orion VII (Orion Bus Industries of Mississauga, Ontario) diesel hybrid electric buses. The buses feature BAE SYSTEMS' HybriDrive™ propulsion system and Cummins' ISB5.9 liter engine. NYCT is purchasing a total of 325 Orion VIIs for delivery in 2004 and 2005.
Hybrids are not the only way NYC is reducing pollution. Since 2000 all of the NYC buses have run on low sulfur fuel to reduce emissions. More than 2550 diesel engines have been equipped with particulate filters which reduce particulate emissions by as much as 95%. NYC Transit currently operates more than 400 CNG buses and will have 481 in service by the end of 2005.