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Metro saves millions with hybrid buses

Friday - 9/28/2012, 2:59pm  ET

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Many big-city urban transit bus operators reach around 3 miles per gallon. (Courtesy WMATA)

WASHINGTON - Metro is saving big money with its hybrid buses, even though the technology gets nowhere close to the 40 miles per gallon available on hybrid cars.

WMATA spends about $40 million a year on fuel for its fleet of buses. On average the buses get about 3.5 miles per gallon.

While that sounds bad, it's actually one of the best in the nation and a huge improvement. Over the last eight years, Metro's average fuel economy of its bus fleet has increased by 27 percent; moving from 2.96 mpg to 3.76 mpg, according to the WMATA blog.

Compared that to New York City buses' 2.7 miles per gallon.

Metro started replacing its diesel buses in 2006. Now the diesel-electric hybrids make up 41 percent of the fleet.

The result is less pollution in the air and a savings millions of dollars a year.

WTOP's Mark Segraves contributed to this report. Follow Mark and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)