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Dealer ready to sell hybrid utility trucks in Victoria

By STEPHANIE VALDERRAMA
March 26, 2009 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated March 25, 2009 at 10:26 p.m.

Austin Energy loaned their hybrid electric utility truck to Gulf International Trucks for a demo in Victoria. Gulf International Trucks plans to sell the trucks locally.

Utility vehicles are starting to go green to meet emissions requirements.

Gulf International Trucks hosted a fish fry Thursday to debut its hybrid diesel utility truck.

None are operating in Victoria yet, but the company recently sold one to the city of Austin. Austin Energy's new utility truck was demonstrated.

"We are trying to show it to the utility companies to see if there is any interest," said Jeff Kyrish, Gulf International Trucks general manager and hybrid trucks sales representative.

Austin already has three such trucks in use.

Coca-Cola has also added the hybrid to its fleet.

"The hybrid-electric trucks use 32 percent less fuel than standard trucks and use technology to eliminate emissions when they're idling or in traffic," according to a news release from Coca Cola Enterprises.

"In some parts of the country, the air going out of the vehicle is cleaner than the air going in," said Duane Kyrish, sales representative for Gulf International, which is based in the Dallas area.

In Victoria, the gasoline savings will be its selling point, he said.

In other larger cities, the fact that it emits low emissions is especially important in non-attainment cities. Which means that utility trucks cannot idle more than five minutes, he said.

Gulf International will not stock the truck here, but will special order based on the customers' needs.

The actual savings over its non-hybrid counterpart is still being researched.

Austin Energy spent $208,000 on the truck cabin and chassis with bucket when it was ordered a year ago.

The trucks cost about $220,000. Grants are available on the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality Web site.

"If you take into consideration what your fuel cost are and how much these trucks are idling, what these trucks do, you can start doing the hard math and you can figure out how many hours of service it will take to pay if off," Jeff Kyrish said.

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