image courtesy of benningtonsheriff.org
In further news of my beloved Green Mountain State becoming even greener (I’ma need to create a new Vermont tag), the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department has recently added two energy-saving measures to their squad cars: IdleRight devices, and LED light bars on the roofs. According to the Rutland Herald, the IdleRight unit reduces gas consumption by automatically monitering voltage and shutting off when the car idles. The reduced voltage preserves the car’s battery, and since the car isn’t idling as much it reduces wear on the engine.
The LED light bars should use less than a fifth of the wattage used by the halogen light bars you see on most police cruisers. Although the upfront cost of $900 per LED light bar is considerably high, a mechanic working for the Bennington County Sheriff’s Department predicts that the gas savings will basically pay for the new additions within six months! This is a significant decision both energy- and cost-wise, as gas prices are certain to get higher. (Side note: As a one-time resident of Bennington, I can vouch for how much they care about gas prices. When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and reduced supplies across the country, the headlines on local papers read something like, “GAS PRICES RISE ABOVE $4!!! And by the way, tragedy in New Orleans.”)