Officer Brett McIntire (left) and Corporal Jason Aucoin (right) stand in front of  Bath’s new hybrid police cruiser, the latest eco-friendly change the city has implemented over the past several months. Photo courtesy of Lindsey Goudreau 

BATH — Last week, the Bath Police Department announced the newest addition to its police fleet — the department’s first hybrid police cruiser. It’s the latest in a list of environment-friendly steps the city has taken that could save taxpayers a little money while shrinking the city’s carbon footprint.

The Ford Explorer’s electric motor allows the gas engine to turn off while the car idles, which Ford estimates will save 933 gallons of fuel per year and keeps 25,560 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere every year.

“The oldest car in our fleet has a total of 9,229 running engine hours,” said Officer Brett McIntire. “5,825 of those hours were spent idling. It burns nearly a half-gallon of fuel per hour when sitting at idle. The hybrid cruiser, on the other hand, burns less than a quarter gallon of fuel per hour while sitting idle.”

McIntire estimates that the city will save more than $3,500 over the life of the vehicle just in idling fuel costs.

Deputy Chief Andy Booth said the police department will monitor how ec0-friendly and cost-effective the car is over the next year. If the department is pleased with the car’s performance, it will look into purchasing more.

Bath invested $29,000 last year to match a grant to install two electric vehicle charging stations at the train station and visitor center on Commercial Street.


Aside from investing in hybrid vehicle infrastructure, the city is also considering a partnership with solar power company ReVision Energy to build a 1.8-megawatt system that would supply 80% of the city’s power usage, not including schools and the wastewater treatment plant. 

Bath pays about $400,000 per year for electricity. Town officials say solar power would save $80,000 in the first year. Over the 20-year contract period, that savings would total about $2.5 million, according to ReVision solar design specialist Andrew Kahrl.

Adopting solar power would also eliminate 2.6 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere, the equivalent of taking 250 cars off the road, according to Kahrl.

These recent changes were suggested by a 2019 climate action report, which revealed Bath reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 27% over the past 10 years and set a new goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030.

Daniel Dixon, director of sustainability at the University of Maine, said some of Bath’s eco-friendly initiatives, such as installing solar power on municipal buildings and adding electric vehicle charging infrastructure, are among the most common steps he sees municipalities take to be more sustainable. However, Bath hasn’t adopted other popular initiatives, such as offering incentives to install heat pumps and hybrid hot water heaters, he said.

Dixon said regardless of a city’s eco-friendly changes, “one of the most-important things municipalities should be doing is measuring and reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.”


Nathan Robbins, a climate change specialist at the Maine DEP, said a possible next step for Bath is creating an energy benchmark ordinance, which requires property owners to collect and report annual energy and water use data. This allows a city to measure its progress in reaching its emission reduction goal.

“It’s great to see Bath taking action across so many categories and making some real investments,” said Robbins. “It’s about doing what you can when you can.”

According to the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, the state is on track to meet greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals set by Maine law, which states emission levels need to be 10% below 1990 levels by Jan. 1, 2020 and 45% below 1990 levels by Jan. 1, 2030.

According to a January 2020 report from the Maine DEP, Maine’s transportation sector accounts for 54% of the state’s carbon dioxide emissions. The transportation sector is the only sector that has shown an increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels since 1990.

“Maine should consider initiatives to reduce emissions from this sector with strategies such as reducing vehicle miles traveled and increasing electric vehicle purchases, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, public transportation and ride sharing,” the report states.

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