Eco-Friendly Hybrid Limousine To Stretch Fuel Mileage

As limousine-company owners and industry sellers converged at the Mohegan Sun casino this week for the LCT Eastern Conference/New England Livery Association trade show and convention, one of the showroom-floor vehicles getting the lion’s share of the spotlight was the new Mariner hybrid sport-utility vehicle customized for limousine service. It was the first time the vehicle has been shown outside of Ford Motor Co. dealer meetings.

A lot of companies have begun offering in the last year chauffeur-driven hybrid livery cars, which include PlanetTran in Cambridge and Go Green Airport Shuttle in Pelham, N.H., that both use Toyota Priuses. More than 300 hybrid taxis have gone into service in New York and San Francisco since late 2005.

The Mariner, however, is the first manufacturer-sponsored hybrid made specifically for livery service. Drabbed in deep glossy black, with a specialized four-year, 100,000-mile warranty and deluxe business-executive appointments such as leather seats and front-seat electric outlets for a laptop computer, the car sells for $30,200 in its front-wheel-drive version. Buyers however can avail of a $3,000 federal energy-conservation tax credit.

So what makes this hybrid car unique? An environmentally friendly hybrid engine that makes this livery-package Mercury Mariner capable of getting 34 miles a gallon in the city, and can easily triple the mileage of a maxed-out Hummer.

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