For six years, about 300 hybrid vehicles slated for Miami-Dade municipal service sat unused in a Miami parking garage. The $4 million fleet of low-emission cars, trucks and vans produced absolutely no emissions as they sat unused, although more than 125 cars have entered service since South Florida's el Nuevo Herald shed light on the mothballed fleet last fall.
The reason for the vehicles' longterm storage is unclear, but taxpayers were peeved enough at the mayor whose administration bought the dormant fleet — Carlos Alvarez — to oust him in a recall in March 2011. But nothing had been done about the unused cars when el Nuevo Herald covered the gas-sipping ghost fleet in a special report. To date, about 170 of the vehicles remain, including patrol cars, Priuses, trucks and vans.
Concern about Prius batteries sitting unused for more than half a decade have been assuaged by Toyota's limited powertrain warranty, which covers the pricey battery packs for eight years or 80,000 miles. Miami-Dade's new Carlos, er, mayor — Carlos Gimenez — assured his constituents that the previous Carlos' misappropriations are under investigation.
(Hat Tip to Benjamin Burrows!)