11/16/2020 Steve (virtual) talk at Middletown Township’s Committee meeting. See bottom paragraph for responses by the Middletown Administrator, Mayor, and a Committee member. THe 11/16/2020 Committee meeting minutes, published 12/28/2020, are also quoted at the end.
A video may be available on Middletown Township’s YouTube Channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCr-OW5mltljiUftGvJyJhmw?view_as=subscriber

This township meeting met latest covid-19 requirements: All participants were masked, and limited to 10 in the Municipal Court room. Steve was the first (of 4) who commented on various topics during the public comments portion of the meeting.


My name is Steve Miller, 151 Borden Rd.  I represent Middletown for Clean Energy

Mayor Perry, thanks for the accolades on helping Middletown win the open space referendum.

I need 4 minutes tonight.

Thank you for supporting Middletown police by your approval tonight, to purchase 9 police vehicles. 

8 of these are “Ford Interceptor Utility” -purchased to refresh Middletown’s police fleet of 38 Ford Interceptors.. 

You used a state contract to buy those 8 for lowest price from “Winner Ford” in Cherry Hill.  However, it appears you elected to downgrade to save $3500 per vehicle, and NOT include the “hybrid” power train.   Tony Mercantante- is it true that hybrid is not included in the contract?   [Tony Mercantante, Middletown’s Administrator, replied: this is correct, although they are evaluating hybrid for cars for other Middletown functions].  The hybrid is the standard advertised by Ford, and by Winner Ford, which states the hybrid powertrain is perfect for law enforcement.

I am going to go through reasons that a “Hybrid Power Train” has a very short payback and is important to you.

I encourage you to consider life cycle cost  (For instance, I applaud Tony Mercantante’s on-going life cycle cost of a CNG-powered Jitney, compared to a standard diesel Jitney).

The Sustainable Jersey 2019 SILVER CERTIFICATION reports on the Middletown Municipal fleet.- These 38 Ford Interceptors are driven 700,000 miles/year, AND the average for these GAS GUZZLERS is 10mpg.  That’s only a fraction of the EPA 23 city mpg rating - AND the average yearly gas is $3600 per car.  Police vehicles spend a lot of time idling during traffic stops, etc.  The hybrid version automatically shuts off the engine, while continuing to power the lights and electronics from a large battery. 

Hybrid technologies have been tried and proven for over a decade.  I personally own a 2012  hybrid car that has achieved 42mpg average over my own CAR LIFETIME of 80K miles.   

The Middletown fleet already includes two Ford Fusion hybrid cars.  Both are 2011 models, and used by code enforcement.  Each hybrid car continues to get over 30 MPG.  [Tony Perry later in his response corrected this to be 4 Ford Fusions, including clerks office]

From two different sources, payback for the hybrid power train can be as little as a year. 

I am ALL for lower taxes, but I AM in this for the long term-

Hazlet just purchased 6 police Ford Interceptors, and they expect LESS than one year payback of the initial $3500 hybrid cost

Mayor Perry stated in August 28 Middletown Minutes “We are always thrilled to see initiatives that reduce the carbon footprint of Middletown which will help preserve its beautify for generations to come.  Source: August ribbon cutting of solar arrays at Shadow Lake Village,

Middletown’s 2019 silver certification for the municipal fleet states ” Our main target for the future is to increase our energy efficiency.  This includes purchasing fuel efficient, electric and alternative gas vehicles”. 

This reflects the reality that in NJ, over 40% of all NJ GHG emissions are from Transportation – this is the biggest single source that NJ is contributing to the climate crisis.  (according to the NJ DEP and Rutgers University).

By starting with hybrids, then to plug-in hybrids, and finally to full electric EVs, Middletown can take advantage of its 100% renewable municipal electricity to eventually have an all-electric fleet, which plugs into 100% renewable electricity so that most of the 400 vehicles (maybe exception of large trucks) become 100% emission free.   Any of these steps to higher efficiency and lower carbon emissions sets a GREAT example for Middletown residents and businesses.

Some of you may be attending the NJ League of Municipalities meeting this week.  You could visit a session, by Sustainable Jersey on Wed afternoon, entitled  Municipal Fleet Management and Encouraging EVs in Your Community”

I would be happy to share links to my sources for the data I have presented- if helpful for future planning of direction for Middletown’s municipal fleet.

I appreciate your time on this important matter!


My comments, above, were answered by Tony Mercantante, Mayor Tony Perry and Committee member Tony Fiore.  Answers included:

Electric vehicles are being explored for non-police use.  However, police cars will not be converted.  Have discussed with Chief of Police Weber.  It is important to provide the best for law enforcement.  They face hazardous conditions.  DPW does its own repair but is not trained for EVs.  Police vehicles have a lot of wear and tear; police vehicles are often in the shop.  Repair of hybrid and electric vehicles is much more expensive, and parts availability are of concern.  Concern with potential higher failure rate.  Middletown has 395 miles of roadway, patrolled by 7 cars during a shift.  Middletown is rated as safest city.  It is much more complex than much smaller Hazlet, next door, that can buy their 6 hybrid “Ford Interceptor Utility” for police service.

MIDDLETOWN OFFICIAL MINUTES, for 11/16/2020 Committee meeting, were published 12/28/2020. The Minutes, state:

"PUBLIC COMMENTS:Steve Miller, 151 Borden Road, represents Middletown for Clean Energy. He thanked the Township Committee for supporting the police but they are not hybrid. He discussed the use of hybrids for police cars. He also discussed the requirements ofsustainable New Jersey Silver Certification.

Mayor Perry,responded and spoke regarding police not usinghybrid vehicles at this time and the importance of law enforcement vehicles having interceptor status.

Deputy Mayor Fiore, commented that Middletown Township has 351 miles of roadway with seven patrols at any given time and it is clear that wear and tear has an effect on hybrid vehicles. Also the cost of parts are a concern as well"