Coca-Cola to begin using hybrid trucks in Florida

While other companies are shying away from the considerable costs involved, Coca-Cola announced Monday it is rolling out 10 heavy-duty hybrid trucks in South Florida, part of a national campaign to put 142 of these so-called green trucks on the road in North America in the next several weeks.

Many companies — from utilities to architectural firms — are rushing to jump on the green bandwagon, and the soft-drink industry is no exception.

Coke's new trucks are estimated to lower fuel consumption by 37 percent and emissions by 32 percent — solid figures to impress the growing number of people who are demanding a reduction in greenhouse gases.

But heavy-duty hybrid trucks aren't cheap. Coca-Cola estimates the special engines add about $35,000 to the cost, making the total about $85,000 per truck.

Particularly in tough economic times, that's a lot for a company to absorb.

''Right now the initial prices are pretty steep,'' said Todd Renehan, an executive vice president with Ryder, the Miami-based transportation and logistics company. "Like laptops and flat-screen TVs, the prices are going to come down, but right now, with things as tough as they are, the price tag is a big deterrent.''

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