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Missoula Parks & Rec mini pickups save money, fuel

By Kevin Maki, KECI Reporter, kmaki@keci.com
Published On: Apr 05 2013 07:00:21 PM MDT
Updated On: Apr 05 2013 10:58:50 PM MDT

As weather warms up, the mini pickup fleet will become more visible.

Drivers operate these little vehicles from the right side.

MISSOULA, Mont. -

As the weather gets warmer, we'll start seeing more of Missoula's Parks and Rec mini pickup fleet on the streets.

Like everyone else in the U.S. drivers operate them on the right side of the road. But they also drive the minis from the right side, like postal workers, or drivers in England.

The goal is to save money and fuel.

At 6-foot-2, Parks and Recreation's  aquatics supervisor Eric Seagrave said some people wonder if he's too big for the mini. No, he said, it fits fine.

"The Parks and Rec goal is to really be efficient and cut the use of resources as much as possible," said Seagrave.

He got the idea to use minis from his father-in-law.

His is bright red.

Parks and Rec workers drive all over Missoula, especially in the summer.

Three years ago, the department retired two aging mid sized pickups. Seagrave thought it was a chance to try something different. Parks and Rec bought three mini Hondas instead.

Seagrave said they were half the cost.

"We're more than doubling the mileage we get per gallon," said the supervisor.

The minis get 50 miles to the gallon.

Parks and Rec needs -- and does use -- bigger vehicles.

Seagrave said you can't haul 600-pound drums or big air compressors in the the minis. But much of the time, he said, they don't haul anything. He said if you're not hauling anything, why not save mileage.

Seagrave sees the minis as a commitment by Parks and Rec to conservation.

He hopes they become a signature of Missoula.