General Motors’ advanced hybrid technology will be used on transit buses in the Seattle (Washington state) area beginning next month, eventually creating the largest fleet of diesel-electric hybrid buses in the United States.

Associated Press (AP) said King County leaders were scheduled to take delivery of the first of 235 buses on Thursday at Seahawks Stadium. The mass-transit vehicles, which are more expensive than standard diesel buses, deliver up to 60% greater fuel economy and can reduce emissions by as much as 90%, GM reportedly said while county transit officials said they expect to save roughly 750,000 gallons of fuel a year.

AP said King County secured $US5 million in federal funding to help pay for the new buses, which the county has said cost $645,000 each – $200,000 more than a standard bus.

The first group of the hybrid buses, manufactured by New Flyer of Winnipeg, Manitoba, is scheduled to join the fleet on June 5 and the rest will be delivered by year’s end, the report said.

Caterpillar Inc. based in Peoria, Illinois, is supplying the diesel engines, Associated Press added.