Howard County has received eight hybrid buses for its 28-vehicle paratransit fleet, enabling the replacement of 10-year-old vehicles that have about 300,000 miles on them - double their expected life span and mileage. Howard Transit uses the vehicles to provide by-appointment transportation for handicapped residents. The new hybrid vehicles cost $200,000 each, with three paid for with federal stimulus money and three more with county funds. The other two vehicles were paid for with 80 percent federal money and 10 percent each from the state and the county. Customization was done by Colonial Equipment Co. in Monrovia. Each bus can hold 16 passengers plus two wheelchairs, and gets 50 percent better gas mileage than the diesel buses they replace, said Liz Palm, a Colonial spokeswoman. Nine more hybrids are on order for Howard Transit.