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ATMOS ENERGY OPENS NATION'S FIRST NETWORK OF PUBLIC NATURAL GAS VEHICLE REFUELING STATIONS

 ATMOS ENERGY OPENS NATION'S FIRST NETWORK OF
 PUBLIC NATURAL GAS VEHICLE REFUELING STATIONS
 DALLAS, Nov. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE: ATO) today opened fueling facilities for natural gas vehicles in Lubbock, Odessa and Amarillo, Texas, forming the nation's first public retail network serving a wide geographic area.
 The facilities in Lubbock and Odessa are at Shell-branded gasoline stations, and the Amarillo facility is at a Texaco-branded station. The facilities serve both local and regional traffic, and are targeted primarily for fleet vehicles. Vehicles from 18 fleets in the three cities were committed on opening day to use the fueling facilities, including a soft drink bottler, mechanical contractors, public school buses and two electric utilities.
 The company has arranged for automobile dealerships in all three areas to handle the conversion of vehicles. Almost any vehicle can be converted to operate on natural gas as well as gasoline.
 "Natural gas has been receiving a considerable amount of publicity as the alternate fuel of the future. We are proud to be able to offer the advantages of natural gas as a vehicle fuel to our customers today. Natural gas is safe and economical to use, while significantly reducing the auto emissions that cause air pollution. Our facilities are selling natural gas at 70 cents per equivalent gallon, and natural gas has been proven to reduce maintenance expenses for fleet owners," said Atmos Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Charles Vaughan.
 Vaughan said the number of fleet vehicles committed to using the facilities already has exceeded the company's forecast for the first year of operation. The company has a five-year development program for NGVs.
 The company will open a fourth facility in Lafayette, La., on Dec. 4, 1991, which will be that state's first public refueling facility. Both Texas and Louisiana have clean air legislation requiring the use of clean-burning alternate fuels, such as natural gas, in public vehicles during this decade.
 Vaughan said, "We have been very encouraged by the acceptance of natural gas as a vehicle fuel in our Texas and Louisiana service areas, which are major gas-producing regions. Natural gas can reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, improve the environment and provide consumers with energy at the lowest cost. The opening of these facilities represents an important step in that direction."
 Dallas-based Atmos Energy Corporation provides natural gas service to more than one-half million customers in Texas, Louisiana, and Kentucky through its operating companies -- Energas Company, Trans Louisiana Gas Company and Western Kentucky Gas Company.
 -0- 11/20/91
 /CONTACT: Margaret Watson, 214-450-4050, or (investors) Jack Eversull, 214-788-3729, both of Atmos Energy/
 (ATO) CO: Atmos Energy Corp. ST: Texas IN: OIL SU:


TS -- NY055 -- 5449 11/20/91 12:50 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 20, 1991
Words:452
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