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PACIFIC BELL TO DRIVE CLEAN-FUEL VANS IN ORANGE COUNTY FLEET

 PACIFIC BELL TO DRIVE CLEAN-FUEL VANS IN ORANGE COUNTY FLEET
 ORANGE, Calif., Dec. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Pacific Bell is coming clean.
 California's largest telephone company announced today that it will spend $1.5 million to test clean-fuel vans in its Orange County fleet of 1,000 installations and repair vehicles.
 Through a contract with the California Energy Commission, Pacific Bell will buy 85 vans from Ford Motor Co.'s 1992 production line of 200 flexible-fuel vehicles. The vans will run on a mixture of 85 percent methanol (liquid alcohol) and 15 percent unleaded gasoline, reducing Pacific Bell's local carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions by 23,000 pounds a year.
 "With flexible-fuel technology, we can increase our efforts to clean the environment and still give our customers what they want most -- face-to-face service," said John Seymour, Pacific Bell vice president for Orange and Riverside counties.
 Flexible-fuel vehicles use computer-controlled sensors to read the amount of methanol in fuel and make adjustments to the fuel injection and ignition systems. This technology makes it possible to drive the vans on methanol, unleaded gasoline or any blend of the two.
 The computerized sensors jack up each van's price tag by $2,000. The California Energy Commission has agreed to give Pacific Bell $42,500 to offset the premium charges. The company also will receive $127,500 in reimbursement credits from the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
 The vans will be delivered in February to Pacific Bell's garage in Tustin where a methanol tank was recently installed. They'll hit the road in May after being modified to hold telecommunications equipment, and after Pacific Bell mechanics finish a Ford-taught maintenance course.
 Testing flexible-fuel vehicles is part of Pacific Bell's overall corporate effort to help clean the environment. Other activities include ridesharing, telecommuting and using trip-reduction technologies such as videoconferencing.
 Whether Pacific Bell expands its use of flexible-fuel vans depends on emission and expense comparisons calculated over a year- long period.
 "We want to reduce our emissions without greatly increasing our vehicle purchase and operating costs," said Roy Greenawalt of Pacific Bell's fleet and environmental management department.
 Greenawalt said it currently costs Pacific Bell about $278 a month -- or 38 cents a mile -- to maintain a gasoline-operated vehicle. The new vans' operating expenses will be measured quarterly by cost per mile, cost per vehicle, vehicle "up time" and repair records.
 The new vans will retire vehicles that have been in Pacific Bell's fleet for 12 years. The retired vans will be sold at auction.
 -0- 12/19/91
 /CONTACT: Linda Bonniksen of Pacific Bell, 714-972-5651/ CO: Pacific Bell ST: California IN: TLS SU:


KJ -- LA012 -- 3915 12/19/91 12:48 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 19, 1991
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