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CLEAN AIR VEHICLES FEATURED AT 1992 EARTHFEST

 CLEAN AIR VEHICLES FEATURED AT 1992 EARTHFEST
 CLEVELAND, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Visitors to this year's third


annual EarthFest at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo will be able to view four different kinds of clean-burning natural gas vehicles on April 26. In addition to the four vehicles on display, a natural gas- powered LOOP bus from the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority will be showcased at a separate display area. Admission is free and all activities are open to the public from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
 East Ohio Gas will be showcasing a 1992 Ford Crown Victoria, which belongs to Mayor David Harbarger of Lakewood; an award-winning dragster; a 1989 Chevrolet pick-up truck; and a 1991 Chevrolet service van. All of the vehicles are either exclusively powered with natural gas, or are bi-fuel vehicles, meaning they can run on either natural gas or gasoline.
 Harbarger's Crown Victoria is a bi-fuel vehicle with a 4.6 liter high performance engine. The conversion of the mayor's car along with the upcoming conversion of police cruisers and public works department trucks are among the first city vehicles converted to use natural gas. Plans call for 130-150 other city vehicles to be converted in the future. In addition to converting existing cars and trucks, Lakewood will replace old city vehicles with dedicated natural gas vehicles as they become available from the manufacturers. Lakewood is the only city in northeast Ohio to currently operate its official vehicles on natural gas.
 The natural gas-powered dragster, which is a 1987 Buick Somerset driven by East Ohio Gas employee Joe Mezquita, recently won the best of its class in the Winston International Drag Race at Rockingham Dragway in North Carolina
 "The 1992 EarthFest is a perfect opportunity for us to showcase these vehicles to the general public," said Patrick A. Carney, vice president of public affairs for The East Ohio Gas Company. "People need to know that this is not a futuristic concept, but that the technology is here and is currently being used in their communities."
 The East Ohio Gas Company is a pioneer in natural gas vehicle technology. The company, which began converting its fleet 10 years ago, now operates more than 800 natural gas vehicles, including cars, trucks and vans, making it one of the largest operating fleets in the United States.
 Natural gas vehicles achieve a more than 90 percent reduction in reactive hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions and a 30 to 70 percent reduction in nitrogen oxides, compared with gasoline, and elimination of many of the particulates associated with diesel engines.
 Besides the environmental benefits, natural gas is about 40 to 50 percent less expensive than diesel fuel and gasoline. Clean-burning natural gas enables vehicle operators to reduce maintenance costs and extend engine life.
 Another benefit of natural gas is that more than 90 percent of the natural gas used in the United States is domestically produced. This reduces dependence on foreign oil and fits with the National and Ohio Energy Strategies.
 Many models of totally dedicated natural gas pickups, vans and passenger cars will be introduced by manufacturers between now and 1995. The incremental costs for converting or purchasing a vehicle that operates on natural gas is about $2,500-$3,000.
 Because a large network of public natural gas fuelng stations has yet to be built, The East Ohio Gas Company is focusing its natural gas vehicle marketing efforts on fleet operations with central refueling points.
 Cleveland-based East Ohio Gas is the largest subsidiary of Consolidated Natural Gas Company, headquartered in Pittsburgh. The 2,500 employees of East Ohio Gas serve more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers in 270 northeast Ohio communities.
 -0- 4/21/92
 /CONTACT: Tracy Oliver of The East Ohio Gas Company, 216-736-6224/ CO: The East Ohio Gas Company ST: Ohio IN: UTI SU:


KK -- CL023 -- 0818 04/21/92 15:40 EDT
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Date:Apr 21, 1992
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