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EFFORT TO SELL CLEAN-AIR CARS REVS INTO HIGH GEAR

 DIAMOND BAR, Calif., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Efforts to sell low- polluting, alternate-fueled cars to the general public will get a major push later this month when air quality officials team up with the Big Three automakers to persuade California auto dealers and car rental agencies to aggressively market these new models.
 "For the first time, all three U.S. auto manufacturers are offering clean-fuel vehicles to retail customers," said Paul Wuebben, clean fuels officer for the South Coast Air Quality Management District.
 "They have beat their foreign competitors to the alternative fuels marketplace," said Wuebben.
 A free workshop for auto dealers and car rental companies on marketing the alternate-fueled models will be held at AQMD's Diamond Bar headquarters on Thursday, Jan. 28, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. An array of vehicles will be displayed and test drives will be available.
 "The key to creating a successful marketplace for alternative- fueled cars is consumer knowledge and acceptance," said Wuebben.
 "In this workshop, we hope to provide as much information to dealers as possible so they can pass it along to customers faced with auto-buying decisions," he said.
 The meeting, to which more than 2,000 dealers and car rental agents have been invited, will cover the state's alternative fuel demonstration program, vehicle technology, fuel availability and AQMD's local incentive program. The event comes as alternate-fueled vehicles made by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are beginning to hit automotive showrooms throughout California.
 The cars, which are needed to meet California air pollution control standards, can be bought by individuals for little or no added cost.
 Most are fuel-flexible models -- which run on any combination of methanol or gasoline. They perform as well or better than conventional vehicles and emit up to 50 percent less smog-forming pollutants when operated on methanol. Other models run on propane or compressed natural gas.
 All of the cleaner-burning fuels are available at a growing number of service stations and availability will grow as more of the cars hit the road. There are now approximately 30 alternate-fuel stations statewide with an additional 52 planned to be installed by the end of 1993.
 Fuel-flexible vehicles have been available for sale to companies in limited numbers through a state program since 1989.
 Last year, more than 100 public and private organizations in the South Coast Air Basin purchased fuel-flexible cars for their fleets and more than 3,500 of the vehicles are on the road statewide.
 Alternate-fueled cars are entering the market after a decade of successful demonstration programs sponsored by AQMD, the California Energy Commission and state Air Resources Board. These demonstrations have amassed more than 30 million miles of driving experience.
 AQMD is the air pollution control agency for Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties and the non-desert portion of San Bernardino County.
 -0- 1/22/93
 /CONTACT: Claudia Keith or Bill Kelly of the South Coast Air Quality Management District, 909-396-3456/


CO: South Coast Air Quality Management District ST: California IN: AUT SU:

JB-BP -- LA022 -- 8080 01/22/93 16:51 EST
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Date:Jan 22, 1993
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