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NATION'S FIRST 'ASSEMBLY LINE' NATURAL GAS TRUCKS ROLL ONTO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA STREETS

 NATION'S FIRST 'ASSEMBLY LINE' NATURAL GAS TRUCKS
 ROLL ONTO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA STREETS
 LOS ANGELES, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifty of the first natural gas-powered vehicles ever to roll off an American automobile factory assembly line went into service today in Southern California.
 With red, white and blue flags fluttering, Southern California Gas Co. displayed the new white pickup trucks, designed and manufactured to operate exclusively on natural gas.
 The Gas Co. has purchased 130 natural gas trucks for delivery this year and will add another 100 in 1993, making it the largest fleet owner of "pure" natural gas trucks in the nation, the utility announced.
 Richard D. Farman, The Gas Co.'s chairman, said: "Our first 130 vehicles will mean a reduction of 9 tons of air pollutants in a year. Vehicles burning natural gas produce far less smog-forming pollutants than most conventionally fueled vehicles."
 Farman said that although many alternate-fuel vehicles have been introduced to the public, the new pickups are the first compressed natural-gas vehicles to be produced by an American auto manufacturer. A General Motors' factory near Detroit is building 2,500 of the Sierra natural gas trucks this year.
 "These aren't prototypes or samples, this is the future today," Farman said. "And what better place to use these clean-burning trucks than here in Southern California where we have the worst air quality in the nation. We must do whatever we can to win back the environment for ourselves and our children."
 As the trucks left a Gas Co. parking area, they passed under a banner which read: "Natural Gas Vehicles, for Clean Air, Economy, Performance."
 Previously introduced natural gas vehicles (NGVs) could use either natural gas or gasoline. These "dedicated" NGV pickup trucks are more fuel efficient; they also are cheaper to operate and maintain than trucks using gasoline. Natural gas is about 75 cents a gallon equivalent to gasoline.
 The Sierras have special fuel tanks which safely hold natural gas, giving them an operating range of about 160 miles. The utility's appliance and customer-service employees will operate them from Gas Co. bases in Garden Grove, Van Nuys, Santa Monica and Compton, Calif.
 Farman said that the utility will install three natural gas refueling stations every month for the next year and a half. Stations already have been installed for use by school and public busses, delivery trucks and government vehicles. Natural gas soon will be available at selected "public" service stations throughout Southern California.
 The "roll out" ceremony, held at a gas company facility in Monterey Park, Calif., also was a "salute to American labor, commemorating the upcoming Labor Day holiday."
 "These vehicles are a tribute to the labors of many Americans: research engineers, designers, mechanics and the men and women who took fenders and wheels and nuts and bolts and created an American first," Farman said.
 Others participating were Assemblyman Richard G. Polanco (D-Northeast Los Angeles/Pasadena), a member of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee; Daniel W. Fessler, president, California Public Utilities Commission; and Commissioner Sally Rakow, California Energy Commission.
 -0- 9/3/92
 /CONTACT: Dick Friend or Michelle Bagley of The Gas Co., 213-244-3030/ CO: Southern California Gas Co. ST: California IN: UTI SU:


AL -- LA021 -- 6479 09/03/92 13:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 3, 1992
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