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 LAS VEGAS, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Las Vegas' first public refueling station for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) has opened in North Las Vegas, according to officials from Fleet Star Inc., Haycock Distributing Co. and Southwest Gas.
 Located at Haycock's existing cardlock gasoline and diesel refueling station at 3333 Losee Rd., the new NGV refueling station is the first of several public refueling stations Fleet Star plans to own and operate in the Las Vegas valley in 1993-94. Southwest Gas will provide the natural gas that will be dispensed at the stations.
 "This is a major milestone in the development of cleaner vehicle fuels in southern Nevada," said Jay Taylor, who heads up the NGV effort for Southwest Gas. "For years, we've been faced with a chicken-and-egg dilemma. Fueling companies have been reluctant to construct NGV refueling stations, because of the relatively small number of public vehicles that have been converted to run on natural gas. And vehicle owners have been reluctant to convert their vehicles to run on natural gas, because of the lack of public refueling stations. This new public refueling station represents the first step in resolving that dilemma."
 Much of the impetus for the public refueling effort came in 1992, when the state of Nevada adopted regulations requiring state and local government vehicles in Washoe and Clark counties to begin using cleaner- burning fuels such as natural gas. Since then, Clark County, the cities of Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, the state of Nevada and Southwest Gas have taken the lead in creating public-private partnerships to facilitate the switch to the cleaner-burning fuel. The county has adopted a Comprehensive Alternative Fuels Strategy which, in part, calls for the conversion of 400 of its 960 general-service vehicles to natural gas by the year 2000. In addition, Las Vegas has been designated as a "Clean City" by the U.S. Department of Energy. In the Las Vegas valley, there are already more than 300 NGVs in operation, including 200 in Southwest Gas' southern Nevada fleet. The company operates an additional 400 NGVs in its Arizona service area.
 Other fleets now operating NGVs in the Las Vegas valley include: Clark County, the city of Las Vegas, the city of North Las Vegas, the Economic Opportunity board of Clark County, the Nevada State Motor Pool, McCarran Airport, The Car Doctor, Nevada Power Co., Prime Cable, and the U.S. General Services administration.
 "With all these entities jumping on the NGV bandwagon, the need for public NGV refueling stations has increased dramatically," said Christopher Pedersen, vice president of business development for Fleet Star. "And the economics of operating the stations are more favorable than they were in the past. As a result, Fleet Star has committed itself to developing the NGV refueling infrastructure in the Las Vegas valley. This will allow fleets to concentrate on converting vehicles to natural gas."
 Fleet Star, a subsidiary of Tren-Fuels Inc. of Austin, Texas, is a leader in the development of natural gas fueling infrastructure in the United States. Fleet Star and its affiliates currently operate 16 natural gas stations in Texas, and plan to build an additional 10 in Texas and 31 in Nevada, Arizona and California during the balance of 1993 and 1994.
 A dedication ceremony for Fleet Star's first local NGV public refueling facility will be held Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m., with government and business leaders participating in the event.
 "We're extremely pleased that our site has been chosen as the location for the first NGV public refueling station in southern Nevada," said John Haycock, president of Haycock Distributing Co. "We believe the public will respond favorably."
 Haycock has operated in southern Nevada for more than 30 years, and is currently among the largest franchises for Gascard Inc. a nationwide network of cardlock fueling facilities. Haycock's cardlock program in the greater Las Vegas area includes more than 30 locations.
 According to Taylor, there are several reasons why fleet owners and the public are increasingly turning to natural gas as a vehicle fuel: It's far less polluting than gasoline and diesel, its fuel and operating costs are lower, and it reduces engine maintenance costs, compared to gasoline. For example, natural gas vehicles reduce emissions of unhealthy carbon monoxide by 90 percent and reactive hydrocarbons, a major ingredient in the formation of smog, by 85 percent. An equivalent gallon of natural gas costs about $1.10, compared to the going price of gasoline of more than $1.30 per gallon. And because natural gas burns so cleanly, there's less carbon build-up in an NGV engine, which results in significantly lower engine maintenance costs.
 Most NGVs are "bi-fueled" which means they can operate on either natural gas or gasoline with the flip of a switch. Gasoline-powered vehicles can be easily converted to run on natural gas by simply adding an NGV conversation kit to the car engine. In Las Vegas, conversions are being performed by The Car Doctor. A typical conversion costs between $3,000 and $5,000, but those costs can generally be recovered in a matter of a few years thanks to reduced fuel, operating and maintenance expenses.
 Detroit automakers have also begun manufacturing "dedicated" NGVs which run solely on natural gas.
 For more information on NGVs, fleet owners or individuals may contact Southwest Gas at 702-876-7287.
 -0- 10/19/93
 /CONTACT: Dante Pistone of Southwest Gas, 702-876-7253; or Chris Pederson of Fleet Star, 512-320-1421/

CO: Southwest Gas ST: Nevada IN: OIL SU:

EH -- SD005 -- 3983 10/19/93 12:31 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 19, 1993

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