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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA GAS CO. JOINS CALSTART TEAM; NATURAL GAS UTILITY BRINGS NEW SKILLS TO ADVANCED TRANSPORTATION

 BURBANK, Calif., July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The CALSTART advanced transportation consortium today announced the addition of the Southern California Gas Co. to the CALSTART team with the nomination of The Gas Co.'s president to the consortium's board of directors. The move accents CALSTART's support for all clean-fuel vehicle technologies.
 "We are proud to now be a part of the CALSTART team," said Warren I. Mitchell, president of The Gas Co. and new CALSTART board member. Mitchell is also chairman-elect of the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition, a powerful national consortium dedicated to the commercialization of natural gas vehicles and infrastructure. "We see this as the perfect partnership. It adds our expertise in developing natural gas vehicles (NGVs) to the ranks of those already developing a clean-fuel transportation industry in the state."
 Southern California Gas Co. is the nation's largest natural gas distributor, serving 15 million people through nearly 5 million gas meters. It has committed $32 million to develop natural gas vehicle refueling systems and to help the Big Three domestic auto makers manufacture NGVs.
 That experience adds additional strength to CALSTART, the non-profit public/private consortium of more than 60 entities dedicated to creating a California-based advanced transportation industry.
 "We see a number of projects that we can team up on right away," said Mike Gage, president and chief executive officer of CALSTART. "They are the industry leaders in NGV development, and with their help we can continue our progress toward making California the center for advanced transportation development."
 CALSTART's initial core programs focused on jump-starting the electric vehicle industry, which remains an ongoing commitment. However, the addition of The Gas Co. fits CALSTART's involvement in all forms of advanced transportation. CALSTART members are developing a variety of new technologies that involve natural gas, including hybrid electric vehicles and vehicular fuel cells.
 SoCalGas' expertise in these areas may speed the introduction of future advanced technologies that mean cleaner air and more jobs for Californians. This year, SoCalGas opened more than 30 public NGV refueling stations in Southern California with plans to open another 120 stations in the area by 1996. Over the next three years, the company plans to invest another $50 million to further these efforts.
 "All of us believe in advanced transportation for the same reasons," Mitchell said. "We desperately need to improve the poor quality of California's air, where most of the pollution comes from transportation. Natural gas is already the cleanest fossil fuel, and has great potential. The opportunity to create jobs in natural gas vehicle and infrastructure is significant."
 CALSTART's participants include more than 60 public and private entities, encompassing aerospace and other high-tech companies, the state's six biggest utilities, electric vehicle manufacturers, as well as local, state and federal agencies.
 -0- 7/14/93
 /CONTACT: Bill Van Amburg or Dave Sotero of CALSTART, 818-565-5606; or Denise King of The Gas Co., 213-244-3030/


CO: Southern California Gas Co.; CALSTART;
 Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition ST: California IN: AUT ENV UTI SU: JVN PER


MF-JL -- LA014 -- 1329 07/14/93 11:03 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 14, 1993
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