Release 98-53
September 9, 1998
CONTACT:  Joe Irvin
(916) 322-2990 
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730


Fair Offers A Look At Clean-Air Future Of Transportation 

        SACRAMENTO -- While county fairs typically celebrate a community's agricultural past, those attending this year's Gold Country Fair in Auburn will have an
opportunity to look into the future -- the future of clean-air transportation.

        This glimpse at future transportation will be available at the California Air Resources Board's (ARB) booth in the form of a Honda EV Plus electric vehicle, which will be on display throughout the fair's four-day run.

        "Battery-powered electric vehicles -- vehicles that can move us through our day without producing smog-forming emissions -- certainly have a place in California's transportation future," said ARB Chairman John Dunlap.

        As ARB chairman, Dunlap has worked for several years to encourage auto makers to develop zero emission vehicles (ZEVs).  Zero emission vehicles are necessary to help California meet its clean air goals by 2010.

        "Several of the major auto makers are now bringing battery-powered ZEVs to market and are looking at the practicality of fuel cells, hybrids that run on a combination of electricity and gasoline, and other forms of zero-emission and low-emission technology," Dunlap said.  "The future will be filled with choices for consumers."

         He noted that the Auburn area is connected in several ways to the state's push to develop low-polluting and zero-emitting vehicles.

         Electric Vehicle Infrastructure, Inc. (EVI) is a company employing about 20  people making charging devices for electric vehicles.  Since locating in Auburn in 1994, EVI has shipped about 2100 charging units to major auto makers including BMW, Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Mazda, Mercedes and Toyota.  EVI plans to make a charging device available to ARB for display at the fair.

        Meanwhile, Vic Macy, president of Auburn's Sierra Cab and Limousine, has four clean-running compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles in his fleet of 22 cars and vans serving customers from Auburn to Roseville.  Customers like the two CNG Ford Crown Victorias, the Dodge Caravan and Ram Truck.  There are few maintenance problems with the vehicles, Macy said.

        The City of Auburn recently began running a CNG bus and, with the help of funding from the Placer County Air Pollution Control District, Placer County Transit bought two CNG buses in November, 1997 and is considering purchasing more.  "The passengers and drivers like them because they are quiet and don't spew black smoke," said Will Garner, Placer County transportation supervisor.

        The County also maintains about 20 light-duty CNG vehicles while Pacific Gas & Electric maintains a fleet of 25 CNG vehicles in the Auburn area.  There are several CNG filling sites throughout Placer County.

         While high pressure and hot weather have brought an increase this year in air pollution, the long-term air pollution trend is down in the Auburn area and around the state.  An ozone monitoring station in Auburn recorded four days when ozone exceed the national standard (.12 parts per million) in 1994; two days in 1995; one day in 1996 and none in 1997.  Ozone is one of the main health-damaging substances in smog.

         "The Auburn area has been more active than many larger communities in pursuing clean-air goals," said Dunlap, "and that effort is paying off with cleaner air and a healthy economy."

        The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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