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GSA Employees "Drive Green" in Natural Gas Shuttle Vans Clean Burning Vehicles Will Improve D.C. Metro Area Air Quality

GSA # 9654

March 17, 2000
Contact: Bill Bearden (202) 501-1231

WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) is helping drive the Nation's Capital "green" by replacing its three Washington D.C. area shuttles with clean-burning natural gas vans. The vans are used to shuttle GSA employees between work locations throughout the Capital area.

GSA is committed to driving the federal fleet "green" through the use of clean, alternative fuel vehicles (AFV). Natural gas-powered AFVs are cleaner than their gasoline counterparts and natural gas is a domestic energy source. Using natural gas helps decrease the nation's dependence on foreign oil imports.

The three Ford Econoline 15-passenger vans operate entirely on natural gas. The vans emit an average of 60% less carbon dioxide and other pollutants as compared to gasoline-powered vehicles. The vans will collectively accrue 50,000 miles per year, resulting in a substantial decrease of vehicle exhaust emissions. With this in mind, GSA is urging other federal agencies in the Capital area to convert their shuttles to AFVs. "We are glad to see GSA take the lead and set an example for other agencies," said Bob Williams, Government Sales Manager with Ford Motor Company.

"We are proving that natural gas vehicles can meet the demands of shuttle service," said Les Gray, Jr., Assistant Commissioner of GSA's Office of Vehicle Acquisition and Leasing Services. "The shuttles are operating 70 miles a day, five days a week. That amounts to over 17,000 miles accumulated per year, which is a lot of miles for any vehicle."

"We have been filling the vans at several CNG (compressed natural gas) fueling stations operated by Washington Gas," said Gray. "I was surprised at how many public fueling stations there are in the area," he said, noting that the company operates a network of 17 CNG fueling stations in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. Another two are under construction. Translated, it means simple convenience for CNG customers.

Washington Gas has maps and other resources available to help customers find CNG, and customers can get fueling cards that allows them access to all 17 stations.

"The message here is that these vehicles work," said Gray. "The vehicles perform as well as or better than their conventional counterparts � (and) we would like to encourage our customer agencies to follow our lead on this initiative and "Drive their Fleet Green" in D.C."

The vehicles were officially dedicated on Thursday, March 2nd, at the East Potomac Park natural gas fueling station in Washington D.C. Bob Williams, Ford Motor Company's Government Sales Manager, handed over the keys to Les Gray and Wayne Weaver, Regional Fleet Manager of GSA Fleet's Mid Atlantic Region. GSA's Office of Vehicle Acquisition and Leasing Services currently has supplied over 27,000 alternative fuel vehicles to its Federal customers, with nearly another 8,000 on order for the 2000 vehicle model year. GSA provides a wide range of customer services to support alternative fuel vehicle use and assists Federal customer agencies in acquiring AFVs.

Also in attendance were organizations that partner with GSA on Capital area alternative fuel initiatives. Joe Lawler, Deputy Director of the National Capital Region (NCR) National Park Service, and Arnold Goldstein, Superintendent of National Capitol Parks Central- NCR helped dedicate the vans. The National Park Service co-manages the East Potomac Park fueling facility with Washington Gas, and leases AFVs from GSA. Richard Gehr, Washington Gas's Business Development Manager was present at the ceremony. Washington Gas's goal is to increase the use of natural gas in the Capital area. The company is in the process of expanding its infrastructure and improving its facilities.

Rich Kolodziej, President of the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (NGVC), was also in attendance. The NGVC is a national organization dedicated to the development of a growing, sustainable and profitable natural gas vehicle market. The NGVC provides information to organizations interested in the promotion and use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, and brings together vehicle owners and fuel providers.