The brand new buses are part of the third and final phase of California's Safe School Bus Clean Fuel Efficiency Demonstration Program. Since 1989, the program -- supported by two governors and with continued bipartisan backing in the state Legislature -- has placed a total of 781 school buses in districts throughout California. Of the total 781 buses, 47 percent are fueled with alternative fuels, including natural gas (217), methanol (150) and electricity (4). The rest are advanced technology, high efficiency diesel.
The third phase includes a total of 218 buses, which are scheduled for delivery to school districts starting this summer. One-hundred-seven of the new buses are powered by natural gas, 107 are advanced diesel, and four are quiet, non-polluting electric buses. The third phase buses are being built by Blue Bird Body Company of Georgia. The natural gas buses are powered by John Deere engines; the advanced diesel are powered by Caterpillar engines; and the electric buses use Westinghouse electric motors.
"This trip is significant in that it shows that natural gas vehicles can easily travel across our great country," said California Energy Commission Chairman Charles R. Imbrecht. "The natural gas utility companies have built the necessary infrastructure that will take this fuel into the next century."
The buses leave Atlanta from the Second Annual Clean Cities Conference at 12 noon on Wednesday, June 19. They then travel to Montgomery, Evergreen and Mobile Ala.; Baton Rouge and Lafayette, La.; Houston, Austin, Waco, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Midland, Odessa and El Paso, Tex.; Tucson and Phoenix, Ariz.; and then into California.
The caravan will then wind its way across country stopping at U.S. Department of Energy-designated 'Clean Cities' along the route and finishing up the trip in Colton on June 26th at the California distributor of the buses, A-Z Bus Sales. (The schedule showing caravan's major stops and estimated times is attached.)
The Safe School Bus Program was created under legislation by Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Panorama City). Assembly Bill 35 provided the $100 million to buy the safe, clean school buses and replace older buses built prior to the 1977 Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards. Funding for the program comes from the federal Petroleum Violation Escrow Account, which is made up of court-ordered fines collected from the oil companies for over-charging consumers during the 1970 oil crises.
Across country, the buses will be fueled free-of-charge courtesy of various natural gas utility companies.
"Natural gas is a practical and inexpensive transportation fuel that is making great inroads for fleets, especially transit districts and school districts. We wish to offer our thanks to the utilities, the American Gas Association and the Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition for helping to fuel the buses coming 'CLEAN Across America,' " said Chairman Imbrecht.
The route of the carvan of "CLEAN Across America" buses is attached. During the trip, the buses will be available for photo opportunities while travelling along the route or while fueling in various cities. Contacts for each of those Clean Cities stops is below. During the trip, reporters and editors should contact the following Clean Cities representatives for the buses latest location.
City Person Phone Number Atlanta Kent Igleheart 404-261-0804 Montgomery, AL No contact, buses will do a drive-by of the State Capitol only Mobile, AL No contact, buses will be available at fueling facility between 10 a.m. to noon. Baton Rouge, LA Buses available for photo opportunity at 7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m. as they leave the fueling facility Houston Chris Van Slyke 713-993-4574 Austin Lisa Hannemann 512-499-1898 Photo opportunity at State Capitol building at 5 p.m. Dallas/Ft. Worth Paul Cauduro 817-695-9261 El Paso Victor Valenzuela 915-778-9634 Phoenix Leslie Dorenfeld 602-254-6308For exact locations of the media availabilities, please call 916-654-4989.
You can also follow the bus trip across the country via the Internet at:
Arrive Location Leave Day 1 - June 19 (101 miles) Atlanta, GA 12 Noon The Galleria 1:00 p.m. Montgomery, AL 4:00 p.m. Drive-by Photo Op - State Capitol 5:00 p.m. Evergreen, AL 7:00 p.m.PLEASE CALL 916-654-4989 FOR EXACT LOCATIONS OF EVENTS OR CHECK WEB SITE.
Day 2 - June 20 (244 miles) Evergreen, AL 7:00 a.m. Mobile, AL 9:00 a.m. Photo Opportunity 12:00 p.m. (10 a.m.) Baton Rouge, LA 5:00 p..m.
Day 3 - June 21 (295 miles) Baton Rouge, LA Photo Opportunity 8:00 a.m. (7:30 a.m.) Lafayette, LA 1:00 p.m. 2:00 p.m. Houston, TX 7:00 p.m.
Day 4 - June 22 (378 miles) Houston, TX Media Availability 1:00 p.m. (10 a.m.) Austin, TX 5:00 p.m. Photo Opportunity 6:00 p.m. State Capitol Waco, TX 8:00 p.m.
Day 5 - June 23 (419 miles) Waco, TX 7:00 a.m. Dallas, TX 11:00 a.m. Media Availability 1:00 p.m. (11:00 a.m.) Midland, TX 8:00 p.m. Odessa, TX 9:00 p.m.
Day 6 - June 24 (293 miles) Odessa, TX 7:00 a.m. El Paso, TX 4:00 p.m. Media Availability (4 p.m.)
Day 7 - June 25 (293 miles) El Paso, TX 6:00 a.m. Tucson, AZ 3:00 p.m. Media Availability 5:00 p.m. (3 p.m.) Phoenix 8:00 p.m.
Day 8 - June 26 (424 miles) Phoenix, AZ Media Availability 10:00 a.m. (9 a.m.) Thousand Palms California 5:00 p.m. 7:00 p.m. Colton, CA A-Z Bus Sales 9:00 p.m.
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