News Release

For Immediate Release: July 22, 1996
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 - 654 - 4989

Four Natural Gas Powered Buses
To Carry Santa Barbara County Commuters

In an effort to expand the state's use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, the Santa Barbara County Air Pollution Control District and the California Energy Commission will co-manage a demonstration project of natural gas-powered engines.

With a $150,000 grant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the two agencies will oversee the installation of four natural gas powered-engines built by Cummins Engine Company. The four new engines will be tested for at least a year in commuter coaches currently in use in Santa Barbara.

The demonstration will cost a total of $801,066. The engines, manufactured by Cummins Engine Company will be tested on buses furnished by the Melni Bus Company. Fuel for the project will be supplied by the Southern California Gas Company.

During the project, the Energy Commission will collect and analyze data on fuel and oil consumption, miles traveled and maintenance costs . The engine manufacturer will use the information to improve the durability, reliability and efficiency of its compressed natural gas engines for California's medium and heavy-duty vehicle market.

The Energy Commission is dedicated to making California energy-independent by moving away from petroleum-derived fuels. Promoting the commercial use of alternatively fueled vehicles will make transportation more energy efficient, less expensive and less polluting.

For further information, contact:

Mahesh Talwar, Santa Barbara Air Pollution Control Ditrict, (805) 961-8922

Claudia Chandler, Assistant Executive Director, California Energy Commission, 916-654-4989

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