For Immediate Release: August 3, 1998
Media Contact: Claudia Chandler -- 916 654-4989

New in Trendy West Hollywood: CNG-fueled Taxicabs

West Hollywood, "the creative city," will live up to its billing once more when taxicabs fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) begin picking up fares on the city's streets in the middle of next year.

The ultra-low emission taxicabs will be operated mostly in West Hollywood, a community that has banned the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers. The vehicles will be purchased by the L.A. Checker Cab Company with assistance from four cost share partners. One of the cost shares is a $100,000 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Clean Cities grant administered by the California Energy Commission.

Seal-Beach based Pickens Fuel Corp., a designated member of the Long Beach Clean Cities Coalition received the grant approved by the Commission at its regularly scheduled business meeting July 29. Pickens Fuel Corp. will use the money to help fund the construction of a CNG fueling site in the West Hollywood area, and to pay part of the incremental cost of 140 CNG taxicabs to be purchased by the Los Angeles Checker Cab Company for about $ 1.2 million.

Energy Commissioner Jananne Sharpless, who chairs the Commission's Transportation and Fuels Committee, said the taxi company's CNG fleet will replace cabs known to log high annual mileage. "Keeping them off the road will result in the reduction of air pollutants in West Hollywood, and other Los Angeles areas served by the taxicabs," she said.

Commissioner Sharpless also said since the vehicles will be fueled strictly with CNG, they will contribute to energy security because they are contributing to a diversified fuel supply.

West Hollywood, on the outskirts of Beverly Hills, styles itself as the "creative city" for trendy ordinances such as the ban on gasoline-fueled leaf blowers. It is among several cities in the Los Angeles basin which have placed alternative fueled vehicles on the road in a continuing war against smog in the region.

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