For Immediate Release: October 5, 2011
Media Contact: Susanne Garfield - 916-654-4989

MEDIA ADVISORY

Energy Commission Awards More Than $1.5 Million
To Encourage Natural Gas-, Propane-Powered Shuttle Buses


SACRAMENTO - The California Energy Commission today approved funding of $1,538,000 to help bring natural gas- and propane-powered shuttle buses to California's highways, encouraging cleaner transportation choices and creating jobs for the future. The awards are funded from the Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program.

"This funding helps to pay the difference between a conventional gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicle and one powered by a much cleaner alternative fuel," said Energy Commission Vice Chair James Boyd. "For the life of the vehicle - which can be as long as 20 years or more - each vehicle helps California meet it's aggressive petroleum reduction and environmental goals. And, in these challenging economic times, individuals and businesses will save money by using a domestically produced, lower-cost alternative fuel. As a result, society will benefit from the air quality improvements and California becomes a little less dependent on petroleum."

The Energy Commission has awarded nearly $14 million to help public and private fleet operators as well as individual consumers afford new alternative-fueled passenger vehicles and medium- and heavy-duty buses and trucks. The on-road vehicles meet all the emission requirements of the Air Resources Board and are fully warranted by the original equipment manufacturer. "We are quite pleased by interest in this program. For future years, the Energy Commission plans to provide additional funding for natural gas and propane vehicle incentives." Vice Chair Boyd added.

To make the Energy Commission's buy-down program as efficient and simple as possible, the incentive reservations are awarded in blocks to vehicle manufacturers or their designated dealers. The incentives are passed on to the individual buyers at the point of sale. Applications from manufacturers for the program are considered on a first-come, first-serve basis. The incentives approved today go to these companies:

  • Creative Bus Sales (Chino) is awarded a total of $575,000 in incentives for 33 vehicles manufactured by Starcraft Bus. Creative Bus Sales will use $15,000 to buy-down 5 natural gas-powered minibuses of up to 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight, and $560,000 to help purchase 28 natural gas shuttle buses of 14,001 to 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
  • Creative Bus Sales (Chino) also is awarded a total of $575,000 in incentives for 33 vehicles manufactured by StarTrans Bus. Creative Bus Sales will use $15,000 to buy-down 5 natural gas-powered minibuses of up to 8,500 pounds gross vehicle weight, and $560,000 to help purchase 28 natural gas shuttle buses of 14,001 to 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight.
  • Nations Bus Corporation (Inglewood) is awarded a total of $160,000 in incentives for 20 vehicles manufactured by Turtle Top Bus. Nations Bus will provide buyers with $60,000 for the buy-down of 10 propane-powered shuttle buses of 8,501 to 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, and $100,000 for 10 propane-powered shuttle buses in the 14,001 to 26,000 pounds gross vehicle weight range.
  • Ed Butts Ford, Inc. (La Puenta) is awarded $228,000 in incentives for the buy-down of 10 propane-powered buses manufactured by The Ford Motor Company in the 8,501 to 14,000 pounds gross vehicle weight category.

To benefit from the incentives, purchasers must agree to operate the vehicles in California on the alternative fuel at least 90 percent of the time for three years.

More information about the Alternative and Renewable Fuels and Vehicle Technology Program is available at the Energy Commission's DRIVE website at: www.energy.ca.gov/drive/

Parties interested in the program are encouraged to sign up for the ListServer at: www.energy.ca.gov/transportation/

Assembly Bill 118 (Núñez, Chapter 750, Statutes of 2007) created the California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The statute, amended by Assembly Bill 109 (Núñez, Chapter 313, Statutes of 2008), authorizes the Energy Commission to develop and deploy alternative and renewable fuels and advanced transportation technologies to help achieve the state's climate change policies.

The California Energy Commission is the state's primary energy policy and planning agency. Created by the Legislature in 1974 and located in Sacramento, six basic responsibilities guide the Energy Commission as it sets state energy policy: forecasting future energy needs; licensing thermal power plants 50 megawatts or larger; promoting energy efficiency and conservation by setting the state's appliance and building efficiency standards; supporting public interest energy research that advances energy science and technology through research, development, and demonstration programs; developing renewable energy resources and alternative renewable energy technologies for buildings, industry and transportation; planning for and directing state response to energy emergencies.



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