LOS ANGELES, June 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Beginning July 1, 2000, many drivers
of alternatively fueled cars and vans, including natural gas vehicles (NGVs),
will have access to California's high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes regardless
of the number of occupants aboard. Enacted last year by the California
Legislature as AB 71, the new law is a boon to companies and consumers who
have already taken steps to decrease smog and pollution by purchasing NGVs.
"The new law opening up HOV lanes to natural gas vehicle drivers offers a
well-deserved perk to our customers who have made a real commitment to the
environment by using clean-burning fuel," said Rick Morrow, vice president of
customer service and marketing of energy transportation services for Southern
California Gas Company (The Gas Company).
There are currently 18,000 NGVs on the road in California, and this
special program is open to the 6,000 that fall under the weight requirement of
14,000 pounds or less and run exclusively on natural gas. Those affected
include fleets owned by SuperShuttle, the United States Post Office, the City
of Los Angeles, American Taxi and United Parcel Service. Owners of qualifying
vehicles must register with the DMV and display a special DMV-issued decal.
The registration and decal will also help California Highway Patrol enforce
existing HOV lane laws.
Not only do NGVs burn cleaner than their gasoline counterparts, emitting
up to 95 percent less pollution, but cheaper fuel and lower maintenance costs
also make them more economical. For the past 18 months, fuel for NGVs has
averaged around $1.10 for a gasoline gallon equivalent, compared to upwards of
$1.60 and rising per gallon of gasoline. This works out to a savings of $5 or
more with each fill up. In addition, natural gas' octane rating of 130,
compared with the 87 to 92 rating of gasoline, ensures that NGVs have as much
power and efficiency as standard cars. Natural gas public fueling stations
are conveniently located across Southern California near major freeways and
highways; a comprehensive list of new and existing stations is available at
This summer, The Gas Company is offering drivers the opportunity to try
out an NGV, fuel included, for five million meters (or about three thousand
miles). Contestants can register to win use of a Honda Civic, Toyota Camry or
Ford F-150 NGV at designated participating NGV dealers, by visiting
www.socalgas.com or by calling (800) 427-4400. Three winners will be
announced in mid-August.
For more information on registering an alternatively fueled vehicle for a
DMV-issued decal, visit their web site at www.dmv.ca.gov, or call your local
DMV and ask them to mail DMV Form 156 to you.
Southern California Gas Company (The Gas Company) is the nation's largest
natural gas distribution utility, serving more than 18 million people through
5 million meters. The company's service territory encompasses more than
23,000 square miles throughout central and Southern California. The Gas
Company is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE), a Fortune 500 energy
services company based in San Diego, with 12,000 employees, revenues of nearly
$5.5 billion and serving nine million customers in the United States, Europe,
Canada, Mexico and South America.
SOURCE Southern California Gas Company