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November 13-15, 2005
Beijing, China

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December 13-15, 2005
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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February 5-8, 200
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February 20-22, 200
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

July 2, 2003


City Public Service’s (CPS) vehicle fleet has become the first in Texas to use corn- and forestry-derived ethanol as an alternative fuel. CPS began fueling 130 Flex-Fueled Vehicles (FFVs) -- 37 percent of its light-duty fleet -- with the environmentally friendly fuel at the beginning of June.

“By using alternative fuels, CPS is striving to help the city avoid being identified as a nonattainment area by the federal government,” said Lauro Garza, CPS manager of fleet services.
San Antonio is in "near nonattainment" for ozone pollution under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) standard. An area is classified as “nonattainment” if it averages more than 85 parts per billion (ppb) of ozone for a three-year period. Two of the ozone monitors in the region showed a violation over the period 2000 to 2002, according to the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG).

In a 1999 study, AACOG determined that vehicles are a major source of air pollution in this area and the organization is working on an Early Action Compact and Clean Air Plan to outline emission reduction measures to achieve attainment of the standard.

Through the use of E-85, a fuel mixture containing 85 percent ethanol blended with 15 percent gasoline, CPS plans to lower tailpipe emissions, Garza explained. In comparison to conventional gasoline, FFVs operated on E-85 reduce carbon monoxide (CO) emissions by 40 percent, particulate matter by 20 percent, nitrogen oxides by 10 percent and sulfate by 80 percent, according to EPA.

In addition, the clean alternative fuel is helping CPS not only to meet, but also exceed alternative fuel and vehicle requirements under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 (EPACT), Garza emphasized. The federal statue is designed to expand the use of domestically produced, cleaner–burning transportation fuels in the U.S. EPACT requires fuel providers such as CPS to use alternative fuels wherever they are available.

The use of ethanol also helps CPS insure compliance with Congressional mandates (Department of Energy’s 10 CFR part 490) to reduce the nation's dependence on imported petroleum.

Although more than 3 million FFVs are in operation across the country, only a small fraction use E-85 on a regular basis, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition’s (NEVC) Web site -- http://www.e85fuel.com. State and federal regulations focus on the purchase of alternative-fueled vehicles but do not presently require the use of alternative fuels, according to NEVC.

CPS plans to use approximately 50,000 gallons of E-85 per year under the terms of a contract with San Antonio–based petroleum product distributor Marshall Distributing and its supplier PMC Marketing Group, Inc. (PMC), of Birmingham, Ala. An ethanol mobile fueling tanker rotates among three CPS service centers and one power plant site where Marshall Distributing fills the tanks of CPS’ FFV fleet.

CPS is a pioneer in the use of ethanol in Texas, said J.B. Smith, president of PMC. "Our hopes are that CPS will serve as a model for regulated fleets and private enterprise in Texas," he added. "The environmentally friendly fuel will help decrease the U.S. reliance on a foreign fuel; it's good for the environment; and, since corn and grain sorghum are grown in Texas, it will help stimulate the economy."

Introduced in the U.S. by the Carter administration during the energy crisis of the 1970s, ethanol production has grown to nearly 3 billion gallons per year, according to Smith. Ethanol is produced by fermenting plant sugars that yield alcohol. Although 90 percent of all ethanol is derived from corn, other commodities such as sugar cane, wheat and grain sorghum also can be used.

As of 2001, EPACT regulations require light-duty vehicle purchases to include at least 90 percent alternative-fuel vehicles, to use purchase credits from other covered fleets, or to cash in credits previously earned. Fleets also may purchase certain biodiesel fuel blends.

Currently, 38 percent of CPS’ light-duty fleet uses lower-emission fuels, however, within the next five years, CPS plans to convert all of its light-duty fleet and most of its heavy-duty fleet to use alternative fuels, Garza noted. CPS has a history of using clean fuels in its fleet. In 2000, CPS began a pilot project using environmentally friendly biodiesel (B-20), a fuel made of soybean oil, recycled vegetable oils, or animal fats, in all of its diesel engine vehicles. B-20, which contains 20 percent biodiesel mixed with 80 percent petroleum diesel, is biodegradable, and emits lesser amounts of particulate matter, hydrocarbons (HC) and carbon dioxide into the air than petroleum diesel fuel.
CPS uses approximately 1.5 million gallons of diesel per year and plans to convert at least 75 percent of its diesel-fueled vehicles to B-20 within the next five years. Diesel-powered vehicles require no engine modifications to use B-20.

In addition, CPS has used other lower-emitting fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane. The utility currently has CNG vehicles and a fully restored 1940s truck that operates on propane. CPS also has one low-speed electric car and two electric hybrid cars, Garza added.

Since 1991, CPS has operated and maintained a CNG station at its Eastside Service Center for CPS and government vehicles for organizations such as the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), BexarMet and local military units.

CPS is one of the nation's largest publicly owned energy systems, serving over 600,000 electric customers and more than 300,000 natural gas customers. Acquired by the City of San Antonio in 1942, CPS serves more than 600,000 electric customers and more than 300,000 natural gas customers in and around the ninth largest city in the U. S. CPS recently observed its 60thanniversary of municipal ownership. Proceeds from CPS remain in San Antonio and account for more than one-fourth of the City's annual operating budget for police and fire protection, street improvements, parks and other services. CPS has earned the highest financial rating of any electric utility in the U. S. More information can be found on the World Wide Web at www.citypublicservice.com.


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