Los Angeles Metro kicks diesel to the curb

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) has retired its final diesel-powered bus in favor of hybrid and compressed natural gas (CNG) models. The agency says it is the first in the nation to run only alternative-fueled buses.

metro-bus.jpgMetro’s fleet includes CNG buses, one electric, and six gas-electric vehicles. It held a “retirement” party for the final vehicle yesterday which saw the bus towed away for good.

“What Metro has achieved transcends Los Angeles County,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Don Knabe. “We proved from both a technical and economic standpoint that a large transit agency can operate with alternative clean burning fuels and this has led many other transit agencies to follow our lead. Likewise, what Metro is doing to tap solar energy, recycle and build green facilities is raising the bar for the industry. That’s good for our customers, taxpayers and the environment.”

Metro moves nearly 400 million passengers each year with its fleet logging 1.5 billion miles a year.

The decision to switch to clean-air vehicles began in 1993. First came trials with methanol and ethanol before CNG became the primary choice. The CNG models have reduced particular matter by more than 80%, the agency claims, and has eliminated 300,000 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions each and every day.

Despite a 10-15% price premium, Metro believes the health benefits associated with the cleaner fuel is worth the cost.

“The American Lung Association in California applauds Metro’'s accomplishment in converting their transit fleet from older diesel buses to cleaner natural gas buses,” said Jane Warner, president & CEO for the American Lung Association in California. “By acquiring cleaner fueled buses, Metro is helping to address the region’s serious pollution problems and reduce smog related illnesses and deaths.”

“Metro should be applauded for its leadership in helping to reduce our country’s reliance on foreign oil by powering their vehicles with safe, economical and domestically produced natural gas,” said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer solutions for Southern California Gas Co.

On the side of that last diesel Metro bus is the slogan, "Travel smart, take Metro." Now there is more reason than ever to do just that.

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