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FLEETS TRIM EMISSIONS BY CONVERTING TO NATURAL GAS

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More Utah fleet operators are converting their vehicles to natural gas because the alternative fuel produces less toxic emissions, according to Mountain Fuel Supply Company's president.

Now GMC, Ford and Chrysler are offering customers the option of purchasing vehicles designed specifically to use natural gas.At the unveiling of Mountain Fuel's first dedicated natural gas vehicles Monday, Nick Rose, Mountain Fuel president and chief executive officer, told guests the company will have 27 dedicated natural gas vehicles by the end of the summer. This is in addition to the 400 converted vehicles in Mountain Fuel's and other Questar companies' fleets.

Tests on vehicles converted to use natural gas instead of petroleum have demonstrated a 78 percent overall reduction in harmful emissions, Rose said, and dedicated natural gas-powered vehicles are expected to achieve even better results.

Other fleets using natural gas-powered vehicles include Salt Lake City, the Salt Lake Airport Authority, Amoco, Enron, Geneva Steel, the Bureau of Land Management, Provo City, Ogden City, the State Motor Pool and Brigham Young University.

Utah Transit Authority is awaiting five dedicated natural gas buses.

There are currently 14 natural gas refueling facilities in Mountain Fuel's service area - Utah, Wyoming and Idaho - and there are plans for another six to eight facilities within the next six to 12 months.