Gasoline Scooters

Oakland International Airport opens natural gas service station and aids gasoline scooters

Oakland International Airport will officially open its new compressed natural gas station on July 18 with a display of alternative fuel vehicles ranging from sedans and vans to garbage trucks, transit buses and street sweepers.

The station was developed primarily for vehicles serving the airport, but is open to the public. The airport requires that at least 50 percent of taxi fleets and 25 percent of door-to-door shuttle fleets use alternative fuels such as compressed natural gas or electricity. In addition, CNG vehicles make up a large percentage of the Port's fleet of cars and trucks.

The ribbon-cutting will take place at 1:30 p.m., and the display of alternative fuel vehicles, called "Advancing the Choice," will be open from 2 to 4 p.m. in Hangar 8, located just behind the station. East Bay Clean Cities, a Department of Energy-sponsored partnership that advances the use of alternative fuels, is the vehicle display coordinator.

More than 20 vehicles will be available for viewing, including refuse trucks from the City of Berkeley and Waste Management of Alameda County, a bus from the City of Union City, a dump truck from the City of Oakland, a Pacific Gas and Electric Company crew truck, a street sweeper, and a police cruiser from Ford Motor Company. This is in addition to sedans, vans, pickup trucks and neighborhood electric vehicles.

An added feature will be a "human transporter," the Segway motorized scooter that uses five gyroscopes to adapt to terrain.

The CNG station and Thursday’s activities are part of the Port of Oakland’s Sustainability Policy, implemented in November 2000, and designed to achieve a balanced approach involving the "3 E's," environment, social equity and economics.

Oakland International Airport’s commitment to clean fuels dates back to 1999 when the Port of Oakland began purchasing alternative fuel vehicles for its own fleet. Today Oakland has stricter requirements for the use of alternative fuels than any other airport in Northern California.

"We are committed to sustainable operations and development," said Steven Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland. "The opening of the CNG station is an excellent opportunity to let fleet managers from throughout the community see the range of alternative fuel vehicles that is available today."

Natural gas vehicles produce 25 to 97 percent fewer pollutants than conventional gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles and no evaporative emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Although light-duty natural gas vehicles, such as sedans, pickups and vans cost more than gasoline-powered vehicles, subsidies are available to cover these costs. Natural gas fuel is usually less expensive than gasoline and diesel.

Speakers at the ribbon-cutting will include Oakland Vice Mayor Larry Reid; Frank Kiang, president of the Oakland Board of Port Commissioners; Jim Harger, vice president of ENRG, the company that operates the station; Scott Ruhlen, California AFV Manager of Ford Motor Company, which has an agreement with ENRG to help market alternative fuel vehicles; Roxanne Dempsey, regional coordinator of East Bay Clean Cities; and Steve McCarty, director of Pacific Gas and Electric Company

ENRG is the largest provider of vehicular natural gas and related services in North America. It serves more than 25,000 private and public fleet vehicles at more than 90 locations in California, Arizona, Vancouver and Toronto. The company was formed in June 2001 through the combination of certain assets and interests of Pickens Fuel Corp. (a private company owned by Boone Pickens), BCG eFuels, Inc. (owner by BC Gas Inc.) and Westport Innovations Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia.

Sponsors of the July 18 event are Ford Motor Company, S&C Ford of San Francisco, and East Bay Clean Cities, headquartered in Pleasant Hill. Partners in the event include the Port of Oakland, ENRG and Pacific and Electric Company.

Oakland International Airport served 11.4 million passengers and handled more than 600,000 metric tons of air cargo in 2001. Oakland International has more than 200 flights a day on 13 domestic and international carriers to 34 nonstop destinations, including the Hawaiian Islands, the New York City area, Washington, D.C., Atlanta and Mexico. The airport is a revenue division of the Port of Oakland.

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Author Notes:

Mark Harris contributes and publishes news editorial to  Find all kinds of mopeds, electric, gas and motorized scooters online plus parts and accessories.

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