As part of it $100 million annual alternative transportation fuels program, the California Energy Commission (CEC) approved another $582,000 for the development of two compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling facilities and for subsidizing a local vehicle dealer's purchase of alternative fuel vehicles.

It is part of a state legislative-mandated program (see Daily GPI, Aug. 27, 2009) to "put clean cars on the road" and help spread the use of alternative fuels to move away from gasoline and diesel in the transportation sector, the CEC said.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas), is one of the recipients of the state awards under the CEC's Alternative and Renewable Fuel Vehicle Technology Program. SoCalGas is slated to get $216,000 for the design, construction and operation of a CNG fueling facility in Lancaster, CA, about 40 miles north of downtown Los Angeles. The station is supposed to be open 24/7 to the general public and to fuel the utility's 37 CNG vehicles operated in the area. SoCalGas will invest $650,000 in the project.

Another $300,000 is slated to go to recycling and waste collection company CR&R Inc. in the Inland Empire, 60 miles east of Los Angeles. While contributing more than $800,000 to the project, CR&R intends to build and operate a slow-fill CNG fueling station at its material recovery and transfer facility in Perris, CA, in Riverside County.

CR&R's facility will serve 25 CNG vehicles, including solid waste disposal trucks and street sweepers and will serve an additional 100 diesel fleet vehicles that are slated to be converted to run on CNG by 2020.

The rest of the funds approved by the CEC Wednesday, $66,000, will go to Galpin Motors Inc., an auto dealer in the North Hills section of Los Angeles County, helping the dealer buy-down the cost of purchasing 11 propane gas vehicles in the 8,501- to 14,000-pound vehicle weight category. The payments help to pay the difference between the cost of conventional gasoline or diesel vehicles and new CNG vehicles, CEC said.

CEC Commissioner Carla Peterman said the "investments will reduce air pollution, create jobs and support the development of clean transportation."

The alternative fuel grants program was created by the state legislature (AB 118) in 2007 and provides approximately $100 million annually. Three years ago California set the goal of spending up to $100 million in the 2010-2011 fiscal year under AB 118's mandate to help reduce gasoline-fueled transportation in favor of renewables and alternatives such as natural gas-fueled transportation.

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