Southern California Gas Co. to demonstrate nation's first clean-fuel drayage trucks at Southern California ports

Media Contact:
Denise King

Southern California Gas Co.

(877) 866-2066


       LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28, 2008 – To improve regional air quality, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) today announced a collaborative demonstration effort with California Cartage Co. (Cal Cartage) and Autocar to develop and put into service the nation’s first clean-burning compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks used to transport containers off-loaded from ships.   Five trucks will be delivered in June 2008 and used to move containers between the San Pedro Bay ports, which include the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, to nearby freight-consolidation yards.

        The new truck engines are certified to meet the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (U. S. EPA) stringent 2010 on-road emission standards.  The heavy-duty trucks are the first in the nation in commercial port drayage service.

        “This project demonstrates the important role natural gas can have in reducing air emissions and greenhouse gases, while improving the quality of life for residents living near Southern California ports,” said Hal Snyder, vice president of customer programs at The Gas Company. 

        Approximately two-thirds of the 17 million containers coming into the San Pedro Bay ports are moved by truck within 25 miles of the docks.  Snyder said the new CNG-powered trucks can handle the majority of the port-drayage hauling.

        Cal Cartage, the largest trucking company operating at the Los Angeles and Long Beach ports, will operate the CNG-powered trucks, which are manufactured by Autocar and are powered by Cummins Westport ISLG engines.

        “We are proud to be a partner in this important clean-air project that will help the ports to achieve their goals to ‘grow green,’ ” said Robert Curry, president of Cal Cartage.

        The new drayage trucks will produce emissions of nitrogen oxides 80 percent lower than both the certification level for even the cleanest heavy-duty diesel engine, performing better than the stringent emission requirements of both the San Pedro Bay Ports Clean Air Action Plan and the California Air Resources Board.  As a low carbon fuel choice, the use of CNG in these trucks also will help California achieve its goals under its Low Carbon Fuel Standard and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by approximately 20 percent, as compared with new diesel trucks.

        Following the initial 12- to 18-month demonstration project, The Gas Company hopes to then further reduce emissions from the CNG drayage trucks by switching the fuel from CNG to a CNG/hydrogen blend.  This CNG/hydrogen fuel blend is widely regarded as an important gateway to a hydrogen future for the transportation sector, because the fuel has been proven to reduce nitrogen-oxides emissions from natural gas engines by an additional 30 to 50 percent.

        Autocar is an industry leader in the manufacture of natural gas-powered trucks for the refuse and other industries.  Many of its natural gas vehicles designed and built at its Hagerstown, Ind., factory are now operating throughout Southern California.

        "Autocar is excited about participating in this collaborative demonstration and the overall alternative fuel truck opportunities now being presented in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, and looks forward to supplying and supporting many of these ultra-clean natural gas drayage and other trucks in the San Pedro Bay ports,” said Eric Schwartz, vice president of Autocar.

       Southern California Gas Co. has been delivering clean, safe and reliable natural gas to its customers for more than 140 years.  It is the nation’s largest natural gas distribution utility, providing safe and reliable energy to 20.3 million consumers through 5.7 million meters in more than 500 communities.  The company’s service territory encompasses approximately 20,000 square miles in diverse terrain throughout central and Southern California, from Visalia to the Mexican border.  The Gas Company is a regulated subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE).   Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company.