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Natural Awakenings Dallas -Fort Worth Metroplex Edition


Fuel Efficiency Becoming the New Normal

Sep 03, 2013 05:45PM

Auto manufacturers are creating more fuel-efficient vehicles to match the demands of consumers and mass transit is on the rise in Texas.

General Motors (GM), is planning to double the number of 40 highway MPG models by 2017 by using advanced materials and technology to improve fuel economy by 18 percent. The Chevy Spark EV, Volt, Buick LaCrosse and Regal with eAssist have electric components to provide improved fuel economy. Even clean diesel technology has found its way into the Chevy Cruze, yielding more than 40 MPG.

Ford will offer a package for the 2014 Ford F-150 that can operate on either natural gas or gasoline, through separate fuel systems. The vehicle can be fitted with new fuel tanks, fuel lines, and unique fuel injectors for between $7,500 and $9,500, depending on fuel capacity. Ford plans to have eight different commercial vehicles available with this option and is on a pace to sell more than 15,000 of them.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) is converting as much as 20 percent of its for-hire truck shipping that delivers products like Tide detergent and Bounty paper products to natural gas within two years. These vehicles are estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 5,000 metric tons. P&G plans to use 100 percent renewable energy at all of its plants and also use renewable or recycled materials for packing and shipping.

DIRECTV operates 77 ROUSH CleanTech Ford E-250 propane autogas vans, with plans to increase that number over the next year. By using propane autogas, DIRECTV installers and service technicians can take advantage of the largest public refueling network of any alternative fuel in the nation. Since its propane autogas vehicle deployment in November 2011, DIRECTV has reduced gasoline consumption by 75,000 gallons and saved nearly 50 percent on a cost per gallon basis compared to gasoline.

Locally, a two-year pilot project for the city of Arlington, the third-largest city in the region, is bringing bus service to popular destinations in the city. Prior to this pilot program, it was the largest city in the nation without public transportation. The Metropolitan ArlingtonXpress (MAX) now runs from the Trinity Railway Express CentrePort Station to the University of Texas at Arlington and the city's downtown area. The Fort Worth Transportation Authority (The T) gave approval for the service and Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will operate the buses.

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