01/31/2000 - CARB Proposal Could Spur Use of Fuel-Cell Buses

Los Angeles - The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is proposing that transit-bus operators willing to add demonstration fuel-cell buses to their fleets in 2003 be given extended deadlines for replacing diesel buses with cleaner models, reports the Associated Press. They could still buy diesel buses, but by 2008, 15 percent of their new buses must be ''zero-emission'' models powered by batteries, electricity or fuel cells. Those not taking the fuel-cell-bus option would be required to buy natural gas-powered models for at least 85 percent of their bus purchases, staring immediately. Also, all transit fleets would be required to begin using lower-sulfur diesel fuel, which costs about 5 to 6 cents more per gallon. For the few diesel buses transit agencies would be allowed to buy, CARB wants limits on the pollution they could emit. It also wants requirements for transit fleets to retrofit all their buses to reduce particulate emissions, a carcinogenic substance. A vote on the proposal is expected Feb. 3.