O&A Masthead

Nevada Ramblings —
February 2003

Columnist — Carolyn Bishop

While electric cars are making the news in other states, Las Vegas recently dedicated an energy station billed as the first facility of its kind in the world.

The station will produce hydrogen fuel for specially equipped city vehicles. While this is the primary purpose for the station, it will also provide a fuel cell that will generate enough electricity for 30 homes.

As well as housing a five-year hydrogen fuel demonstration project designed to encourage the creation of a hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the area, it will provide researchers with the opportunity to test their technology under real-world conditions.

Carolyn Bishop Headshot

The U.S. Department of Energy and publicly traded companies Air Products and Chemicals Inc., and Plug Power Inc., paid over $10 million for the installation. The City of Las Vegas donated the land at its northwest valley transportation center.

Fifteen city vehicles will be converted to operate on the blend of hydrogen and natural gas that will be supplied at the station. The conversion will be at no cost to the city and, in return, the city will give researchers data on their experiences while using the combined fuel.

Dan Hyde, the Las Vegas fleet and transportation services manager, said that he hopes the city will end up converting all of its vehicles to run on the combination fuel. "My goal is for the entire fleet to operate on it," said Hyde. "I envision the development of future hydrogen fueling sites in Southern Nevada which will be a source of high-tech jobs. If it works, they’re going to grow with us and we’re going to grow together. If it happens, they’re going to hire Las Vegans to do it."

Street gasoline prices climbed an average of four cents per gallon in December but Las Vegas remains home to the most inexpensive fuel in the state.

The theme for the 2003 Western Petroleum Marketers Convention and Convenience Store Expo is "Celebrating 50 Years of Success." The Feb. 18-20 convention will be held at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas. The keynote speaker last year was President George Bush and this year his wife, Barbara Bush, replaces him at the podium. The awards luncheon speaker is Dan Fouts, an NFL Hall of Famer and former all-pro quarterback with the San Diego Chargers.

This year’s WPMA post-convention trip is planned for June 8-15. Join the congenial group for a seven-night Alaskan Inside Passage cruise. The Alaskan adventure will begin in Vancouver, British Columbia where the group will board the beautiful ship "Vision of the Seas" and visit Yakutat Bay, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan.

The Department of Motor Vehicles, backed by heavy fines, has begun enforcing stricter diesel emission standards. They are targeting visible pollutants produced by diesel trucks and buses.

It is estimated that 36% of the trucks and buses registered in the state of Nevada do not meet the new standards.

Hopefully, the new crackdown will cause trucking fleets to be more aware of maintenance schedules.

The fine for violating the new regulations is $800 for the first offense; subsequent violations are $1,500. Four teams of DMV technicians conduct testing and inspections at weigh stations, on the roadside, or in fleet yards.

Originally published in the February 2003 issue of the O&A News.
Copyright 2003 by KAL Publications Inc.

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