OAKLAND, CA --- The Oakland Board of Port Commissioners recently authorized the purchase of 26 new CNG-powered AirBART and rental car shuttle buses that will be deployed at Oakland International Airport (OAK) beginning in 2009, replacing older diesel-powered models.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. will provide fueling services from its CNG station located at OAK’s North Field.

Six of the new CNG buses will be assigned to AirBART service, which transports airport users between the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Coliseum/Oakland Airport Station and OAK’s terminals. The remaining 20 CNG buses will support the airport's Rental Car Center shuttle service.

"Customers will soon enjoy a more comfortable and environmentally friendly ride between Oakland International’s terminals, the airport's Rental Car Center and BART’s Coliseum station," said Steve Grossman, director of aviation for the Port of Oakland, which owns and operates the airport. "The new buses will be deployed in 2009 and will complement the improvements to the airport's roadways and terminals."

"Oakland International Airport's decision to replace diesel-powered buses with CNG models means that air pollution and greenhouse gas emission levels will continue to decrease in the airport area," said Andrew J. Littlefair, president and CEO of Clean Energy.

In addition, the replacement of 26 diesel buses with natural gas buses will result in major fuel cost savings for the airport, projected at up to $400,000 annually, based on current market prices.

"In increasing numbers, airport and public transit operators are making the switch from diesel buses to vehicles powered by natural gas fuel," Littlefair added. "Experience has shown them that natural gas buses are cleaner to operate and cheaper to use, which provides important financial support in a constrained budget environment."

Funding to purchase the 26 new CNG shuttle buses is made possible in part by a $1 increase in the AirBART regular one-way fare that took effect in March 2007, a $10 Customer Facility Charge collected on each rental car contract, and a $250,000 grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. OAK will purchase the shuttles from El Dorado National, based in Chino, Calif.

Clean Energy's public access CNG station, located on OAK’s North Field, will serve the new bus fleet. The company offers an additional station near Jack London Square, Oakland. Clean Energy has designed, built and currently operates a total of seven public-access CNG stations in the San Francisco Bay Area.

OAK’s current AirBART buses have been in constant, seven-day per week service for 10 years and have accumulated an average of 600,000 miles per vehicle, which is well beyond the expected life. The current Rental Car Center buses are nearly 27 years old. All of these buses must be retired by the end of 2009 for the port to conform to the California Air Resources Board requirements.