WASHINGTON, D.C. --- CALSTART, along with its Hybrid Truck Users Forum (HTUF), held its first "Hybrid on the Hill" event on June 12 to showcase fuel-saving hybrid technology for the nation's biggest vehicles. 

CALSTART is a member-supported organization promoting the growth of clean transportation technologies. 

The event included a showcase of 17 medium- and heavy-duty hybrids, plus a morning briefing on the status of hybrid technology. Members of Congress spoke at the morning briefing, which outlined the state of the hybrid truck industry and its benefits in reducing emissions, cutting fuel use and creating high-tech jobs. 

Duke University also unveiled a new study that finds hybrids provide the U.S. with a strategic opportunity in competitiveness, green jobs and reduced pollution. 

"Even in the midst of the economic downturn, American truck and system makers are poised for a breakthrough in producing hybrid technology, leading to reduced fuel use and emissions and creating 'green tech' jobs," said Bill Van Amburg, CALSTART senior vice president. "But to succeed, the industry needs support to help fleets purchase efficient trucks and a long-term program to grow the technology."  

Hybrid on the Hill Day featured 17 medium- and heavy-duty hybrids from five major truck makers and six driveline suppliers.  

The event's participants included Nestlé Waters North America, which displayed one of its diesel-electric hybrid delivery trucks. Since November 2008, Nestlé Waters North America's home and office division has operated four DEH delivery trucks. Eight additional hybrid trucks will be deployed by the end of the summer. 

"Our DEH trucks are one way we are trying to reduce our environmental impact, while continuing to provide healthful beverages," said Jeffrey Bush, national fleet purchasing manager for Nestlé Waters North America. In its 2008 "Corporate Citizenship" report, the company stated its goal to introduce a zero-emission delivery vehicle by 2015 and upgrade 25 percent of all its vehicles to zero-emissions by 2020. 

"It's exciting to see how hybrid vehicle technology is evolving, and our company will continue to look for ways to integrate this technology to lessen our carbon footprint," Bush added.

At Hybrid on the Hill Day, Congressmen Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD) and Charlie Dent (R- PA) also spoke in support of the industry. Marcy Lowe, a research associate at Duke's Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, presented the results of the hybrid technology study. 

"The United States is proving a global leader in this sector," Lowe said. "And with the right policies in place, U.S. firms could expand market penetration, add jobs and increase environmental benefits."  

The report, "Hybrid Drivetrains for Medium- and Heavy-Duty Trucks," indicates that more than 30 states are home to truck and component manufacturing and development in the clean truck sector, and that the growth of the industry offers solid economic opportunities for the whole nation.