Office of the Mayor-President

For release: IMMEDIATELY

Release Date: 06/21/2005


Mayor-President Melvin “Kip” Holden today announced the first purchase by East Baton Rouge Parish of five vehicles for use by the city-parish that run on compressed natural gas – or CNG – a clean air alternative fuel.

At a press conference held at the Department of Public Works Central Garage, Holden also announced that the city-parish garage had become the only garage in the parish and one of only seven in Louisiana to receive national certification.

“The Department of Public Works remains high on our list of priorities for reorganization and improvements in service,” Holden said. “Today, I am pleased to share with you these two areas which are excelling in bringing important advancements to city-parish operations.”

Four Honda Civics, rated by the EPA to be the Cleanest Car on Earth, and a three-quarter ton Chevy truck were purchased with support of the Clean Cities initiative of the Department of Energy. Baton Rouge is the only city in Louisiana that has been granted the Clean City designation, whose purpose is to reduce petroleum use and provide clean air alternatives.

Holden said the city-parish has had fueling stations to accommodate natural gas for many years and some converted vehicles in use in the past, but these vehicles are the first natural gas burning vehicles to be purchased.

In addition to the clean air aspect, the city-parish will also save approximately 65 cents per gallon on fuel costs with the current high prices of gasoline. Based on its experience with the new vehicles over the past several weeks, the Department of Public Works is planning to replace all of its sedans with CNG vehicles over the next several years as the cars currently in use wear out.

“Many of you know that clean air and water for the citizens of Baton Rouge have long been a priority of mine as a legislator,” Holden said. “I have asked the Department of Public Works to aggressively pursue grants and other options for converting our public vehicles and operations to cleaner alternatives.”

For the Central Garage to be granted the National Institute for Automotive Excellence’s Blue Seal of Excellence, 75 percent of its automotive mechanics and technicians passed written exams to become certified in various areas of specialty, and at least one technician is certified in each area of service. The garage staff will be reviewed annually to maintain their status and ensure the level of professionalism remains high.

“This is a great tribute to our city-parish garage staff and I congratulate them on their dedication to serving the citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish with the highest level of professionalism,” Holden said.