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State commission highlights alternative-fueled vehicles
A Nissan Leaf electric car sits on display Tuesday morning at Road Atlanta during the Second Annual Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow. The mission of the event is to showcase alternative-fueled vehicles and provide educational opportunities for consumers and business leaders to understand alternatives to gasoline. - photo by Lee Johnson | The Times
For the second year in a row, alternative-fueled vehicles hit Georgia’s roads to show off what some officials hope is the future of automobiles.The Georgia Public Service Commission held its Second Annual Alternative Fueled Vehicle Roadshow Tuesday morning at Road Atlanta, showcasing the vehicles and how they can be used.“It’s critical that we make this shift to alternative fuels,” said Steve Oppenheimer, task force coordinator for Clean Cities Atlanta. “It’s about energy conservation.”From a compressed natural gas powered Ford Focus to a fully electric Nissan Leaf to a propane fueled police cruiser, alternative fuel is making waves in the automobile industry.From 1995 to 2010, alternative-fueled vehicles in use in the United States climbed from about 250,000 to nearly 1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.More than half of those vehicles are powered by ethanol, or E85.“Everybody’s jumping on board,” said Carl Eunice, sales manager at Carriage Nissan in Gainesville. “In three to five years it’s going to be the norm.”Eunice showed off a fully electric car and said many customers are jumping at the chance to own one.“We’ve seen a huge response for fully electric vehicles,” Eunice said.He’s had a hard time filling orders because of the interest from not only Gainesville, but residents from surrounding areas.Those cars, he said, can run about 100 miles on one charge and drive like a normal car.“After about two or three days you forget you’re driving an electric car,” he said.But the Department of Energy estimates compressed natural gas is becoming the most consumed fuel for alternative-fueled vehicles.