Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Smokies receives 7 hybrid vehicles thru grant

Great Smoky Mountains National Park officials announced earlier in the week that they recently took delivery of seven Ford Escape Hybrid vehicles. The vehicles were purchased using a $197,550 grant from the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Program.

The goal of the CMAQ Program is to reduce air emissions in counties where air quality is in non-attainment of EPA Clean Air Act standards. The portions of Swain and Haywood Counties that lie within Great Smoky Mountains National Park are both in non-attainment due to elevated levels of ground level ozone.

The park’s new cleaner hybrids will replace seven much more polluting vehicles, including two full-size pickups, three station wagons, and a sedan, some of which are over 20 years old, so emissions reduction are projected to be substantial. The new vehicles will be used in North Carolina Park operations ranging from Ranger patrols in the campgrounds to trail maintenance.

In 2006 the Smokies used a $33,600 state grant to convert all of their heavy equipment and large trucks to run on B-50 bio-diesel. They also received a second grant of $31,900 to purchase two emission-free electric vehicles.

With the addition of the seven new Escape Hybrids, the park now has 16 hybrid vehicles in service. You can read the full press release by clicking here.

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