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Clarifying the Issue of Cleaner-Burning Trucks

June 23, 2002

Re "Cleanup Time for Ralphs," editorial, June 13:

I agree that Ralphs should do what it agreed to do as far as switching some of its trucks from diesel fuel to cleaner-burning natural gas. However, when the economic equation radically changes, business should be allowed flexibility.

"Yard goats," the smaller trucks used inside distribution centers, do not pollute to the same extent that road units do, and converting them is really a joke.

In regard to converting "older trucks with 100,000 miles": A truck is built to run 500,000 miles before touching the engine. A truck with 100,000 miles on it is new. I'm a sales representative for a fleet composed of 1998 and 1999 models; each truck has 650,000 to 750,000 miles on it. The vehicles are now due what is called an "in-frame," a procedure that is barely more than a tuneup. Your comparison of buses to trucks is like comparing trucks to trains. Buses carry a maximum payload of say 40,000 pounds while trucks carry a maximum of 80,000 pounds.

If you need information on trucking, I could set you up with extremely qualified local experts to use as references.

Rick Cleveland

Anaheim

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