Dallas, Texas – U.S. communications company AT&T has announced it plans to invest up to US$565 million to deploy more than 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles over the next ten years.

The expenditure is expected to include $350 million for about 8,000 compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles, and $215 million to begin replacing its passenger cars with 7,100 alternative-fuel models. The investment represents the largest U.S. corporate commitment to CNG vehicles to date, and will bring the company’s alternative-fuel fleet to more than 15,000 vehicles by 2019.

“AT&T and other U.S. corporations have a unique opportunity to partner with the new administration as it works to lead the country out of this economic downturn,” said chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “While there are no easy solutions to the challenges facing our nation, this investment is a first step on our part to help boost other industries, while at the same time encouraging wider use and production of efficient vehicles and domestic fuel alternatives.”

It is estimated that the new vehicles will save 49 million gallons of gasoline and reduce carbon emissions by 211,000 metric tonnes over the ten-year deployment period, the equivalent of removing the emissions from more than 38,600 traditional passenger vehicles for a year.

The vehicle chassis will be built domestically by a U.S. automotive manufacturer and then converted by domestic suppliers to run on CNG. The vehicle chassis will be built domestically by a U.S. automotive manufacturer. AT&T will also work with natural gas service providers to build up to 40 new CNG refuelling stations across its operating region to provide the infrastructure required to fuel the vehicles.

The company will replace gasoline-powered passenger vehicles in its fleet, used by employees for a variety of diverse work functions, as they are retired. During the initial phase of the deployment, they will be replaced with hybrid models; as technologies evolve, additional alternative-fuel vehicle types will be considered for inclusion.

In 2009, the company will deploy nearly 800 of the CNG and hybrid-electric vehicles.

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