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Alternative vehicles fuel transport options at Yuba College
With high gas prices on the minds of many Yuba-Sutter residents, the timing was pretty close to ideal for Yuba College to display alternative-fuel vehicles Tuesday on the Linda campus.
The hoods were up on both hybrids and electric cars available on the mass market, with organizers of the third Alternative Fuel Vehicle Day Odyssey saying they're seeing young people become more interested in such rides.
Don Schumacher, an autobody instructor at the college, said a group of high school students on campus earlier in the day quickly congregated around a Chevrolet Volt electric car, with five or six particularly interested in the guts to make it go.
"They're adapting to it," he said specifically of his students, who are learning auto repair when most experts believe hybrids, electric cars and the like are going to become more popular in coming years. "They understand this is the future."
Yuba College has a specific designation as a center for training on repairs for alternative-fuel vehicles, and Schumacher's department has three of them for hands-on instruction, including a truck using flex fuels.
Though representatives from local dealers were on hand to answer questions, automotive department head Mike Morse said the event was more of a technical demonstration than sales opportunity.
"I think we're driving to this, but I don't know if consumers are quite ready to all embrace it," he said.
The limited range for electric cars, in particular, makes them a question mark for longer-distance commuters. And prices might scare them off, too.
But with few expecting gas prices to drop any sizable amount in the near future, the Day Odyssey, which first began nationally in 2002, shows drivers another option, he said.
Sabrina Dunkl, 19, took her time in perusing the displayed cars, using her cell phone to snap a picture of one hybrid's engine.
"They showed me there was styrofoam in one area, which I found very interesting," said Dunkl of Yuba City, who said she was thinking about a new car for both economic and environmental reasons.
"I'm not sure about electric cars," she said. "I wouldn't want to charge it if I had to go on a long trip. Mostly, I want to use less gas."
The method of propulsion wasn't the only environmentally conscious feature on display. Schumacher said the bright colors on vintage-era Shelby Cobra and Chevrolet Camaro came from an environmentally friendly waterborne paint his department uses.
"It shows them it's not just about the new cars," he said.
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.