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National Archives

Public Papers - 1992 - January

Remarks on the Presentation of a Natural Gas Powered Van and an Exchange With Reporters


The President. Let me just make a couple of brief statements. Last April, as part of the national energy strategy, I signed an Executive order that established goals for greater energy efficiency in the Federal Government, and that included the use of alternative fuel vehicles in the Federal fleet.

This van, driven over here and delivered by Secretaries Lujan and Watkins and then the able head of the GSA, Mr. Austin, uses compressed natural gas. And yesterday GSA announced that this year it will purchase from U.S. automakers 3,125 alternative fuel vehicles for use in the Federal fleet. This program demonstrates our continuing commitment to implementing the national energy strategy, which promotes energy conservation and environmentally sound energy initiatives.

I am also pleased to announce that in our '93 budget, fiscal '93 budget, I will include million for the Department of Energy to assist other Government Agencies in purchasing alternative fuel vehicles. This should allow us to purchase over 5,000 alternative fuel vehicles next year.

These actions will put us ahead of schedule for the purchases of alternative fuel vehicles as required by the Clean Air Act. And I was so pleased to learn about the delivery of this van over to the Department of the Interior that we used a slight Presidential prerogative and invite Secretary Lujan and Secretary Watkins and Administrator Austin to drive the van here for use in the White House fleet. So, we preempted one. But natural gas is a clean burning fuel. It's got a great future in this country, and here's but one more manifestation of that.

Q. You're going to drive it, Mr. President?

The President. What?

Q. Are you going to drive it?

The President. Yes, I've got my license. [Laughter]

Q. You haven't driven in years.

The President. It doesn't matter, I have my license. I would like you to be witness before I get in there.

Mr. Skinner. Looks good to me.

President's Health

Q. How come you can't sleep these nights?

The President. What?

Q. Jet lag?

The President. Doing fine, Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International]. Please don't worry about that.

Q. I'm really worried.

The President. You wake up at night. I'll tell you, it's crazy.

Q. We're all worried.

The President. All right, here we go.

[At this point, the President took the van for a test drive.]

Meeting With Earvin (Magic) Johnson

Q. Mr. President, was Magic Johnson critical of your performance on AIDS?

The President. What?

Q. Was Magic Johnson critical of what you've done so far?

The President. Good, constructive suggestions, but very, very constructive. We had a very positive meeting. If he was, why, he didn't tell me that. But he left me some suggestions that we'll try to work on.

Note: The exchange began at 2:35 p.m. on the South Lawn at the White House.

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