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updated: 6/12/2012 5:58 AM

LaHood praises Navistar fuel efficiency efforts

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  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, checks out the latest inventory of trucks as he visits Navistar in Lisle on Monday. To his right is Ramin Younessi, group vice president of product development.

       U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, left, checks out the latest inventory of trucks as he visits Navistar in Lisle on Monday. To his right is Ramin Younessi, group vice president of product development.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Dan Ustian, left, chairman, president and CEO and Ramin Younessi, right, group vice president of product development, show U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, center, the latest inventory of trucks during his visit to Navistar in Lisle on Monday.

       Dan Ustian, left, chairman, president and CEO and Ramin Younessi, right, group vice president of product development, show U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, center, the latest inventory of trucks during his visit to Navistar in Lisle on Monday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood takes a look inside an electric van during a visit to Navistar in Lisle on Monday.

       U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood takes a look inside an electric van during a visit to Navistar in Lisle on Monday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood listens to Dennis Mooney, left, vice president of engineering, as he looks at the latest inventory of trucks during a visit to Navistar in Lisle on Monday.

       U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood listens to Dennis Mooney, left, vice president of engineering, as he looks at the latest inventory of trucks during a visit to Navistar in Lisle on Monday.
    Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 

Lisle's Navistar International Corp. put its shiniest and most fuel-efficient foot forward Monday for U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

LaHood, making his first visit to the Lisle location, praised the International brand truck maker for the strides the company has made complying with new fuel efficiency standards. He also tested the comfort of a few driver's seats during his visit.

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"I'm very proud of this company. We appreciate what they have done in terms of trying to meet higher standards for fuel efficiency. That's very important. That's a priority for the department of transportation and the EPA and for President Obama and this administration to really work on fuel efficiency," LaHood said. "Navistar is a leader in that now with the engineering that they've done."

Earlier this year, Navistar launched a natural gas product line and forged a partnership with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. that will allow fleet owners to add natural gas powered trucks.

Touring Navistar's showroom floor, LaHood took great interest in the natural gas powered models on display.

"Natural gas is in abundance right now and everyone knows there's going to be an abundance of natural gas," he said. "So obviously companies like Navistar have to take into account that it could become the fuel of choice for people, in particular if the engineering part of it makes it efficient and allows for people to be able to afford to buy these vehicles."

LaHood said trade agreements recently approved by Congress will make it easier for technology, such as the natural gas burning trucks, to make their way to the world market and expand the market.

"President (Obama) set up an export council and recognized exports are the key. It's a part of the president's vision to improve the economy through more exports," LaHood said. "Exports have enabled them to expand markets worldwide and make this the world's technology."

LaHood also toured the entire Navistar campus and gave a motivational speech to employees.

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