LAS VEGAS — The Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute’s (AFVI) 2010 conference and expo was held here last week, and the institute presented several awards to recognize use and advocacy of alternative-fueled vehicles or advanced technologies in their industries.

Among the honorees was Ralph Knight, transportation director at Napa (Calif.) Valley Unified School District (USD), who received the Magic School Bus Award.

Knight is a "one-man tour de force" as he advocates for clean transportation for schoolchildren, the AFVI said.

Knight’s enthusiasm for alternative fuels was ignited in 1997 when he got an electric school bus. In the years since then, he has replaced all of Napa Valley USD’s diesel-powered buses. His operation was also the first in the nation to receive a Type A hybrid-electric school bus from Collins Bus Corp., as SBF reported last year. 

“As always, AFVI had an action-packed conference. They really bring the ‘who’s who’ to talk with us about alternative fuels,” Knight told SBF on Monday. “T. Boone Pickens was there for a town hall meeting about the Pickens Plan on natural gas.”

Moreover, Knight said that he had an opportunity to see and drive many new vehicles that are going to arrive on the market in the near future.

“GM is talking to us about placing a Chevy Volt in our white fleet operation. They feel Napa Valley would be a great place for the Volt to hit the streets in school transportation,” he added.

For more information on the AFVI, visit

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