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Spark Plug Answers President Bush's Call for Better SUV Fuel Economy

APOPKA, Fla., Dec. 18, 2002; A novel spark plug could be all that is needed for sport utility vehicles (SUV) to meet President Bush's challenge to improve fuel economy.

Combustion Technology Products Corp. (CTPC), with technical assistance from Sandia National Laboratories, has developed a sophisticated spark plug called DirectHits® that increases the power of the spark by 10,000 times. The vastly improved spark (as compared to conventional plugs) burns fuel faster and more completely resulting in an average of 18% improvement in SUV fuel economy or nearly 3 miles per gallon.

According to CTPC's president Louis S. Camilli, "Not only can DirectHits be used effectively on new vehicles, but it can easily be retrofitted to all existing SUVs, dramatically improving economy of this fuel-thirsty class of vehicles."

The fuel efficiency standard for light trucks -- a vehicle class that includes sport utility vehicles, pickups and vans -- has been set at 20.7 mpg since 1996. Under a proposal drafted by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and supported by President Bush, light truck fuel efficiency standards would increase to 21 mpg by the 2005 model year, 21.6 by 2006 and 22.2 by 2007 representing a 7% increase in fuel economy at the end of the 5 year period.

Spokesmen for the automakers say a 1.5 mpg increase is a "daunting" challenge for them and that it would increase costs to the consumers. Environmentalists on the other hand, point out that overall fuel economy has actually retreated in recent years, largely due to the growing popularity of SUVs.

Tests conducted on SUVs with DirectHits installed suggest that automakers, environmentalists and the consuming public could all benefit from this new technology. Several SUVs representing different manufacturers, models and years were retrofitted with DirectHits. The fuel economy improvements were impressive ranging from 11% to 32% or 1.8 - 5.6 miles per gallon.

                               Summary Results

    Year     Make             Model          Engine         %         MPG
    2002     Ford           Expedition        5.4L         12%        2.0
    2002     Chevrolet      Suburban          8.1L         28%        3.1
    2002     Chevrolet      Avalanche         5.3L         20%          3
    1999     Jeep           Wrangler          4.0L         32%        5.6
    1999     Honda          CRV               2.0L         13%        3.2
    1998     Ford           F150              4.6L         18%          2
    1998     Chevrolet      Silverado         5.3L         13%        2.1
    1998     Jeep           Grand Wagoneer    5.2L         10%        1.8
    1997     Chevrolet      Yukon             5.7L         20%        2.9
    1997     Ford           F250 4X4          5.4L         22%        2.4
    1996     Chevrolet      S10               2.2L         17%          4
    1995     Jeep           Grand Cherokee    5.2L         11%        1.8
    1993     Chevrolet      Suburban          5.7L         17%        3.1
    1993     Jeep           GrandWagoneer     5.2L         10%          2
    1989     Jeep           Cherokee          4.0L         25%          4
    1989     Nissan         Pathfinder        3.0L         18%        3.1
    1986     Ford           Ranger            2.9L         25%          3

"What this means," said Mr. Camilli, "is that for the price of 3 tanks of gasoline, every SUV and light duty truck in the U.S., whether new or used, can immediately improve fuel economy beyond the new standards (7%) proposed by the USDOT. The payback to the consumer is almost immediate, the cost to the automakers is negligible and because all SUVs can be fitted with the technology now, reduction in greenhouse gases can begin within months instead of the years it will take waiting for the newer, more fuel efficient SUVs to work their way into the fleet."

DirectHits' durability has already been tested to 100,000 miles and it meets California Air Resources Board's (CARB) on-board diagnostics (OBD) II standards.

Combustion Technology Products Corporation is a privately held company specializing in ultra high power electromagnetics used for automotive emissions, air and food sterilization and specialty devices.