Seal Beach, CA-based Clean Energy Fuels Corp. officials see a transition by the airport industry and allied services away from diesel to natural gas as their transportation fuel of choice. That was reiterated Thursday as the Boone Pickens-bankrolled gas transportation fueling firm announced a deal with The Hertz Corp. at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Clean Energy has agreed with Hertz to build, operate and supply a compressed natural gas (CNG) fueling station on Hertz property adjacent to LAX. It will be a 24/7 public access station -- the second one serving LAX.

Hertz is expanding its fleet of buses at LAX, which are used to transport rental car customers to and from airline terminals.

"The transition by the airport industry and allied services from diesel to natural gas fuel for ground transportation is accelerating rapidly in response to the need to curtail emissions, decrease fuel costs and reduce dependence on imported oil," said Clean Energy's chief marketing officer, James Harger.

Harger said the Hertz partnership allows the construction of a "much needed" second natural gas public fueling station at LAX, which will include space to accommodate CNG taxis and shared-ride vans, along with hotel, parking and rental car buses.

Station construction is expected to begin in March, and the opening should come in the third quarter. By 2015 Hertz expects to have changed all of its buses to run on CNG.

Hertz is using the switch to CNG and the building of the public-access fueling station on its property as part of a broader corporate effort to be environmentally responsible, CEO Mark Frissora said. "Partnering with Clean Energy reinforces our mission to minimize the environmental impact from our operations."

Clean Energy operates the existing large-volume, high-traffic public access CNG station serving LAX. That facility serves light, medium and heavy-duty fleet vehicles, including rental car buses.

Harger said the CNG fueling demands at LAX are "fast-growing" and the second station at Hertz will help his firm keep up with demand.

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