Highly committed from the top down to using more natural gas in its extensive national fleet truck rental business, Ryder Systems Inc. said it will continue through July 27 a three-day free "ride-and-drive" rental of natural gas vehicles (NGV) in the Sacramento area in Northern California.

Operating out of the trucking center of West Sacramento, CA, Ryder is offering commercial transportation test drives to businesses with fleet vehicles as part of their operations. Three different versions of compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered NGVs are being offered: Freightliner Tandem Axle, Freightliner Single Axle and a GreenKraft Light Duty Straight Truck.

NGVs -- either CNG or liquefied natural gas (LNG) -- are a good fit for many of Ryder's 14,000 customers who rent or lease trucks on a scale that runs from local mom-and-pop businesses to major national, long-haul fleets, according to Ryder CEO Greg Swienton, who made that pitch in May during the final day of a major alternative clean transportation conference, otherwise known as the ACT Expo, in Long Beach, CA (see Daily GPI, May 21).

Among its products, Ryder is offering what it calls a "Flex-to-Green Lease" in which it attempts to "ease the transition" of fleet operators to an alternative fuel. Fleet operators can begin with a diesel-powered vehicle and in a year convert to an NGV, keeping the same maintenance services for either vehicle under Ryder's full-service leases.

Ryder said it was the first outsourced fleet provider to offer heavy duty NGVs for the leasing and rental market through what it touts as a "groundbreaking" NGV project with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) in Southern California.

Interested fleet operators in the free test drives can contact Ryder's West Sacramento truck rental office (916-372-7500).

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