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Ryder’s Green Fleet of Natural Gas Vehicles a Big Success

For Ryder, the decision to invest in a green fleet of natural gas vehicles is paying off. The company just reported that it is seeing a big increase in demand for its natural gas vehicles.  A growing number of businesses are transitioning their fleets to run on compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquefied natural gas (LNG) as alternatives to gasoline and diesel because natural gas vehicles burn less fuel and produce less emissions.

Ryder (NYSE: R), a leader in commercial transportation and supply chain management solutions, announced last week that it has  secured lease agreements for 87 heavy-duty natural gas trucks from customers looking to take advantage of the fuel cost savings and environmental benefits of alternative fuel powered vehicles. According to Ryder, natural gas is a domestic resource and it is 25 percent cleaner than the cleanest diesel. When your company commits to going Green with CNG vehicles, you demonstrate corporate and environmental responsibility and business savvy.

“Corporate and government fleets are the strongest adopters of natural gas vehicles” said Dave Hurst, senior analyst for Pike Research, which recently published a report analyzing global clean technology markets. “More and more fleet managers are attracted to the lower fuel costs of natural gas, in addition to the opportunity to reduce their vehicles’ carbon footprint.”

A large portion on the new truck order is part of the Ryder/San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) Natural Gas Vehicle project –  a joint public/private partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, San Bernardino Associated Governments, Southern California Association of Governments, and Ryder. The $38.7 million project includes a total of 202 natural gas vehicles available for lease or rent, three strategically located natural gas compliant maintenance shops in Southern California, and two fueling stations. Ryder took delivery of 70 vehicles in May and is expected to have the balance of the full 202 SANBAG natural gas vehicle order in its green fleet by the end of 2011.

Due to the leadership Ryder has established with the SANBAG project, Ryder has also been able to expand its alternative fuel program outside of California and has already secured a lease agreement with customer, Golden Eagle Distributors, for 22 natural gas vehicles in Arizona.

Robert Sanchez, president of Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder told the press, “Our lease and maintenance offering makes it easy for customers to incorporate new vehicle technologies, like natural gas, into their fleets. We are fundamentally giving private fleets an alternative to ownership — helping them implement sustainable transportation alternatives by tapping into Ryder’s investments in technology, people, safety, fueling, and maintenance and service infrastructure.”

A growing number of fleets have already made the switch to natural gas after weighing the benefits and challenges. Delivery giant United Parcel Service (NYSE: UPS), which began using natural gas vehicles (NGV) in 1989, now operates more than 1,300 CNG package delivery trucks in a dozen markets and recently announced it was adding another 48 LNG-powered tractors to its western freight fleet.  UPS also announced this month that it is adding 14 all-EVs to its London fleet, increasing the U.K. Green Fleet to 20.

DHL added 80 EVs to its green fleet in Manhattan in April.

AT&T has deployed nearly 3,000 NGVs, comprised primarily of Ford E-250 vans upfitted to CNG at time of purchase, and more recently ordered 101 CNG Chevrolet Express cargo vans direct from GM. Through 2013, the telecom company anticipates purchasing up to 8,000 NGVs as part of its commitment to deploy 15,000 alternative-fuel vehicles throughout its fleet.

In October 2010, Verizon Wireless Inc. ordered 501 new Ford E-250 CNG vans in what company officials indicate is the first phase of what will be a multi-year deployment of NGVs.