Southern California Gas Co. is accepting applications through the end of the year in a program to provide free short-term rentals of compressed natural gas trucks to qualified customers interested in exploring the alternative fuel.

"We're hearing from many customers who are interested in taking advantage of the economic and environmental benefits of natural gas, but are hesitant to change to an unfamiliar technology," said Rodger Schwecke, vice president of customer solutions for SoCalGas. "Our Truck Rental Program gives customers the opportunity to experience how the latest natural gas trucks provide tremendous benefits with similar performance to diesel trucks."

SoCalGas is now accepting applications from Southern California-based customers with trucks that operate at least 60,000 miles annually, consuming at least 10,000 gallons of diesel per year.

The cost of fueling the trucks is also included in the program. Participants will be given a payment card that will be accepted at most public CNG fueling stations, including the more than 125 stations located across Southern California. The rental of up to two weeks, pending availability, will be administered through Ryder, whose natural gas fleet has logged over 40 million miles since 2011. Four different models of trucks are available, depending on the applicants' needs.

At SoCalGas' CNG pumps, prices this month are averaging $2.25 per gallon. By comparison, diesel prices in California are hovering around $2.80 per gallon this month, according to the U.S. Energy Information Association.

The program, part of SoCalGas' ongoing effort to expand the adoption of natural gas and alternative fuels for heavy-duty trucking, is on a first come, first served basis. For more details and to learn how to apply, visit and search for "NGV."

Originally posted on Trucking Info