SoCalGas debuts ‘try before you buy’ program for natgas trucks

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Southern California Gas Co., on Wednesday launched a “try before you buy” program that gives qualified fleet owners an opportunity to try out the latest in heavy-duty natural gas truck technology by hauling loads with a 12-liter near-zero emissions truck for up to two weeks.

As part of the rental program – a partnership between SoCalGas and Rush Truck Centers – customers will participate in a pre- and post-rental survey of their natural gas vehicle driving experience including rating truck performance, fueling availability, grants and incentives and purchase decision.

“More fleet owners have switched to natural gas trucks over the last few years, due in part to available incentive funding,” says Sharon Tomkins, vice president of customer solutions and strategy for SoCalGas.  “However, some are unfamiliar with the technology and are hesitant to make the switch.  The SoCalGas Truck Loan Program is the perfect way to put natural gas trucks to the test on routes driven every day.”

Southern Counties Express was one of the first participants in the Truck Loan Program and company president Gordy Reimer says drivers were able to successfully test the Cummins Westport ISX12N engine on lanes they current operate their own trucks on.

This loan program is just one tool SoCalGas is using to get more drivers behind the wheel of the cleanest heavy-duty truck commercially available. SoCalGas account executives have assisted dozens of fleet owners with incentive funding applications to purchase more than 350 near-zero natural gas trucks and build five new CNG fueling stations since the beginning of the year. Replacing 350 diesel trucks with near-zero natural gas trucks is the equivalent of taking more than 20,000 passenger cars off the road.

For more information on the Truck Loan Program or to inquire about upcoming funding programs, contact Wendell Peoples at [email protected].

Jason Cannon has written about trucking and transportation for more than a decade and serves as Chief Editor of Commercial Carrier Journal. A Class A CDL holder, Jason is a graduate of the Porsche Sport Driving School, an honorary Duckmaster at The Peabody in Memphis, Tennessee, and a purple belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu. Reach him at [email protected]