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Portland-based company commences program to loan CNG trucks to area companies

If you own or are responsible for a fleet of trucks, then there's news that you might be interested in: NW Natural has kicked off a program where the Portland-based company will loan out natural gas-powered vehicles.

The Truck Loan Program allows qualified fleet operators to test heavy-duty tractor-trailer rigs using compressed natural gas (CNG) for up to three weeks.

The program allows fleet owners to compare the performance and viability of natural gas trucks to diesel trucks with respect to power drivability, fuel range and fuel availability, while also lowering their fuel costs and the carbon impact on the environment.

"We want to give fleet owners who are considering transitioning their vehicles (to CNG) a real-life experience," Chris Kroeker, product manager for natural gas vehicles for NW Natural, said. "This is the perfect way for them to test trucks on the routes they drive every day with minimal risk and no investment."

The company, which provides natural gas service to nearly 2 million people in Oregon and southwest Washington, is partnering with a truck leasing company with "extensive natural gas vehicle experience and support throughout North America," the release said. As part of the program, customers provide feedback on the truck's performance, fuel availability and whether they would consider purchasing such a vehicle.

"Natural gas vehicles are experiencing a surge in popularity in other regions in North America and throughout the world due to their significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions, near zero point source emissions and the ability to use renewable natural gas," Kroeker said. "This trial program allows fleet managers to decide for themselves if this technology fits with their operations."

Those truck fleet operators interested in the program may call Kroeker at 503-226-4211.

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