Ryder System celebrated the grand opening of its first natural gas vehicle maintenance facility and took an initial delivery of natural gas vehicles in Southern California on Wednesday, May 4, 2011.

The new maintenance facility is located at Ryder's Rancho Dominguez commercial truck rental, leasing, and maintenance location at 1980 East University Drive in Rancho Dominguez, Calif.

The opening of the Rancho Dominguez facility marks the first facility completed under the Ryder/SANBAG Natural Gas Vehicle (NGV) project, a $38.7 million project funded as part of a joint public/private industry partnership between the U.S. Department of Energy, the California Energy Commission, and Ryder System.

Located in an industrialized region of Eastern Los Angeles County, the Rancho Dominguez facility now meets stringent industry and government safety standards for natural gas maintenance including upgrades of electrical, lighting, air handling and ventilation systems.

When fully implemented, the Ryder/SANBAG project will include two natural gas fuelling stations and three maintenance facilities - the one at Rancho Dominguez and two additional Ryder locations in the City of Orange in Orange County and Fontana in San Bernardino County.

As part of the Ryder/SANBAG project, Ryder will deploy a total of 202 heavy-duty natural gas vehicles in the region. The vehicles include 182 Freightliner M2-112 tractors featuring the Cummins ISL-G engine, in both single-axle and tandem-axel day cab configurations, as well as a mix of other natural gas truck platforms. At completion, the Ryder/SANBAG project will displace more than 1.5 million gallons of diesel annually with 100 percent domestically produced low-carbon natural gas.

"The completion of Rancho Dominguez as a natural gas-compliant maintenance facility is a critical milestone demonstrating Ryder's commitment to alternative fuel vehicle use," stated Robert Sanchez, President, Global Fleet Management Solutions for Ryder. "We are excited that Ryder customers will now be able to start taking advantage of this cost-effective and clean alternative energy source."