Hertz Rent a Car Launches US CNG Pilot Program

The Hertz Corporation has just begun in the Oklahoma City region what’s hoped to be the first of more pilot programs for renting compressed natural gas powered vehicles in the U.S.

The initially modest number of eight CNG Honda Civics and two CNG GMC Yukons will be available from Will Rogers World Airport. This latest step adds to a CNG on demand program at Oklahoma State University, and is actually an expansion for CNG from rental fleets in Italy and the United Kingdom.

Why Oklahoma and not some place like Southern California? Infrastructure, and the fact that several top CNG producers are located in the state.

The first Hertz rental vehicles will thus be able to access as many as 70 natural gas refueling locations in Oklahoma, either already in existence or earmarked for construction.

Compressed natural gas has long been popular among vehicle fleet companies for a variety of commercial applications. Whether it’s running taxicabs, delivery vans or pickup trucks, its adaptability to existing vehicles often makes it a logical choice. What is more, its price is typically half that of gasoline, and – like electricity – it’s energy produced in the U.S.

However, outside of fleet use, CNG hasn’t really caught on for consumer vehicles in great numbers – yet. But now coming one step closer to populating roadways with CNG cars, even rental car companies are starting to use it.

In this case Hertz’s program will be carried out by the Donlen corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hertz, and it’s not surprising Hertz would be involved in such an experiment.

The company has alternately offered muscle cars in the 60s, presently it has begun a “Green Collection” of hybrids and electric rental vehicles, and Hertz is branching into car sharing as well.

We keep hearing about companies positioning themselves not just in the hybrid and electric arena, but also to take advantage of America’s natural gas reserves.

Hertz did not say where its next CNG rental location might be, but Aubrey K. McClendon, chief executive officer for natural gas supplier Chesapeake Energy Corporation indicated this maybe only a first step toward many more.

“We hope the success of Hertz’s program in Oklahoma City leads to adoption of this program nationwide,” he said.

Hertz via Green Car Congress

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  • Max Reid

    There are more than 15 million CNG powered vehicles in the World today. A fast CNG compressor should cost only around 100 K.

    It can be installed every 100 miles in the first phase and then every 50 miles in the second phase and finally every 10 miles.

    Natgas sells at a very low price because of the plenty of shale gas.

    But automakers should also cut the price of CNG models. In Brazil, a tri-fuel vehicle (Gasoline, Ethanol, CNG) costs only $1,000 more than regular vehicle. There is no reason why a CNG Civic should cost $8K more than regular Civic.

  • Jim_Donahue

    Right now in New England CNG station prices are in the $2.50 t0 $2.80 range Considering where futures prices are right now those prices are blatant rip offs.

    One consideration is that there is no fuel tax as their is with gasoline. That would add about 50 cents per gallon equivalent. It won’t take politicians long to grasp the need to tax this fuel the same way as tax revenue falls with cng adoption. A good edict right now would be to declare cng free from taxes as internet sales are.

    However even if the prices were equalized the huge advantage is with the fuel basically being 100% domestic. That would cripple oil producing economies and dramatically lower our trade deficit. The lower prices are just icing on the cake.

  • James Davis

    An even better local alternative than CNG and get us away from foreign fossil fuel even faster, which CNG is not practical at all because it is a fossil fuel with a short lived life span that destroys our land, water and air when it is extracted and because as soon as they get you hooked on it, the price is going to skyrocket just like gasoline, is an all electric vehicle that uses solar power to charge the battery. Instead of installing those expensive CNG pumps that need replenished by long distance hauling of the fossil fuel every other day or so, install solar parks the same distance you want the CNG tanks installed. You never have to replenish the fuel on solar and the parks will pay for themselves in a very short period of time and the rest is icing on the cake, or pure profit.

  • Max Reid

    To reduce our Oil Addiction and save the American and World economy from the $120/barrel oil, we have to work on all fronts.
    Electric, CNG/LNG, Biofuels, LPG, etc

    From CNG, we can also move to Hythane (which is combination of Hydrogen and Methane). Pipelines are everywhere and installing a compressor will do.

    In Europe, EV makers are selling their EVs at the same price as a similar gasoline car, but they are charging around Euro 50-80 / month which is same as what a person pays in the gas station / month.

    So either you buy an EV with battery as yours or rent it and pay to automaker instead of OPEC. Same concept can be applied to CNG vehicles as well.

  • PA Natural Gas Companies

    That sounds like a great program! Consumers will probably like it too since the cars will cost less to fill up. Hopefully they keep up with the program and let it go nationwide in the future!