The 99 Cents Only Stores has signed a full-service lease for 40 compressed natural gas (CNG) tractors from Ryder System. The trucks will be provided under Ryder’s natural gas vehicle project with the San Bernardino Associated Governments (SANBAG) in Southern California.

Ryder said the vehicles, which represent the single largest CNG lease agreement to date, will replace the majority of the retail chain’s delivery fleet.

“With the support from SANBAG to help offset some of the acquisition costs, we’ll be able to take advantage of natural gas as a fuel source, which is a less expensive, cleaner, and less volatile fuel than diesel,” said Eric Schiffer, CEO of 99 Cents Only Stores. “Not only will this allow us to have a quieter, cleaner-burning, and more neighborhood friendly fleet, it will also help us improve the efficiency of our transportation operations, which is an important part of our strategy to continue providing our customers with great value.”

99 Cents Only Stores has already taken delivery of 31 CNG vehicles and will place the remaining vehicles into service over the next several months.  The 40 CNG units will operate throughout the Greater Los Angeles area, carrying out store deliveries and vendor pickups, and will be serviced at a local Ryder facility.

Under the full service lease agreement, Ryder will provide ongoing maintenance for all 40 vehicles.

“We chose Ryder for a number of key reasons, none more important than our confidence in their capabilities to provide maintenance for the new CNG engine platform and their commitment to service, which is particularly critical when dealing with new technology,” said Jim Parros, senior vice president of logistics for 99 Cents Only Stores.