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SoCalGas to fund conversions from diesel to natural gas trucks

Southern California Gas Co. is offering up resources to help fleet owners replace 400 diesel trucks with natural gas vehicles, the gas utility company announced March 28.

The vehicle replacements would fall under a program known as Prop 1B, administered by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. Fleet-owning SoCalGas customers submitted more than 150 applications to the district's solicitation for gas-fueled trucks, the company said. A fleet can be eligible for as much as $100,000 toward the purchase of a new natural gas truck.

More than 225 applications came into the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and San Diego Air Pollution Control District from SoCalGas customers, which would far exceed the available $14 million in incentive funding.

"Our clean transportation team has spent years cultivating relationships with fleet owners and truck drivers," Yuri Freedman, senior director of business development at SoCalGas, said in a statement. "We are pleased to do our part to help bring more near-zero, heavy-duty trucks to California's transportation sector."

The purpose of the program is to reduce vehicle emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from natural gas trucks are roughly 90% lower than heavy-duty diesel trucks, SoCalGas said. Replacing 400 diesel trucks with natural gas trucks is the equivalent of taking more than 22,000 passenger cars off the road, the utility said.

SoCalGas is owned by Sempra Energy.