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Top 50 Green Fleets of 2014

HDT honors the industry leaders in sustainability, which show the path to being green is different for every fleet.

November 2014, TruckingInfo.com - Cover Story

by Deborah Lockridge, Editor-in-Chief - Also by this author

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Diesel and gasoline prices have stabilized and even fallen, but that’s not stopping the nation’s forward-looking fleets from doing everything they can to save on fuel and improve their sustainability efforts.
After all, fuel is still one of the largest expenses a fleet has, and the sustainability image appeals to shippers, customers and the general public.

For some fleets, that means alternative fuels. For others, it means striving for that 10-mpg goal for a Class 8 truck. At other fleets, it’s all about right-sizing the fleet and vehicles and route optimization, or hauling more freight in the same number of trailers.

We asked fleets, through e-mails, posts on social media, stories on Truckinginfo.com and in our daily Headline News e-newsletter, to fill out a short online survey about their vehicles, alternative fuels and other green initiatives. We also considered other fleets that were clearly leaders in the field. All had to operate at least some heavy-duty trucks, but many have large numbers of medium- and even light-duty vehicles as well.

We wanted to highlight fleets that are ahead of the curve in their sustainability efforts, and we gave extra attention to activities in the past year. We did not include leasing fleets, but want to note that leasing companies such as Ryder and PacLease have been instrumental in helping many fleets make the move into alternative fuels and develop the most fuel-efficient specs.

Our goal was to incorporate a wide variety of sizes, types and vocations of fleets, as well as a broad spectrum of “green” strategies. Sizes range from the for-hire mega-fleet Schneider down to the 45-truck private fleet Performance Transportation LLC. Green facilities also played into the results this year, with recycling programs, energy-efficient lighting, solar panels and more.

HDT honored many of this year’s winners in a ceremony during the Green Fleet Conference last month in Schaumburg, Ill.

In alphabetical order, here are HDT’s Top 50 Green Fleets for 2014.

AmeriPride Services

Minnetonka, Minn.

Private fleet

With a 2,000-plus fleet with vehicles of all sizes covering the U.S. and Canada, the textile rental company says there’s no single alternative fuel that fits all situations. It has tested CNG, propane, hybrid electric, biodiesel, hydraulic hybrid and pure electric vehicles and will be buying all of the tested technologies over the next three to five years. Idle reduction programming for diesel vehicles newer than 2008 and idle control devices for gasoline-powered step vans newer than 2011 have saved more than $2 million in excess idling over the past three years. Trailer skirting has been added to all trailers that travel over 50 miles per trip, and double-decker trailers increase shuttle payloads by 60%.

Anheuser-Busch

St. Louis, Mo.

Private fleet

Anheuser-Busch last year laid out a five-year path to sustainability, and its private fleet, which has more than 600 vehicles, is part of that plan. By 2017, its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in logistics operations globally by 15% per hectoliter from a 2013 baseline. It’s collaborating with partners to share fleets in the U.S. and Brazil to reduce empty mileage on return trips and take advantage of complementary supply chains and customer footprints. The company also recently announced a partnership with Ryder and J.B. Hunt transport to replace its 66-tractor diesel fleet in Houston with CNG-powered vehicles. The vehicles are expected to be deployed starting this month, and the fleet will be fully operational next year.

Carbon Express

Wharton, N.J.

For-hire carrier

Last month, this 50-truck liquid tank truck company received an award from the New Jersey Business and Industry Association for Environmental Excellence. Lightweight specs, including running daycabs even over the road, allows Carbon Express to haul 5,000 to 7,000 more pounds of product than the competition, which means fewer truckloads being shipped but customers receiving the same amount of product. It also means no fuel wasted idling overnight. In 2013, Carbon started buying Volvo trucks with a 6x2 axle configuration to further reduce weight and increase fuel mileage. Some liquid bulk tank trailers have lift axles that automatically lift when the tank is empty, for a 1.5- to 2-mpg savings.

Cargo Transporters

Claremont, N.C.

For-hire carrier

This 500-truck fleet has equipped all Class 8 vehicles with battery-powered cab HVAC. The main terminal has 22 electrified truck parking spots to allow HVAC and trucks to use shore power. All equipment orders for the past three years have included wide base single tires, aerodynamic tank fairings and automated transmissions on the tractors; trailers have wide base tires, side skirts and tire inflation systems. In the works are solar-powered compaction recycle/gen waste cans in terminal parking lots, conversion to electric hand dryers, conversion of facility lighting to LEDs, use of occupancy sensors for lighting, and installation of two automobile EV charging stations.

Central Freight Lines

Waco, Texas

For-hire carrier

Central Freight Lines has been working with Clean Energy Fuels, EVO Trillium and Questar to build natural gas fueling facilities for both its own fleet of 114 heavy-duty- CNG trucks as well as public fueling facilities. The less-than-truckload fleet (which has more than 1,600 tractors in its total fleet) has more CNG tractors on order, and it bought 400 Hyundai Translead 28-foot pups with side skirts. It also added propane-powered forklifts to its service centers to reduce emissions.

City of Columbus

Columbus, Ohio

Government/utility fleet

The city fleet has more than 900 heavy, light and medium-duty vehicles. Columbus’ Green Fleet Action Plan is designed to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and save taxpayers close to $2 million per year by 2020. The City expects to be displacing over 1.1 million gallons of diesel annually by 2020. It’s doing this primarily through CNG, along with biodiesel use. The goal is for 80% of each budget year to go to “green” purchases. Columbus exceeded this goal in 2013, and as of early August this year, 29 out of the 32 purchased have been green and 25 have been CNG. The city recently opened one of the largest CNG public access stations in the Midwest.

City of Santa Ana

Santa Ana, Calif.

Government/utility fleet

A five-year Green Fleet Strategic Plan was launched last year by the fleet department, aiming to create a fleet that is 75 to 80% alternative energy sources. In the past two years, the more than $1.5 million in grant funding has helped the fleet buy heavy-duty propane and CNG trucks and diesel emissions control systems. Using grant funding, the City Yard was able to install fueling facilities for hydrogen and CNG vehicles. Since 2010, the fleet has been streamlined and cut from 950 vehicles to 651. A strict engine-idling policy has saved $400,000 and significantly cut emissions, and a Green Model Shop is working towards a paperless, zero-waste operation.

Convenience Transportation/Kwik Trip

LaCrosse, Wis.

Private fleet

Convenience Transportation hasn’t bought a diesel-powered heavy truck since 2012, when it took delivery of its first natural gas truck. With bulk petroleum and refrigerated operations, it’s the private fleet for convenience store chain Kwik Trip, which sells E-85 and biodiesel at many locations and in 2012 opened an alternative fuels station offering those plus natural gas, propane and electric vehicle charging stations. Kwik Trip has committed to developing a functional natural gas infrastructure throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The goal is to convert its entire fleet to natural gas, and by the end of this year it will be halfway there, with 69 CNG and 13 LNG Class 7 and 8 trucks, and it’s working to secure a natural-gas-powered refrigeration alternative.

Con-Way Truckload

Joplin, Mo.

For-hire carrier

The average age of this 2,500-truck fleet is only 2.1 years. Nearly 70% of trailers have an aerodynamic device, including CARB-compliant trailer undercarriage systems. More than 50% of the fleet is now using a 6x2 configuration, which saves 3/10 mpg. This year it added 550 trucks with automated manual transmissions. Other strategies include wide-base single tires, governing trucks at 65 mph, and the recent introduction of FuelOpps by PropelIT, a driver fuel behavior program. It has piloted the Idle Air system at its Laredo, Texas, facility, and is testing double stack trailers, which use built-in rack systems that may increase the useable space inside a trailer by as much as 100%.

C.R. England

Salt Lake City

For-hire carrier

With 4,300 trucks, C.R. England takes a multifaceted approach to sustainability and is continually looking for ways to increase efficiency. For instance, its newest reefer units use 15% less fuel. In the past year, the fleet has implemented wheel covers on tractors and trailers, TrailerTails on trailers, IdleAir idle reduction facilities, etc. TempStack 53-foot temperature-controlled intermodal containers double-stack on the rail for greater fleet efficiency. Together with industry-leading drayage trucks, they are 60% more fuel-efficient than over-the-road trailers, says the company. It’s increasing its use of LNG and CNG tractors in dedicated fleets from its current 15 LNG and 2 CNG and held a Natural Gas Symposium this year for shippers, manufacturers and carriers .

Dillon Transport

Burr Ridge, Ill.

For-hire carrier

Dillon, a liquid and dry bulk carrier operating primarily east of the Rockies, has 200 heavy-duty trucks now running on CNG and expects to continue converting the rest of its 500-truck fleet as it buys new equipment. It already has a CNG fueling station operated by Clean Energy Fuels at its terminal in Dallas, and last month, Clean Energy announced a multi-year fueling agreement to supply approximately 2.5 million additional DGEs of CNG to Dillon a year, with new public stations expected to be open in Houston and Midland, Texas, and West Atlanta, Ga., by the end of the year.

Comments

  1. 1. Albert Roffey [ November 23, 2014 @ 02:23PM ]

    I notice that less than 20% of these fleets have speed limiters set at 65 mph or less.

    I submit that using speed limiters set at 65 mph or less gives immediate fuel and maintenance savings at essentially no cost.

  2. 2. Deborah Lockridge, Editor [ December 04, 2014 @ 08:07AM ]

    Albert, due to space considerations we weren't able to list every strategy every fleet is using. Most of these fleets DO have speed limiters.

  3. 3. Jeff Resch [ March 11, 2015 @ 05:30PM ]

    Dart has 107 CNG tractors, light weight aluminum trailers, payloads as much as 53k. I'd settle for 51/50.

 

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