Kroger will be the first in Oregon to deploy a fleet of heavy-duty trucks that run on liquified natural gas. The 40 LNG trucks will replace 40 diesel trucks currently in use, and are expected to start making store deliveries in the Portland metropolitan area by the end of 2014.
The use of natural gas fuel not only reduces operating costs for vehicles, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 23% in medium- to heavy-duty vehicles.
"This is the first step in Kroger's effort to transition our fleet to alternative fuels," said Kevin Dougherty, Kroger's group vice president and chief supply chain officer.
The trucks will make deliveries to about 50 Fred Meyer and QFC stores as far south as Corvallis, Oregon, and as far north as Longview, Wash., averaging approximately 175 miles per day, six days a week, 52 weeks a year.
The fleet will be fueled at a new, private LNG fueling station at Kroger's Clackamas Distribution Center, which will be designed and engineered by Clean Energy Fuels Corp.
"These trucks are nearly identical to our diesel fleet, which allows us to have minimal impact on operations and still achieve the same caliber and standard of performance," said Matt Hoffman, Kroger regional logistics director, based in Portland.
Clean Energy’s Facility Modification team will engineer and implement the necessary modifications to bring Kroger’s four vehicle maintenance bays in Clackamas, Ore., into code compliance for natural gas vehicles.
The LNG trucks are expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 755 metric tons per year, which equates to removing approximately 159 passenger cars from the road annually.
Kroger also is implementing an LNG pilot program at one of its Los Angeles distribution centers of 40 Freightliner trucks with Westport iCE PACK LNG fuel storage systems, according to Westport Innovations. The trucks, scheduled to be delivered by the end of the summer, will feature the Cummins Westport ISX12 G engine.