The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency presented SmartWay Excellence Awards to 27 businesses and organizations.

The EPA 2008 SmartWay Excellence Awards recognize groups for their superior efforts to reduce fuel use and lower carbon emissions from freight transport. This year's recipients have integrated a broad range of innovative fuel-saving strategies into their freight and fleet operations.

Among the winners were 18 freight carriers: American Central Transport, Celadon Trucking Services, Challenger Motor Freight, Con-way Freight, Covenant Transport, Dillon Transport, Gordon Trucking, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, NFI, Pacific Harbor Line, Quad/Graphics, Roehl Transport, Schneider National, Stan Koch & Sons Trucking, Swift Transportation Company, Trailer Bridge, UPS, and Watkins Shepard Trucking.

Three logistics companies were honored: APL Logistics, Hub Group, and Transplace.

"The companies we recognize today have learned to do business the SmartWay, and will be leaders in their fields," said Robert J. Meyers, principal deputy assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Air and Radiation. "SmartWay is smart not just for the firms who save on fuel costs, but for the American environment and economy."

Many awardees invested in trucks that qualify for the U.S. EPA SmartWay Certified mark, the cleanest, most fuel efficient available today. Eight major truck manufacturers are now offering at least one long haul model that meets SmartWay specifications. Awardees also optimized delivery routes and provided more flexible shipping and receiving practices to reduce unnecessary idling.

Using these and other strategies based on their three-year commitments to upgrade their fleets and improve freight operations, SmartWay partners are collectively saving more than 595 million gallons of diesel fuel each year - slashing fuel costs by at least $2.5 billion annually - and eliminating 6.8 million tons of carbon-dioxide emissions that contribute to global warming.

EPA launched SmartWay in early 2004 to address the environmental and economic challenges surrounding growth in the freight industry. Through SmartWay, EPA is now working with over 1,000 businesses to improve both their bottom line and the environment. SmartWay offers tools for evaluating opportunities to lower fuel use and emissions and help in locating financing for the purchase of environmental and fuel saving technology.