Beer distributor J.J. Taylor Companies Inc. is replacing its Tampa-based fleet with compressed natural gas tractors as part of an ongoing commitment to sustainability.

The switch to CNG vehicles, which are cleaner, more environmentally friendly, and quieter than diesel, is possible in part because of the lease financing provided by PHH FirstFleet, a division of PHH Arval.

“We’ve been working to reduce our carbon footprint over the past five years, so the change to CNG is a natural progression,” said Jose Rivera, vice president of finance/administration of J.J. Taylor Companies. “CNG has near-zero emissions and is therefore less harmful to the environment. It also has a lower cost on a diesel gallon equivalent basis, and CNG vehicles are markedly quieter than their diesel counterparts.”

J.J. Taylor Companies has ordered 43 Freightliner Business Class M2 112 CNG tractors. The company plans to replace its entire Tampa-based fleet of 95 units  within the next 36 months. Part of the transition includes the creation of a private CNG fueling station.

The tractors are arriving in Tampa and will start operating this month, once the fueling station is completed. Plans for a second station and conversion of the company’s 75-unit fleet in Fort Myers are under way.

J.J. Taylor acquired the Freightliner tractors through Tampa Truck Center LLC, and they are powered by a Cummins-Westport 8.9L ISL-G engine and an Allison 3000Hs transmission. Vocational Energy LLC out of Fontana, Calif., is building the CNG fueling station.

J.J. Taylor Companies will use the CNG vehicles in daily delivery operations in the company’s territory covering Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee and Sarasota counties. In the future, the fleet will cover a total of 17 Florida counties.