A Sacramento, California, fleet is adding 27 new compressed natural gas tractors to its clean energy fleet – a move that will increase the company's total to 64 alternative energy vehicles by year’s end.
Despite the falloff in interest in CNG-powered trucks after diesel prices returned to “normal” levels, chief operating officer Charles Mellor said Matheson Trucking remains dedicated to a policy of increasing the use of clean energy fuels to improve air quality, decrease diesel fuel consumption and reliance on foreign oil, while helping to preserve the environment. “These new CNG tractors – with more to come – are part of that ongoing commitment," Mellor said.
Mellor said Matheson typically logs approximately 600 trips each day, totaling an average of 98,600 miles per day driven nationwide. And using natural gas-powered trucks helps the fleet reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 30% compared to diesel with significant reductions in sulphur oxide and nitrogen oxide as well as 40% less CO2 (carbon dioxide).
Matheson began converting its fleet to clean energy-powered tractors in 2014. Last year the company had 25 CNG and 12 liquefied natural gas (LNG) tractors for a total of 37. This year 27 new CNG tractors are being added. Fifteen of these already support U.S. Postal Service shipments to and from the Los Angeles basin and Las Vegas, and 12 more will be ordered and placed in service this fall in Denver. They bring the company's alternative energy fleet inventory to 64 tractors, or 26% of its fleet. Across all divisions Matheson's fleet now numbers 286 tractors pulling a mix of 342 trailers.
"Our new CNG tractors display a fresh, contemporary brand identity with a logo symbolizing our growth and transformation, while also celebrating the culture of innovation we have built over a half century in business," said Joshua Matheson, vice president, corporate operations. "It is our way of expressing our values and showing customers and the general public what Matheson is all about."
According to Debra White, vice president for information technology and fleet maintenance, Matheson uses both CNG and LNG in its alternative fuel fleet depending on whether distances to be traveled are short or long haul, the applications involved, time to refuel and other factors. "We will continue to expand our fleet of natural gas or alternative fuel powered tractors wherever it is practical and cost effective to do so," she said.