When we first came up with the idea to feature the country’s top green fleets, the initial plan was simply to rank them based on the number of alternative fueled vehicles used. However, we quickly realized that, to paraphrase a certain frog, it’s not so easy to decide who’s green.
Green strategies vary greatly depending on the operation. For one company, natural gas might make sense. For another, green might mean solar-powered warehouses. For others, it’s all about fuel-efficient specs and driver training.
So the end result is a bit more subjective. 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 fuel and other green initiatives, and tried to choose those who were ahead of the curve in their sustainability efforts. In some cases, we relied on publicly available information. Our focus was primarily on medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Our picks are presented in alphabetical order.
We did not include leasing fleets, but did ask leasing companies for names of their lease customers for consideration. Leasing companies such as Ryder and PacLease have been proactive in helping fleets research and test alternative fueled vehicles and get the most fuel efficiency and productivity.
Celadon Trucking, Indianapolis, Ind.
Celadon has received a SmartWay Excellence award every year available since they joined. A significant investment went into trailer side skirts on 8,600 trailers; truck side skirts, cab extenders, aero bumpers, aero mirrors and roof caps on 3,000 trucks; battery operated APUs, SmartWay-certified tires and more. Celadon accelerated new truck purchases over a two-year period so the entire fleet will consist of the latest low-emissions EPA 2010 compliant engines, and recalibrated new engines to produce less than 30 grams of NOx at idle. A website page about the fleet’s SmartWay efforts, including an emissions calculator, helps educate shippers.
Central Freight Lines, Fort Worth, Texas
In November 2012, Central Freight Lines bought 14 Peterbilt CNG tractors and put them into its P&D operation in Houston, Texas. After successful testing, the fleet moved aggressively forward and purchased 100 2014 Freightliner M2 112 tractors along with 400 Hyundai Translead 28-foot pups with side skirts.
Central has completed a 120-bay CNG fuel station on its property in Houston and is building a second one in San Antonio and planning a third in Fort Worth. The company is testing automatic tire pressure systems among other initiatives.
Coca-Cola Refreshments, Atlanta, Ga.
Coca-Cola is working to incorporate more fuel-efficient modes of product delivery that produce fewer emissions. The company has more than 800 alternative fuel delivery vehicles, including hybrid-electric, all-electric, liquefied natural gas and compressed natural gas.
Its hybrid electric commercial truck fleet is the largest in North America, and a 13-month study of the trucks by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory found the hybrid group had a 13.7% fuel economy improvement over the diesel group. Drivers are trained in eco-driving techniques, such as minimal braking and early gear changes, through its custom-designed Smartdriver program.
Convenience Transportation, LLC (Kwik Trip), La Crosse, Wis.
Kwik Trip is practicing what it preaches. The company, which operates more than 400 fueling stations/convenience stores in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, has committed to developing a functional CNG fueling infrastructure in those states. It celebrated the opening of its 15th CNG station in August.
Kwik Trip is converting its 140-truck distribution fleet, Convenience Transportation LLC, to natural gas. Currently, 34 of the firm’s own trucks and tractors use LNG and CNG, using Cummins Westport 8.9- and 11.9-liter natural gas engines.
Con-way Truckload, Joplin, Mo.
Con-way Truckload uses wide-base single tires, governs its trucks at 65 mph, installed Smart Truck Under Tray aerodynamic systems on its trailers, used lightweight spec’ing tactics to cut weight by 670 pounds per truck, trains drivers to adopt “progressive shifting” techniques and more. Used oil is collected from tractors to use as fuel for heaters in the shops. It’s not just trucks – the company added more than 1,000 hybrid autos to its national fleet this year. It recycles paper, cardboard, soda cans and plastic bottles, as well as computer hardware, plus scrap metal from the tractor, trailer and body shop.
C.R. England, Salt Lake City, Utah
This 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner has more than 4,500 heavy-duty tractors with an average age of 1.1 years, meeting the most stringent emissions standards. It’s buying new 2019-emission-standard refrigeration units, so far showing a 17% fuel improvement. C.R. England has been implementing natural gas solutions for customers (LNG and CNG) for regional, short-haul, closed loop or local moves where the infrastructure is in place, and plans to expand natural gas use. Driver training, including progressive shifting, has one of the highest returns on investment.
Sophisticated testing programs help evaluate fuel-saving equipment. Tractor aero kits, trailer side skirts, low-rolling-resistance duals, wheel covers and 62-mph governors save fuel. Aluminum wheels save weight and increase payload. No-idle and idle reduction policies, training and goals, bunk heaters and Idle Air have led to a 17% idle reduction in one year. A new policy eliminating solo drivers will also help cut excessive idling due to hours-of-service mandates.
Department of Sanitation, DeKalb County, Ga.
The county was honored last year for a $15 million project that included the construction of the DeKalb County Renewable Energy Facility, which converts landfill gas to produce 2.3 million diesel gallon equivalents of CNG annually. The county’s goal is to replace or adapt its entire fleet of 306 vehicles to natural gas fuel, so the vehicles are powered by the trash they haul.
Dillon Transport, Burr Ridge, Ill.
With 425 heavy-duty trucks and 20 light-duty trucks and vans, Dillon is unusual in that it runs both LNG and CNG, depending on the situation at each specific terminal. It started buying natural gas trucks four or five years ago. It’s currently running 50 CNG and 30 LNG heavy-duty trucks, but has another 120 on order.
The total fleet is about 500 trucks, so 25% of the fleet will be natural gas by the second quarter of 2014. The fleet is an advocate for natural gas, with executives frequently speaking about it at national events, and even took a natural gas truck to Capitol Hill to advocate tax incentives.
Duncan and Son Lines, Buckeye, Ariz.
Duncan and Son Lines earned a 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award, recognized as #1 in the Large Dray Carrier Category. In the last year it has invested heavily in equipment designed for better fuel efficiency and cleaner emissions. The fleet bought 30 new 2013 Freightliners equipped with Cummins engines with the latest SCR emissions technology. It is also looking at doing LNG conversions on some older trucks. A recent purchase of 25 new 53-foot dry van trailers was equipped with low-rolling-resistant tires and skirting to reduce wind resistance.
FedEx Express, Memphis, Tenn.
In 2008, FedEx set a goal to make its global fleet 20% more fuel-efficient than its 2005 performance by 2020. This year it reached that goal and upped it to 30%. By the end of 2013, FedEx Express will have 360 hybrid-electric vehicles and 200 electric vehicles in its fleet.
It’s also “right-sizing” engines and vehicles; for instance, it’s replaced older trucks with more than 10,000 smaller vans such as the Mercedes/Freightliner Sprinter, each about 70% to 100% more fuel-efficient than the trucks they replace. Composite-body Reach vehicles offer a 35% reduction in fuel consumption over conventional walk-in vans. Some 35% of the FedEx Express diesel vehicle pickup and delivery fleet has been converted to more efficient and cleaner-burning EPA-2010 models.
FedEx Freight, Harrison, Ark.
FedEx Freight’s Green fleet program includes efforts to make the current fleet more efficient, and investing in and testing alternative fuel vehicles. It’s investing in trailer skirts and EPA SmartWay low-rolling-resistance tires. Drivers are educated on fuel-efficient driving habits, such as progressive shifting, cruise control and idle reduction. It’s currently beta testing two all-LNG powered tractors in its linehaul operations, and pilot testing two all CNG-powered tractors in local operations. Electric-hybrid box trucks are being used in local operations, with plans to test all-electric box trucks as well. Some locations use electric and hydrogen-powered forklift fleets.
Florida Power & Light, Juno Beach, Fla.
Florida Power & Light owns one of the largest green vehicle fleets in the nation with 1,750 biodiesel-powered vehicles and 550 plug-in or hybrid electric vehicles. FPL is the largest user of biodiesel in Florida, using 2 million gallons annually and reducing CO2 emissions by 3,407 metric tons in 2012. In addition, 18% of FPL’s bucket-truck fleet is hybrid or plug-in electric – saving up to 60% of the fuel used by traditional trucks, and reducing exhaust emissions up to 90% when also using biodiesel. On top of that, 92% of FPL’s light-duty fleet is hybrid or plug-in electric, reducing petroleum use by 295,000 gallons and CO2 emissions by 2,500 metric tons in 2012 alone.
Frito-Lay, A Division of Pepsico, Plano, Texas
Out of about 1,100 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors, this 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner runs 208 dedicated CNG vehicles. Out of 14,000 Class 3-6 trucks and vans, 200 are propane, 280 are electric. The company has reduced fuel usage by over 18% since the start of its sustainability work; in the U.S., Frito-Lay hopes to reduce its total fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2020, compared to 2007 baseline. It says it has the largest all-electric delivery fleet and one of the largest natural gas Class 7/8 fleets. In 2013, the company will break ground on seven public CNG fueling stations.
Gordon Trucking, Pacific, Wash.
GTI has 2,000 heavy-duty vehicles, and its trucks have the full aerodynamic package. Each three-axle sleeper truck has a TriPac APU for heating and A/C without main engine idle. The entire fleet runs on fuel-efficient, low-rolling-resistance tires. Currently, 80% of trailers are outfitted with trailer skirts, and that will be 100% within 24 months.
The shop recycles all waste oil, coolant, batteries, metals, tires, and other items, even filtering and reuses the fuel from filters removed at PM. Automatic tire inflation systems are installed on all trailers purchased since 2008 (3,500 trailers). All shop heating has been replaced with infrared heating and all shop lighting with high-efficiency lighting.
Green Energy Oilfield Services, Fairfield, Texas
Green Energy says it’s the largest LNG fleet in Texas. Working with Rush Enterprises, the fleet has 84 LNG trucks out of a total of 97 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors. It’s using the vacuum and frac trucks to support natural-gas producers such as XTO, and worked with Clean Energy Fuels to build a natural gas fueling station at its headquarters in the Freestone oil region of Central Texas. Future plans include development of additional LNG truck fueling stations in the Barnett (Fort Worth), Haynesville (Marshall), and Eagle Ford Shale (Laredo) petroleum-producing areas of Texas.
Halvor Lines Inc., Superior, Wis.
Halvor excels in reducing all eight emissions metrics in EPA’s SmartWay program. The 310 tractors are all powered by 2010-compliant engine technologies or newer. The approximately 800 trailers are either already equipped with CARB-compliant aerodynamically efficient enhancement technologies, or are scheduled for installation. ATDynamics Trailer Tails and SmartTruck trailer under-tray system combined for an average 7.4% improvement in fuel economy. Full synthetic lubricants extend oil drain intervals. A recently completed LED lighting program for facilities, which started in the shop, saves 166,405 kWh/year. During warmer months the majority of fuel at terminal fueling locations contains biodiesel. A Fuel Partnership Bonus Program rewards drivers for fuel-efficient driving habits.
Hawaii Electric Light, Hilo, Hawaii
This utility has the highest percentage of renewable power sources in the country, so it can’t neglect the green aspects of its fleet. All diesel-fueled vehicles run on B20 biodiesel, and some on 100% biodiesel. Out of 65 Class 7-8 trucks, two are also hybrids. Out of 76 Class 3-6, six are hybrids, 59 biodiesel. Count the light vehicles, and altogether there are 26 hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles.
H.O. Wolding, Amherst, Wis.
H.O. Wolding was the second Wisconsin fleet to join the EPA SmartWay Transport Partnership and continues to receive their highest ratings. A third of the fleet is Freightliner Cascadia models with greatly increased fuel mileage and much lower emissions. Another third of the fleet is being Freightliner Cascadia Evolution models. These tractors are producing over 10% better fuel mileage than the tractors they are replacing. Wolding has promoted biodiesel use since 2004 and has used almost 9 million gallons to date. All tractors have accessory devices to reduce engine idle, and the home terminal has a power rail for drivers to use their shorepower connections.
Interstate Distributors, Tacoma, Wash.
Since 2011, the company has been updating its tractor fleet, aiming for an average fleet age of 2.5 years. By early 2014 the entire linehaul fleet will consist of 2010 and newer engines. Forty-five percent of the line haul trailer fleet is equipped with aerodynamic belly skirts, providing a 3% improvement in fuel economy. This year Interstate bought more than 300 dry vans with tire inflation systems and trailers skirts to improve fuel economy, and it’s updating its refrigerated trailers with new-technology refrigeration units. Used oil is recycled, and upgrading truck mattresses means fewer thrown away. Initiatives have reduced the use of paper, aerosol cans, brake cleaner and penetrating oil.
J.B. Hunt, Lowell, Ark.
A 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner, J.B. Hunt’s DeliverGreen sustainability program includes aerodynamic trucks, fuel-efficient drive tires, driver training with simulators, governed top speeds, biodiesel when available and appropriate, reducing empty miles, optimizing routes, idle reduction through driver incentives and auxiliary power units, and converting over-the-road shipments to intermodal.
It says its Cool Transport is an industry-first carbon-neutral transportation service designed with BlueSource LLC, which combines offsetting verified emission reduction credits with existing J.B. Hunt transportation offerings to create carbon-neutral transportation solutions. It offers shippers a carbon calculator on its website.
J.J. Taylor, Fort Myers, Fla.
Out of 225 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors, 43 are CNG. The company has a CNG station at its Tampa, Fla., main warehouse. A second station at the Fort Myers facility should be operational by February 2014. In January, 10 new tractors will feature the new Cummins Westport ISX G 12, and another 27 trucks to be delivered next July 2014 with the ISL G.
The plan is to convert its fleet to 100% natural gas in the next four years. It’s also looking at replacing the vans and pickups in its service and support fleet with CNG-powered versions starting next year.
JRayl Transport, Akron, Ohio
Out of a fleet of 220 heavy-duty vehicles; currently 10 are dedicated CNG, three are dual-fuel. At press time, 66 more CNG trucks were scheduled to be delivered by the end of the year. The company also plans to convert 80 2007 and 2008 International trucks to a dual fuel diesel/natural gas system from EcoDual. By the end of 2013, a third of the fleet will be CNG, and 80% by the end of 2014.
Knight Transportation, Phoenix, Ariz.
A 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner, Knight has one of the newest fleets in the industry, and for decades has resisted prebuying prior to emissions changes for its fleet of more than 4,000 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors. Almost all of Knight’s 9,400 trailers have been outfitted with advanced aerodynamic trailer skirts, well ahead of the California requirement. Knight is actively exploring alternative and low carbon fuels and has installed a 200,000-watt solar farm at its headquarters. Knight has grown its clean-burning fleet well beyond its dry van roots, in refrigerated, port service, rail service, dedicated service and rail intermodal service.
Mesilla Valley Transportation, Las Cruces, N.M.
A 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner, MVT has long been acknowledged as a leader in fuel economy, often developing and testing its own technology, such as trailer skirts, before commercial products were widely available. It runs B20 biodiesel out of its El Paso terminal. All trucks have APUs and wide-base single tires, as well as 6x2 drive trains (single drive with tag axle), which saves about 7 gallons per thousand miles. All trucks are governed and drivers are rewarded for mpg in many ways. All trailers have side skirts, ATDynamics Trailer Tails and wide-base single tires.
Meijer Logistics, Lansing, Mich.
With a fleet of nearly 200, Meijer says it was the first fleet in North America to operate 2010 EPA Freightliner Cascadia Trucks, and 95% of its fleet today is is 2010/2014 EPA clean emissions. Wide-base single tires, trailer side skirts, automated manual transmissions, and a governed speed of 63 mph help save on fuel and greenhouse gas emissions. The Midwestern supercenter chain offers natural gas at some of its fueling stations, and the fleet recently completed a three-day demo of the Freightliner with the 11.9-liter Cummins natural gas engine.
Modern Transportation Services, Sewickley, Pa.
Modern, a leading provider of bulk logistics solutions, says it was the first in the industry to use 12-liter LNG engines. In May, it deployed four Freightliner tractors equipped with Cummins-Westport 12-liter LNG engines to serve a supply lane between 3M in Moncure, N.C., and Owens Corning in Savannah, Ga. They fuel at a Clean Energy station in Latta, S.C., each making two, 600-mile round-trips every day of production. Since May, Modern has run more than 200,000 miles of NG-powered bulk service between 3M and Owens Corning. The group has 350 Class 7-8 vehicles altogether.
Monarch Beverage Company/E.F. Transit
Nearly half – 54 out of 100 – of Monarch’s Class 7-8 vehicles are CNG. Indiana’s largest wine and beer distributor plans to buy a total of 100 new natural gas-powered Kenworth trucks and has built a $2.5 million fueling station next to its warehouse as it works to convert 85% of its fleet to CNG. What sold Monarch on natural gas was its low price, the clean-burning nature of the fuel, and the arrival in early 2013 of the new 12-liter natural gas engine from Cummins.
NFI, Cherry Hill, N.J.
NFI, which has focused on fuel economy and its carbon footprint for years, started running some natural gas trucks a year ago. It recently launched a natural gas fleet in Texas as a dedicated fleet for Lowe’s. Altogether it’s running seven CNG and 17 LNG trucks out of its fleet of 2,000 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors. A team of managers meets monthly to review testing, discuss improvements and submit new ideas.
Besides aerodynamics, low-rolling-resistance wide-based tires, battery APUs and shore power, NFI has initiatives in solar and lighting in its warehouses.
NV Energy, North Las Vegas, Nev.
This electric and gas utility has a total of 64 hybrid units in its fleet, ranging from Class 2-7, plus 11 Class 8 electric vehicles, and 29 biodiesel trucks in Class 7-8. It has Eaton and Odyne hybrid electric powertrains and it’s currently working with vendors to use hybrid auxiliary power on all units it are currently building. NV says it was the first to use Altec Hybrid Service Buckets with ePTO, which functions as an electronic PTO pump to power aerial devices and exportable power. Today they have a total of 30 units and 24 more ordered. This will let the fleet power units on jobsites without idling the truck. It also opened a LEED-certified shop 2009 in Southern Las Vegas.
Nussbaum Transportation Services, Normal, Ill.
Over the last few years, Nussbaum has put a concentrated effort on improving fuel efficiency in its fleet of more than 200 trucks. This improvement largely came from driver behavior changes, equipment changes and more involvement from every department in the company focusing on fuel efficiency. Nussbaum outfitted the majority of its trailer fleet with Trailer Tails and skirts to improve aerodynamics.
Significant spec changes were made to the tractor fleet, including 6x2 drive axle configurations, to achieve a tractor capable of close to 9 mpg. Nussbaum implemented a driver scorecard system that gives them unlimited bonuses for fuel efficiency. The higher their mpg is, the higher their bonus.
Ozinga Ready Mix Concrete, Mokena, Ill.
Ozinga is a leader in natural gas for the ready-mix industry. Out of 500 Class 7/8 vehicles, 112 are CNG, and Ozinga plans to convert the entire fleet by 2020. Among its 100 light-duty vehicles, more than a third are alternative fuels, mostly bi-fuel CNG, but also flex fuel, hybrid electric and dedicated CNG.
It’s set to open its fourth CNG public fueling station by the end of the year, and has spun off a new company, Ozinga Energy, to help fleets build their own stations.
Pacific Gas & Electric, San Francisco, Calif.
PG&E is a major adopter of alternative fuels, running CNG, biodiesel, hybrids, electric and propane. It’s the largest utility fleet in the nation and the largest commercial fleet in California, and more than 30% of the fleet uses an alternative fuel or a high-efficiency fuel technology such as electric hybrids. PG&E runs close to 14,000 pieces of equipment, with more than 9,000 power units. The fleet includes 800 CNG (100 of them heavy-duty), 50 bi-fuel or dual-fuel CNG, 950 hybrid electric, 95 electric and 1,500 biodiesel.
Paper Transport, Green Bay, Wis.
Paper Transport runs 80 CNG trucks out of 400 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors. Its fleet averages more than 7 mpg, with the newest trucks averaging over 8 mpg. The company has been installing trailer side skirts, both new and retrofit. It has a coaching and training program for drivers to improve fuel mileage. It’s been running class 8 CNG trucks for 3.5 years and have more than 5,000,000 miles on CNG. The company is currently working with customers on additional opportunities to convert more freight and trucks to CNG.
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Jersey City, N.J.
The Port Authority, which operates everything from airports and commuter trains to ports and tunnels, implemented its first environmental policy in 1993. About five years ago, it adopted a much more comprehensive sustainability policy, with the goal to reduce GHG emissions by 80% by the year 2050. Extensive adoption of alternative fuels is difficult because of the wide variety of equipment and the lack of fueling infrastructure or space to build stations. So the fleet’s main approach is adopting B20 biodiesel. In addition, the fleet does run some CNG, hybrids and flex fuel vehicles in Class 3-6. One hundred percent of all light duty vehicles purchased must be green.
Prime Inc., Springfield, Mo.
A 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner, Prime limits truck speed to 65 mph and offers simulator training on how to drive for fuel economy. The fleet includes low-rolling-resistance wide-base single tires, trailer skirting, Trailer Tails, and Carrier IntelliSets on refrigeration units to maximize fuel efficiency. Specs call for the full efficiency package of the Cascadia Evolution, with synthetic low-friction oils and lubricants and auxiliary power units on all tractors. In the food grade tanker division, EcoTankHeaters on trucks reduce idle 30-50% when combined with APUs. In the flatbed division and tanker divisions, trailers with automatic liftable axles help reduce frictional drag when running lighter loads.
Raider Express, Fort Worth, Texas
Raider Express started limiting the speed of its trucks in 2005, starting at 68 mph and gradually dropping it to an industry low of 60 mph. Component specs are designed to maximize mpg in the 57- to 68-mph range. It’s been an early adopter of technologies such as wide-base single tires, lightweight components and automated manual transmissions. Monthly truck averages regularly run above 9 mpg, sometimes above 10, while averaging 77,000 pounds GVW. Its 175 tractors are predominantly clean 2012 or newer tractors or experimental CNG trucks. The 300 refrigerated trailers are equipped with TrailerTails and side skirts. Raider says it has a “culture of fuel economy.”
Saddle Creek Transportation, Lakeland, Fla.
Starting in 2012, Saddle Creek began a partnership with Freightliner to design and implement long haul CNG trucks with a range of 600-plus miles per fill. Out of 430 Class 8 trucks and tractors, it has 104 CNG and four LNG, and is adding 100 more CNG trucks in the next year.
The newest Cascadia 12-liter Freightliners have a complete aerodynamic package that improves mpg even more. In addition to the natural gas fleet, tractors and trailers use aerodynamic mud flaps, trailers are fully skirted and have automatic air inflation systems.
Schneider National, Green Bay, Wis.
Schneider has improved fuel efficiency 13% since 2008, using technology such as low emission engines, aerodynamic tractors and trailers, and low-rolling-resistance tires, and changes in operations such as increased tire inflation standards and more frequent maintenance. In 2008, it voluntarily slowed the fleet to 60 mph, saving 3.6 million gallons of diesel fuel a year. Schneider consumes more than 10 million gallons of blended biodiesel a year.
In 2011, it began testing natural-gas-powered trucks, and late this year or early next will start testing LNG and CNG units with the new Cummins 12-liter engines. Onsite engineers are continually testing emerging new energy-efficient technologies. The company earned the SmartWay Award of Excellence five times since the award’s inception in 2005, including 2012.
Southeastern Freight Lines, Columbia, S.C.
In its fleet of 2,500 heavy-duty trucks and tractors, SEFL has implemented fuel-saving technologies such as aerodynamics on the long haul trucks, skirts on trailers, low-rolling-resistance tires on tractors and trailers, as well as some APUs on sleeper units. The company has lowered its GHG emissions each of the past three years as a result of these technologies as well as significantly updating its fleet with newer, more emission-friendly trucks. The green strategies extend to facilities, with construction and remodeling of terminals with energy-efficient utilities, adding solar panels and even a cistern for water recovery for watering the landscaping.
Stokes Trucking, Collinston, Utah
This fleet of 26 company-owned tractors, with 45 reefer trailers and 17 dry vans, has been a leader in its area in changing over to to EPA 2007 and then EPA 2010 tractors. Only three tractors currently do not have EPA 2010 engines, and 53 out of 62 trailers are equipped with side skirts. Twenty-two of the reefer units are less than six months old and much more efficient than previous models. The fleet runs low-rolling-resistance Michelin tires and retreads. A voluntary program encourages drivers to slow down to conserve fuel. The result? A fleet average of 7 mpg and a 15% decrease in fuel consumption over the last three years.
Republic Services, Phoenix, Arizona
Republic operates a fleet of more than 1,400 CNG vehicles and 26 natural gas fueling stations nationwide. Approximately 50% of all Republic vehicles purchased in 2013 are powered by the domestic fuel source. It plans to have more than 3,100 trucks nationwide running on natural gas and other alternative fuels by the end of 2015. At press time it announced it’s deploying 53 CNG solid waste and recycling trucks to serve customers throughout the Charleston, S.C., metro area.
RRR Transportation, Calhoun, Ga.
The majority of this 135-truck fleet features 2013 and 2014 trucks with the Volvo XE efficiency package. Transtex trailer fairings and ATDynamics Trailer Tails are on the trailers, and Anderson Flow through mudflaps are on tractors and trailers. Older reefer units are being replaced with Thermo King Precedent Units with electric shore power. In addition to diesel electric APUs, this year RRR added an electrical grid at its terminal for shore power and reefer standby. It uses electrified truck parking when possible to avoid running the diesel APU, and is adding PeopleNet to better monitor drivers and optimize routes.
Ruan Transportation Management Systems, Des Moines, Iowa
This 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner runs 3,900 vehicles, including 44 heavy-duty CNG. It says its CNG fleet servicing an Indiana dairy client is the largest in the nation. Biodiesel emissions are reduced by 86% compared to petroleum diesel. Auxiliary power unit usage reduces engine idle time. Lighter weight equipment, aerodynamics, automatic tire inflation systems and low-viscosity lubricants are among the technologies that improve fuel consumption, along with reduced standard highway speeds and driver training. Beyond the truck fleet, Ruan has seen a 99% reduction in paper in communicating between its corporate and field offices since 2007, uses low-environmental impact solvents and materials and has LEED-certified buildings.
Spirit Truck Lines, San Juan, Texas
This fleet of 287 has been an early adopter of a number of aero technologies. It was the first to install Utility’s new side skirts on their 2011 trailers, and now has trailer skirts on the entire fleet. After evaluating ATDynamics TrailerTails through a program managed by the Department of Energy, it decided to launch a fleet-wide retrofit program. It uses fuel-efficient tires on the entire fleet and has an mpg bonus program for drivers. Using IdleAir has saved the company more than $45,000 so far this year by cutting idling.
Staples, Framingham, Mass.
Staples has improved its fleet average mpg by 30% since 2005, on its way to a goal of 40% by 2015. Out of its 15 Class 7-8 trucks and tractors, 10 are CNG. The bulk of its trucks, more than 1,700 of them, are in Class 3-6. They all use biodiesel, plus there are 53 electric and 20 flex fuel. All trucks are controlled to a top speed of between 58-63 mph. Idle is limited to 3 minutes unless certain temperature or operating conditions are met. The 53 Smith all-electric first generation trucks have been in service since 2010, and five new next-generation models are set for delivery in January. It’s also working with Roush Clean Tech and Ford for LPG F-550 rated at 19,500 pounds as a potential flagship truck for Staples delivery.
UPS, Atlanta, Ga.
UPS has a long history of investments and expenditures that benefit environmental protection. Some stretch back decades, such as its work with alternative vehicles. UPS put its first such vehicle, powered by electricity, into service in the 1930s. Today its alternative fuel/technology fleet numbers 2,688 vehicles around the world.
In the U.S., UPS has 93 LNG-powered heavy-duty vehicles out of 17,588. In Class 3-6 the alt fuel numbers are higher, with 854 CNG, 380 hybrid electric, 102 full electric and 41 hydraulic hybrid – out of 63,000 total vehicles in this class. The company has put in place a global IT system for tracking greenhouse gas emissions and is using solar power for facilities.
Walmart, Lowell, Ark.
Since 2005, this 2012 SmartWay Excellence Award winner has been working toward a goal of doubling its efficiency by 2015. So far it’s achieved an 80% improvement. The combination of new equipment with better technology and increased system capabilities drove a 10% increase over 2011. It’s testing alternative fuels, including LNG and CNG, as well as renewable diesel from Dynamic Fuels.
In addition, in partnership with truck and component manufacturers, it has built a number of prototype tractors, including hybrid assist, wheel-end hybrid assist, full propulsion hybrid and natural gas, with the goal of learning from testing in a real-life environment to improve the technology.
Waste Management, Houston, Texas
Waste Management has been a leader in the refuse industry’s conversion to CNG. In 2007, as part of its corporate sustainability goals, it committed to increase fleet fuel efficiency by 15% and reduce emissions by 15% by 2020. It beat that goal with a 20% reduction in fleet emissions by the end of 2011. In 2009, it launched its first natural gas initiative and now is converting its entire 32,000-plus fleet.
By the end of 2014 they expect to have 4,000 natural gas trucks. Over the summer it opened its 50th natural gas fueling station (18 are accessible to the public), and has a facility that fuels trucks on natural gas made from waste methane from a landfill.
Werner Enterprises, Omaha, Neb.
With over 8,000 trucks, small savings add up fast. Among Werner’s green strategies are APUs to reduce idle time, aerodynamic trucks with the newest clean-burning diesels, aero add-ons for trailers such as side skirts and TrailerTails, computerized truck idling program, reducing maximum rpm to help minimize fuel burned at idle, lighter-weight truck and trailer materials, low-viscosity drivetrain lubricants, engines governed at 65 mph maximum. In addition, there are company-wide recycling programs for oil, tires, paper and aluminum, and electrical usage for lighting is controlled by timers during off hours.
Westco Express, Commerce City, Colo.
A small fleet with big sustainability goals, Westco has 43 Class 8 trucks, with 90% of the fleet already meeting 2014 CARB requirements. It uses idle reduction technology, air diversion/aero devices on tractors and on 75% of trailers, low-rolling-resistance tires on all tractors and trailers, tire pressure systems on 40% of trailers. There are driver incentive pay programs, plus it recycles all used oils, antifreeze, metals, office paper and plastics, with scanning and electronic filing systems to cut paper consumption. It’s planning to add a natural gas hostler and at least one natural gas Class 8 tractor in 2014. Westco increased its average mpg by 9% from 2009 to 2012.
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