Diesel and gasoline prices have stabilized and even fallen, but that’s not stopping the nation’s forward-looking fleets from doing everything they can to save on fuel and improve their sustainability efforts.
After all, fuel is still one of the largest expenses a fleet has, and the sustainability image appeals to shippers, customers and the general public.
For some fleets, that means alternative fuels. For others, it means striving for that 10-mpg goal for a Class 8 truck. At other fleets, it’s all about right-sizing the fleet and vehicles and route optimization, or hauling more freight in the same number of trailers.
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 fuels and other green initiatives. We also considered other fleets that were clearly leaders in the field. All had to operate at least some heavy-duty trucks, but many have large numbers of medium- and even light-duty vehicles as well.
We wanted to highlight fleets that are ahead of the curve in their sustainability efforts, and we gave extra attention to activities in the past year. We did not include leasing fleets, but want to note that leasing companies such as Ryder and PacLease have been instrumental in helping many fleets make the move into alternative fuels and develop the most fuel-efficient specs.
Our goal was to incorporate a wide variety of sizes, types and vocations of fleets, as well as a broad spectrum of “green” strategies. Sizes range from the for-hire mega-fleet Schneider down to the 45-truck private fleet Performance Transportation LLC. Green facilities also played into the results this year, with recycling programs, energy-efficient lighting, solar panels and more.
HDT honored many of this year’s winners in a ceremony during the Green Fleet Conference last month in Schaumburg, Ill.
In alphabetical order, here are HDT’s Top 50 Green Fleets for 2014.
With a 2,000-plus fleet with vehicles of all sizes covering the U.S. and Canada, the textile rental company says there’s no single alternative fuel that fits all situations. It has tested CNG, propane, hybrid electric, biodiesel, hydraulic hybrid and pure electric vehicles and will be buying all of the tested technologies over the next three to five years. Idle reduction programming for diesel vehicles newer than 2008 and idle control devices for gasoline-powered step vans newer than 2011 have saved more than $2 million in excess idling over the past three years. Trailer skirting has been added to all trailers that travel over 50 miles per trip, and double-decker trailers increase shuttle payloads by 60%.
St. Louis, Mo.
Anheuser-Busch last year laid out a five-year path to sustainability, and its private fleet, which has more than 600 vehicles, is part of that plan. By 2017, its goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in logistics operations globally by 15% per hectoliter from a 2013 baseline. It’s collaborating with partners to share fleets in the U.S. and Brazil to reduce empty mileage on return trips and take advantage of complementary supply chains and customer footprints. The company also recently announced a partnership with Ryder and J.B. Hunt transport to replace its 66-tractor diesel fleet in Houston with CNG-powered vehicles. The vehicles are expected to be deployed starting this month, and the fleet will be fully operational next year.
Last month, this 50-truck liquid tank truck company received an award from the New Jersey Business and Industry Association for Environmental Excellence. Lightweight specs, including running daycabs even over the road, allows Carbon Express to haul 5,000 to 7,000 more pounds of product than the competition, which means fewer truckloads being shipped but customers receiving the same amount of product. It also means no fuel wasted idling overnight. In 2013, Carbon started buying Volvo trucks with a 6x2 axle configuration to further reduce weight and increase fuel mileage. Some liquid bulk tank trailers have lift axles that automatically lift when the tank is empty, for a 1.5- to 2-mpg savings.
This 500-truck fleet has equipped all Class 8 vehicles with battery-powered cab HVAC. The main terminal has 22 electrified truck parking spots to allow HVAC and trucks to use shore power. All equipment orders for the past three years have included wide base single tires, aerodynamic tank fairings and automated transmissions on the tractors; trailers have wide base tires, side skirts and tire inflation systems. In the works are solar-powered compaction recycle/gen waste cans in terminal parking lots, conversion to electric hand dryers, conversion of facility lighting to LEDs, use of occupancy sensors for lighting, and installation of two automobile EV charging stations.
Central Freight Lines
Central Freight Lines has been working with Clean Energy Fuels, EVO Trillium and Questar to build natural gas fueling facilities for both its own fleet of 114 heavy-duty- CNG trucks as well as public fueling facilities. The less-than-truckload fleet (which has more than 1,600 tractors in its total fleet) has more CNG tractors on order, and it bought 400 Hyundai Translead 28-foot pups with side skirts. It also added propane-powered forklifts to its service centers to reduce emissions.
City of Columbus
The city fleet has more than 900 heavy, light and medium-duty vehicles. Columbus’ Green Fleet Action Plan is designed to reduce the city’s carbon footprint and save taxpayers close to $2 million per year by 2020. The City expects to be displacing over 1.1 million gallons of diesel annually by 2020. It’s doing this primarily through CNG, along with biodiesel use. The goal is for 80% of each budget year to go to “green” purchases. Columbus exceeded this goal in 2013, and as of early August this year, 29 out of the 32 purchased have been green and 25 have been CNG. The city recently opened one of the largest CNG public access stations in the Midwest.
City of Santa Ana
Santa Ana, Calif.
A five-year Green Fleet Strategic Plan was launched last year by the fleet department, aiming to create a fleet that is 75 to 80% alternative energy sources. In the past two years, the more than $1.5 million in grant funding has helped the fleet buy heavy-duty propane and CNG trucks and diesel emissions control systems. Using grant funding, the City Yard was able to install fueling facilities for hydrogen and CNG vehicles. Since 2010, the fleet has been streamlined and cut from 950 vehicles to 651. A strict engine-idling policy has saved $400,000 and significantly cut emissions, and a Green Model Shop is working towards a paperless, zero-waste operation.
Convenience Transportation/Kwik Trip
Convenience Transportation hasn’t bought a diesel-powered heavy truck since 2012, when it took delivery of its first natural gas truck. With bulk petroleum and refrigerated operations, it’s the private fleet for convenience store chain Kwik Trip, which sells E-85 and biodiesel at many locations and in 2012 opened an alternative fuels station offering those plus natural gas, propane and electric vehicle charging stations. Kwik Trip has committed to developing a functional natural gas infrastructure throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. The goal is to convert its entire fleet to natural gas, and by the end of this year it will be halfway there, with 69 CNG and 13 LNG Class 7 and 8 trucks, and it’s working to secure a natural-gas-powered refrigeration alternative.
The average age of this 2,500-truck fleet is only 2.1 years. Nearly 70% of trailers have an aerodynamic device, including CARB-compliant trailer undercarriage systems. More than 50% of the fleet is now using a 6x2 configuration, which saves 3/10 mpg. This year it added 550 trucks with automated manual transmissions. Other strategies include wide-base single tires, governing trucks at 65 mph, and the recent introduction of FuelOpps by PropelIT, a driver fuel behavior program. It has piloted the Idle Air system at its Laredo, Texas, facility, and is testing double stack trailers, which use built-in rack systems that may increase the useable space inside a trailer by as much as 100%.
Salt Lake City
With 4,300 trucks, C.R. England takes a multifaceted approach to sustainability and is continually looking for ways to increase efficiency. For instance, its newest reefer units use 15% less fuel. In the past year, the fleet has implemented wheel covers on tractors and trailers, TrailerTails on trailers, IdleAir idle reduction facilities, etc. TempStack 53-foot temperature-controlled intermodal containers double-stack on the rail for greater fleet efficiency. Together with industry-leading drayage trucks, they are 60% more fuel-efficient than over-the-road trailers, says the company. It’s increasing its use of LNG and CNG tractors in dedicated fleets from its current 15 LNG and 2 CNG and held a Natural Gas Symposium this year for shippers, manufacturers and carriers .
Burr Ridge, Ill.
Dillon, a liquid and dry bulk carrier operating primarily east of the Rockies, has 200 heavy-duty trucks now running on CNG and expects to continue converting the rest of its 500-truck fleet as it buys new equipment. It already has a CNG fueling station operated by Clean Energy Fuels at its terminal in Dallas, and last month, Clean Energy announced a multi-year fueling agreement to supply approximately 2.5 million additional DGEs of CNG to Dillon a year, with new public stations expected to be open in Houston and Midland, Texas, and West Atlanta, Ga., by the end of the year.
Eugene Water & Electric Board
With 210 vehicles, 44 of them heavy-duty, the utility has made excellent progress on its 2010 goal to reduce fossil fuel use 50% by 2030. So far it has cut fossil fuels by 21.7%, by using B25-B30 biodiesel and E10 and E85 ethanol blends, reducing idling, removing underutilized vehicles and right-sizing vehicles for specific duties. It also has an extremely green shop facility. It has reduced fossil based lubricant use by over 56% compared to 2009 and features high-efficiency lighting, occupancy sensors, radiant floor heating, enhanced building insulation, efficient mechanical systems and on-site wastewater treatment. The shop is 45% more energy efficient than state building energy codes and is certified as a LEED Gold facility.
Ever Fresh Farms Transportation
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Out of 46 company-owned tractors, 37 are 2013 or newer. They have wide-base single tires, full aerodynamic fairings over the fuel tanks, and are Smartway certified. It is testing the new Eaton SmartAdvantage transmission in multiple trucks. A fuel incentive program and idle incentive program reward company drivers for reducing fuel consumption. All 176 trailers (21% dry vans, 79% reefers) are equipped with SmartWay-certified trailer side skirts. In the last two years the fleet has retrofitted 29 reefer units with replacement engines to ensure CARB compliance. In all, 82% of its reefer units are CARB compliant through at least 2016.
The package-delivery giant follows a three-tiered strategy to improve the fuel efficiency of its ground fleets: Reduce, Replace and Revolutionize. It has been reducing the number of vehicles with routing efficiency improvements, and focusing on the right vehicles for the right application, with smaller cargo vans replacing big package trucks in many areas. It’s adding 1,900 lightweight Spartan Utilimaster “Reach” composite vehicles. The company also has partnered with XL Hybrids to test hybrid-electric vans. It’s also testing the electric Nissan e-NV200 cargo van and reportedly is going to be testing an electric-diesel hybrid turbine technology developed by a founder of Tesla Motors. An EcoDrive training program focuses on the driver’s role in fuel economy.
FedEx Freight is testing LNG, CNG and electric hybrid vehicles. Fuel efficiency initiatives include automated transmissions in more than half of its road tractors, side skirts on more than half of its 28-foot road trailers, and Smartway-certified low-rolling-resistance tires throughout the fleet. It added 100 electric forklifts this summer, bringing the total to 200. A Green Site internal certification process for facilities includes recycling efforts, energy conservation and awareness, environmentally friendly supply ordering and more. FedEx Freight has been recognized by the Solar Energy Industries Association as one of the top 20 commercial solar energy users in the U.S.
Florida Power & Light
Juno Beach, Fla.
FPL operates one of the largest clean “green” fleets in the nation, with approximately 1,750 biodiesel-powered vehicles and more than 550 electric and hybrid electric vehicles. In 2006, FPL was the first utility in the nation to place in service a medium-duty hybrid-electric bucket truck. It’s scheduled to deploy another 70-75 plug-in hybrids this year, mainly Altec upfits on the Ford F-550 chassis, but also some full-size Odyne bucket trucks and a half-dozen electric vans from Via Motors. FPL won the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Air Excellence Award for 2014.
Frito-Lay hopes to reduce its total fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 50% in 2020 compared to a 207 baseline. It has nearly 18,000 vehicles; 16,000 are Class 3-6 and 1,340 are Class 7-8. It is running 333 CNG trucks in Class 7-8, 200 propane medium-duty trucks, and says it has the largest private all-electric delivery fleet with 280 Smith Dlectric Vehicles. It has signed “anchor tenant” agreements with natural gas fuel suppliers to build some 15 additional publicly accessible CNG stations across its plant network in the next two to three years.
Gordon Trucking Inc.
This fleet’s 2,000 tractors run on SmartWay-approved tires, and 70% have Thermo King APUs. Freightliner Cascadia Evolutions with automated manual transmissions are getting 7.9 mpg so Gordon has ordered 175 more. In addition, 70% of its 6,600 trailers are outfitted with Freight Wing aerodynamic belly fairings, 100% have SmartWay-certified tires and 65% have automatic tire inflation systems. Trucks with lower than average fuel mileage are run through a trouble-shooting list to determine if it is mechanical issues or driver behavior; equipment problems are fixed and drivers brought in for additional coaching. In addition, maintenance facilities feature efficient lighting, infrared heating, and recycling of metal, paper/cardboard and waste oil.
Green Energy Oilfield Services
Green Energy says it’s the first company in Texas, and perhaps the country, to fuel its entire fleet with liquefied natural gas, and the largest LNG consumer in the state. The private equity backed oilfield service company began operation in mid-2012. Today it has close to 100 trucks, 85 vacuum trailers, 450 frac tanks, 24 mud tanks, 12 acid tanks and other equipment. Its initial 60-truck order of LNG-fueled trucks was specified with 475-horsepower Westport GX 15-liter engines. In January, 24 more were added, with the addition of dual LNG fuel tanks to double the trucks’ range.
With 320 trucks, Halvor in the past year added more than 150 new Kenworth and Volvo trucks spec’ed for fuel efficiency and has added aerodynamic enhancements, such as ATDynamics TrailerTails. All office and shop lighting has been converted to LED and all paper and cardboard is recycled. The fleet is evaluating alternative fuel enhancements, such as diesel water emulsion and hydrogen injection, as well as monitoring the progress of liquefied natural gas for use as a future alternative fuel.
Hawaii Electric Light
All its diesel medium-duty and heavy vehicles have been running on B20 biodiesel since 2006, and several are running on B100. On the light-duty side it’s running hybrids, electric vehicles and plug-in electric hybrids. There are two Class 7 diesel-electric hybrids and eight Class 6 Altec plus-in systems. It nearly doubled its consolidated fleet mileage average from 8.66 mpg in 2008 to 16.03 mpg in 2013.
Marketing itself as an environmentally friendly regional carrier, H.O. Wolding updated its tractor fleet to an average age of three years. More than 75% of the 315-truck fleet is Freightliner Cascadias, and the company has improved fuel mileage and decreased emissions through through smaller-diameter tires, idle reduction policies, proactive maintenance programs and improved tire, fuel and oil technologies. Fuel mpg has improved by more than 9% over the last few years. The company has purchased more than 13 million gallons of blended biodiesel fuels since 2008; this year’s purchase was up by 33% from last year.
Hazmat Environmental Group
This hazardous waste hauler has 155 heavy-duty trucks. All over-the-road tractors use Thermo King TriPac auxiliary power units, and all tractors are equipped with Espar auxiliary heaters. Tractors are governed at 65 mph. Trucks feature aerodynamic roof caps, Alcoa aluminum wheels, Michelin XZA3 steer tires and Michelin XDN2 drive tires for maximum performance. Fuel mileage and idle times are monitored in real time, and a lucrative monthly fuel bonus is offered to all drivers that meet their mpg goals. Drivers are offered long haul trips based on their mpg, not their seniority.
J.J. Taylor Distributing Florida
Fort Myers, Fla.
This 300-vehicle beverage distributor now has 65 CNG-powered units, up from 43 in last year’s survey, and plans to convert another 30 in December. It has 2 CNG stations, located in Tampa and Fort Myers. The plan is to have 98% of the fleet in the state using CNG within the next three years. Maintenance facilities were up-fitted to handle the maintenance of CNG vehicles at both locations.
This 306-truck fleet outfitted 75% of its trailers with side skirts and ATDynamics TrailerTails and 65% with wide-base single tires. All company-powered vehicles have wide-base fuel-efficient tires and auxiliary power units. It’s adding Aerotech custom wheel covers to tractors and trailers. Other equipment modifications include moving the trailer license plate up to eliminate drag, trimming the mud flaps to cover just the tire width and closing the top rail on the trailer. New trailers are ordered with a 42-inch kingpin setting to close the gap between tractor and trailer. A seal is placed with the fifth wheel all the way up and drivers are instructed to remove only when not in compliance with state and federal regulations. An L-3 driving simulator is used to teach progressive shifting. Drivers that don’t meet or exceed 7.5 mpg average are retrained until expectations are met.
With about 4,000 heavy-duty tractors, this multi-year SmartWay Excellence Award winner has been recognized in the top 1% of all carriers for a sustained period of time. It has invested more than $200 million in low-emissions, fuel-efficient, and lighter weight tractors and trailers. Knight is replacing tractors with an advanced engine and automated manual transmission that work together to cut cruising rpm and fuel consumption. It’s completely outfitting its more than 9,000 trailers with aerodynamic trailer skirts. Knight continues to test and develop alternative fuel technologies. Knight facilities use motion-sensing light switches, LED lighting, recycled carpet material, low-energy water cooling towers and a 200,000-watt solar farm.
M&M Cartage received the “Greenest Freight Fleet Award” for 2013 from the Kentucky Clean Fuels Coalition. In the past 18 months, the company has built its 186-truck fleet through the purchase of 31 CNG trucks, and has plans to purchase more. Through a partnership with Kentuckiana Cleanfuel, this fall it’s opening the first of several planned public-access CNG fuel stations. M&M hired a sustainability director early this year and became a member of the SmartWay Transport Partnership. The company is evaluating energy efficiency measures for its new three-building campus, such as net zero energy use, becoming a “zero waste to landfill” organization, solar panels and solar carports for employee parking.
Meijer was the first company in North America to test pre-production series 2010 EPA Freightliner Cascadias and then purchase and operate them. The entire fleet is now 2010/2014 EPA Smartway certified. Wide-base single tires and trailer fairings have been used since 2005. The fleet has tested an all-electric yard switcher, a CNG Freightliner and is currently looking at an all-electric Class 8 truck for testing. A new maintenance facility design will incorporate energy-efficient and alternative energy.
Melton Truck Lines
1,000-truck Melton Truck Lines, a previous winner of the SmartWay Excellence Award, has a “fuel conservation specialist” on staff. It equips its trucks with full aerodynamic packages, low-rolling-resistance tires and auxiliary power units. Melton educates drivers on fuel-efficient driving habits, such as progressive shifting, cruise control, governing at 65 mph and idle reduction. It has implemented driver incentives such as a driver scorecard system, rewarding drivers who focus on fuel efficiency. In addition, a company-wide recycling program includes paper, aluminum, tires and oil.
Mesilla Valley Transportation
Las Cruces, N.M.
If it is possible to reduce drag or rolling resistance or parasitic drag, Royal Jones and company at the 1,200-truck MVT will do it. The company runs all 6x2 rears, with APUs on all trucks and Michelin X-One wide-base single tires on all trucks and trailers. All trailers have ATDynamics TrailerTails and side skirts on all trailers. The fleet recently announced it’s adding FlowBelow AeroKits to all its tractors. All trucks have direct drive (no overdrive). All trucks have speed limited by mpg and idle time. Small details include narrowing mudflaps to match the single-wide tires and moving the license plates on the trailer out of wind. On top of quarterly mpg driver bonuses, MVT also gives away a new car each quarter to the best fuel-efficient performer, and $25,000 to best of the year.
MinStar, with a little over 100 trucks, uses low-rolling-resistance tires on tractors and trailers, plus the SmartTruck UnderTray aerodynamic system on trailers and Espar heater systems and an ambient temperature shutdown on the aero tractors. Policies include governing speed, using Qualcomm and ALK Co-Pilot to reduce out-of-route mileage, and using an in-cab paperwork scanning system to move toward a paperless environment using McLeod Software’s Document Power Imaging System. However, this young company quickly realized that the greenest initiative was to be able to haul more freight in a single trip. Since 2010, MinStar has been doubling the freight carried, using a second floor for rolling and non-stackable cargo in its 115 Double Deck trailers.
Cherry Hill, N.J.
NFI has 2,200 heavy-duty trucks in for-hire and dedicated operations and continues to improve its diesel fuel efficiency at the same rate as previous years, using aerodynamic trucks with APUs, wide-base single tires, automatic tire inflation systems on trailers, synthetic oils, a 62-mph top speed, etc. Recently it added 350 fuel-efficient refrigerated trailers. NFI has implemented tire inflation programs as well as retreaded tire programs. Retread tires reduce the carbon by 70% over the production of a new tire. NFI has 20 CNG tractors and 17 LNG tractors; it added 15 CNG tractors this year and is planning to add more.
Nussbaum, with 275 trucks, has been hot on the heels of a 10-mpg spec for a number of years, an early adopter of 6x2 configurations and other technology. With new 2015 Freightliner Cascadia Evolution tractors, some drivers regularly attain 10 mpg or better. It hit a record fleet-wide average of 8.2 mpg in July. New tractors are getting Flow Below wheel covers and the will be retrofit on rest of the fleet. This year it developed a new full-length trailer skirt with Wabash. Trailers continue to get TrailerTails from ATDynamics. A Performance Coach works with drivers to help them optimize their fuel efficiency. The Driver Excelerator scorecard program scores and rewards driver performance in fuel economy as well as operations and safety. A new maintenance facility and operations center feature geothermal heating and cooling systems, timed and motion-sensing lights, etc.
North Las Vegas, Nev.
This 900-vehicle fleet is continually expanding hybrid opportunities with all possible units, driving the market in some areas. It is adding 23 Altec JEMS (Jobsite Energy Management System) hybrid electric bucket trucks this year in Vegas and Reno, an integrated plug-in system that uses stored electrical energy to power the aerial device, tools and exportable power, and provides cab comfort. The energy storage system is recharged by plugging into shore power or by the truck’s engine. NV also is adding two Odyne Class 7 hybrid units in Reno. The fleet has a number of lighter-duty electric vehicles and hybrids, uses biodiesel and has a LEED-certified shop in Southern Las Vegas.
With 78 vehicles, the vast majority heavy-duty, Oakhurst this past year replaced 34% of its fuel use with biodiesel, between B20 and B50 blends depending on the time of year, cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by 4.5 million pounds. It has four hybrid Class 8 milk delivery trucks. There are solar water panels at the main plant and solar panels creating electricity at one of the depots. Fleet Manager David Green promotes the use of biodiesel through membership in Clean Cities in Maine and New Hampshire.
In 2011, Ozinga began transitioning its fleet of concrete mixers to CNG, with a goal of transitioning the entire fleet to CNG by 2020. Presently 120 trucks — over 25% of its fleet — are operating on CNG. Besides concrete mixers, Ozinga has begun using CNG in many different support vehicles. In addition, Ozinga created a new company called Ozinga Energy, which has opened four public CNG stations throughout the Chicagoland area and has helped other companies transition to natural gas by building numerous CNG stations throughout the Midwest for both private and public use.
Pacific Gas & Electric
San Francisco, Calif.
PG&E is continuously working on adopting new and improved electric and hybrid technologies, with a fleet containing many plug-in hybrid material handlers, all-electric service body trucks and Chevrolet Volts, as well as 900 CNG cars, pickups, vans, and trucks. It’s working with Via Motors to deploy an extended range pick-up truck, expected to achieve nearly 100 mpg. Last summer, PG&E and the Edison Electric Institute challenged other utilities to double down on their investments on electric drive and electrified vehicles. And in September, PG&E and Efficient Drivetrains Inc. unveiled two new Class 5 plug-in hybrid electric trucks, a work truck and a bucket truck both based on a Ford F-550 chassis. With all-electric range of approximately 30 miles, they are expected to reduce emissions by up to 80% when compared to conventional-fuel vehicles.
Green Bay, Wis.
An industry leader in the adoption of natural gas, Paper Transport says it has developed the longest-natural-gas powered lane in the U.S. – over 1,000 miles. It has 105 Class 8 tractors running on CNG out of a total of 430, up from 80 out of 400 in last year’s survey. Of these, 70 of these have the new 12-liter Cummins Westport engine, purchased in the past year. All trucks are governed at 63 mph. Tractors are spec’ed with wide-base single tires and 100 tractors are 6x2 axle configuration. For the past two years all new trailers have been spec’ed with side skirts, and 50% of older trailers were retrofitted. All equipment has low-rolling-resistance tires and drivers get mpg bonuses.
Performance Transportation LLC
It may only have 45 trucks, but the private fleet for Performance Food Group says its commitment to fuel mileage improvement has become “its greatest challenge with the most reward.” Fuel mileage is tracked weekly, downloaded and analyzed. All tractors and trailers sport wheel covers and trailer skirts and use synthetic lubes. The max road speed is 62 mph. Tire casings and retreads are Smartway certified. By the fall of 2015 the fleet will have 33 reefer trailers with the Carrier Vector units with 480-volt standby capability to run on electric standby while in the home yard.
Prime has designed its own flatbed skirt for its 48-foot flatbed trailers. For its tanker fleet, it’s added a tank heater that allows it to maintain product temperature without idling, for a 20-25% reduction in idle time. The reefer fleet has gotten all-new, more efficient equipment, with ATDynamics TrailerTails, and it’s adding wheel covers. For the van fleet, lightweight trailers Prime calls Ecofeather allow it to cube out with more product and reduce the number of trucks (and fuel) needed. The company has added more simulator training to address fuel economy, and is using 10w-30 synthetic engine oil for additional fuel savings.
This 260-tractor refrigerated fleet improved fleet-wide fuel economy by 15%. It recently upgraded 210 of its tractors to new Freightliner Cascadias and Cascadia Evolutions. Tractors are equipped with low-profile low-rolling-resistance tires, side skirts, cab extenders, aluminum wheels, 6x2 axle configurations, automatic transmissions and governed top speeds. Trailers are equipped with low-profile low-rolling-resistance tires, side skirts, aluminum wheels and automatic tire inflation/deflation systems. At the terminal, parking area and property lights have been converted to LEDs and recycling is important. This year, Quest also started incentivizing fuel economy (along with safe driving techniques) among drivers, using a driver scorecard and related bonus.
This refrigerated carrier has 70 Class 8 trucks, all of them with Volvo’s XE Extreme efficiency package. Auxiliary power units and an electric shore power option help reduce idling. ATDynamics Trailer Tails are on all trailers, along with Trans Tex trailer skirts. Flow-through mud flaps are used on both tractors and trailers. Fleet speeds have been reduced to 65 mph. Thermo King Precedent reefers equipped with electric standby can take advantage of the electrical grid the company has installed in its trailer parking areas, allowing loads to maintain the proper temperature without using diesel fuel.
Saddle Creek Transportation
Saddle Creek’s fleet includes 150 tractors that run on CNG and plans to take delivery of another 50 by the end of the year, the fourth generation of its development work with truck and fuel-system manufacturers. As the trucking arm of Saddle Creek Logistics, it operates 440 Class 8 tractors providing regional contract carriage throughout the U.S. To promote natural gas fuel, in February it staged “The Great American Green Ride,” billed as the first cross-country trip with a for-hire CNG truck.
Green Bay, Wis.
Schneider, with 9,700 trucks, specs its equipment with the most energy-efficient and aerodynamic features available, including automated manual transmissions, predictive cruise control, trailer skirting, wheel covers, tire inflation monitoring systems, low-rolling-resistance tires, smooth-side trailers, side extenders, optimized roof fairings, aero bumpers, engine-off in-cab heaters and more. It’s testing other technology, including a pilot program of 100 TrailerTails in 2015. This year, it added than 1,900 tractors with EPA 2014-emissions engines. It has been exploring alternate fuel sources, using more than 10 million gallons of blended biodiesel per year, with testing of natural gas options under way. Driver training delivers an additional 3.6 million gallons of fuel savings per year. And each year, Schneider facilities recycle 12,000 batteries and 160,000 gallons of oil, and retread 92,950 tire casings.
Over the last five years, this 80-truck fleet says it has raised its fleet average from mid-5-mph to 7.4. It’s used strategies such as cutting road speed, going to low-rolling-resistance tires, adding trailer skirts, tightening the tractor-trailer gap, putting APUs on all trucks, and performing regular alignments on trailers and tractors. It recently started adding automated transmissions.
Newsweek ranked Staples’ carbon productivity at 91.2%, sixth in that category in its 2014 list of greenest companies. Top speed of U.S. delivery trucks is limited to 60 mph and engines shut off after three minutes of idling. Staples also has 53 electric delivery trucks and continues to test new alternative truck technologies, like hybrids, CNG and advanced idle reduction. It was recently awarded a SmartWay Excellence award and named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the 11th straight year. In addition, Staples has 34 facilities hosting a total of 37 solar arrays in the U.S.
Southeastern Freight Lines
The regional less-than-truckload carrier, which runs 2,700 heavy-duty vehicles, has improved its fuel economy average by almost 6% in the past nine months, according to its director of sustainability, lowering greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. More than 50% of the fleet is 2010 or newer heavy-duty vehicles, and SEFL has outfitted 3,000 trailers with aerodynamic skirts in the past nine months. It added 6 acres of solar panels in two facilities, and a cistern in one location uses the water from rainfall to irrigate the property vegetation.
Big Brown has always been an early adopter of innovative technologies. In the early 1930s, it introduced electric vehicles into its package delivery fleet. Today, it operates one of the industry’s largest private alternative fuel and advanced technology fleets, with more than 3,150 low-emissions vehicles, including all-electrics, electric hybrids, hydraulic hybrids, propane, CNG, LNG and biomethane. In March, UPS announced plans to roll out 1,000 propane autogas vehicles and 50 on-site refueling dispensers beginning in 2015. Proprietary routing programs minimize left-hand turns for drivers and other route-optimization strategies.
Walmart generated some of the biggest buzz of this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show with its futuristic concept truck, the Wal-Mart Advanced Vehicle Experience, or WAVE. The rig demonstrates materials and electro-mechanical systems that could help the giant retailer get further toward its goal of doubling fleet efficiency by 2015 (compared to 2005). The futuristically styled tractor was powered by a microturbine-electric hybrid drive system and pulled a trailer made of lightweight carbon fiber. Walmart has road-tested a number of prototype technologies, including hybrid assist, wheel-end hybrid assist, full propulsion hybrid, LNG and CNG.
Waste Management has grown its compressed natural gas refuse truck fleet from 400 in 2007 to more than 3,200 CNG trucks in North America today. Looking to the future, 90% of its corporate-wide truck purchases will be natural gas vehicles, an investment surpassing $1 billion. Some of that natural gas is gleaned from landfills. By the end of this year, it will also have 75 natural gas fueling stations throughout North America, 47 of which will allow third-party access.