US Foods has expanded its fleet of compressed natural gas (CNG) trucks, adding 50 to its Houston warehouse and fueling them at Freedom CNG’s North Houston station. The Houston fleet will help protect the company from rising fuel costs. Freedom says its fuel price has never changed since it opened its first station in 2012.
“Natural gas is a stable, clean, effective and economical transportation fuel choice,” says the company’s co-manager, Bill Winters.
Meanwhile, the US average retail price of diesel increased for the 10th week in a row in May, nudging up 1.1 cents to $3.288 a gallon, according to the US Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration report May 28.
Trucking’s main fuel costs nearly 72 cents per gallon higher than it did one year ago. The average price jumped in every region of the country except the Gulf Coast, where it dropped .1 cent to $3.54 a gallon, says Freedom CNG.
More Trucks, Less Emissions
US Foods had been running CNG trucks in San Antonio and Austin, successfully reducing fuel costs and improving emissions, before adding 50 new trucks for its Houston delivery routes.
Such a move allows the company to reduce its environmental footprint while serving customers in an energy efficiency way, says Dario Skokie, VP of transportation for US Foods.
US Foods is the only food company in Houston running a compressed natural gas fleet. The company says its entire Houston fleet of 50 CNG trucks operating in place of similar fuel tractors is estimated to reduce nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 tons.
Lower Fuel, Operational Costs with CNG
Companies now using compressed natural gas fleets say reduced fuel and lower operational costs are two of the main reasons for the switch. Waitrose, for example, introduced a fleet of biomethane CNG trucks with a range of up to 500 miles last year. Though each of Waitrose’s Scania trucks cost 50%more than one that runs on diesel, the company said they will repay the extra costs in two to three years with fuel savings. And its vehicles are likely to operate for five more years than diesel equivalents.