Natural gas has proven to be one of the most popular alternative fuels for transportation because of its ability to reduce carbon emissions, stabilize fuel costs, and meet regulatory standards. In fact, according to one recent report, natural gas vehicle sales are expected to exceed 35 million by 2025.1
Compressed natural gas (CNG) fleets are being used increasingly for dedicated fleets and regional deliveries. This fossil-fuel substitute is one of the cleanest-burning alternative fuels available and helps companies to reduce their environmental footprint. Natural gas vehicles are also significantly quieter than their diesel counterparts – particularly helpful when trucks are delivering in residential areas.
Since they can haul the same payload as a diesel tractor, CNG trucks can handle everything from beverages to building products. They can be an effective, eco-friendly option for delivery needs within a 250-mile radius. Historically, the vehicles performed best on relatively level terrain, but manufacturers have now developed larger engines capable of longer hauls in more mountainous regions as well.
CNG Expansion at Saddle Creek
Saddle Creek was an early adopter of CNG technology, and we’ve continued to expand our for-hire CNG fleet to meet customer demand. We now have operations in Jacksonville, Fla., Atlanta and Valdosta, Ga., and Fort Worth, Texas.
The fleet supports local and regional delivery needs in the Southeast and Southwest, handling a wide variety of products. From Fortune 500 companies to major retailers, our customers value the opportunity to make deliveries while reducing their environmental footprint.
Today, our fleet of nearly 200 CNG tractors represents more than 40 percent of our total for-hire fleet. (The newest sixth-generation model boasts an 11.9-liter engine and the latest aerodynamics package.) Each CNG truck reduces our carbon footprint by approximately 120,000 pounds of carbon per year. To date, our trucks have traveled more than 55 million miles on CNG.
To further reduce emissions, we are in the process of converting 50 older diesel tractors into dual CNG-diesel fuel vehicles. By replacing diesel-fueled engines with EPA-certified CNG engines, we will replace 70 percent of the diesel used with natural gas.Use of CNG is expected to grow for the foreseeable future, and the fueling infrastructure has expanded considerably as more and more stations are being built around the country. In fact, we recently completed a $1.5 million upgrade to our own fueling facility in Lakeland, Fla. to accommodate our growing fleet.
We are committed to making sustainability an integral part of our supply chain strategies at Saddle Creek. We will continue growing our CNG fleet to meet customer demand and will consider expanding into new geographic areas as the fueling infrastructure evolves. We are working with CNG vehicle manufacturers to further improve the capabilities of these vehicles and helping to spur legislation to expand the use of alternative fuels.
Learn More about Our Fleet
“Power to the People,” a public television documentary, takes a close look at our CNG fleet and how it is helping to reduce our environmental footprint while controlling transportation costs. Watch the video.
For more information on CNG, download our whitepaper and watch our video.
1 “Natural Gas Vehicle Sales to Exceed 35 Million by 2025,” Environmental Leader, Karen Henry, Jan. 4, 2016. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2016/01/04/ngv-sales-to-exceed-35-million-from-2015-to-2025/?graph=full&id=1